As we reach the end of the eleven-season run of The Walking Dead this coming fall, all eyes are on the remaining and upcoming spin-off projects that all exist in this beloved universe. In the most unique of these projects Tales of the Walking Dead, we get six new stories taking place in the timeline with some new and some old characters. Each episode has its own story that shows the effects of the apocalypse in various parts of the world.
The first episode, entitled “Evie/Joe,” stars Olivia Munn and Terry Crews as the titular characters. Joe (Crews) is a football-loving doomsday prepper who has been happily living with his dog in his bunker since the dead began walking. As his daily routines began to unravel (in the saddest way possible) Joe decides to leave his bunker behind and set out on a quest to find a female prepper he had been speaking to online and grew close to. He hops on his motorcycle (with a sidecar) and begins his journey only to be almost immediately caught in a trap set by Evie (Munn).
Evie takes Joe captive and tells him that she is on her way to track down her husband and that he is now her driver on this mission. It becomes obvious that Joe and Evie are opposites in their views on life and the state of the world. But, as the two travel together and experience the sometimes-harsh landscape they now live in, the two begin to form a strange bond. As they learn to trust each other and work as a team to survive this weird road trip, they hit a rather large speedbump when Joe’s motorcycle is stolen and replaced with a baby goat. This is when tensions between the two reach a boiling point and their true feelings come out on their respective missions. The two travelers part ways and continue to reach their respective destinations where both are surprised by what they find.
In the many seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, we’ve had many character-focused episodes. What this new series is trying to do is take that idea and give it some life and atmosphere. Regardless of how cliché the story was overall, I learned more about Evie and Joe in this one episode than I ever learned about long-running characters like Aaron on The Walking Dead. The character development that was given to these two was enough to make me care about what happened to them in the final act. I was genuinely surprised by Crews and Munn’s performances in this episode as well and their chemistry was fantastic. It was both strange and delightful to have an almost romantic comedy plot fed into the post-apocalyptic world we all have come to love.
Looking at the future of the TWD universe there’s a fork in the road as to what form of storytelling will prove to be more successful. They could continue to give us the gruesome walker kills and fights everyone wants to see and occasionally throw in some actual story points like the main series began to do in its later years. Or they could change up their style and give us new characters, environments, and even some new genres of storytelling like we got in this premiere episode of Tales of the Walking Dead. Only time will tell which option we get, but either way, we will continue to get more out of this truly special universe.
Episodes of Tales of the Walking Dead air on AMC and AMC+. Watch the trailer below.