The Walking Dead 6×11 ‘Knots Untie’: Another war

The Walking Dead 6x11 Cover

The Walking Dead has always been a show with a fairly narrow world. Entire seasons take place at singular locations, which is great for building a small world, but there is a larger world out there. Other people have surely created civilizations, places to live, societies that are new and stable. Why don’t we hear more about them? It’s one reason why a show like Fear the Walking Dead might be fun; it’s new, fresh, another take on a different place impacted by the end of the world. The Walking Dead has always played with other communities, but never to an extent that has been truly illuminating as to the way that the status quo is crafted differently in different places.

The Walking Dead 6x11-1

Source: AMC

“Knots Untie” is an interesting episode, more setup than anything else, but it plays with some ideas of community and legacy, what it means to consider that there really could be a future after believing for so long that there isn’t. The episode revolves around a new community, the Hilltop colony, a group of survivors that are out of ammunition, have only spears and blade weapons to defend themselves, and are being extorted by a group called The Saviors, led by Negan. It moves through much of the comic book’s storyline quickly, soaring through exposition in order to set up the conflict for the next episode. While this is certainly a good thing, as we’re moving closer to another storyline while streamlining what happens in between, it can prove a little problematic when we really get into the inevitable Negan vs. Rick storyline.

The Walking Dead 6x11-2

Source: AMC

Exposition can be troubling, especially in a case like The Walking Dead Season 6B, where the climax for the first half of the season wrapped up in the first episode of 6B. In moving through plot elements, it’s great to see a vision of where The Walking Dead is going. Rick’s group is now part of a larger community, where different groups and factions are aligned or are at odds with one another. It’s great to see all of this being set up. The issue is that we know absolutely nothing about Jesus, about Gregory, and about the rest of the Hilltop. Before a conflict can happen, we need to have some idea of who these people are, how they’ve lived, and so on. The Walking Dead has a troubling history with supporting characters, where they exist to be cannon fodder for the zombie machine, and so far the Hilltop colony doesn’t seem to be getting any better a treatment than the survivors from Alexandria.

The Walking Dead 6x11-3

Source: AMC

But this is all still mostly positive, especially Abraham’s interactions with Sasha and the way that he looks at the world around him. Abraham has gone through a personal journey from losing everything to feeling like he could have a life and a future after all. Maggie’s pregnancy has been mostly downplayed, which is fine, but it thematically collides with Abraham, who values his relationship with Rosita to the point where he’s thinking about making it as permanent as Glenn and Maggie’s. He’s gotten to the point where he wants to live now, and it gives him a reason to fight against those who try to do him harm. I’ve always valued Abraham’s story arc, especially in his spotlight in Season 5A, and a continued focus on it now is fantastic.

Clearly, we’re being set up for another large confrontation, and if this Negan is anything like The Governor (sadistic, brutal, etc), there’s one big question on the horizon: How will this conflict be any different from before? New communities are great, new enemies are great, but it all needs to offer something that hasn’t entirely been done before. Right now, we’re seeing a “good guys”/”bad guys” scenario, which is great for tension, and the bartering that is going on between Rick’s group and the Hilltop colony is interesting. However, it’s going to have to get a lot better if this storyline is going to keep the show’s momentum moving into the seventh season. Only time will tell.

What did you think of “Knots Untie”? Are you interested in what comes next for the Hilltop community? Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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  • George Liapes

    This episode was mainly setup, but I still liked the episode. Expanding the world of the show definitely is good for it.

    I’m worried about Abraham though and whether or not he’ll make it through. Then again, Glenn and Maggie are also fair game
    (Though I doubt the show will go so far as to kill a pregnant woman).

    I loved how nonchalant Rick was when he killed Ethan. Really goes to show who Rick is at heart now.

    Here’s to the next one!

    Also: be sure to check my comments on last weeks episode and the episode of Better call Saul as well!

