The Walking Dead Power Rankings 8.12: “The Key”

If you would have told us five years ago that The Walking Dead would feature a showdown with Rick and Negan involving a flaming Lucille and zombies ablaze, we would have thought there was no way this show wasn't still the best show on television. Unfortunately, this show has gone so far off the rails that not even that badass scenario (which, as a fight scene, was just as underwhelming as the show has been) could make up for its storytelling shortcomings. 

Here's hoping Georgie introduces a new storyline to finally take us away from this neverending stalemate between Rick and Negan.

Walking Tall

From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week.

Pritpaul Bains: Maggie

While the whole “Maggie almost does a bad, then does a good” thing is getting a little repetitive, it's nice to see her continue to make good decisions and do the right thing in a show full of so much wrong. Georgie was a breath of fresh air in this episode, and she represents a potential evolution that this show direly needs. If this arc ends with Georgie and her twins brutally murdered and a slo-mo pan over A Key To A Future in flames, turning to ash, I swear to god…

Adam Wagner: Simon

Fresh off his weird Tarantino-esque “chapter” from “The Lost and the Plunderers,” Simon is finally taking his chances and making his move. Negan is in dire straits—possibly dead in his eyes—so he’s going to finally instill his vision of Negan’s plan: kill everyone and move on.

We have the benefit of knowing Negan is still alive (for now … my guess is plot armor is stronger than garbage) and will probably show up just in the Rick of time, but until then, “I am Negan” … but only if “Simon says.”

Joe Brosnan: Negan

Things Rick Had:

  • An assault rifle
  • A handgun
  • A meat cleaver
  • The element of surprise
  • Lucille, temporarily

Things Negan Had:

  • Plot armor

C'mon, everyone. This wasn't a finale. There was no way Rick was going to off Negan in a mid-season episode.

Eaten Alive

From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.

PB: Simon

Negan's heir apparent has ascended the throne, and he got there in a common-sense kind of way. He legitimately seems to be looking out for the Saviors' best interests, and his particular brand of machismo is pretty similar to Negan's. But assuming Negan makes it back to the Sanctuary in one piece, Simon's reign is destined to be pretty short-lived. Hell, Dwight might even decide to take him out first.

AW: Lucille

A Louisville Slugger hasn’t taken that much damage since Bo Jackson’s playing days.

After being dipped in zombie viscera, Rick proved himself as the Prince that was Promised and turned Lucille into Lightbringer. We’re not yet 100% sure what happened to the famous barbed-wire baseball bat, but Negan might need to give Liza Minelli a call if Lucille 1 becomes kindling in a zombie fire … sale.

JB: Negan

A garbage episode, with garbage writing, and garbage lighting that ends with a garbage queen holding our garbage villain at gunpoint. Yep, sounds about right.

Hershel’s Heroes

A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.

AW: Georgie

Georgie knows the best way to rebuild society is by setting up a system of fair trade and rebuilding some of the necessities of life. She’s a stark reminder in the midst of all this fighting that people can work together to achieve greater things. Not everyone is going to get along, and not everyone is going to have the same ideas about how to govern a society. But for humanity to return, people have to feel safe and provided for in order to eliminate that pack mentality of us vs. them. A Key To A Future is a strong step towards achieving that goal. So, as long as Georgie isn’t up to something more sinister, she’s a true example of a Hershel’s Hero.

PB: Michonne

Michonne remains the only one on the show who seems to care about trying to live up to Carl's last words. At this point, she's acting like a better parent to him than Rick ever was.

JB: Negan

You know, we never really look at things from Lucille's point of view, do we? And that's just not fair. There are probably millions of little twigs and sticks out there tuning in each week just to catch a glimpse of Lucille — the wood that could. Not since Elijah has a wood been so frequently in the spotlight. So to all those little pieces of lumber out there, Negan isn't a meanie with a leanie, but rather the only damn person who cares about Lucille's well-being. So the next time you get ready to hate Negan, just think about the wood. It's about time someone else did.

Rapid Fire

  • “We're gonna fight them. But there's gotta be something after.” This isn't just about Alexandria—this is about the show in general. (PB)
  • I have to agree with Enid on this one. How has Georgie & Co. survived this long? (AW)
  • Okay, I'll admit it. “I'm a god damned cat.” had me laughing real good. (JB)
  • Negan yelling “Lucille!” as the bat falls past him is probably the funniest thing I've seen this season. (PB)
  • In my dream post-Negan world, this new white-haired lady realizes that with the exception of Maggie, Michonne, Jesus, and Jerry, the rest of these people freaking suck. So she takes those four to this new hidden governmental compound where they embark on putting humanity together again. (JB)
  • Or at the very least, she's the one who owns that mysterious helicopter we sometimes see. (JB)
  • Georgie has picked through one too many crates of thrift-store records to deal with your spoken-word bullshit. (AW)
  • “Once the Hilltop feels the tip of what we are packing, they're gonna drop to their knees, lickety-split.” Uhhhhh … does the Hilltop not have access to walkers or something? (PB)
  • Rick continues to, once again, ignore everything Carl wanted him to stand for. (PB)
  • Rick sure is a lousy shot when he wants to be. (PB)
  • Negan/Rick encounters are playing out like a series of missed connections. (PB)
  • You: A bat-wielding baddie with a bad back who seemed like they really took a shine to my son. Me: A former man in uniform who can grow a pretty sick murderbeard. You'll probably never see this, but if you do, just know, I'm going to kill you. (AW)
  • I wonder if Negan's deal was a serious offer. If true, it's an awful lot to forgive and would end up making him look weak, more than anything. (PB)
  • Sarcastic Dwight rules. (PB)
  • Oh, right. Jadis still exists, and she's probably gonna do something stupid. (PB)

Zombie Kill of the Week

Flaming zombies.

See also: The Walking Dead Power Rankings 8.11: “Dead or Alive Or”


Joe BrosnanAdam Wagner, and Pritpaul Bains all write for Criminal Element and love Spaghetti Tuesdays. Follow them on Twitter @joebrosnan_@shagner904, and @pritpaulbains, respectively.

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