(Spoilers ahead for the March 18 episode of “The Walking Dead.”)
This week on “The Walking Dead” there was certainly a lot going on that deviated from the way the “All Out War” story occurred in the comics. Two things in particular were really huge: First, Rick derailed Negan’s attempt to assault the Hilltop. Second, Maggie and Michonne met up with a mysterious new trio of survivors, who showed up just in the nick of time to keep the colony from starving, and help them out in other ways.
We’re gonna talk about the second one here, because a completely unknown quantity randomly entering the story out of nowhere is as big an event as anything else that has happened on “The Walking Dead” this season, even though it may not feel like it yet. This new big character, Georgie (played by “House of Cards” alum Jayne Atkinson), is almost certainly more than what she seems, and her appearance now could mark a major shift in the way the story on the show is following the story from the comics. In fact it could mean that the show is skipping the next big comics story and heading straight into the new arc that the comics are only just now getting into.
But first let’s recap real quick what happened tonight. So the Hilltoppers get a message from a mysterious person offering them food in exchange for music records. Maggie thinks it’s too good to be true, but Michonne believes the offer is worth looking into. So those two, along with Rosita and Enid, do just that.
The message, it turns out, is from a woman named Georgie. She offers “knowledge” — claiming essentially to be a roving altruist hoping to help out the good guys of this post-apocalyptic new world. Maggie finds it all too good to be true and takes Georgina and her two pals, Hilda and Midge, back to the Hilltop. After some discussion with Michonne and Enid, though, Maggie decides to just do the deal and let Georgie go.
And then Georgie sweetens the pot, giving Maggie not just food after noticing that the Hilltop is getting desperate, but also a book that details how to build basic medieval structures like mills and aqueducts– essentially providing the building blocks for a more advanced civilization. And Georgie promises that she’ll be back at some point in the future to check on the Hilltop’s progress.
What in the world is going on here? It’s really tough to know what to think about this, because this is a pretty unprecedented situation on “The Walking Dead,” and this specific scenario is not something that has happened in the comics. There has to be something more to this, and we have a guess about what it is.
The first big clue is that it’s a surprise that Jayne Atkinson is even on “The Walking Dead” — she’s too big a name, coming off a major stint on “House of Cards,” for it to not be significant that her casting on this show was not previously announced. That suggests Georgie has some importance to the future of the series that AMC didn’t want getting out.
The second clue is what Georgie has to offer. She’s all about uplifting the primitives of the Hilltop so they can take a big step toward rebuilding modern civilization in a real way.
Our guess, based on that, is that Georgie very well could be associated with the Commonwealth, a new faction based in Ohio that’s just now being explored in the comics. The Commonwealth is notable for actually having a real city, with 50,000 people living in it. They’re far more advanced than any of the factions we’ve seen before, and this very much feels like it could be the show’s version of first contact with that group.
That brings us to the third clue, which is that Georgie’s whole look in this episode bears a striking resemblance to that of Pamela Milton, who leads the Commonwealth in the comics. See for yourself here:
It doesn’t feel terribly likely that those similarities are a coincidence.
The question, then, is does this mean for where the show is headed after the war with the Saviors ends? The narrative on the show is a ways away from when the Commonwealth arrives on the scene in the comics — there’s a whole other war with a group called the Whisperers between now and then. Could this mean that the show will skip that conflict and jump straight to the Commonwealth arc?
It would make sense for several reasons. The big one is that Carl played a major role in the Whisperers story, but he’s obviously out of the picture on the show. Another is that the Commonwealth arc has been popular among readers because it’s just a massive change of pace, at least so far, from the standard bleakness we’ve come to know and hate — and considering how far the show’s ratings have plunged the last couple seasons, it would follow that AMC would want to try to shake things up to improve the situation.
On top of that, the Commonwealth would be a sort of natural place for “The Walking Dead” to meet up with “Fear the Walking Dead,” which have thus far taken place in disparate locales. We also know that the finale of “The Walking Dead” Season 8 and the premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead” make up a crossover event, which will see “The Walking Dead” character Morgan (Lennie James) transition into “Fear.” The two episodes are even being shown together in movie theaters to play up the connection.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out — and, of course, whether our speculation here is actually correct. Whatever is going on here, though, is certainly a big shift for the show, and one we’re cautiously excited about.