    • Gui

      I don’t think Maggie is at risk of dying, but I could see her getting injured in such a way she loses her baby or something. Frankly, with Judith being alive in the TV version, I’m not sure if they’ll decide to bring in another baby. We’ll see what they do.

      And now, I’m gonna go catch up with Better Call Saul to comment on this week’s review when it’s up, missed both previous ones. Been too much into Bloodborne lately and that does lead you to forget some things.

      • Michael St. Charles

        BLOODBORNE IS AMAZING. Buy “The Old Hunters” expansion. You won’t be sorry. The boss battles are beyond awesome.

        • Gui

          Oh I plan to. I beat the main game just yesterday, actually, and I think next month I’ll get that expansion, it definitely seems it has a worthwhile amount of content and lore.

    • Michael St. Charles

      Hey man! I saw your comments last week, but I was so swamped with work that I wasn’t able to respond. I’ve got a good feeling about this storyline, even if I was a little harsh, just because the show is free to do a little more now that the exposition is out of the way. And I really loved the character development with Abraham, but it made me worry that he’ll end up dead by the end of the season. I’d say that Abraham’s character development is enough to ease my nervousness about the quality of Season 6B. I think it’ll go well from here on out. I think. Haha.

      Also, the Better Call Saul review is up! A little late, but I was (again) swamped with work.

  • Gui

    Well, after a week of not being around, I return to the comment box!
    I actually quite enjoyed this episode, I was actually surprised they covered all this comic content as fast as they did. I was worried we’d spent pretty much an entire episode on the road to the Hilltop and then another one just there, but they avoided dragging the “A Larger World” comics arc out. Based on the promo for next episode, it seems they’ll work on some series original content regarding the Saviors, so I think we’ll get the chance to see them expand on both the Saviors and the Hilltop before Negan himself inevitably shows up. I don’t think they’ll cover the entire “Something to Fear” arc in 5 episodes, would require too much stretching, so they’ll definitely add a lot to it.

    My list of characters for the grand finale event keeps fluctuating, but I’m still going between Abraham and Daryl being the prime choices for me. Daryl moreso, as it’s something rather big and a character that’s been there from the start, but when it comes to such things, it can be riskier for a TV series compared to a comic, so with Abraham’s current arc I put him as the second, less risky choice. We’ll see what they do.

    In other news, Xander Berkley was on point with his acting making Gregory an instantly annoying character who you just want to punch in the face, and I’m very happy Maggie got her own storyline separate from Glenn this episode. And Rick killing Ethan was another fantastic moment displaying how used Rick has gotten to this. Compare it to his trying to process his biting Joe’s jugular out, and man has he changed.

    • George Liapes

      Yeah, the scene with Rick and Ethan was definitely reminiscent of the scene with Joe and instead of Rick just spacing out afterward like he did with joe, he was all like, what’re you looking at? A great black comedy scene.

      I can see Abraham dying instead of Daryl if the show is still too afraid to kill of its most popular character. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

      Glad to see you back!

    • Michael St. Charles

      I really hope that The Saviors get enough exposition and development to feel like more than just The Governor 2.0. Since the showrunner said that Negan would get a backstory (probably an entire episode, but that’s my guess), we’ll at least get some development on his character. I get the feeling that Negan on the show will be better than Negan in the comics, just because the show has a level of restraint that the comics doesn’t have. Kirkman seems to delight in murdering characters, while the show is wary (perhaps a little too wary) of killing characters, so there’s going to be a clear difference about how this next storyline will play out.

      And yeah, I don’t think they’ll go for Glenn for the big finale moment, especially because that would cause a HUGE uproar from the critical community (myself included) and the show’s viewers. A sucker punch in the form of Abraham or Daryl would work best. I’m especially concerned for Daryl, considering how many Saviors he murdered, but the big moment is supposed to be kind of random, right? I don’t know. I have a history of guessing wrong with this show (except for Glenn not being dead, totally called that).

      Anyway, good to have you back! I look forward to comments on next week’s episode.