Trains, lawyers, and Saviors. All at the Commonwealth in this month’s issue.
So we ended the last issue in a rather convenient place with Pamela and Rick arriving at the Commonwealth just when things have gone to shit. I maintain that issue could have been split into two with how the story moved, but what’s done is done and here we are in an issue that does take some of the characters to interesting places and sheds a bit more light on the Commonwealth. Let’s jump into Issue #184: “Eugene Tinkers.”
So Michonne and Elodie were being targeted because Lance asked Michonne to represent the soldiers, even though she wasn’t a fan of that decision. The two were already being ostracized and now Michonne herself winds up as a target when she gets attacked during the riot. And it’s pretty brutal not just that she gets attacked, but one of the officers she got to know also gets attacked while protecting her.
Luckily, Mercer and Pamela immediately put a stop to all of this nonsense. The Commonwealth’s citizens may be willing to push back against the soldiers, but Mercer is a different beast altogether. And just like when you’re done having a college party in your dorm, Pamela promises that everyone will clean up…later.
Then this. The image of the beaten and bruised Michonne in the very next panel is so in your face that it threw me for a second. Maybe it’s to emphasize just how much she had been brutalized, but gosh, Kirkman and Adlard, I don’t know if this needed to be an entire page’s worth.
Anyway, Michonne puts her legal expertise to great use when she explains her argument of what happened between the officer, the man, and his husband. At the same time, she’s aware that she’s still new to the Commonwealth, which is very much built on trust. It would be wrong to destroy that over just one incident and, as she says, those involved have already been published. So all charges should be dropped.
Surprisingly, it works. I mean, not that there was doubt, but Michonne is a newcomer. It would be easy to think there would be some pushback or resistance to her argument, even though she didn’t ask to be put in this position. But Michonne’s argument wins out.
I do like her conversation with Rick after this, when she tells him that she only agrees with some of what she stated in court. But being at the Commonwealth and reuniting with her daughter- it feels like how the world used to function before the world went to hell. It’s a step towards civilization, but she worries that she may have sold her soul to keep this sort of peace.
And indeed, it creates a great dilemma for Michonne. Sure, she’s back with her daughter and in a well-built community, but what if she has to defend someone else who she thinks deserved to be punished? I won’t say this is like when Rick and company arrived in Alexandria and wondered if it would make them soft, but there are some parallels as far as what do you give up in exchange for peace and prosperity?
Then Eugene is taken to a train car and, him being the thinker that he is, gets an idea. So far, transportation has been via horses or, worst case scenario, on foot. But what about trains? It would be, as he says, a step closer to moving back to civilization, but more than that, trains would cut down on the amount of time spent traveling between communities.
Between the amount of people in each community, that could cut down on potential time taken to clean off the tracks and make the necessary repairs. It would still be a time-consuming task, sure, but this could allow the communities to set routes. It’s an exciting prospect and possibility that could sound too good to be true, but when Eugene puts his mind to something, it comes to fruition.
After all, if it wasn’t for his persistence with the radio, he wouldn’t have been in touch with Stephanie and, as a result, even known about the Commonwealth.
Pamela chews out Lance for the riot even happening in the first place, but it’s not really fair because this was out of his control. No one could’ve predicted things would escalate as fast as they did, but he does indicate that Michonne could be a viable asset to the Commonwealth, as her argument is winning over members of the community. So it seems that there may be some long term plans for Michonne.
Then Pamela acknowledges how hard it is to keep people happy, and indeed, that does remind me of Alexandria in that people remained happy there, despite knowing what dangers the world had to offer just outside the walls. But anyway, Pamela heads outside to find selfless Rick Grimes helping wit the clean-up. This builds on what Rick explained to Pamela back at Alexandria: everyone does their part.
There’s no “help” in Alexandria that cleans up after everyone else. And it’s not like Rick has anything else to do, so why not help clean up? He doesn’t mind it, but Pamela does. Even still, she soon joins in, showing that Rick’s ways are rubbing off on her. A pity they couldn’t also rub off on Sebastian, who still acts like he’s above a bit of work. To him, he didn’t cause the rally, so why should he pick up trash?
We get a little bit of Dwight and Laura staring with disdain at the Commonwealth’s citizens who are eating their fill and not helping clean up the mess they caused. It’s maddening. As if the Commonwealth’s citizens have no urgency or need to fix their own bed. But the two have an idea in mind to “clean up” at the Commonwealth once they’re done. More on this later.
Princess and Mercer have sex. What we get from this is two things: one, both of them have had a lot of sex. Two, Princess is a long talker. Sure, we’ve known that since her introduction, but how many people do you know that keep on talking right after intercourse?
Actually, don’t answer that question. It seems like this is a real cathartic moment for Princess, while Mercer is the more laid back of the two and just enjoys hearing Princess talk. I’ll be curious to see how this develops since both see this as much more than a casual thing.
Then we get what might be my favorite moment of the issue. Rick has a brief chat with two Commonwealth citizens who are very appreciative of him helping clean up when, again, he didn’t have to do that. But as he reiterates, in Alexandria, everyone does their part. The two then ask if Alexandria has room for two more.
This tells us a few things. Some of the Commonwealth’s citizens are looking for a way out, if possible, to another community. And even though the Commonwealth might seem like Heaven on Earth, it’s not as great as outsiders may think it is. And it shows, again, how Rick’s way of thinking has rubbed off on some Commonwealth people if they’re willing to just move after one example of what other communities may offer.
But Dwight might have something to offer the Commonwealth in turn: safety. He sees potential in them and believes that the people at the Commonwealth are far too optimistic for their own good. Even though Dwight didn’t want to lead the Saviors, he tells Rick that this could be his calling, if he’s allowed to save the Commonwealth.
So we’re seeing a bit of Negan creep into Dwight here. Not that he’s interested in taking over, but maybe just steering them in a better direction. But Rick immediately cuts Dwight off, telling him to drop this…much to Dwight’s anger. And this is where the issue ends. It’s rather abrupt, and I hope this sort of plot point isn’t just immediately discarded with the next issue in November.
But who knows? We’ll find out when we pick up in issue #185. Overall, this was a decent read. Some good character interaction and potential setup for Commonwealth citizens making the jump to Alexandria. Will Dwight have his opportunity to save this community. We’ll see.