Did The Walking Dead Just Introduce Its First Major Female Villain?

the walking dead new junkyard characters

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's "New Best Friend."

Last week's midseason premiere turned The Walking Dead into a more lighthearted affair, while still keeping the action intact. This week's follow-up didn't exactly draw a ton of laughs, but we certainly got to know the drama's newest community a lot better, and there was a proper introduction for their leader Jadis (Pollyanna Macintosh) and they're a pretty fucked up bunch of presumably smelly individuals. And even though the episode ends with Rick scheming to get enough guns to get the junkyard dogs to join Team Family, is anyone really convinced that Jadis will be one of the good guys? Or, perhaps, will she become The Walking Dead's first major female villain?

It is extremely easy to see how this could be the case, considering nothing Jadis did made her come across as the post-apocalypse's ambassador for the concept of "Kindness to Strangers." The group definitely isn't beneficial to anyone other than those within its ranks, so there's no reason to expect them to take a load of new weapons and NOT have the motivation to just use them all against Rick & Co. Already, they turned on Father Gabriel for all the boat supplies without wanting to have a conversation about it, and they're still wanting to keep half of it even though they didn't do anything go earn it. Whose behavior sounds similar to that? Oh yeah, Negan.

Couple that with the "test" that they use for Rick to prove his group is worth working with, which involves using a spoke-riddled walker (who used to go by the name Winslow, if that means anything) inside of a pit made specifically for walker-fighting. In the first place, it's a weird way to make big decisions, but more to the point: where have we seen a dedicated area where walkers and fighting co-mingled in fucked up ways? Oh yeah, the Woodbury arena, as conceived by The Governor.

As comic book fans know, The Walking Dead only brought in its first major female villain when The Whisperers were introduced following the big time jump. Jadis definitely isn't a stand-in for Alpha, the head Whisperer, so there's no worry about any conflict of story there. But if this group ends up heading down a more villainous path, that would be a pretty huge way for the TV show to strike out on a different path from its source material. And one that makes enough sense to not seem ridiculous.

Of course, this is a group that supposedly lives by the motto/mantra "We take. We don't bother." That's about as neutral an outlook as one can have in this form of society. Which doesn't make them villains, certainly, even if they're just really interested in taking people's shit. There are a lot of them, and it's obviously hard to come by vast amounts of supplies on the daily, so Jadis' squad can be scavengers without necessarily being murderous villains. But are they? Something in Jadis' eyes (and smile and stance and overall attitude) makes me think the answer will be no, even if it's not immediately obvious.

With possibly a lot more to come from the Garbage Pail Adults, The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out everything that happened with Daryl and Carol's reunion, and to see what else is coming to the small screen in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.