|Photo Credit: AMC / Gene Page|
Carl thought the key to the future was ensuring that the communities did more than kill each other off. As the show clings to a probable chance Negan will be kept alive at the end of his all-out war, leaders are put to the test of what to do next until this battle ends. So what is the key to winning? Ine one of the interesting episodes for this season, The Key makes us further realize that the women of the apocalypse have better things to do than fight each other for power.
Trust Is BrokenNegan thinks everyone has his back, but dissension is growing. His sociopathic nature has convinced him he is saving people by eliminating their choices and forcing them to a join group where they worship the ground he walks on or suffers. Well, some are going to take advantage of that like Simon.
Instead of playing follow the leader, Simon killed Jadis and all of her people. On top of which, he covered his tracks and Negan thinks he still has a sturdy alliance with the Trash Heap. When Negan comes up with a plan to mortally wound his enemies and let them turn, everyone goes along with the plan, of course. Until Rick throws a kink in their scheme by running him off the road and isolating him in an warehouse for an attack. Simon with Dwight take their good old time trying to find out what happened to their leader, all the while planting seeds in Dwight that if Negan was killed they could take over and lead the Sanctuary.
Simon and Dwight 's vie for leadership paled into comparison the ego contest sparked between Rick and Negan. After running Negan off of the road, and into a warehouse that was slowly bombarded with walkers, Rick got several close calls to kill Negan.
"You can't save me, my people, or anyone. You don't care about anyone. You use people to take food, to sleep with you, to protect you. The only thing you care about is this bat. I'll make you a deal: I'll let you kiss her goodbye."In one corner, literally, we had Rick with his machete and Negan with his good intentions. Trapped in a warehouse gradually becoming bombarded with walkers, Rick got a bunch of close calls with his enemy. (Oh yeah, and here is the first nude zombie. WOW. This was so worth focusing over Carl's death.)
From Rick finally getting his hands on Lucille and setting it on fire, to walkers closing in on the both of them in a maze-like warehouse, their feud got us as close to a showdown as we're probably going to get - if everything goes according to Carl's fever dream.
"This is where you die, in the dark, all alone."
Who runs this motha?Who runs the world? Girls, to be honest. While Rick and Negan were fighting on the playground like little boys, the bad-ass women of the apocalypse were running it and foraging the future they all know they're going to need to actually survive.
It started with Rosita discovering a mysterious package and note out by one of their outposts (a throw back to Aaron leaving water out for the group in season five): the strangers would give Maggie's community the key to the future in exchange for . Not knowing what to expect but preparing for a fight anyways, Maggie with Enid, Michonne, and Rosita followed the coordinates they were given and met up with the Martha Stewart and her twins from the Shining (aka Georgie, Hilda, and Mitch).
Taking a chance and learning from her past mistakes, as you know like real leaders do, Maggie took the trio back to the Hilltop Community in an effort to buy themselves time and figure out if they could actually make a new alliance or if this was some kind of trick. Eventually, Maggie agreed to fill their times - give them records for their phonograph and good faith, and in exchange, Georgie rewarded her with more crates of food when she saw that the Hilltop Colony was low on supplies. Though she promised that this is a simple barter when what she hopes is a long and fruitful relationship, Georgie gave Maggie a key to the future - handwritten plans to recreate humanity from a book of medieval achievements. Maggie was given a promise to live up to Georgie's expectations of great things; so that by the next time she comes around, they can help each grow and succeed.
All of Georgie's visit to the Hilltop Colony wasn't entirely smooth. Still reeling from Carl's death after helping Siddiq, but accidentally killing Oceanside's leader and being allowed to live, Enid tried to persuade Maggie to take Georgie's supplies and move on. Michonne tried expressing Carl's dreams that after the fighting there still has to be more than killing or having killed every last person. Enid's attitude to the Saviors (" Why should we give a shit about people who don't give a shit about themselves") is spilling over into her mindset towards other survivors who might be legitimate assets. Moving forward, Enid is going to have to try and wrap her head or heart around Carl's death and that he wanted something more for everyone; may be it's not worth it to kill everyone they run into. Maybe it's worth it to go through a trust exercise or two. Maybe with a leader like Maggie, Enid can get to the place Carl wanted for everyone. Maybe there's still some hope for the survivors yet.