The Walking Dead Season Nine Review: A Return to Form.

4 and a half stars
Seasons seven and eight were the weakest of The Walking Dead.
Full of bottle episodes and with an incredibly slow structure overall, these two seasons really should have been merged into one.
So, in order to bounce back, the show needed to deliver a fantastic ninth season and, boy, did it.
Scott Gimple was replaced as showrunner by Angela Kang who brought The Walking Dead back from the brink, adapting one of my favourite story arcs from the comics perfectly.
However, going in I did have my concerns, what with this season being the final one with Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes.
I was afraid the show would not be able to sustain itself without Rick but, thankfully, I was dead wrong about this.
Not only did Rick get a good sendoff in episode five “What Comes After,” but Daryl (Norman Reedus) works as the new lead after Rick’s departure.

Rick's departure
Rick got a good sendoff with episode five, and I am interested to see how his movies will turn out.

The season gets better from there with the New Beginning story arc, which saw a six year time skip.
From here, the season delivers great episode after great episode, only faltering with episode seven “Stradivarius,” which is not a bad episode but is much slower than the others.
By far the best part of this season, for me, is how the new characters from the comics are made even better that their comic book versions.
For example, I care for every member of Magna’s group in the show, while in the comics the only one I care for is Magna (Nadia Hilker) herself.
Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is an especially fantastic improvement on her comic book counterpart.
Then there are the Whisperers who are even scarier than they are in the comics, especially Samantha Morton as Alpha who knocks it out of the park.
I doubt that anyone could play this role better.
Finally, for characters, there is Judith (Cailey Fleming).
After Carl died in season eight, which is the stupidest decision the show has ever made, the series had lost one of its central pieces.
One of the main themes of The Walking Dead is how children grow up in a land of the dead and, with Carl gone, so was this theme.
Enter Judith in season nine, who so far, in my opinion, manages to be a better character than Carl and I cannot wait to see what else the writers decide to do with her.

Judith Grimes.jpg
The little ass kicker herself is the new Carl for this show and it is going pretty well so far.

Then there are the episodes themselves, which are stellar, as stated.
The best episodes of the season, though, came towards the end, with episodes 14 “Scars” and 15 “The Calm Before” being absolutely fantastic.
These episodes were investing, dark, and some of the best episodes of the entire series.
Overall, I would say The Walking Dead can manage just fine without Rick.
However, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) may be another story because both are set to depart next season, which is concerning.
But Maggie is supposed to be returning so there is that.
I am also a bit concerned about how the Whisperer Arc will be handled in season ten, because, after the horrifying pike scene of episode 15, I believe the arc started to go downhill a bit.
Hopefully, the show will be able to improve on this arc in season ten just as they did with season nine.
If you stopped watching The Walking Dead after seasons seven and eight I would recommend you start watching again because the show has returned to its former glory.
I just hope that it stays there.

The Walking Dead Issue 190, Storm the Gates, Review: Welcome but Rushed.

