[SPOILERS for those not caught up on The Walking Dead ahead.]
Season 7.5 of The Walking Dead got off to a frustrating start for Rick and the group, as their efforts to recruit new soldiers in their battle against Negan met nothing but resistance from the leaders of Hilltop and The Kingdom. For now, Gregory and Ezekiel seem content to maintain the status quo in their one-sided relationship with the Saviors. However, Rick may have stumbled upon some unexpected new allies as the episode came to a close.
After a gory set-piece that saw the group collecting some valuable explosives before inventing a fun new way to wipe out thousands of zombies, Rick and his people stumbled into a junkyard that turned out to be not just any junkyard. As the episode closed, the owners of the junkyard emerged from the piles of scrap, much to the apparent delight of Rick.
In the “next on” segment for episode 710, intriguingly entitled “New Best Friends” (via AMC), we see Rick and the group conversing with the new junkyard community (who may be The Whisperers). We also see a flash of a confrontation between the Saviors and King Ezekiel (perhaps this will help convince Ezekiel to take a more proactive approach in dealing with Negan’s band). At the very end of the promo, we catch a glimpse of what appears to be a walker dressed up in a suit of armor straight out of Mad Max. What crazy stuff is the junkyard gang up to?
Could these junkyard denizens be the allies Rick is seeking, or will this new group of clearly bizarre individuals turn out to be more enemies? All indications are that this group has been very successful at hiding in their junkyard, and thereby avoiding being turned into more of Negan’s unwilling servants. In the promo, Rick tries explaining to them that they can’t hide forever, which might turn out to be a great sales pitch (maybe he should also throw in that the group just procured a bunch of dynamite and RPGs).
Earlier in Sunday night’s episode, we saw Gabriel collecting a bunch of food and weapons and stealing away from Alexandria in a car that appeared to have someone else riding in the backseat. Is it possible that Gabriel somehow already made contact with the junkyard group and was on his way there after ransacking Alexandria’s stores while also (symbolically) dropping his Bible?
If the junkyard group turns out to be friendly, it sets up the possibility of them and Rick’s group going to war with Negan armed with explosives and armor-plated walkers – which would be totally nuts. We’ll find out if this weird community are truly Rick’s new best friends when next episode airs.
The Walking Dead continues with “New Best Friends” on Sunday, February 19th, 2017.