I hope you have your pooping pants on because Maggie and Negan are back! We start with Maggie on a shore, looking into the city of Manhattan (we learn from a map that Maggie has). The city is in significant decay, burnt, overgrown, and, as one would expect, tons and tons of walkers. A walker sneaks up on her and she goes berserk on it, so you can tell she is a little unhinged. This leads you right into the new opening scene, and the music is, well, not that great. The images are great as it is an all-new landscape to us, so I enjoyed studying all the things that were going on. The piece that caught my attention was that it appears some rope ladders are coming out of the head of the Statue of Liberty. That seems like a pretty safe place to have a setup from walkers. Though, if people got a jump on you, it seems you would be pinned in pretty badly.
A few things to take away from this episode going forward, we seem to have two different protagonists. One calls themselves New Babylon. They have rules and govern in different areas, and we are not quite sure how far their jurisdiction covers. They have vehicles and gas. They have the ability to make new billboard signs, and they also hang people in front of the entrance to the capital to show what happens if you don’t follow the rules. They seem pretty lame in this episode.
What is built as a bigger bad is a group led by a man called Croat. He was a former Savior under Negan, and they raided Maggie’s settlement and took all the grain. They said they would be back in a month for more, and took a hostage. The hostage was Hershel, which is why Maggie tracked down Negan to help get her son back. She says he owes her, and she thinks he might know how this guy ticks. She tracked them down to Manhattan but couldn’t get across.
Speaking of Negan, for reasons unknown, he is not with his wife and their kid, and he has a younger girl with him that he has taken under his wing after her parents passed away. Also, the New Babylon has a wanted poster out for Negan, which he wants to keep. Negan finally decides to help if they can put up the girl. Maggie obliges, but not at Hilltop since Hilltop is now evidently gone for good. Her people have set up at a new location.
Let’s get to what we all want to talk about, the city! The city was a military hub early on. The powers that be decided to blow up all the entry points into the city, including tunnels which essentially trapped the million and a half participants on the island. Maggie and Negan capture one of the three New Babylon schmucks who tracked Negan down, using him as a shield to get on a boat into the city. The city is wild, but I love it. Walkers falling from buildings onto the streets, traps set in holes in the street, walkers breaking through glass, and holding a knife. Someone is driving a small vehicle with sound, leading a slew of walkers down the road. It’s all great stuff to see because I’m not experiencing it, but Negan didn’t enjoy being crawled on by all sorts of cockroaches when the walkers had them pinned in an alley. The two New Babylon started gunning down walkers to get to Negan and their comrade.
They escape to a dry-cleaning building. To speed this portion up, one guy shoots his comrade on accident. The third New Babylon guy was a moron and deserved to die. He had his back turned to the door with glass and a bunch of walkers. I don’t understand how at this point in the world, he didn’t know or wasn’t smart enough to remember that walkers have evolved and could do things like open doors and hold objects. So some walkers busted through that door with a shoulder tackle and chomped on him, and I laughed. Negan and Maggie get to another room away from the walkers while the main New Babylon character escapes. Someone was in the room with Negan and Maggie and blew out their light.
We see a little about Croat and that Hershel had aged up from where he was when the main show ended. Croat has someone captured and tortured who tried to escape. Croat said he wanted information on his group, the guy got on a zip line to try to get to another building, but Croat cut the line, and the man fell 20 stories to his death.
Seeing how much Hershel aged up made me think the show is like 3 or 4 years forward. I could be wrong, so it got me thinking if we were to theorize where people stood. For instance, if Maggie needed help, you would think Daryl, Rick, or Michonne would be the first people she would ask if she needed help. The tier under that, I would guess, would have been Morgan. I think she tries to get Negan’s help not only because he used to know Croat but because the other characters are not back yet.
All told, for the first episode, I enjoyed it. I think the makeup of the show falls more in line with the flagship Walking Dead compared to Fear the Walking Dead, which is great. Add in the fact of strong characters and a great new location, and I have high hopes for this season.