HOLLYWOOD—All I can say is after last week’s stunning episode of “The Walking Dead,’ which saw the departure of its lead character Rick Grimes, the show has vastly changed. We have new characters and another fast-forward which will take a moment for audiences to adjust to. This week’s episode, ‘Who Are You Now?’ was a very informative episode. At long last we got names from those characters that Judith rescued in the previous episode, with Magna, Connie, Miko, Luke and Kelly.

I love the fact that “The Walking Dead” has cast a deaf character, and more importantly utilized someone from the actual deaf community in Lauren Ridlof to portray Connie. It was invigorating, exciting and a ton of fun, but let’s get back to the start of this episode, as a LOT has transpired since Rick Grimes is ‘no more.’ Michonne is still grappling with Rick’s demise (talking to him at the site where she presumes he perished), Daryl is completely lost, Carol and Ezekiel got married, and she has long hair and they are the caretakers of Henry.

Yes, a six year fast-forward can change a lot people. What else happened? Michonne and Rick had a son, Aaron has a child, and Father Gabriel and Rosita are an item! Yes, that last one left me for a loop, as well as seeing Eugene actually dispatch a few walkers without trembling in his boots. The focus point of the hour was the arrival of Magna and her crew to Alexandria. The Alexandrians were concerned with the new faces in town, and Michonne let it be known she did not trust Magna one bit, but Judith, the precocious one keep pushing at her mother to see the bigger picture.

I mean watching Judith converse with Negan as if nothing ever happened was slightly baffling to say the least. Back at The Kingdom, Gerry, Henry and Carol realized the establishment was indeed crumbling and in desperate need of repairs. Let me just say I love these four new characters, they bring a zest and fresh energy to the show that I thought would vacate with the departure of Rick Grimes. Magna reminds me a bit of Michonne, Kelly and Connie’s sisterly bond is amazing, and Luke seems to be the guy who thinks he’s funny, but he’s not that funny.

Michonne is the big dog in Alexandria, and to be honest I do not love this woman right now, but she’s dealing with immense grief, so I’m sure she’ll get back to being the warrior and sensible woman audiences have come to love. Henry and Carol stumbled upon some Saviors from the past, who wanted their inventory, not to mention Carol’s wedding ring. Henry was ready for a battle, but Carol interjected to prevent any more loss. That left Henry questioning who Carol has become, and she was questioning herself as well.

As a result in the middle of the night she ambushed Jed and those Saviors by dosing them in gasoline and lighting the match. Brutal to say the least, but it’s very clear to never underestimate Carol or you will pay dearly in the long run. While out Rosita and Eugene came across a massive herd of walkers headed in their direction. Things were not looking good after Eugene took a tumble and injured his knee in the process.

The new Council for Alexandria had decided the fate of our newbies, just as Magna revealed that she spent time in prison and all is not as it seems. It caused Michonne to have a change of heart and take Magna, Connie, Kelly, Luke and Miko to the Hilltop to see if Maggie was willing to accept them to her community. Henry and Carol stumbled upon Daryl who was trekking along. It seemed Daryl and Carol hadn’t seen each other in quite some time and the look they gave one another spoke wonders.

Eugene and Rosita covered themselves in mud to hide from the walkers chasing after them, just as the episode ended with some epic cliffhangers. I desperately want to know where that ‘X’ scar on Michonne’s back came from. However, the biggest stunner that left me aghast was when I heard the walkers talking. I am 200 percent certain I heard one of the walkers say “Don’t let them get away!”

Whoa, this is indeed a game changer, because when did the walkers get the ability to speak and what other nifty surprises are in store for viewers? Rick Grimes may be no more, but that does not mean the narrative for “The Walking Dead” has stopped. Major changes have transpired, but it has opened the door for an exciting narrative as we still have two episodes before the mid-season finale people!