A week later we get to see how the Saviors are handling the aftermath. We also see Rick and Michonne at the beginning of the grieving process. Again, not the best episode but it had its moments.
When The Walking Dead started it was something special. The raw story and brutal tale of survival told from a truly cinematic perspective really changed the way people look at zombie movies. This point would later be beaten into the ground but it was a show about the people and how they were trying to live through the apocalypse. One of the truly brilliant parts of the premise is that we skipped the part every other zombie media dealt with, the initial outbreak, and moved right into trying to survive. Frank Darabont had a vision and it was executed flawlessly with very little filler, but Darabont was famously fired because AMC saw what a hit they had and Darabont’s six-episode seasons were never going to cut it. The story was tight and well written. Seven years after the initial season, I often wonder how different the story would look. Because, more often than I would like, the characters in The Walking Dead seem to revel in doing incredibly dumb things. These last few episodes have been nothing but a series of dumb decisions, and I wonder what the Darabont versions would do, but that’s neither here nor there. We must look at the show we have and not spend time thinking about what might have been.
Spoilers for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.
The first thing we see is a title card that merely reads “Michonnes.” Oh, it’s going to be one of those episodes.
Michonne and Rick bury Carl. It’s a poignant and heartfelt moment, and we see how the two characters deal with the death differently. Rick solemnly stares at the grave and Michonne starts looking to take out as many walkers as possible. Eventually, they get ready to leave, and there is a heartbreaking moment when Michonne sees Carl’s and Judith’s handprint. That was sad.
Then, they try to put out the burning gazebo. Michonne mentions that Carl liked to go there. I think that’s what she said. I was too busy mumbling, “You're surrounded by zombies maybe come back and fix up Carl’s favorite spot.”
Oh, and Jesus Rick not the garbage people again. They’re actual garbage people. They’ve screwed you over twice now. I swear the only reason any of this makes sense is if Rick hit his head at some point.
Anyways, they show up at the garbage people’s landfill. And surprise, they screw them over. They really should have let Maggie make all the decisions two seasons ago.
We shift focus to the Sanctuary. Negan and Simon are talking. They’re making plans to find the Alexandrians and are wondering where Gavin is. Simon wants to kill everyone, but Negan shoots down that idea right away. He believes as soon as he kills Rick the war will be over. He then speaks highly of Carl, and it sounds as if he has plans for Carl. Cue dramatic irony.
Let’s just get the Oceanside stuff out of the way.
This is the poster child for the stupid decisions I mentioned earlier. Aaron wants to go to Oceanside for some dumb reason. “We need people,” is a dumb reason. And, our group was winning the war when he left. They weren’t desperate like they are now. His plan is to go the place where they have a policy of killing outsiders on the spot. He has a remarkably small margin of error, and then Enid shoots their leader in the face. The Oceansiders try to figure out what to do, and for some reason, they don’t kill Aaron and Enid. They let them go.
Aaron makes his second dumbest decision when he decides to stay and lurk in the trees outside Oceanside. He lets a teenager drive back to the Hilltop alone, in the middle of a war with psycho killers, and surrounded by animated walking corpses. I don’t know why Aaron wanted their help anyway. They’re awful fighters. Forty of them couldn’t kill Tara on her own, and Rick waltzed in and stole all their guns.
Plus he looked really creepy just kneeling next to that tree. Hopefully, we’re done with Oceanside for a while.
Negan sends Simon to deal with the garbage people. And boy does he deal with them. Negan wanted the standard, “Kill one person so everyone else falls in line.” Simon takes this to the next level and kills everyone and leaves one person. Sometimes there are communication issues between management. But hey, the garbage people are gone.
Rick and Michonne show up and get trapped. They find Jadus. It turns out she can speak normally. Rick finally smartens up and just leaves her there. Jadus kills all the walkers, including the bodies of her dead friends, and I would be sad if I cared even a little bit about the garbage people. I was sadder when the tiger died.
The part that made this episode worth watching was the end. I’ve wanted to see Negan’s reaction to Carl’s death more than I wanted to see Rick’s. For a few moments, Negan drops the act and he seems truly upset that Carl died. I expected something sarcastic and then he simply asked how he died. He genuinely worried that his group did it. It was a surreal moment when Negan remained perfectly calm while Rick kept yelling that he’d kill Negan. There’s a subtle shift, and even though he remains calm, Negan shifts back to antagonizing Rick and calling him a bad leader and a bad father. The worst part is that he’s right and only Jeffrey Dean Morgan could have pulled that off.
So I recently read that a new showrunner would take over. Scott Gimple wrote “Clear” and “The Grove” which I think are the two best episodes of The Walking Dead, and some of the best television I’ve ever watched, but the show has been getting stale.
The title card thing was silly.
I’d like to address the burning down gazebo. This is silly, but I hate poorly done gazebos. People put up those silly square things and act like they’re the same thing. A proper gazebo is octagonal in shape and it should have a rounded top. That thing in Alexandria was awful.
Simon and the Garbage People would be a great band name.
Speaking of Simon, I wonder what will happen when Negan finds out that Simon massacred a group against his orders.
I swear Negan got a haircut.
I haven’t read the comics to the point where Negan shows up, but I know Carl had a large role in the future. I think half the reason they killed Carl was that they couldn’t write a story for him. But, I think him slowly being corrupted by Negan would be great to watch. I don’t know if Chandler Riggs could pull that off, but his scenes were elevated whenever he was on screen with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Also, they could have a go-between, because Negan wouldn’t touch Carl.
Maggie’s ploy might work. At first, the plan to take prisoners seemed silly because the Saviors do not seem to value life, but I don’t think Negan wants to jeopardize 38 of his men.
And oh my, the part where Jadus ground up all the walkers is probably the worst thing they’ve shown.
There were a lot of dramatic ironies this episode. Negan talking Carl, and the Saviors don’t know that Carol and Morgan took out all of Gavin’s men. I think it’s funny that Negan is so worried about Rick when it’s Carol he should be scared of. I hope at some point Negan sees that she’s basically the terminator.