The Brave New World gets a whole bunch bigger in this week’s episode of everyone’s favourite glimpse into the post-apocalypse.

Newcomer Jesus (Tom Payne), after the mandatory initial distrust, leads the group to Hilltop, a community of survivors much like Alexandria. The town is simple, but charming, almost hailing back to Hershel’s farm all the way back in season two. But of course, this is The Walking Dead, and pleasant and simple inevitably hides something much more sinister.

Ruled over by the slimy Gregory, Hilltop is in fact under “protection” from the mysterious Negan (come on fellas, five episodes left. Are we ever gonna meet this guy??), who has been taking half of their produce in exchange for not razing the settlement to the ground. Cue our heroes to take up arms and go on the hunt for this new nemesis. That’s gonna end well.

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After the last few weeks, Knots Untie feels a little slow. Indeed, the similarities to season two are a little disconcerting; new sleepy location, a plethora of new characters that will inevitably end up as little more than walker-fodder… But there’s some great fore-shadowing going on here. Fans of the comic are more than aware of the havoc that Negan’s appearance causes amongst our core group, and Knots Untie certainly throws some light onto the possible body count to come. After all, happiness can’t last forever in the zombie apocalypse. Abraham’s love triangle seems to be un-complicating itself, and Rosita giving him a hand-made necklace can in no way end well. Maggie’s pregnancy is finally common knowledge, and as lovely as it is to see a shared feeling of joy and relief as the ultrasound picture is passed around the RV, last half-season’s “Glenn’s dead/not dead” double bluff may just have its final pay-off when Negan does actually show up on the scene. Issue 100 people. Issue 100.

Very much a set-up episode, Knots Untie is a necessary moment of serenity before what we are being led to believe might just be the bloodiest and most disturbing conclusion yet. Let’s just hope we don’t lose too much more momentum.

3/5

 

Dir: Michael E. Satrazemis

Scr: Matthew Negrete, Channing Powell

Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green

Music: Bear McCreary

Year: 2016

Country: USA

Episode Number: 11 of 16

Run time: 45mins

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