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The Walking Dead – S8E12 – The Key

Previously on The Walking Dead, “Dead or Alive Or”

Did anyone read their letter from Carl? Did they read it and not understand it? Or maybe they read it, but instead of repeating his dying words, he just left them clever haikus or sketches of cats. I don’t know. And I don’t care, because everyone was behaving so batshit crazy that it made for a very entertaining hour.

Photos Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Librarian

The episode’s title comes from the representatives of a new, mysterious community Hilltop encounters. Maggie notices some empty milk crates and a note near their gates. If they fill the milk crates with food and albums, and then travel to the coordinates listed in the note, they will be given the key to the future.

Of course, there’s debate about whether or not this is legit, or a trap by the Saviors or someone else. In the end, Maggie, Rosita, Michonne, and Enid head out to the meeting spot. They’re met by Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) and her twin companions Hilda (Kim Ormiston) and Midge (Misty Ormiston). Georgie repeats the offer in the letter: food and music in exchange for vital info. Even though the trio make no moves to harm them and even allow their weapons to be taken, Maggie decides they’re going to bring them (and their van full of food) back to Hilltop instead.

There, Maggie wants to send them back home minus the supplies in their van. Enid, still grieving and processing her encounters at Oceanside, agrees. It takes Michonne’s level head to convince Maggie that being just like the Saviors isn’t the way to go. Because of this, Georgie decides to give them a considerable amount of the food in their van and the information she promised: hand drawn plans and schematics for windmills, aqueducts, and other agricultural tips.

Maggie thanks them for the farmers almanac and probably feels a little bit like an asshole for being so mistrusting.

Boys. Boys. Stop It. You’re Both Pretty

Rick assures Daryl he’s fine or that he will be. He doesn’t hold it against Daryl that he went off script and ambushed the Sanctuary because Daryl was right: They should be concerned with their own people and fuck everyone else. Even if Rick hasn’t read his letter, this proves he didn’t hear a word Carl said. *sigh* Okay. Fine. We get Crazy Rick for another five episodes.

Rick goes on lookout duty and when he sees the Saviors on their way to Hilltop to carry out their biological warfare, he doesn’t give the signal like he should. Because after years of this, acting on emotions and never sticking to the plan has worked out so well for them. Seeing Negan riding solo, for reasons, Rick hops in his car, chases the Saviors convoy down, and T-bones Negan’s freshly detailed ride.

A crash and a foot chase later, Rick and Negan find themselves alone in a building with Rick out of bullets and walkers everywhere. What follows is a game of cat and mouse fueled by testosterone and poor decisions. There’s a role reversal when Rick finds himself in possession of Lucille while Negan hides. Insults and accusations fly, and in the process, Rick dry snitches on Simon. Now Negan knows Simon lied and massacred the Scavengers.

Rick does his best Beric Dondarrion impression and sets Lucille on fire, and with it he lights up a few walkers. Eventually, Negan makes his escape with his beloved Lucille and Rick (as far as he knows) let the convoy continue on to Hilltop without doing his damn job to warn them.

Et tu, Simon? 

Luckily for Rick, Simon ain’t shit. He saw Rick coming and did nothing to warn Negan. Then he instructed the other Saviors to hang back so that he and Dwight can find Negan on their own. This is really just to waste time 1. hoping Negan dies and 2. convincing Dwight to join his brewing rebellion.

When they find the crashed cars and no signs of Negan, it appears Simon’s words worked. Believing Simon when he said the Saviors would “move on,” Dwight torches Negan’s car and the two head back to the waiting Saviors. But then Simon riles up their group and tells them they’re headed for Hilltop to kill everything breathing to avenge the missing, presumed dead, Negan.

Dwight didn’t realize that Simon meant the “scorch the entire fucking earth” way of moving on.

You know who hasn’t moved on? Jadis. And she’s now in possession of Negan. Yeah, I don’t know how that happened, either.

What did you think of the episode? Leave your brief thoughts below, email them to, or leave them on our Facebook post for this review and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

The Walking Dead S8E12 Review Score
  • 8/10
    Plot – 8/10
  • 8/10
    Dialogue – 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Performances – 8.5/10

"The Key"

Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton

User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, “The Twin Prophecies,” and a collection of essays titled, “Blog It Out, B*tch.” Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she’s totally fine with that.

