Carl has been buried. Simon has sown the seeds of mutiny. Rick and Negan have spoken. The latest episode of The Walking Dead saw “All Out War” suddenly reignite on brand new fronts, shifting the balance of power once again.
As Rick’s forces struggle to accept their recent losses, new threats from within emerge as a danger to both sides. Here are this week’s five to watch and one to watch out for:
Simon has been frustrated with Negan’s humanity and it finally boiled over in Episode 10: “The Lost and the Plunderers”. The result: Junkyard population: 1. Simon disobeyed Negan’s orders and later sealed his betrayal by lying about the specifics of his meeting with Jadis.
After exterminating the junkyard people and lying about it, there’s no turning back for Simon. And, suffice it to say, those who participated in the massacre are probably in just as deep. This puts Simon in charge of a small militia, no longer governed by the guiding principle of the Saviors, which is “to save people”. This new development not only poses a direct threat to Negan, but a real danger to anyone else who ends up in their way.
By the looks of things, Daryl has fallen back in line with Rick. Whatever their differences, they were set aside with the sudden death of Carl. Now, Daryl has stepped up to care for Judith and to lead the community on their dangerous trek to Hilltop.
While it’s true that his actions have directly contributed to this predicament, unlike Simon’s decision to disregard Negan’s orders, Daryl has never sought to subvert Rick’s authority. Daryl has always preferred to go it alone than to conspire and endanger others. Now faced with ensuring the safety of the remaining Alexandrians, he is back in familiar territory, walking point, protecting his family. As dangerous as he is on his own, make no mistake, this is Daryl at his fiercest.
Negan’s fortunes have been hit and miss since the war began. He has been driven from his stronghold, but his counteroffensive has neutralized Alexandria and The Kingdom. While he retains a strong and loyal following of Saviors, two of his lieutenants have secretly betrayed him. And finally, he has invested a certain amount of trust in Eugene. So far, this has been beneficial, but may not be a wise choice in the long run.
Despite some inevitable trust issues, Negan still commands a strong fighting force. His next move will be big and it will undoubtedly reverberate across the new world. The insurgency he faces is daunting though. Maggie’s defiance comes with the added complexity of Savior prisoners of war. Elsewhere, Simon’s actions appear to be the first step towards a coup d’état, and Dwight has defected to Alexandria with all of his tactical secrets.
And, Rick still really wants to kill him.
Maggie has taken drastic measures to assert her authority over Hilltop and the enemy prisoners housed within its walls. In doing so, she has made herself a key antagonist to Negan’s attempts to restore Savior order. Her actions have also helped to further drive a wedge between him and Simon. The grisly message she sent in episode 10 makes it clear that Simon no longer holds any influence over Hilltop. And, like Rick, Maggie has every reason to wish Negan dead. What remains to be seen is how news of Carl’s death will impact her. Did Carl write her a letter? It would make sense that if Carl wanted to be a broker of peace, he would reach out to everyone who could make that happen.
With the survivors from The Kingdom and Alexandria making their way to Hilltop, and with the enemy behind her own walls, Maggie has stepped up as a leader for all in this next phase of the war.
Rick has never been one to bounce back quickly, so it’s no surprise that he’s not ready to move past his anger just yet. In his radio exchange with Negan, the feud cut even deeper with the news about Carl. And you can’t really blame Rick in this moment of anger. He and Michonne had just left Jadis behind at the junkyard. Her entire community had been wiped out by the Saviors, presumably (but not) on Negan‘s orders, making it hard to fathom any talk of common ground. That said, Carl has provided a clear path to this common ground for whenever Rick is ready to see it.
Negan was visibly shaken by the news of Carl’s death, even showing some empathy toward Rick. His connection with Carl could be the key to both of their survivals. Rick needs more time to regain perspective, but in the meantime, he’s coming for Negan harder than ever before, and that spells danger for anyone in his path.
One to watch out for: Jadis
Jadis has vexed viewers since being introduced on The Walking Dead. In “The Lost and the Plunderers”, we finally witnessed her stoic demeanor break when Simon’s forces began firing. When Rick and Michonne arrived, the tables had turned and she was the one in need of new allies. Her habit of betraying Rick though, left little room for sympathy. In the end, she was left to rule the junkyard, disposing of her undead followers in a gruesome ceremony involving tears, heavy machinery and things we can’t unsee.
We haven’t seen the last of Jadis though. It’s entirely possible that we’ve just witnessed a backstory for a larger role to come. On The Walking Dead, it’s not unusual for unique characters to vanish in defeat, only to return as a new threat later on. This was the case with Merle, Gareth and, briefly, Morales. And, we’ve also seen newly redeemed characters reappear when their influence is most needed. Carol and Morgan have played this role a few times now.
Jadis is a complex personality that we are only just getting to know. She is without a doubt, one to watch out for. (And, didn’t we hear Simon ask her something about a helipad?!)
Who will have the power to change the world next week?
Watch The Walking Dead, Episode 11: “Dead or Alive or” on AMC, Sunday at 9PM EDT to find out!