by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8, Episode 6.
While Episode 6 begins on the same day as the first five episodes of this season, it’s coming to an end (and indeed, we even get to the next day in this episode). Rick is embarking on the final stage of his plan for the day, Maggie is dealing with the fallout from the day’s attack, and scouting Saviors are attempting to save the entire Sanctuary from the horde left by Team Rick. Rick has made it clear that the war is not over, and as viewers we know that this is only a lull. There are only 2 episodes left to go in this half season, and Episode 8 is sure to be a cliffhanger, so the plotline needs this time to reset and deal with the immediate repercussions of that long day.
As we saw from the preview last week, Rick approached the Heapsters and asked them to switch sides again. While obviously they’re untrustworthy, Rick revealed his motives in this: he doesn’t want to have to fight them along with Negan. He’d rather deal with Negan first, and then, when he has time, deal with Jadis. It’s a reasonable move, albeit a risky one. Rick tells Jadis that his people know where he is, but how much are they going to commit in terms of resources to rescue him when the fight with Negan is on the line? Attacking Jadis now opens up a whole ‘nother can of whup-ass for the Alexandrians, and that’s not something they can currently afford. It was a bluff and Jadis called it (and she’s wearing Rick’s boots to prove it). I suspect that Rick’s going to be on his own, working his way out of this one. Not only that, he’s lost his Polaroids.
I do have to wonder what the ‘A’ that Jadis wrote on Rick’s ‘dumpster cell’ means. Given that the Heapsters have regressed in their use of language (I had to laugh when they told Rick that he ‘talked too much’) it could have a far more significant meaning than one word. Or it may just be a tagging system: Prisoner A, Prisoner B, etc., as it was at the Sanctuary (when Daryl also wore a letter A on his sweatshirt). Perhaps it’s matching Rick to another ‘walker champion’ to kill, as he did with Winslow. I have a feeling we’ll find out next week.
And just before I move on from Jadis… what is with the nudity? Jadis was sculpting sharp metal in the nude. Is she trying to show how tough she is? That just made no sense whatsoever. And then Rick was put in his dumpster cell nude. That seems more reasonable, given that he is a prisoner, but combined with Jadis being nude I’m wondering if there is some kind of deeper meaning behind it. Maybe nudity symbolizes something for the Heapsters? Of course, I could just be reading too much into this, and perhaps Jadis was simply on a wash cycle, which was why she was eager to grab Rick’s boots when he strolled on in there.
Of course, no matter how bad Rick has it right now, Carol has it worse. She’s got to deal with a broken-hearted Ezekiel who no longer wants to be King. She’s trying to scrape together a new army and her only volunteer is Henry, a kid who is the very definition of ‘wet behind the ears’. She’s ready to do it all by herself if she has to, but she knows that this is far from the best solution.
It’s interesting that Carol confronted Ezekiel in the theater/throne room where she first met him. Back then, Ezekiel was putting on a big show, and Carol put on her own in return, giggly and fascinated. Yet now there are no more facades and it’s all hard truth. Ezekiel told Carol that she made him feel real, not a fiction. But Carol was begging him to play his part in that fiction once more, for the sake of his people. They need to be inspired; they need hope. But Ezekiel can’t give that to them. He’s an actor, but he’s reached his limits. Still, I don’t think Carol will stop trying with him. There’s a deep respect between those two. I’m not sure it will grow into anything more, but they’re clearly close.
What really broke my heart at the Kingdom was Jerry. He’s still not smiling, and he’s lost his zest for life, although he is eating cobbler, which is a good sign. And I burst out laughing when Carol was about to shoot the door and he interrupted her with a ‘Yo!’ to inform her that it was open. I suspect he’ll join Carol in convincing Ezekiel that the people need their King, and he might be the one that tips the scales on that front.
We finally got to see what was going on with the people who had been left behind in Alexandria in this episode. Carl was out in the forest, male-bonding with his new pal Siddiq. Yep, they went out walker-killing together, and once again, Carl ended up on his back, barely able to fight off the walker on top of him. I seem to recall this happening at least twice before: in season 2 when he escapes a mud-walker (which later comes back and kills Dale) and in season 4 where he shoots a walker (after eating that big old can of pudding). I’d like to think that Carl has learned earned some skills, growing up in the zombie apocalypse, but it’s looking like that’s not the case. Meanwhile, Siddiq was a beast, smashing walkers into trees and generally just taking care of everything. I suppose he would have to be good at this, seeing as he has apparently been on his own for some times. He could be an interesting new character. He seemed somewhat apprehensive when Carl mentioned that he was a part of a community. Has Siddiq run into the Saviors? Does he think that Carl is with them?