3 stars
In my review of the previous The Walking Dead issue, I criticized the Commonwealth Arc heavily for how aimless and mediocre it had been so far.
Coming into Issue 190, “Storm the Gates,” I was expecting it to be more of the same, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this issue could be a step in the right direction.
It is not spectacular or anything, but it does give me hope that the Commonwealth Arc might just get better.
Although, I have had false hope with this arc before so we will have to wait and see.
I will also admit that I was wrong about something I criticized Robert Kirkman for last issue, this being artificial tension.
I thought the Walker herd in that issue was just a way for Kirkman to create some pointless tension in a slow story, but the herd actually has a story point in “Storm the Gates,” with the herd attacking the Commonwealth.
The reason it got so close to the community before being spotted, is because Pamela called her troops back after Mercer was arrested, which is another case of Kirkman wonderfully showing Pamela’s incompetency.
The approaching herd leads to Rick, Mercer and the others. having to all hide in the buildings while the herd walks around, until Maggie arrives with her deus ex machina army to save the day.
Although I did like that the herd actually serves a point in this issue, a lot of the storylines here seem pretty convenient.
Rick and Mercer are somehow able to get the Commonwealth’s 50,000  civilians inside their buildings in a matter of minutes?
Then there is Maggie’s arrival with her army, which is a complete deus ex machina, but one that moves the plot forward.
I feel I should also mention one panel where Magna is looking down at Maggie and something about the artwork here looks a little off.
That said, the rest of Charlie Adlard’s artwork is stunning as usual.
After the Walker herd are defeated, Rick and Mercer plan to finally talk with Pamela, only for her to march in with her army from Greenville and accuse Rick of trying to usurp her.
Rick tries to convince her this is not the case but she is too paranoid to believe him, ordering her troops to attack in a panel similar to the ones when Negan attacked Alexandria, and the Governor attacked the prison, bringing an end to the issue.
This cliffhanger was a very welcome one for me because it finally looks like it is going to create some interesting consequences, possibly even some deaths, in the next issue.
Coming back to Magna, she shares a scene with Yumiko, which highlights their relationship, that has me believing one of them may bite the bullet.
However, while I do welcome this cliffhanger, it does feel very rushed to me on a story level.
Pamela was somehow able to organize an army in Greenville, a community probably a long way from them, in a matter of hours.
Not only this, but her accusing Rick of trying to take over feels very forced.
Up until this point, Pamela has trusted Rick, especially after he killed Dwight to save her life, so her suddenly thinking Rick wants to become leader of the Commonwealth comes out of left field, even if it does finally get the story rolling.
Overall, this was an average issue with various positives and negatives.
I hope that the next issue follows up on its promise of action and excitement, rather than reversing all of this like it did with the antagonism between Rick and Michonne.

The Walking Dead, Season Nine, Episode 16, “The Storm” Review: An Interesting Finale.

3 and a half stars
The Walking Dead 
season nine came to a close with its season finale this week, “The Storm”, in a surprisingly anticlimactic end to a fantastic season.
That is not to say “The Storm” was a bad episode but, compared to the other finales the series has had, the episode did not have that much of a climactic feel.
This does makes sense though, considering the episode is following the shocking pike scene from “The Calm Before.”
In fact, “The Storm” not only lives up to its name by a being a continuation of “The Calm Before” title, but by also featuring a snow storm, the first in The Walking Dead show’s history.
This is surprising when you look at how many snow storms have been in the comics, but hey, better late than never.
The previous lack of snow is more than made up for in this episode, with the snow storm being the main threat the characters face.
This new threat, combined with the characters dealing with the aftermath of the pike massacre make for some compelling moments.
For example, the scenes between Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) were touchingly tragic, with Henry’s death having driven them apart.

Ezekiel.jpg
It is tragic to see Ezekiel and Carol’s relationship plummet after the death of Henry and makes me wonder what the future holds for them.

It made for a sad contrast, with their relationship being established at the beginning of season nine, only for it to end in the finale.
The fall of the Kingdom basically represents the fall of their relationship.
Speaking of Carol though, the way she and Lydia (Cassidy McClincy) interacted was great.
I especially liked Lydia’s growth through her battle with suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of Henry’s death and being ostracized by many of the other survivors for her mother’s actions.
The big highlight of the episode though is definitely Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), with him taking another step towards his redemption.
After Judith (Cailey Fleming) is lost in a snow storm searching for Daryl’s dog, Negan is the first to give chase and eventually rescues her, even though he gets hurt.
His line that she “wanted more Negan time” was a great moment from him that showed the connection between the two.
It honestly feels like the connection Negan had with Carl in the comics, so I am glad the show found a way they could keep that alive, even with Carl being dead.

Negan
I am loving how Negan’s redemption arc is being played out in the show, especially Judith’s role in it. 

