The Walking Dead introduced some new characters from yet another community in "The Key" when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) & co. met them and heard their unusual request. In exchange for some vinyl records (so hip), the emissaries came bearing the commodity of knowledge. The information they gave will not pay off until the current war is over and civilization can start to be rebuilt, but down the line, these mysterious folks will return. It was an intriguing introduction, but the episode left some crucial information about them unanswered; namely, where are they from, what do they really want, and what role will they play in the future?
We learned of these new people when Rosita (Christian Serratos) found some milk crates along with a note requesting food or phonograph records in exchange for a "key to the future" and coordinates for a meeting place. Maggie, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Rosita and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) decided to go check it out after Michonne made the Carl (Chandler Riggs)-influenced case that they need to take chances on helping people, because it could mean a huge reward.
They got to the rendezvous and found Georgie (Jayne Atkinson), a sixtyish woman in a seersucker suit, and her two perplexing bodyguards Hilda (Kim Ormiston) and Midge (Misty Ormiston). Georgie is the brains of the operation, while Hilda and Midge seem to think "clump" and "moisture" aren't words. Georgie explained that they've traveled all over in search of communities to trade with and share the future-changing information she possesses.
"The dead have brought out our best and worst, and the worst has been outpacing the best lately, but that won't last forever," she said, sounding like Carl. "If perhaps people can believe in people again. Four crates of goods is worth far less than a sustainable future."
Maggie decided to take them captive and bring them back to the Hilltop until she could figure out what to do with them. After some more discussion about whether they want to be people who kill anyone else to protect their own or the welcoming people Carl wanted them to be, they decided to take the deal. Georgie slightly modified the terms; she'll leave the food she had in the van, since the Hilltop needs it more, along with her self-published book that contains instructions on how to build windmills and aqueducts and grain refineries and all the stuff necessary to build a thriving preindustrial society.
"A book of medieval human achievement so that we may have a future from our past," she said.
She clarified that this is not a gift, it's a barter, and she'll be back someday to do more business.
That's all well and good — Georgie's giving a much-needed injection of hope to our survivors — but who is she really? We don't know where she came from or what her community is like. But there is a clue from the comics about where she might be representing.
The current comics storyline has moved to the Commonwealth, a community in what used to be Ohio that's advanced far beyond any we've seen on the show so far. They have a sophisticated army and are stable enough to start having culture — there's an arena for concerts and sporting events. The Commonwealth's leader is Pamela, who bears a physical resemblance to Georgie. She has her own philosophy about how to build for the future that's harsher and more capitalistic than Georgie's seems to be, but they both seem to know how to use technology to their advantage. And the fact that Georgie wants music, which is unnecessary for day-to-day survival, indicates that her society has achieved some degree of stability.
It feels unlikely that we'll see Georgie again before the end of the season, but she'll probably play an important role in the postwar rebuilding period that will come in Season 9. When she comes back she'll expand the world even further. Maybe she has something to do with that mysterious helicopter?
Or what if she does come back before the end of Season 8 and has something to do with bringing Morgan (Lennie James) from Virginia to Texas for Fear the Walking Dead? Maybe Morgan's new traveling companion Althea (Maggie Grace) is from Georgie's community.
Need more proof that Georgie will be a big part of the show? In the opening credits, Jayne Atkinson — best known for playing Karen Hayes on 24 — got an "Also Starring" credit, listed between Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Jadis, and Cooper Andrews, who plays Jerry. So The Walking Dead hasn't gotten their money's worth with her yet. She'll be back in a big way.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.