SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “New Best Friends,” tonight’s episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which as of publication hasn’t yet aired on the west coast, as well as the Image Comics series of the same name.
At the end of last week’s midseason premiere of “The Walking Dead,” the Alexandrians were apprehended by a mysterious new group of survivors. Although the situation looked grim at first, a slight smile from Rick indicated that there was perhaps something beneficial about these strangers — if they were even strangers at all.
Tonight’s episode, “New Best Friends”, reveals more about them. While it doesn’t appear that Rick’s met them before, he deduces that they monitored his looting of the house boat, and that a relationship with them could be advantageous in the fight against The Saviors.
For one, there are a lot of them — dozens, by my estimate. Two, they’ve holed up in a sprawling garbage dump that proves to be a well-hidden fortress. And three, they appear to be rather cunning. At one point, they test Rick’s mettle by pitting him against a walker outfitted in a helmet and jagged spikes. It’s a wonderfully weird moment reminiscent of the “Mad Max” series, and a hint at a more adventurous spirit in the show’s current season.
It’s also worth nothing that these survivors aren’t from the comic, as far as I can tell, although they do share several characteristics with The Whisperers. They live somewhat primitively (in a garbage dump rather than the wilderness), they have a strong, mysterious female as their leader (Jadis, played by Pollyanna Macintosh), they’re adept in combat, and they’ve even embraced a stilted, minimalist speech pattern that gives them an otherworldly bent. Hopefully, they’ll prove to be more friendly to the Alexandrians than The Whisperers have. Stay tuned for more on all of this in tonight’s full recap and review.
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