As for the rest of the episode, it was fairly standard.
With the Kingdom having fallen and the Sanctuary not living up to its name, the group are forced to make their way through Alpha’s territory to get to safety but nothing all that massive comes from it.
It is revealed later in the episode that Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the other Whisperers left for winter, however, this does not make much sense to me because wouldn’t it be winter everywhere else?
In any case, the scene with her and Beta (Ryan Hurst) is basically just a reminder that they are still in the story so does not offer much weight.
However, The final scene of the finale definitely does as someone attempts to communicate with the group on the radio they have set up.
I heard rumors that Rick would be on the radio so it was a bit disappointing to not hear his voice, but I am not going to let my expectations influence my opinion on the episode.

Rick
I was sad to realise Rick was not on the radio, however, we still have The Walking Dead movies, where he will appear, to look forward to. 

As to who was on the radio, there has been a lot of speculation.
Most people think it is Maggie and this is the way the show will bring her back, but I personally think it is Stephanie, who is a new character that will be in the next arc, after the Whisperers.
This means, when they are finally dealt with, we will be getting the Commonwealth arc, which I am kind of dreading because of how lackluster this arc has been so far in the comics.
Whatever the case, this cliffhangers is still better than many of the other ones we have had in the series.
I am looking at you “Last Day on Earth.”
Overall, “The Storm” is a decent season finale, and director Greg Nicotero did a good job with it.
Not a lot may have happened, but it was still better than some of the other season finales and was a good way to wrap up season nine.
And, with how great this season was, I am eager to see how season ten will turn out.

The Walking Dead, The Calm Before, Episode 15 Review: Emotionally Horrifying.

5 stars
They did it.
They actually pulled it off, thank god.
This is what the season six finale of The Walking Dead should have been.
I remember watching that moment when it cut to a point of view shot, hiding who Negan’s victim was, and feeling absolutely infuriated that they had ruined one of the comic’s most shocking scenes.
Thankfully though, episode 15 of season nine, “The Calm Before,” manages to transition the shock and horror of The Walking Dead’s Red Wedding moment to television brilliantly.
For starters, the episode does a fantastic job of building tension.
It is clear right from the opening minutes that something bad is going to happen this episode, even if you have never read the comics like I have.
Watching the happy life of a married couple in the Hilltop change into a scene from a horror movie where Alpha kills them and scalps the woman, perfectly sets up the emotional horror of the episode.
From here, the episode continues to build and build on the tension by showing many of the shows’ main and recurring characters enjoying time with their loved ones at the fair.
As a comic reader, these scenes were very intense for me as I tried to guess who among them would get the pike.
I wondered if it would stay closer to the comics or try something knew?
The director of the episode, Laura Besley, was probably thinking the same thing because she put in multiple red herrings to mislead us comic fans, which certainly worked.
The scene between Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is a great example of this because Alpha leads him away, making me think Ezekiel was going to get his comic book death.
Morton once again stole the show in this episode as Alpha, with her subtle threat that there is going to be “a hard winter” sending chills down my spine.

wig Alpha.jpg
Samantha Morton continues to knock it out of the park as Alpha in this chilling scene with Khary Payton’s Ezekiel.

All of this buildup combined with the red herrings made the eventual pike scene all the more shocking to me.
Much like with the season six finale, I remember the horror I felt reading this moment in the comic, but, unlike the season six finale, this time, the horror was pulled off effectively.
The way this scene was shot only amplified the terror, with the pikes slowly coming into view as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and the others walk up the hill.
After this, the sequence cuts between our main characters’ horrified reactions, those at the fair looking for their loved ones, and the heads on the pikes.
The images of those heads will probably be seared into my brain for a while, with the haunting shots of them with their hair blowing through the wind as their heads lie decapitated on the pikes.
Everything about this scene was perfectly horrifying.
From the sequence of the shots, to the music, to the acting, especially from Reedus and McBride.
The moment Carol and Daryl realise Henry (Matt Lintz) is one of the pike victims is incredibly tragic, with the scene being reminiscent of when Carol lost her first child Sophia (ironically played by Lintz’s sister Madison) and Daryl had to hold her back.

tragic.jpg
Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus gave great performances with their reaction to Henry’s death. 

