The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1 recap “Old Acquaintances”

Mahina Anne Marie Napoleon as Ginny - The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC
Mahina Anne Marie Napoleon as Ginny - The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

The Walking Dead: Dead City has finally arrived after what felt like an eternity! The Walking Dead spinoff focused on the unconventional team Negan and Maggie exceeds expectations, setting up an exciting, scary, and thrilling television show.

How does this show compare to other Walking Dead shows and projects? What happens in the first episode?

Let’s find out!

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1 recap – Maggie and Negan reunite

The Walking Dead: Dead City
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

The first episode starts off promising well by revealing a walker ridden, practically destroyed, New York City through Maggie’s binoculars. As she resides Jersey side of the Hudson River, she checks her map for a specific location when walkers emerge.

Her attempts at hiding fail when one spots her. In a moment of rage, she savagely kills the walker, already revealing that our heroine is drowning in a multitude of emotions.

We then cut to Maggie arriving at a motel, with a functioning bar and bar patrons. She asks for someone who can help her forage and upon her sneaking about the property, she finds the room Negan is staying in.

Her opportunity to nab him while he’s in the shower fails, when she’s dragged back into the bar by the bar patrons. She fends them off, finding Negan and a young girl fleeing.

Catching up to them, Maggie manages to get the upper hand on Negan and reveals part of the plot. It turns out Negan is a wanted man by New Babylon.

She thankfully found him before anyone else did, demanding that he help her. Turns out The Hilltop has fallen victim to The Croat, who kidnapped several people as collateral, including Hershel.

The reason she is seeking Negan’s help is because The Croat used the same whistle as Negan when he was leader of The Sanctuary. Negan doesn’t deny that he has some history with The Croat but doesn’t go into depth just yet as to why.

He and the young silent girl Ginny, go with Maggie to where the remnants of The Hilltop are residing. Once again taking the role as father figure, Negan decides to leave Ginny there so he can continue on his mission with Maggie.

It pains both Negan and Ginny to be separated as Ginny had lost her father already. Maggie assures him she will be safe with her people.

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1 recap – Who is Perlie Armstrong

The Walking Dead: Dead City
The Walking Dead: Dead City Season 1 – Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

Dead City doesn’t have one but two villains, and both have a connection to Negan. That evening, New Babylon Marshal, Perlie Armstrong, arrives at the motel searching for Negan.

Apparently, Negan had killed a Marshal and must face the consequences. The bar patrons remain oddly silent on the matter, especially that of one woman in particular.

Perlie decides to force a confession from her by pressing her against a fence with walkers on the other side. One of the bar patrons confesses to knowing Negan, leading to the woman confessing as well.

Although she did tell the truth, Perlie feeds her to the walkers anyway as she still broke the law by aiding and abetting a criminal. What’s worse is Perlie knows where to start looking for Negan when he spots the map Maggie dropped earlier that day in her squabble with the bar patrons.

Upset about missing her own son, Maggie hates seeing Negan being a father figure for Ginny. As they manage to get onto a boat to cross the Hudson River, Perlie and his two men aren’t far behind.

In the process, they kidnap the younger of the two men and use him as a hostage. Although Negan and Maggie begin to dance the same dance we’ve seen repeatedly on The Walking Dead, the two manage to stop their fighting for the moment and arrive to the city.

That is after crossing the walker filled river. Lovely.

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1 recap – Welcome to New York

The Walking Dead: Dead City
Gaius Charles as Armstrong, Trey Santiago-Hudson as Jano – The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1 – Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

The city is dark, desolate and eerie with traps everywhere. Negan easily spots one next to a painted image of what looks like a rabbit or hare.

It doesn’t take long for them to run into a walker herd, after dodging falling walkers from the rooftops. A truck playing music manages to lead a herd their way, causing the trio to hide amongst cockroach-filled trash.

Their luck seemingly changes when Perlie and his associate arrive, starting the process of killing the walkers. Negan, Maggie and their hostage seek refuge in an abandoned dry cleaning facility filled with copious amount of clothes.

Perlie arrives soon after, and before you know it we have a very intense cat and mouse scenario. When a walker attempts to attack the hostage, Negan saves him only for Perlie to accidentally shoot and kill him.

Another extra bites the dust. Not long after that, the other man who was with Perlie is attacked when walkers break through the glass doors into the building.

And another one goes. On his own, Perlie winds up fighting against Maggie.

Even though Maggie tries to explain to Perlie why she needs Negan’s help, he refuses to listen. Maggie manages to break free using her chained necklace carrying her wedding band and Perlie is knocked out.

As Maggie and Negan try to escape with walkers closing in, they run into an old woman dressed in rags. She takes their stuff, meaning the duo has to follow her.

They manage to escape the walkers but elsewhere Hershel finds himself in trouble. Introducing The Croat: a creepy, sleezy man with a heavy accent, ready to torture Hershel if need be for answers.

As terrified as he is, Hershel refuses to give up any information.

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1 review

I had no doubts that Dead City would exceed expectations. Right out of the gate we have an engaging, thrilling and practically unique story.

Yes, it does take place in The Walking Dead Universe and yes, we’ve seen Maggie and Negan before, however it still feels almost like a completely new story. Outside of mentions of Negan’s past, and name dropping The Hilltop, all other aspects of The Walking Dead are not mentioned or referenced.

This already feels like a separate story, which was probably the intention from the get-go. With that said, the Negan and Maggie endless cycle of arguing/fighting does seem endless, but it doesn’t take away from the overall episode.

They are both going through some rough times yet don’t completely open up to each other. At least, not yet.

Hershel has been taken but you can tell something more haunts Maggie. Negan doesn’t mention Annie or his child’s whereabouts but just from the shower scene alone you can tell he’s been beaten and broken down.

We have two new villains to worry about, who immediately stand out in their own ways. Which trust me is a good thing.

You can tell there is more to Perlie than meets the eye. He’s obsessed with keeping order, following the rules and seeking justice.

It’s not a bad moral compass to have in the apocalypse when some still want to run amuck and cause chaos, but at some point his moral compass became a skewed. He states he’s a married man with a loving wife and daughters but I’m willing to bet they are all dead and their cause of death has changed him.

Even if he doesn’t notice the change himself. The Croat immediately comes off like a psychopath. He’s calm, well-spoken but has that vibe of being unpredictable that makes him unhinged.

These villains bring a sense of fresh air to the TWDU, especially after the horrific failure of The Reapers. Throughout the episode I recognized several filming locations, including the motel which was filmed in Holmdel, NJ and some of the city shots that were filmed in Paterson, NJ.

The opening credits were both a combination what we remember from The Walking Dead while also trying some new angles and tones. Already I feel a deep sadness knowing Dead City will only be 6 episodes long, as there is already so much potential to be had!

But who knows, maybe a season 2 will be in the works in the near future.

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What did you think of The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, episode 1? Let us know in the comments below!

The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1 episode 2 airs on June 25 on AMC.