The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season hiatus, picking up right where it left off with Alexandria still under zombie-siege and Rick & Co. split up. We start with a promising stand-off between Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham, and a group of men who invoke for the first time the name “Negan”, the comic book villain who probably won’t even show up until the very end of the season (just in time to kill Glenn, I bet you anything). My timeline got screwed up by the hiatus, but I think this is the end of the day that began with the season, and dawn the next morning, right? The whole season is supposed to be one day, and I think we’re now marking the second half of that day, if I’m keeping time right. Which I might not be, correct me if I’m wrong, nerds.
The stand-off at the top of the episode is pretty sharp, with a real feeling of “crap, someone might die right now”, though in the end, Daryl comes up with a save that prevents anyone we actually care about from dying. So ultimately, while it’s a decent scene, it still has that problem The Walking Dead has developed, where no one we’re invested in is in real danger of dying. (Except Glenn. Who is toast.) It also sets the tone for the whole episode, in which Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha manage to save people in just the nick of time.
Elsewhere in the episode, Glenn and Enid work their way back to Alexandria, with a stop along the way for one of Enid’s emo bullsh*t outbursts that absolutely no one has time for. Carl irks the sh*t out of me, but I will give him this credit—he isn’t self-indulgent like all his peers. Every other kid we’ve ever met on this show is a self-indulgent asshole (except Sophia, RIP), and Enid is no different, she’s just got above-average survival skills. Glenn is rushing around, trying to put together a survival plan, and Enid is like “Let me monologue about my emotional state”. Your emotional state is that you’re trying not to get eaten, Enid. Snap to.
And in Alexandria, everything is complete sh*t. Pretty much everyone is trapped somewhere in town and Carol and Morgan have an awkward conversation in which they decide to never be friends, and Rick is leading Carl and Jessie’s family on one of his insane plans, which are always THE WORST. And this is no different—as they walk through the massive zombie horde, Sam, Jessie’s dumbest weiner kid, loses his mind because Carol scared the bejesus out of him and he doesn’t understand metaphor. So Sam gets eaten, and Jessie starts screaming and she gets eaten, and Rick makes his ugly cry face while remembering how pretty and smiley and not being eaten Jessie used to be.
And then comes a moment that was supposed to be shocking but just falls flat—Ron, Jessie’s turd-kid, picks up Carl’s gun and proceeds to shoot Carl in the head, taking out his eye. This is a scene taken almost directly from the comics—different trigger man, same result—but it doesn’t really work in this episode. Mainly because we do not give a flaming asshole’s sh*t about Jessie or her f*cking horrible children, so their deaths are not dramatic, they’re a relief. And as much as I dislike Carl, seriously maiming him because of Jessie and her dumb weiner kids is not rewarding at all. If we had cared about Jessie’s kids, it may have worked out better, but as-is, Carl lost his eye to the stupidest people on the show.
With Carl gravely wounded, Rick flips his sh*t and goes into turbo-slay mode, hacking his way through the Alexandria horde. His own people join him, then the Alexandrians do, too, proving him wrong about their ability to survive, as he later tells Carl. Even Father Gabriel gets in on the action, finally being not completely useless. And one by one, the people outside the walls come back, first reuniting Glenn and Maggie—and once again teasing Glenn’s death, which is inevitable—and then Daryl et al swoop in to save the day with their fuel truck and grenade launcher. So it’s an up-and-down episode, with some individual moments that work really well, but overall, the status quo doesn’t change.
Rick will eventually be kicked out of Alexandria
Carl will stay behind, because he is the worst
Deanna will turn out to be another Governor type
• Someone from GREATM will die
• Maggie and/or Glenn will die
• Sasha will die because no one knows what to do with her
• Carl will not die, because we are not that lucky – CHECK
• Daryl and/or Glenn and/or Maggie will end up alone outside the walls with the Wolves to provide a season-long B plot – CHECK (DARYL)
• The Wolves will attack Alexandria, and the group will beg Rick to come back and save them – CHECK
• Rick will come back and be restored as the Ricktator – CHECK
• Despite moving to Virginia, the settings will continue to look suspiciously like the same woods in Georgia – CHECK
Attached - Lauren Cohan at the amfAR Gala and visiting the Apple Store last week.