Speaking of Henry, I was surprised to see he was one of the pike victims but I do think it is tragically fitting because of where it will take characters closely connected with him.
Along with this, it means that Henry is not taking Carl’s place after he was stupidly killed off in season eight, which is good.
I think MOVIEidol said it best, “I do think killing Henry right here, first of all does confirm that Henry isn’t the new Carl, you know? Cause Carl can’t be replaced.”
However, it is not just Henry who gets a shocking pike death, but Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) as well.
I will admit, I was a bit suspicious Enid might be a pike victim, given how much screen time her relationship with Alden (Callan McAuliffe), but I was not expecting Tara.
Her death shocked me, especially since they were really hinting at Rosita (Christian Serratos) before they showed Tara’s head on the pike.
As for the other seven characters who met their fates on the pikes, they were mostly side characters but I still felt their loss due to a fantastic addition to the episode.
In a scene that is completely TV series original, the only survivor from the Whisperer’s attack Siddiq (Avi Nash) tells the communities about the victims’ heroic last stand against Alpha and the Whisperers.
Much like the pike scene, the way this scene was shot was amazing.
Not only this but Nash’s performance, and the tragic music, actually made me tear up, making it two episodes in a row I have done so.

Siddiq's speech
Siddiq’s emotional tale of the pike victims’ heroic struggle for survival is one of the most tragic moments in The Walking Dead‘s history.

The Walking Dead honestly could not have done the pike scene any better.
It balanced the horrific tragedy of the event perfectly, and added a brilliant scene that highlighted the heroic actions of the victims.
Now, I only wonder how the season will end with the finale, “The Storm”?
But, this said, I have complete faith in Angela Kang, who wrote the episode.
She has completely turned The Walking Dead around.
After season eight and the announcement of Andrew Lincoln’s departure, I was actually thinking of quitting the show but, after seeing where Kang has taken the series, I am so glad I stuck around.
“The Calm Before” did justice to one of the comics’ darkest moments and even added to it, creating an amazing episode that was built off emotional horror.

The Walking Dead Season Nine Episodes 4-6 Review: It Just Keeps Getting Darker and Darker.

Just when you think The Walking Dead cannot get any darker it keeps on surprising you.
The second half of season nine has continued with episodes 12-14, “Guardians,” “Chokepoint,” and “Scars,” all of which were great.
“Guardians” and “Chokepoint” continue the story of the Whisperers very well, and “Scars” is the best flashback episode the series has had in a long time.
As stated, the series just keeps getting more gruesome with each episode.
From Alpha brutally decapitating a challenger in “Guardians,” to Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) brutal fight with Beta and the other Whisperers in “Chokepoint”, and to Michonne (Danai Gurira) having to kill children to save Judith in “Scars.”
That last one is especially dark and feels very reminiscent of the season four episode “The Grove.”

Pregnant michonne kills.jpeg
In one of the darkest scenes in The Walking Dead a pregnant Michonne has to kill kids to save her own. 

It also serves as a satisfying explanation for the scars Michonne and Daryl have and why Michonne is so closed off.
Along with this, “Scars” is the first episode of The Walking Dead to make me tear up since Glenn was supposedly killed off in season six (before it was stupidly revealed he survived by hiding under a dumpster).
The conversation Michonne has with Judith (Cailey Fleming) about what she went through and how she became isolated to protect her brought a tear to my eye.
This also leads to Michonne finally deciding to open up and go to the fair, which will sadly have disastrous consequences for Alexandria, based off what happens in the comics.
As for the other episodes, they are also strong ones with “Guardians” serving as the introduction of Beta, played by Ryan Hurst.
Much like Samantha Morton as Alpha, I am loving Hurst as Beta because he is perfectly cast.

Beta.png
Ryan Hurst is very intimidating as Beta and was the perfect choice for the role. 

