“Your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger.”
As much a mission statement as it is a promise of what’s in store for the characters, Jesus’s pronouncement promises a substantial status quo change if it comes true.
And judging by what ensues, things will be changing, with Jesus showing the gang his impressive-looking digs.
Those of you have read the comics will no doubt recognise the note-perfect recreation of the Hilltop colony, with the first shot if it mirroring almost exactly what it looks like in print form. At a time where the show has sometimes appeared in danger of losing its focus, it’s nice to see it embrace its roots a bit more.
Even so, there will be a few surprises for comic-book acolytes – we won’t disclose exactly what they are here, but if you think you know everything, think again. And we have a feeling that Maggie’s pronouncement that “This is going to cost us something” will prove to be horribly prophetic – and their casual capacity to underestimate Negan and his men a mistake.
Other than the introduction of a new plot thread, there’s a few other things going on. Abraham continues to face his self-doubt, while Maggie continues her impressive character growth via her negotiations with the transparently dickish Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop.
Despite the fact that there’s a lot going on, it has the strange feeling of a transitional episode rather than a pivotal one. For one thing, everything just seems that bit too signposted. Clearly the show has confidence in the direction it’s heading in, but it has a lot to prove now. Negan better be worth it.
If nothing else, this episode’s prime function seems to have been to ensure that you keep watching, week in week out. In that sense it’s mission accomplished, but it’s a shame that there’s not more meat on its bones.