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Home 'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 12 'The Key' Recap: The Showdown Begins [SPOILERS]

'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 12 'The Key' Recap: The Showdown Begins [SPOILERS]

BY David Riley

Published 5 years ago

'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 12 'The Key' Recap: The Showdown Begins [SPOILERS]

Last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” didn’t quite fit right with the buildup to the season 8 finale, but this week surely did. Tonight’s episode, titled “The Key,” gives us the much-needed and much-awaited action that the showrunners promised at the beginning of Season 8B.
Things get a bit heated up in “The Walking Dead: The Key” as Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) prepares his forces for an attack on the Hilltop. Meanwhile, a seemingly friendly woman emerges out of nowhere, offering Maggie (Lauren Cohan) a rather odd deal. Call this one a slow but effective appetizer, “The Walking Dead” is raising the stakes as it nears the Season 8 finale.

Prepare for an onslaught!

“The Key” opens with a pensive Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Simon (Steven Ogg) as they carry out Negan’s orders for an attack against The Hilltop. Negan knocks on Dwight’s door and asks about how he survived. Dwight is lucky that Negan hasn’t heard about Dwight’s recent team switch. Later, we see Simon and some Saviors gutting Walkers and collecting their entrails in large buckets. Simon then instructs the men to only hit the Hilltop dwellers with their knives and other sharp things, enough to leave them infected and ultimately turning.

Steven Ogg and Austin Amelio in The Walking Dead (2010)

Gene Page/AMC

Meanwhile, Rick arrives at the Hilltop and proceeds to mull over their losses at Glenn and Abraham’s grave. Daryl (Norman Reedus) checks up on him, and Rick says that he’s going out to scout and make sure they’re ready for anything. As soon as Rick drives off, Maggie and Rosita (Christian Serratos) watch him as they talk about how they’re going to rise from the situation. Maggie then scopes out the area and sees a hidden crate in the grass.
As the Saviors drive to the Hilltop, Simon tries to ask Dwight about his doubts about Negan. When Dwight refuses, Simon admits that he does feel a bit iffy about the mission. Rick then spots the Saviors’ convoy his telescope and proceeds to go after them. As he gains in on one of the cars (the one Negan is driving), he rams on it, making them both sway to the side of the road. Rick chases after Negan’s vehicle and the entire convoy stops. Simon then instructs his men to stay put and put up a perimeter around the area as he and Dwight set off to look for Negan.
Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead (2010)

Gene Page/AMC

Later, we see Negan’s car turned over, and Rick rains bullets at it. Negan, still alive, scurries off as Rick chases and tries to shoot him. Walkers hear the sound and follow suit. They go inside a building, and as soon as Negan seems to be in shooting range, Rick runs out of bullets. Negan taunts him, and Rick throws an ax at him, Negan loses his balance and hangs over the staircase, dropping his bat Lucille somewhere below. As Rick raises his ax over to him, Negan falls in the building’s basement.
The two then engage in a taunting match in the dark. Negan tries to look for Lucille just as a Walker falls into the same hole he fell. Negan tries to voice out his frustrations and offers to lower the deal between the Saviors and Rick’s people. However, Rick refuses, saying he couldn’t trust him more especially after he ordered to wipe out the Scavengers. This reveal shocks Negan, as he only instructed Simon to kill one of them to make them bend the knee. Rick then finds Lucille and sneers at Negan more. Rick then lights Lucille on fire and bangs on the door of a barricaded room full of “Eaters.” Negan attacks Rick, and they burst into the room.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

Rick and Negan engage in a brawl, with Rick using Lucille against Negan. More Walkers file in, and Negan incapacitates Rick as he lets go of Lucille. Negan grabs his bat, throws Rick to the incoming Walkers, and escapes through the window. As Rick wrestles free from the Walkers, he follows after Negan, who is now long gone.
Later, as Simon and Dwight look around for Negan, Simon asks Dwight if he ever felt like killing Negan. Dwight denies it, but Simon can see that he is breaking through Dwight’s allegiance. They then see Negan’s car and proceed to examine it. Simon thinks Negan could still be barely alive and asks Dwight if he’s willing to move on from Negan. Dwight hesitates but lights up the vehicle with a cigarette in the end as a ‘yes’ to Simon’s question.