In this episode we are also given a first hand look at the way the Whisperers live, which is about as brutal as you would expect.
The scene where Alpha brutally murders the wife of the man who challenged her, and then hands him her head, before killing, is incredibly dark.
The episode also ends on a high note, with Daryl and Connie (Lauren Rindloff) using Whisperer masks to save Henry (Matt Lintz) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy).
This leads to episode twelve “Chokepoint,” which I actually consider to be the weakest of the three episodes because, while it does have an amazing main storyline, it has a very forgettable secondary storyline.
Watching Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) deal with the Highwaymen felt unnecessary and more like the filler we would see in seasons seven and eight.
That said though, the storyline did end on a very funny note.
Also, the main storyline of this episode is so exciting.
The fight between Daryl and Beta had me on the edge of my seat and made me eager to see the eventual fights between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)) and Beta.

Beta vs Daryl.jpg
The fight between Daryl and Beta was very well choreographed and intense, even though I knew it was unlikely either one would die. 

This said, I hope they do a better job with Beta’s storyline than in the comics but, if how he has been presented so far is anything to go by, I would say there is a good chance the show can do it better.
All of these episodes are great and have me hyped up for the next episode, “The Calm Before,” which should be one of The Walking Dead‘s biggest moments.
I can still remember reading that moment in the comics and the feelings of shock and horror I felt.
Hopefully the show will be able to do this scene justice, just like they have been doing with the rest of the Whisperer Arc so far.

The Walking Dead Issue 189: Lines are Drawn, Review: More Mediocrity.

two-and-a-half-stars
Another month, another mediocre The Walking Dead issue.
In all honesty I have grown pretty tired of the Commonwealth story arc.
Sure, there have been some really good things about it like the discovery of Michonne’s daughter Elodie, Dwight’s death, and the political commentary.
However, all of this good stuff is surrounded by features that bog it down.
Elodie is not very important to the Commonwealth story right now, Dwight’s death has failed to have any meaningful, lasting impact, and the political commentary, although interesting, at first, does not have a very interesting story to go along with it.
This has all resulted in a mediocre story arc that has me less and less excited every time I read the next issue.
Sadly, this mediocrity continues with Issue 189, “Lines are Drawn”, which was hyped up by numerous events in the previous installment, but that hype fails to go anywhere.
I will begin by talking about my biggest problem with this issue, and that is the scenes with Eugene and Stephanie.
At the end of the previous issue, the two were about to be surrounded by a Walker herd that had accidentally been drawn into the area.
The consequences of this?
Absolutely nothing, of course!
Eugene and Stephanie just get trapped temporarily in a train before Eugene uses a fire hydrant to help them escape.
There is only one reason that this is even a plot point in this issue and that can be summed up in two words.
“Artificial Tension.”
Robert Kirkman appears to be worried that people will lose interest in his political fueled story arc so he throws in some random action sequences that have no real impact on the story to try and keep his readers entertained.
However, the fact that these scenes have no consequence makes them very boring and hard to get into.
Speaking of people losing interest in the political fueled story though, it would not surprise me if they did, because this issue once again failed to go anywhere exciting.
Laura breaks Mercer out of prison, just like what was hyped up in the cover, only for the issue to end with him deciding to try and put Rick in power to keep the peace.
I was annoyed to read this cliffhanger because it took all of the exciting buildup with Mercer breaking out of prison, and Rick having to escort Pamela and her family out of the Commonwealth for their own safety, and seems to have settled it too easily.
Also, Rick taking over another community is pretty much a cliche at this point.
I would be surprised if Rick is not the king of the world by the end of the story.
In all seriousness, though, this is a disappointing end to an issue that seemed like it was building up to something big.
There is one touching scene between Rick and Carl that I do like but, otherwise, this is another mediocre issue in a long line of them.
My low rating for “Lines are Drawn” comes, not from it being a bad issue, because it is not, but from the constant mediocrity of this story arc making it very difficult to keep my interest up.
But, who knows, maybe the Commonwealth story arc will get interesting as it goes on?
Hopefully?
In any case we are almost ten issues away from issue 200 so, with any luck, I will be fully engaged in The Walking Dead‘s story again by the time we reach it.
But, for now, I am struggling to stay interested.

