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Where ‘The Walking Dead’ Stands Six Years After Rick Grimes’ Departure

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(Spoilers from AMC’s The Walking Dead will be found below.)

In “Who Are You Now?” The Walking Dead picks up where last week’s episode left off, around six years after what everyone on the show believes was Rick’s death. When the episode opens, Michonne is having a one-sided conversation with Rick at what they believe is his gravesite. “I haven’t given up, and I never will.”

While she speaks, what are essentially the co-leads of the show along with Michonne now — Carol and Daryl — take notice of the small things that continue to make life worth living; a flower in the garden, a nest of birds, or discovering an action figure that looks a lot like Rick Grimes. Both Alexandria and The Kingdom are thriving. We don’t see The Hilltop this week, but we are left with the impression that it’s doing well, although things haven’t been the same since Maggie left (Maggie’s absence remains unexplained).

Some things have changed in the intervening years, however, so let’s take a quick look at where things stand.

Alexandria

Michonne, who is now the Head of Security in Alexandria, has also been able to institute a Constitution. It’s very much a community with no open borders — outsiders are not welcome. However, after Judith brings Magna, Luke, Yumiko, Connie and Kelly into Alexandria, the counsel briefly entertains allowing the refugees to become “citizens.” Michonne remains wary of outsiders, however, and Magna’s attempt to sneak in knives as well as her prison tattoo ultimately dooms their chances, though the new group hits it off well everyone else in Alexandria (particularly Judith). After Magna has a one-on-one conversation with Michonne, however, she has a slight change of heart: She won’t accept them into Alexandria, but Michonne agrees to send them to The Hilltop, where their leader will decide whether or not to keep them.

We are not, however, told who the new leader of The Hilltop is, though we know that Maggie is no longer around.

The big news in Alexandria, however, is that Michonne has a child, which we assume is Rick’s son (he looks about 5, which tracks with the six-year time jump). I believe Michonne called him R.J., but it’s possible she referred to him as R.G., as in Rick Grimes.

The other big news in Alexandria is that Father Gabriel and Rosita are now a couple, although Eugene tries on a two occasions to confess his love to Rosita. She’s perfectly aware of his feelings, but insists that he “not make it weird.”

Meanwhile, Gabriel is trying to boost the radio signal in Alexandria, probably because he’s still trying to make contact with Jadis/Anne (or the community that Anne now belongs to). While Eugene and Rosita are out, they’re confronted by a horde of zombies, but this one is different: They speak. One of the zombies is heard to loudly whisper, “Don’t let them get away.” This signals the arrival of The Whisperers, a villainous community that disguises themselves as the dead and walks among them.

Meanwhile, Negan is still imprisoned in Alexandria, but he has a window and has formed a nice relationship with Judith. After six years in prison, he seems like a changed man. The high school coach that he used to be before the outbreak has resurfaced.

Key Alexandria Members: Michonne, Gabriel, Eugene, Rosita, Aaron, Judith, Siddiq.

The Kingdom

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Meanwhile, things seem to be going very well over in The Kingdom. Ezekiel and Carol are married, and they are raising Henry (now much older, and being played by the brother of the actor who played the younger Henry). However, they decide to send Henry to The Hilltop to learn how to be a blacksmith from Earl Sutton. En route, Carol confronts the remaining members of the Saviors — now without a home and using zombies as horses — and after they rob Carol and take her wedding ring, she takes her revenge upon them by burning them all alive. Carol behaves very motherly around Henry, but when he’s not around, the stone-cold killer from season’s past rears her head.

Key Kingdom Members: Carol, Ezekiel, Henry, Jerry.

Key Saviors Members: None. They’re dead now.

Key The Hilltop Members: Based on cast members we do not see, it appears to be Tara, Enid, Jesus, and Earl. Oceanside remains unaccounted for.

Daryl

Though Daryl is expected to take on a much bigger role in the series with the departure of Rick Grimes, he doesn’t appear to be affiliated with any community at the moment. Based on his actions in this episode — and the fact that he looks like he hasn’t showered in months — it appears that Daryl is something of a vagabond at the moment. It appears as though he may be hitching a ride with Carol to The Hilltop, however. I hope there’s a hot shower awaiting him. He looks like he smells like dead fish and Marlboro Reds.

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