The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 1 Review – Old Acquaintances

Maggie and Negan begin their escape from New York in The Walking Dead: Dead City episode 1.

the walking dead dead city episode 1 review old acquaintances
Photo: Peter Kramer | AMC

This The Walking Dead: Dead City review contains spoilers.

The Walking Dead: Dead City Episode 1

Picking up where a show left off should be old hat for the creative team behind The Walking Dead: Dead City. After all, The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead did that kind of thing all the time. Every few seasons, when there was a narrative need, they jumped forward in time, scrambled locations and places, and generally reset things as befitted the story they want to tell. As such, the new lives for Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) don’t feel jarring. We’ve already been through at least one or two Maggie reboots at this point; what’s another one?

The story is your basic action movie set-up. Someone’s got her child, in this case a teenage Hershel (Logan Kim), and she’s got to get him back with the help of a nefarious figure from her past that she may or may not be able to trust. It’s nothing new for The Walking Dead, but the big wrinkle is the change in scenery from rural and suburban environments to the big, bad island of Manhattan. In a way that The Walking Dead: World Beyond never could, Dead City dives headlong into a post-apocalyptic hellscape island full of the hungry dead.

The urban jungle is quite literal given just how long it’s been since the United States government blew up the bridges and tunnels and abandoned Manhattan to the dead, but the shift in location serves the series well. Maggie and Negan are outsiders, interlopers in a world that they don’t understand that’s twisted in strange new ways under the new regime. The Escape from New York comparisons are inevitable, but apt. The island appears to be dominated by a criminal element ruled over by The Croat (Zeljko Ivanek), who gives The Duke of New York a John Wick twist. Negan is a leather-clad wanted criminal who is given the choice to either undertake a rescue mission or be turned over to the authorities for execution. Maggie is the Lee Van Cleef-style gun at Negan’s back, forcing him along on this fool’s errand. I have no doubt that other comparison points will show up eventually.


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