The Walking Dead Season Nine Episode 9-11 Discussion: True Terror.

The Walking Dead season nine has been killing it with the Whisperer Arc storyline so far.
The midseason finale served as a great introduction to these new villains and they have only got scarier since the series returned.
These three new episodes, “Adaptation”, “Omega”, and “Bounty”, continue to show that season nine is returning The Walking Dead to its former glory.
I know I have said this many times since season nine began, but Angela Kang was the perfect choice for showrunner because, under her direction, the series has bounced back from a low point in quality that many of us were concerned it could never recover from.
There are so many differences that improve on the series’ comic counterpart.
This is surprising to me because, off the top of my head, I cannot recall a time when the show has had a change that was better than the comic since season five.

Hero Connie.png
The characters are some of the best differences from the comics this season. In the comics Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is completely forgettable but in the show she is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

Character development is truly where these new episodes shine, with many characters, like Daryl, having great scenes.
It is the new characters that steal the spotlight though, because Magna’s group, Lydia (Cassady McCliny), and Alpha are already miles better than their comic versions.
Samantha Morton’s Alpha is the true standout of these characters, with her being one of the most terrifying villains in the show’s history.
I love how they gave her this dirty look to fit with her savage nature as a Whisperer.
It was odd how, in the comics, Alpha’s skin was clean, despite wearing literal human skin all day, so this is an improvement.
Morton is also fantastically scary as the antagonist.
Watching the promos, I was originally unsure about her accent but, after watching the episodes, I can say it works perfectly.
Her arrival at the end of “Omega” is nothing short of chilling.

Alpha unmasked.jpg
Samantha Morton was the perfect choice for Alpha. She looks and acts absolutely terrifying.

Speaking of these episodes, they range from good to fantastic.
The first two, “Adaptation” and “Omega” are the good episodes.
They have plenty of amazing scenes but some moments do feel out of place and drag a little, especially in “Omega”.
This is not the case for “Bounty” though because it is already one of my favourite episodes of season nine.
“Bounty” truly shows what monstrous acts the Whisperers are capable of, with a mother Whisperer leaving her own baby to be eaten by the Walkers because it is too loud.
This new scene is very shocking and is a great addition to the show.
It also leads to one of the show’s scariest moments in recent memory, with Connie rescuing the baby and fleeing into a cornfield.
It is here where she constantly has to fend off the Walkers, and it is made all the more scarier because she is deaf.
It felt like something that would be seen in A Quiet Place. 
“Bounty” is just a great episode, with the only negative I have being the blatant stupidity of Henry (Matt Lintz).
Other than this, and a few missteps though, the first few episodes of The Walking Dead season nine’s second half continues the show’s climb of better quality.
It has me very excited for The Walking Dead‘s equivalent of the Red Wedding, which we will surely see by the end of the season.
And, with what we have got so far, I am sure Angela Kang can pull it off.

The Walking Dead Issue 188, Falling into Place Review: Building to Something… Hopefully?