The newcomer

Rosita takes the hidden crate and examines it with Maggie, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon). The box had a letter pinned to it and said, “if you fill the crates with food or phonograph records, I will gladly exchange it with a key to your future.” Coordinates for the meeting spot are also written on the letter. Michonne knows that it’s not the Saviors, but Maggie feels a bit held back. It could be a trap or not. Michonne encourages them to try, so the four of them proceed to the meetup location.
As soon as they arrive, they see two women guarding a van that’s blocking the road. The author of the letter comes out and introduces herself as Georgie (Jayne Atkins). She then commends their curiosity and offers “knowledge” in exchange for the food and music (not spoken word) records. However, Maggie has Rosita and Enid take their weapons and examine their van. Georgie obviously doesn’t pose a threat to them, but Maggie is still unsure, even when Michonne told her to take the deal. Instead, Maggie decides to take Georgie and her two guards with them to the Hilltop.

Christian Serratos and Jayne Atkinson in The Walking Dead (2010)

Gene Page/AMC

Later, Back in the Hilltop, Georgie and her two friends wait outside Maggie’s office as she meets with Jerry (Cooper Andrews). Maggie instructs him and his scouting team to get ready for a fight. Michonne then urges Maggie to take the deal before the Saviors come to them. But Maggie wants their food and weapons, to which Enid agrees. Enid doesn’t see the point in subscribing to Georgie’s deal because she believes that someone will kill them anyway. However, Michonne reminds Enid about how Carl saved Siddiq (Avi Nash) who’s now their friend. She takes Enid’s gun and tells her to leave. Michonne then tells Maggie that they can’t lose their humanity over something they don’t trust. Michonne knows that they could be good people, so what’s stopping them from dealing with Georgie?
Finally, Maggie decides to give Georgie what she wants. Georgie changes the terms of the deal, though. Georgie accepts one crate of music records and not their food. She then gives a sizeable portion of their food supply to Maggie and tells her that she will be back to get more food in the remaining crates. Georgie then gives her the “key to a future”—a book full of blueprints and plans to build a sustainable community. It contains everything that Georgie knows about infrastructure and farming, and she believes that Maggie can help her push through with these plans of hers. Overwhelmed, Maggie smiles in gratitude, and Georgie assures Maggie that she will work something out.
Lauren Cohan and Jayne Atkinson in The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

As Georgie and her friends leave, Enid and Michonne watch them. Enid, however, still couldn’t get over the fact that they let Georgie go. She asks Michonne if they should just stop fighting, but Michonne tells her that Carl doesn’t want them to stop fighting. However, there has to be something after.
The episode ends with Simon and Dwight returning to their men, and bring the terrible news of Negan going missing. Simon hypes them up and changes the plan to smoke out the Hilltop instead of only infecting them with their Walker gut-coated knives. Dwight looks on, horrified. Meanwhile, we see Negan in a moving car, waking up from being unconscious. The driver is revealed to be Jadis, and hits Negan, knocking him unconscious again.

‘The Walking Dead: The Key’ Overall Verdict

Although not enough to make up for last week’s disappointing episode, “The Key” gives fans more than the much-needed action, but also the joy of seeing a new character grace the screen. It’s been a long time since we saw a fresh face in “The Walking Dead,” and Jayne Atkinson’s addition to the cast makes it all the more mysteriously exciting. It remains to be seen what her past life was, or even what she is now and which community Georgie belongs, but it’s a likelihood that there are indeed more communities aside from the Hilltop, Alexandria, the Kingdom, and the Sanctuary. Hopefully, Atkinson’s character won’t end up like Tovah Feldshuh’s Deanna, and that she’d stick around for quite some time. Nonetheless, we’re down to our last four episodes, and it looks like it’s going to be a tough fight between Rick and Saviors.
“The Walking Dead” continues next Sunday, March 25th, with “Do Not Send Us Astray” at 9/8c on AMC.

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