The Walking Dead inches closer to all-out war on Negan’s Saviors, but how much of humanity will his victims sacrifice in the name of the greater good? The episode plants a few Easter Eggs that glimmer hope and future conflicts.
Daryl quickly learns the difference between Rick Grimes and the Kingdom’s revolutionary, Richard. Richard nearly sacrifices Carol in a contrived effort to push Ezekiel into waging war on Negan. Poor Richard.
Daryl dampens his misguided plans, warning that if anything happens to Carol, Richard dies. Rick would never sacrifice any of his people for the greater good because he believes his people are the greater good. Cue the Christ figure allusions.
In a sadistic effort to force Rick to prove his worth, Jadis (the leader of the Scavengers) drops Rick into a pit with a walker dawning a spiked helmet and spiked torso. Rick pierces his right hand and, with Michonne’s coaching, defeats the walker. The wound to his right hand alludes to Christ’s stigmata, suggesting Rick is the savior.
Rick pierces his right hand and, with Michonne’s coaching, defeats the walker. The wound to his right hand alludes to Christ’s stigmata, suggesting Rick is the savior. Gabriel, the priest, devoutly serves Rick, affirming Rick’s savior status.
As Rick brokers a deal with Jadis, he emphasizes a three-way split of Negan’s spoils. Three is an allusion to the holy trinity, spelling out the apocalyptic battle between good and evil. But on which side will Jadis fall once the alliance defeats Negan?
Jadis is an interesting name. Jadis is the name of the antagonist in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is also a religious allegory.
Her choice of a hostage, Father Gabriel, adds to the intrigue to her future role in The Walking Dead universe. She nabbed the priest, tested his faith, and it did not waiver.
And let’s not forget, another character in the Walking Dead universe used gladiator arena style entertainment/ tests…the Governor. Did Rick just make a deal with a new devil?
Later in the episode, when Daryl reunites with Carol, he says that Jesus led him to the Kingdom. The show writers seem to be having fun with the Catholic wordplay.
Daryl, surprisingly, lies to Carol when she asks if the Saviors killed any of their people. Her inquiry was emotional, something Carol does not indulge in often.
Does Daryl spare her because he knows that she’s hanging on to her humanity by a thread? Is he afraid she will lose herself completely in vengeance? Or does he know that if she found out, he’d unleash an untamable tiger?
There is something going on with cats in “New Best Friends.” Rick sees his encounter with Jadis as a victory. He even gives Michonne a trophy- a cat. Once upon a time, Michonne claimed a cat trophy when she helped Carl retrieve a picture of his mom. Once Daryl returns to the Kingdom, he bonds with Ezekiel’s tiger.
Cats are sometimes symbols of resurrection, which aligns with the rest of the episode’s allusions. They are also, at times, a symbol of darkness. Daryl walks away from the tiger (cat) and Rick takes the cat from the Jadis’s junk yard. Does this mean that Daryl is walking into darkness and Rick just let greater darkness into his camp?
What did you think of “New Best Friends”? You can leave your predictions, questions, and insights in the comment section below.