3 stars
Aside from Dwight’s death and some interesting political commentary, there has been very little that I have found to be investing in the last ten issues of The Walking Dead.
However, Issue 188, “Falling into Place”, seems to set this up to change.
The issue is average, just like many other issues in this arc, but it thankfully looks to be the one that will set the wheels in motion for the Commonwealth’s civil war.
Initially, this does not appear to be the case because Mercer is quickly arrested at the beginning of “Falling into Place”, before he can set his revolution into motion.
But, by the end of the issue, this revolution looks to be gaining full steam as Laura sets out to recruit George and the rest of Mercer’s men to rise against the establishment.
This looks set to commence next issue because the cover features Laura and two others storming the cell that Mercer is being kept in.
Rick and Michonne seem to have caught on to Laura by the end of the issue though, so it will be interesting to see what they do.
Speaking of Rick and Michonne ,this issue continues to disappointingly move away from their conflict, which was set up at the end of Issue 186.
It still feels weird to see that they have made up after Rick explicitly said he would never forgive her for putting him in a situation where he had to kill Dwight.
Despite Robert Kirkman seemingly abandoning Rick’s role to play in the upcoming civil war, Mercer thankfully continues to be a key player.
He gets one of the most interesting scenes in the issue where Pamela confronts him about his actions, only for Mercer to rightly criticize her hypocritical actions.
Along with the brewing the civil war, there is another feature that looks to bring much intensity to the next issue.
This is the cliffhanger of “Falling into Place”, which sees a heard of Walkers heading straight for Eugene and Stephanie, who have been left to work on their train.
While I did like this cliffhanger, the way the issue built up to it is a little contrived.
It all starts when Carl, Jesus, Arron, Dante and Siddiq, who were sent by Maggie to check in with Rick at the Commonwealth, come across Princess.
The synopsis of this issue tries to be dramatic with the line “is Princess friend or foe?” but we all knew she was not going to be.
This turns out to be the case when she runs away, only for them all to run into a herd of Walkers to create some artificial tension, oh joy!
Even though I did not like how obviously set up this scene felt, I will admit it did lead to some good banter between Carl and Princess.
I chuckled when Carl told her that being a loner is “total bulls*!t” and she replies, “you don’t have to curse.”
It makes me wonder what a scene between Princess and Negan would be like.
She would be horrified.
After this, the group diverts the herd and it unfortunately reaches Eugene and Stephanie at the end of the issue.
As for their fates, I am unsure if Kirkman will kill them off or not.
Eugene has become a very important character in the comics and I do not know if Kirkman would kill him off right after Dwight.
As for Stephanie, I find it unlikely she will be killed of because we just met her and she has not received much proper development yet.
Still, I do have some hope that this herd and the coming civil war in the Commonwealth will finally bring the excitement needed for this arc.
Overall, “Falling into Place” was another average issue in The Walking Dead. 
Things look to get more exciting in the next few issues but, if they do not then I cannot see the Commonwealth story arc being anything better than just average.

The Walking Dead Issue 187: What Happened to the Conflict?

3 stars
The Walking Dead 
Issue 186, “The Powder Keg” ended with an amazing cliffhanger that set up not only a conflict between Rick’s communities and the Commonwealth but, more importantly, between Rick and Michonne.
I was excited to read the latest issue 187 “The Road Back” to see where Robert Kirkman would take this newly developed conflict… only for him to downplay it with the two characters oddly making up.
It was incredibly jarring to see Rick go from saying he would never forgive Michonne last issue to him immediately apologizing to her this issue.
What is especially weird is that the cover of Issue 187 seems to point towards the two’s conflict growing when in reality the exact opposite happens.
There might be more tension between them in the future but, for now, this scene makes it seem that Kirkman has thrown any potential storyline of the two being at odds in the trash, which is a huge disappointment.
Even Rick’s character seems to have done a complete 180, with him seeming to have come to Dwight’s opinion that Pamela needs to be taken down also strangely being forgotten with him now pushing for peace at the beginning of the issue.
This is an unusual case of bad writing from Kirkman.
It really is a shame because the rest of the issue does a great job of building on the growing conflict in the aftermath of Dwight’s death.
The best parts of “The Road Back” came from Mercer and surprisingly Princess who both go through a great amount of character development.
First there is Mercer, whose frustration with the Commonwealth finally boils over with him giving a speech to his fellow soldiers about rising up against Pamela and the rest of the Commonwealth leadership.
This is unfortunately overheard by Lance who looks ready to arrest Mercer by the end of the issue.
Mercer really sucks at making sure people do not overhear his secret plans, first there was Siddiq and now Lance.
As for the Princess, I was surprised by how much I liked the development she got this issue.
She leaves Mercer and the Commonwealth, explaining that the abuse she suffered from her family as a child has led to her to like being alone.
This left me feeling sorry for her, which is a nice change considering I found her to be a mostly annoying character up until this point.
However, even though Princess left, by the looks of the cover of the next issue, it appears she will be drawn back into the conflict.
We can see Carl, Jesus, Aaron and Siddiq rushing towards her in the cover of Issue 188 and all of these characters are sent to see what was happening in the Commonwealth by Magna and Maggie this issue.
With things clearly about to explode in the Commonwealth because of Dwight’s death and Mercer’s soon to be arrest, it is clear they will play a vital role in the story.
Another thing I was surprised to find how much I liked was the portrayal of the love triangle between Carl, Lydia and Sophia.
I usually hate love triangles but here it is portrayed rather nicely.
Sophia finds she actually gets along well with the new kid Carl tried to set her up with and Lydia gets jealous of her and Carl.
This leads Carl to tell Lydia she and him work together because they are both monsters, (which is obviously a really bad thing to call your girlfriend) causing Lydia to storm off.
Then, when Carl departs, he explains what he meant, stating they are both the only ones who can truly see who they really are after all they have done.
This is a very touching scene that had me routing for their relationship in ways I have not before.
All of this is fantastic stuff but again it is weighed down by throwing out Rick and Michonne’s conflict, which could have been very interesting.
The rest of “The Road Back” is good but I just wish Kirkman had kept this conflict going.

