The Walking Dead issue #123 represents chapter 9 of the 12 part All Out War story arc. Each of the issues has had its ups and its downs. But at this point, we’re in the home stretch of what we all expect will result likely in either the death of Rick or the death of Negan.
Let’s do a quick summary and then discuss the issue more in depth.
The guy who overheard Dwight talking with Eugene in the last issue is freeing him and his comrades. In addition, a few of the Saviors want out as well.
The rest of the combined groups are at the Hilltop all having what could possibly be their last meal (at least together). The mood ranges from grim to optimistic. When the things seem the most calm, Negan and his saviors show up. They are releasing walkers and have coated their weapons with the walker juice. After sneaking up on Rick, Dwight shoots Rick with an arrow. Negan believes Rick will die and turn soon and this whole thing will be over.
I’ve been slightly disappointed with the All Out War story arc so far. As I said previously, there were too many ups and downs. I see the necessity in not having the action take place all in 1 or 2 issues. However, the action seems to be dragging on way too much. We’ve sorta replaced the human experience with Negan yelling, which loses its potency after a while. But with us being in the last few episodes. things will need to come to a head.
Let’s first talk about the interaction between Maggie and Andrea. Typically, it’s been Andrea that has been so dark and negative and Maggie that has been the positive. However, with their interaction, it really highlights that the roles have been reversed. I’m not sure if it is the loss of Glenn or being thrust into a leadership role or a combination of the two, but Maggie is seeming to be really feeling the affects of the world bearing down on her. On the other hand, being in a relationship with Rick has seriously improved the mood and outlook of Andrea. Even after the loss of Dale and all of the others, she is starting to genuinely smile. This definitely isn’t accidental. It makes me wonder if something will happen that will truly crush that spirit from Andrea. Maybe the death of Rick? Let’s see.
We also have the weird interaction with Carl and Sophia. Carl seems scared, for the first time in a long time. It is showing up in his interaction with Sophia. What has him suddenly scared? Does he see the writing on wall that Negan will do anything to win?
Finally, you can’t have a double agent in a story without something happening where you don’t know where his loyalties lie. Up until this point, Dwight had been doing a great job of showing his loyalty to whoever was against Negan. But he had the opportunity to kill him, but instead shoots Rick with an arrow. Theoretically, the arrow is coated in the walker juice. So, now we’re left thinking if Dwight got scared and stayed with Negan. Did he assess where this battle was going and jump back to the winning side? Did he intentionally hit Rick in a non-vital area?
Going into the last 3 issues, we can expect an outcome. What do you think will happen? My expectation is Eugene and the others that were released will make their way to the Hilltop after the battle is over. Negan will call for his men to retreat. Rick will nearly die. Everyone will rally behind him. Negan, thinking Rick is as good as dead, will let his guard down and will be celebrating. With Eugene knowing there are others in the Saviors who are against Negan, they will recruit from the inside. Rick will launch one final assault on Negan. Negan will be killed by Dwight, but ultimately Rick will die.