Talk about a whole new world. Just after The Walking Dead left Rick Grimes hunched over the bedside of his injured son Carl, desperately hoping for another chance to show his son a better life, the show returned to an entirely new setup. Though “The Next World” was an altogether happier episode, tying up loose ends and pushing new character development, it was not without its fair share of twists.
Here are the top 10 moments.
1) The Episode Jumps into the Future
In The Walking Dead episode, “No Way Out,” the citizens of Alexandria were forced to pull out all the stops to rid their community of the massive zombie herd that broke through the wall. The graveyard of slaughtered zombies at the episode’s end signaled an uncertain future for Alexandria and left us wondering how the team was going to rebuild their town. Unfortunately, we may never know: “The Next World” opened with a framed photo of one-eyed Carl and Judith, confirming a time jump that skips over the group’s road to recovery.
2) Alexandria has Been Rebuilt
No more zombie carcasses littering the streets or toppled houses. The start of “The Next World” reveals the Alexandria has been reconstructed since the walker invasion. The roads are clear, the grass is green, and the survivors are learning to adjust to this new, “normal” lifestyle.
3) Daryl and Rick Meet Jesus
Jesus, like Negan, is a popular character in the original Walking Dead comic books, so his appearance isn’t hugely surprising. However, his sudden encounter with Rick and Daryl, and his ability to outsmart the two zombie veterans and steal their cargo, was certainly a little surprising.
4) Jesus Saves Daryl’s Life
After a long-winded manhunt, Daryl and Rick finally catch up to Jesus and reclaim their food truck, tying the thief up on the side of the road for good measure. After the two discover Jesus hiding stealthily on the truck’s roof halfway through their drive, Daryl chases the man through a field, ultimately cornering him in the truck’s driver seat. As a zombie approaches the quarreling duo, Jesus raises a gun to Daryl’s head, shooting the walker behind him thus, saving his life.
5) Carl (Secretly) Helps Spencer Find His Mom
On their walk back to the campsite, Enid and Carl run into a walker. Carl reaches for his gun, only to mysteriously back down and refuse to kill the walker. When Michonne spots Carl wandering through the forest, and encounters the undead Deanne immediately afterwards, she connects the dots and scolds Carl for leading Deanna to them and not killing her outright. Though dangerous, Carl’s reasoning — that he wanted someone she loved to kill her — was surprisingly sound.
6) Spencer Kills Undead Deanna
Spencer hasn’t always made the best decisions in The Walking Dead but his decision to find and kill his undead mom, the founder and deceased former leader of Alexandria, was an honorable one. In a remarkable display of bravery, Spencer severs his mom’s brain stem and says his final goodbye.
7) Carl and Enid Squabble in the Woods
Although Enid has agreed to try and live life to the fullest, she continues to struggle in episode 10, disappearing on Maggie on multiple occasions and complaining to Carl about their daily walks in the woods. When she finally admits that she wants to stop their forest adventures, Carl reluctantly agrees, telling her to leave.
8) Rick and Daryl Decide to Bring Jesus Back to Alexandria
Rick may not have gotten to ask Jesus all of his usual questions (How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why?) but he and Daryl agree to take the stranger back to Alexandria, if only to honor Deanna’s last wishes to make an inclusive community and to stay hopeful that the world can be rebuilt.
9) Rick and Michonne Get Intimate
Longtime viewers of the show may have seen this one coming: Michonne has been close with Rick and his family since the very beginning, functioning as a pseudo-parent to Carl and, in turn, filling Lori’s shoes as Rick’s support system. Despite the familiarity of the two’s relationship, though, their sudden “couple-y” behavior at the end of the episode (including a discussion about how their days went) and their subsequent kiss didn’t come as any less of a surprise. Richonne is officially a go.
10) Jesus Makes a Cryptic Announcement
Lying in bed after their romantic encounter, Michonne and Rick are awoken by the sound of Jesus’s voice. The two spring out of bed and come face-to-face with their new house guest, who cryptically announces: “We need to talk.”
What does Jesus have in store for Rick and the gang? Guess we’ll have to wait until episode 11 to find out.
The Walking Dead season 6 airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
Images courtesy of AMC.