Review: Jesus Saves in THE WALKING DEAD “Evolution”

FIRST IMPRESSION

The plots are thickening with old threats, new threats, and an upcoming event to unite the communities once again.  The season has flown by in a whirlwind of time-jumps and new character structures, and the break leaves us hungry for more.
Story
Acting
Directing
Cinematography
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Aaron, Jesus, and Daryl are out looking for missing Eugene, and they have no idea what danger is hunting them in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead.

Spoiler 13

Upon their arrival at Hilltop with the newcomers, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Siddiq (Avi Nash) aren’t exactly met with open arms.  There’s obvious tension between Michonne and Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Michonne’s conversation with visiting Carol (Melissa McBride) was awkward.  We’re still left in the dark as to what happened between the communities that has caused this turmoil.

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Callan McAuliffe as Alden, Matt Lintz as Henry – The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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Henry (Matt Lintz) has taken up residence at Hilltop to apprentice with blacksmith Earl (John Finn) and immediately acts like a college freshman away from home for the first time.  He meets some new friends who are a bad influence, gets wasted, and ends up in jail.  Way to go, kid.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

In another bonehead move, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) drops the ball in a big way.  He’s been trying to peel away the layers of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), in hopes of getting to the root of his evil, but he hasn’t had any breakthroughs.  His mind is elsewhere as Rosita (Christian Serratos) is recovering at Hilltop, and he forgets to lock Negan’s jail cell door.  Now, Negan is out, no one knows it, and no one knows what he’ll do with his unauthorized freedom.

With the help of “Dog,” Aaron (Ross Marquand), Jesus (Tom Payne), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) find hiding Eugene (Josh McDermitt) with relative ease, and he tells his rescuers about this herd of walkers being different than any they’ve ever encountered.  He knows he was being hunted, and he knows that they’re coming back for him.  He believes that the walkers are evolving, becoming able to talk.  It’s not far-fetched, as Jesus even seems to agree with him.  The walkers still have brains, even if they are mush, so an envolved walker could be as possible as the undead walking among them.

In an attempt to escape the herd, Aaron, Jesus, and Eugene end up in a foggy graveyard after dark with a storm approaching.  They’re overrun and are forced to fight, despite the numbers.  Aaron’s cyborg arm and Jesus’ Matrix-style sword-fighting command the fight, then Michonne, Magna (Nadia Hilker), and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) come to their aid.  As Jesus is wielding his sword, the walker ducks, and he is stabbed from behind.  The walker whispers in his ear, “You are where you don’t belong” before Jesus drops to the ground.

The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Michonne is shocked to find fresh blood on her katana, and Daryl calls her over.  He discovers that the “walker” that he killed wasn’t a zombie at all, but a normal human wearing the skin of a walker, sewn in the back of the head.  What type of sick person would don such a disguise?

The final segment of the show was very eerie, which is a new kind of horror.  It’s completely different from the explosions and huge special effects that we’re used to.  It was unsettling and creepy.  A little cliche, but so damn good.

It’s not uncommon for a leading character to die in a mid-season finale, and Jesus’ death will obviously change the dynamics of Hilltop’s leadership.  This hiatus has come just when things were getting interesting.

The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 10, 2019.

Are you happy with the show’s direction under new showrunner Angela Kang?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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