The part with the renegade duos (Michonne & Rosita, Daryl, & Tara) was really the weakest part of the episode. Michonne has to go out and see the Sanctuary under siege for herself because she’s antsy? Really? I thought she was a lot smarter than that. It seems like a lame excuse plot-wise to get her out there, discovering the Saviors’ weapons cache. Daryl and Tara made a bit more sense, given that Tara can’t forgive Dwight for killing Denise (which is sad, because Tara was killing at the Governor’s command when she met the group) and the show has been laying the groundwork for Daryl to break off from Rick’s more reasoned approach to this war. Still, while I enjoyed watching the scene of the garbage truck smashing into the speaker-laden pickup, it wasn’t worth this unnecessary storyline. I gather the whole point of this from a plot perspective was to get Daryl, Tara, Michonne, and Rosita into a position to do something at the Sanctuary that may (or may not) help the cause of Team Rick next episode. But it didn’t quite work for me.
While I did enjoy watching Rosita kill the Savior with the RPG, it was a pale imitation of Daryl killing the Savior motorcycle gang with Abraham’s rocket launcher in season 6. The most interesting part to me of the whole thing was that there were Savior scouts who were aware of what was going on and who had a pretty good plan to lure the herd away from the Sanctuary and save the people inside. It was only their stupidity in playing the music so loudly that led Michonne and Rosita to them; they probably would have been successful otherwise. It highlights once again (as with the Jim Carey wannabe a couple of episodes ago, and even Morales just before that) that even the lowest Saviors only want to please Negan and rise up within the organization. That’s some serious dedication.
To me, the most entertaining part of this episode was what was happening at Hilltop. It seems that Maggie isn’t nearly as altruistic as Jesus had insisted, and in the end, even her keeping the Savior prisoners alive was only to use as bargaining chips. It’s a good move, and one that Rick will appreciate, once he’s been relieved of his own ‘bargaining chip’ status. After all, he may be on his way to Negan right now, once the Heapsters have had their way with him. I love that Maggie found a solution that was between what both Jesus and Gregory were telling her to do, and managed to put Gregory in his place at the same time. When she said that everyone they couldn’t trust was going into the holding pen, you knew that Gregory was going to join them. Still, I loved watching it, and I hope to see him suffer more next episode. Sadly, he’s likely to escape when Jared makes his move.
At the same time, Maggie does have compassion, as we see when she consoles Aaron in his grief at losing Eric. In addition, her motherly instincts are taking over as we see her dealing with Baby Grace. She hasn’t lost her humanity, but she’s certainly capable of making the hard decisions of war.
While there were amusing moments in this episode, such as Jerry eating cobbler and stopping Carol from shooting the door, Rosita using the RPG on the Savior, and Gregory getting thrown into the holding pen, for some reason the one that sticks with me the most is Gregory calling Jesus Maggie’s ‘hippy dippy kung-fu-fighting friend’. I think that one is going to stick with me for some time.
For those who play the Walking Dead: No Man’s Land mobile game, this week’s season 8 mission is Michonne and Rosita turning off the speakers (after the garbage truck smashed into the pickup) and dealing with walkers attracted by the noise. It reminds me a bit of the ‘Daryl’s Nightmare’ mission from season 7, where Daryl wandered through the Sanctuary, turning off boomboxes playing torture music.
And while this wasn’t part of the episode itself, on Talking Dead, they did announce that Morgan would be the character to cross over between The Walking Dead and Fear. I had been anticipating that the crossover would be the other way, since Fear is behind The Walking Dead in terms of timeline. This leaves a strange couple of gaps. First, we don’t know a lot about what happened to Morgan after Rick left him in the first episode of the series, before Rick returned to his hometown in season 3. We know that Morgan’s son Duane died and that Morgan went crazy, but it seemed as if Morgan had spent that whole time in the town, not venturing out much further. After that, Morgan wandered around and found Eastman and became a pacifist, before meeting up with Rick again in season 6 at Alexandria. The most likely timeline then would be for Morgan to meet up with the Fear gang during this time, probably before he ran into Eastman. Fear is set in Austin, Texas next season, so that seems to be a bit off geographically, but I suppose they will make it work. Morgan just seems like such an odd choice to me to cross over. I was really expecting Tobias from the early episodes of Fear to make his way to Alexandria.
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