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Rick (Andrew Lincoln) may have found his army, Richard (Karl Makinen) may have found an ally and Daryl (Noman Reedus) may have had enough of life at the Kingdom already as the rise-up against the Saviours continues to extenuate. New Best Friends builds on the previous episode, developing slowly with only one standout set piece to break up the relationships forming at the Kingdom and at the junkyard where we last saw Rick looking rather pleased with himself.
Whether it’s new best friends or old best friends, where this episode succeeds when Rock In The Road failed is that instead of the dialogue being superfluous, just serving as a reminder to what we may have forgotten, it is actually meaningful and pushes the episode forward. The only action scene isn’t as visually stunning as the cable-car clothes-line, but it’s intense and claustrophobic although does feel like a concatenation of the Crystal Maze meets A New Hope’s waste disposal scene, complete with team-mates shouting words of encouragement as they watch on unable to help. The outcome provides further support to the transformation of Alexandria, but at what cost? Is Rick able to put any trust in his new best friends or will they turn out to be just another group to conquer?
Hold onto your hats! Daryl gets lines in this episode, almost more than he’s had all series combined, when old best friends are reunited. There is still lots of pouting and grunting, but for the first time in what seems like forever, Daryl has actual dialogue with multiple characters. His conversation is meaningful and heartfelt, he is able to use his words to protect those he loves even if it might be the wrong choice to make. But his greatest relationship growth comes when he bonds with Shiva, another hulking beast who grunts and snuffles her way through conversations, it’s like the two were meant to be together.