7 Comments on The Walking Dead – S8E12 – The Key

  1. “….fueled by testosterone and poor decisions.” ??????
    I’m 100% more interested in ‘full sentence Jadis” now. Once Negan convinces her it was all Simon they are both going to fuck him up … or Negan will just kill Jadis idk…

  2. For the podcast.

    I liked the exchange between Negan and Rick, who turned Terminator and went after his ass hard. But, Rick wasted a crazy amount of ammo doing it and didn’t even wound Negan. Negan either deflects bullets or Rick needs stormtrooper armor.
    These dudes dropping receipts on each other and I’m nodding “Yep” the whole time.

    Simon is half-assing this treacherous coup he’s pulling. Always confirm the kill.

    That’s about all i felt was interesting.

  3. For the podcast
    This episode was much better than last week’s excruciatingly bad one.
    My highlight was rick-negan battle. Rick doesn’t give 2 f**ks-he’s become the terminator & his goal-kill negan. Rick won this round-he was ready-when his gun ran out of ammo, he had the axe & then he briefly gained control of Lucille-Negan’s source of strength. I loved the way rick was swinging the fiery bat around hitting Negan & the walkers. The taunts b/t the 2 were entertaining as well.

    Simon ain’t s***t but so gleefully evil.

    When Michonne told Edith to back up, i imagined her thinking don’t let me have to go okoye on your ass.

    Georgie & her crew aka the future of post apocalyptic society?

    The ending was sort of twist for me-i expected Rick to be the driver, not Jadis. Negan my man hell hath no fury like a beyond scorned woman!?

    I hope next week’s episode is another step forward. Time to finish this so-called war.

  4. For the podcast:

    When is this going to be over? Negan isn’t intimidating and he’s not interesting to me anymore either, so why do we have to watch he and Rick have the exact same fight they had in the mid-season finale with Negan being the one that fell out of the window this time? I’m also tired of new Enid and this attitude she has which can’t be blamed on the death of Carl because she was being an asshole at Oceanside before she found out he was dead. Two episodes ago she was lecturing Cyndie about recognizing good people when you see them right after she murdered Natania and now she’s advocating for stealing the supplies from a group that seems friendly right now. My question is who gives a shit about Enid and why are they listening to anything she has to say? The one thing I did like is Enid saying Carl dead because he was stupidly freeing the souls of walkers so who cares what he wanted for the future? Carl was a teenage boy and I don’t want all of these supposedly intelligent adults following his final wishes like it’s gospel.

  5. I can’t handle soccer mom Jadis. This season should have been over.

    For the podcast:
    only interesting things about this episode were the Negan & Rick scenes and the fact that Michonne was this close to putting her hands on Enid’s stupid ass. Ooooh, I can’t stand that bitch. Carl died for this? She’s so not letter worthy.

    Rick completely ran out of fucks and I’m here for it. But negan might actually be a cat y’all. His plot armor is thick af.

    I hate the addition of these 3 freaks and I can’t believe they were trying to barter knowledge. They don’t even know the word moist!
    I would have thrown the book right back at her fucking face. Guides to creating lumber, aqueducts and silos? This group ain’t smart enough for any of this shit and none of them have ever followed a goddamn plan in their life. Might as well set that book on fire just like Lucille.

    Simon trying to convince Dwight to betray Negan, was one of the laugh out loud moments of the ep. One of his selling points was; this will be something to tell our grandkids about. Like who’s fucking either of them? Dwight’s own wife didn’t even want to do it anymore.

    Serious question, but Is Rosita the only one who changes clothes on this show? Everyone else has been wearing the same outfit for a like a season and half and she stay looking cute.

    That’s it for me. Can’t wait to hear the podcast.

  6. For The Podcast:

    – Enid is trash. Like actual pure, revisionist colonising trash. Fuck her and her 53%.
    – Who are these white ladies? Or, more like HOW are these white ladies a thing? They are literally better than every character in Hilltop tho.
    – Did ANYONE believe that Negan could die in episode 12? If you did we can’t hang anymore.
    – Rick is trash and the true villain. #TeamNegan
    – This group is dumb as fuck and won’t even read letters – how the fuck are they going to build an aqueduct?!?

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