Warning! SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 8, episode 12 as well as the comics ahead!
Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead surprises the Hilltop (and viewers) by introducing a brand new character who just might hold the key to what comes after All Out War. The war with Negan and the Saviors has been raging now for the better part of two seasons, and if the show’s ratings are anything to go by, audiences are growing bored with the conflict. Luckily, the war appears to be entering its final phase now that the survivors are all holed at one location and the Saviors are on the march. Even Rick and Negan’s brutal confrontation seems to imply The Walking Dead is readying audiences for the war’s big finale.
But what comes after? What happens once the fighting stops and those who remain need to figure out how to keep on living? That’s where tonight’s new character, Georgie comes in. She and her two traveling companions, Hilda and Midge, come to the Hilltop proposing a trade – in return for four crates filled with food and records (only music, no spoken word), she will share with them her knowledge. Obviously, Maggie is at first suspicious of Georgie and her offer, but after being reminded by Michonne of Carl’s example – how he chose to trust and save Siddiq, and though the risk killed him, they now have a new doctor – Maggie agrees to honor Georgie’s trade in the hope that some good might come of it.
As it turns out, something good does happen. In return for Maggie trusting Georgie, she changes the terms of the arrangement: instead of taking four crates, she’ll take only one, the records, and she will leave half of their food stocks with the Hilltop since it’s clear their need is much greater. She also gives Maggie the knowledge she promised – a book titled A Key To A Future, which she explains contains “handwritten plans for windmills, watermills, silos, hand-drawn schematics, guides to refining grain, creating lumber, aqueducts.” Georgie calls it a “book of medieval human achievement so we may have a future from our past,” and it is almost certainly a book that will be key to future seasons of The Walking Dead.
While The Walking Dead has never been a strict adaptation of the comics, the television series has more or less used the comics as a framework for their own story. This confrontation with Negan, for example, has pulled heavily from the comics and certain developments – like Eugene’s manufacturing of ammunition or even Carl’s death by walker bite – are inspired by similar developments in the comics. The arrival of Georgie and her gift of knowledge, however, isn’t anything with a clear analogue from the comics.
Georgie does bear a passing resemblance to Pamela Milton – a character recently introduced in the comics during the New World Order arc who is the leader of another, much larger community with some unsettling, fascist tendencies. But the similarities end at their physical appearances because Pamela is more interested in stratifying society than educating it. Georgie also mentions a coffee shop and shows an interest in records, and that just so happens to match the former professions of a another character recently introduced in the comics, Juanita Sanchez AKA Princess. But again, nothing about Georgie’s behavior or even her appearance come close to matching Princess – a kooky but friendly loner with purple hair and a bright pink jacket – meaning these similarities are surely a coincidence more than anything else.
So who is Georgie? In all likelihood, Georgie is a new character created only for the television show. There just isn’t any character from the comics who comes close to this description or actions. However, following the conclusion of the All Out War arc in the comics there is a two-year time jump. During those two years, the survivors of the war – from every community, Saviors included – create a fledgling society that enjoys such staples of early civilization as farming, manufacturing, commerce and more. The first issue after the time jump has everyone preparing for a big county fair. The society shown in the aftermath of the war with the Saviors is very much a society enjoying the benefits of “medieval human achievement.”
In tonight’s episode, while watching Georgie drive off, Michonne remarks to Enid that “there’s gotta be something after,” meaning there has to be something that comes after the war and the fighting. In the comics that’s a chance at rebuilding civilization from the ground up, and on the show, Georgie has just handed Maggie the blueprints for how to do it.
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