The Walking Dead: S8E12 ‘The Key’ – Review


By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno |

This review contains spoilers.

Best episode of Season Eight so far? Most definitely. This episode featured all the best bits about the TV show, in a perfectly executed episode. Pace, characters, story and action for good measure made this an exhilarating instalment of The Walking Dead.

We got some great character interactions, some outstanding one-on-ones and an impactful introduction that could have a big say on the future direction of the show.


First of all, this was the episode of the ‘double act’. We have Simon and Dwight, Maggie and Michonne and of course Negan and Rick. Simon is continuing to position himself take over from Negan, testing the waters to see were Dwight’s loyalties are. I think in-fighting within The Saviors is one of the more interesting stories currently in motion. It’s going to be even more interesting now that Negan knows Simon ordered the killing of Jadis’ faction.

As for Maggie and Michonne, they had their own issues which they bounced off each other, turning their issues into a positive conclusion. We get a new faction tease, with the mysterious Georgie offering knowledge for supplies. The trust issues this caused set lots of things into motion with Maggie and the Hilltop survivors and it was really engaging. They make the right call, with Georgie handing Maggie ‘A Key To The Future’, a manual to build everything they need to secure a real ‘future’. Where they go with this could have a big impact on the future stories of the show. Rick and Daryl also had a nice scene at Hilltop. Daryl starts to offload a little and apologises for his stupid actions this season.


Despite all the great things happening this episode, the meat of the story followed Negan and Rick. This started with an insane Fast & Furious car chase to an intense walk and stalk scene. Rick put Negan on the ropes, he was running scared. This was the first time we really have seen Negan vulnerable. He looked so human, so exposed. Some will take issue with the return of ‘Stormtrooper Rick’, but he was aiming with adrenaline and anger so you can buy the fact he’s firing on impulse and not skill. I loved everything about this story arc, it was so intense and exciting. The real icing on the cake though was when Rick torches Lucille and starts bashing down the door. NEGAN TRIGGERED! What a tackle, this was a raw, animalistic fight, topped off with fire zombies for good measure.

We end with Negan waking up in a car, being driven by Jadis, with a gun to his head. Never has her arrival been so welcome. I cannot wait to see what happens next with so many different characters. There are so many plates spinning right now but they are being spun well.

Overall this was a great episode of The Walking Dead, it was a near perfect episode. The pacing was great, the characters developed and grew, the story progressed and it was all packed in a fun and exciting way. More, please.

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