The Walking Dead Issue 186, The Power Keg Review: Well, that Escalated Quickly.

4 stars
Coming into Issue 186, “The Powder Keg,” I knew something bad was going to happen.
There had been so much build up towards something happening in previous issues that if nothing had happened it would have been a serious let down.
Thankfully, the big event that had been built up for so long occurred in this issue with Michonne betraying Rick to Pamela and then Rick being forced to shoot Dwight after he pulls a gun on the new Governor.
I had my suspicions that a character would die this issue but I never suspected it would be Dwight.
I thought he would be the one to instigate a revolution against the Commonwealth’s leadership but it seems his death will be playing that role.
However, the big shock of the chapter was not Dwight’s death but Michonne’s betrayal.
Sure, her daughter does live in the Commonwealth but I thought she would have more faith in Rick to control Dwight rather than having to sell him out to Pamela.
This was obviously a terrible idea as well because Michonne’s actions may have unintentionally set off the titular “powder keg” that will set the Commonwealth ablaze.
This is because Rick seems to have fully accepted Dwight’s ideology and now believes he chose the wrong side in the upcoming war by the end of the issue.
Still, I do not think this will turn into a war because we have already had two of them in quick succession so something new has to happen.
I wonder what that could be though?
Whatever the case, this sequence of events was very shocking and finally made me get on Dwight’s side, even if he did die.
In earlier issues I actually hated what Dwight was doing, thinking it was dangerous but now I see his reasoning behind it.
Because of the trauma he experienced at those who held onto power like Negan, Dwight judges Pamela to be no better than them and a detriment to freedom and society.
It was also easy to see why he felt this way about Pamela, due to the issue showing how she leaves dangerous Walkers around to shoot at so she can act like she is the one keeping everyone safe.
This explanation made me relate a lot to Dwight’s actions and made it all the sadder when Rick had to shoot him in a moment that was reminiscent of Dwight’s first appearance, when he murdered Abraham.
Dwight was introduced with an out of nowhere death and he departed with an out of nowhere death.
It was very fitting.
The rest of the issue is pretty decent with a touching scene between Eugene and Stephanie and a funny scene between Carl, Sophia, and the new kid Joshua.
However, there were still a few weak moments.
The first interaction between Rick and Michonne had Rick slowly coming around to Dwight’s idea, even though he had been completely against it earlier so it felt out of place.
Then there was the scene between Magna, Heath and Vincent where it was revealed Magna had been left in charge of the community even though she is a fairly new addition, compared to Heath and Vincent.
This also felt out of place.
Still, these moments were nothing major just small gripes I had.
The rest of the issue is great and seems to finally set the power keg off with the shocking death of Dwight and the even more shocking betrayal of Michonne.