If the first episode is any indication, we’re in for a treat with Tales of the Walking Dead. Episode 1, “Evie; Joe,” was so good that I’d love to see the characters in a spinoff series of their own. The anthology approach is like reading a compilation of post-apocalyptic short stories, with the walker storyline only providing the lightest of frames that tie each story together. It was a refreshing change to focus on authentic, “common man” survival rather than the more fantastical tales we’ve come to know (and also love.)
This review has MAJOR spoilers, so don’t read on unless you’ve seen the episode.
Joe’s Story Was Quite Relatable
When Joe’s story began, Terry Crews really sold a character who was a relatable survival we might all picture ourselves becoming if walkers invaded real life. He has managed to survival worldwide calamity and created a simple but pleasant existence for himself and his aging dog. He plays Sudoku, watches the same football games over and over again, and has a simple but effective defense system in place.
— Elias (@grimes__clark) August 15, 2022
While he’s lonely, Joe has still found a way to be at peace and find contentment in his current life.
This is all ripped away when his dog is killed by walkers. 😭
At this point, I briefly thought about simply not watching the rest of the episode. I really hate it when apocalyptic stories kill off the pet. I don’t need that kind of trauma in my life!
But I soldiered on, and I’m glad I did.
The death served as the impetus to get Joe to leave behind his safe, comfy life and search for deeper meaning. Before the world fell apart, he had an online romance with a woman he never met — and they bonded over being preppers. Now, he decides, it’s the perfect time to track her down.
Episode 101 was filmed at the location used as Terminus in Season 4 & 5 in #TheWalkingDead!
— The Walking Dead World (@TWalkingDWorld) August 15, 2022
[By the way, just as a trivia note… Parts of Episode 1 were filmed at the same location that was used for Terminus in The Walking Dead. However, these were not the same in-universe locations…]
Evie Was a Likeable, Fun & Imaginative Character
Joe doesn’t get far when he falls into Evie’s trap. It turns out, she’s every bit as skilled at survival as Joe, even though she has a very different attitude toward life.
I truly enjoyed Olivia Munn’s role as Evie. Her character was relatable, fun, and had the perfect rapport with Joe. They were fun to watch on screen together. She’s a tough survivor in her own right, even though she would ideally like to be a vegan someday.
In fact, one of the things I really appreciated about this episode was how realistic and authentic the dialogue between Joe and Evie was. It really felt like a conversation I’d hear between two normal people who managed to survive an apocalypse. Even their fight that led to the two going their separate ways felt authentic.
Sure, there were a few small “plotholes” here and there, if you can even call them that. We didn’t spend needless time exploring how they fixed the motorcycle’s tires, or talking about how they refilled on gas during their journey. But I’m glad the short story wasn’t slowed down by mundane moments like that.
The introduction of the goat was the perfect salve to help heal my heart after the dog’s death. He was just so cute!
And although I knew there’d be a catch with Joe’s online girlfriend, the twist wasn’t the one I had predicted. It turns out that she lost her mind, driven to the brink by the sound of screaming outside her bunker. She became a murderer as some type of twisted coping mechanism, and couldn’t even turn that side of her off when Joe came into her life.
It was nice to see that Evie’s story wasn’t equally dark. Her husband still loved her, he was simply gone.
In the end, Evie saves Joe’s life (as was fitting) and the two embark on a road trip together, where the journey is far more important than the destination.
Really, the only complaint I have about this episode is that two preppers like Joe and Evie should have recognized the gem they had in that bunker, and kept it. Just leaving a bunker that has electricity, food, and defense was tough to believe.
— The Walking Dead on AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) August 15, 2022
Still, though, I enjoyed how the story ended. I’d love to see more of these two.
— kiri (@hailsgrimes) August 16, 2022
Perhaps there will be another installment if we get a second season.