Some I know told me that they thought that this week’s episode of The Walking Dead was slow and nothing happened. I was a little surprised by this as I actually thought quite a lot took place. We saw the fall of one entire group, Simon going against Negan’s wishes, Rick and Negan’s little discussion about the death of Carl, as well as a shit ton of zombie action, so I was a little confused by what they meant that it was a ‘slow’ episode?
I think that after 8 years of the show, we have witnessed countless scenes of people facing near death, or maybe meeting their demise, against a horde of undead, and because of that, I believe that people have maybe become accustomed to it, therefore making it uninteresting and forgettable. There has been a massive flood of zombie-related media over the last 10 years, with only now starting to slow down and phase off more into aliens or the supernatural, but every now and again someone will release something zombie related, such as a ‘zombie mode’ in a computer game, and we will roll our eyes and someone will make a comment about how they think zombies are overused.
I think that this is a contributing factor as to why people might have thought that last night’s episode was slow. The show has become so much more than man verses the undead. In fact, if you ever thought that The Walking Dead was about the zombies and complained that there was never enough zombie action in earlier episodes, then you have been making a mistake, as the show is actually about people struggling to survive during this <insert apocalypse type>. It is the story of what people will do when there are no rules, and just how inhuman people will become. It has been overused as of late, but when the comic books came out for The Walking Dead, it was still not an overly used story, like it is today.
Funny enough the opening scene of last nights episode is exactly what I am talking about. Here were are given the name ‘Michonne’ on our screen, indicating that we are going to see various different characters have their own little scenes throughout the episode. Anyway, Michonne’s picks up after the last episode with Rich and her burying Carl amongst the ruins of Alexandria. The place is swarming with undead, but neither of them seem bothered. This is exactly how the fans of the show feel now with the undead threat. Scenes were Michonne goes to their house and sees Judith and her hand prints on the front porch are overshadowed by the ominous presences of death and decay all around, as Walkers stagger closer towards her, but she is not phased at all by it. In fact the two of them have time to pack up a lot of supplies into that classic van, as well as attempt to put out the fire burning the pergola that Reg Monroe and Noah built. It was quite a nice little moment when they have to leave it due to the swarm of undead.
If this is the end of the Alexandria safe zone, then this was a nice little farewell to it, as we have been shown a few key memories from its past.
Michonne also shuts the main gate, but as she does, some zombie gets his face caught in the lock and pretty much has it pulled right off. This, plus the scene towards the end of the episode, makes it a very gory episode.
As they drive away from their former home, Michonne looks through the envelopes of the letters Carl wrote for people, only to see that he had written one for Negan.
The two of them head to the junk yard as Rick knows that the Saviors will be headed there next, but when they get there, they find the place is overrun with the dead. It appears they are too late.
The next little story section was titled “Negan” and this is centred around Negan’s war-room where we see the big man himself and Simon get into a back and forth about what to do with the Hilltop and the Scavengers at the Junk Yard. Simon believes that they have wrong the Saviors and should take them out, but Negan wants everyone to follow his rule and tells him that they are not killing them.
I must admit, I do really like Simon. Not only is he Trevor in GTA5, but he is actually quite a good villain. While Negan IS technically a bad guy, people love him, so he is not painted the same way as, say the Governor, in the sense that he is a sadistic evil person. Negan is kind of loveable, even though we are quick to forget that he battered Glen’s head in with a baseball bat. If it wasn’t such an iconic moment in the comic book, I doubt the show would have gone down such a dark road to first introduce their villain. Anyway, the shift here between Simon and Negan and their differences, as well as Simon’s actions in this episode, could paint him as the actual “bad” guy who will get a grizzly comeuppance, as I can see Negan maybe becoming this “uncle Negan” type character that we saw in Carl’s dream/wish.
At the end of this section, some Saviors enter and bring a crate in from Maggie at the Hilltop, which has one of the Saviors zombified in it, with a threatening message written on the top of the crate.
Clearly THIS is good enough for him to declare war on the Hilltop. I mean the Kingdom did nothing and yet they are laid to waste, so when the Hilltop does this, surely Negan MUST act? But it doesn’t look like he is going to, which has not only pissed me off, but it has pissed off Simon, who Negan has asked to go to the Junk Yard and make an example of them (kill only 1 – he says).
Just a quick food for thought here. Why the fuck don’t Negan and the rest of the Saviors just move to the Hilltop? Sanctuary is a bit of a shithole. It is some run down factory in some industrial area. If the farming of the Hilltop is so important, just take it over and move into that sweet manor house there?
Anyway, next up the words “Enid” come up and automatically I think; “Oh my god! Who fucking cares!”
I had completely forgotten what most of THAT storyline was about, so I was thankful for the ‘previously’ at the start of the episode.
So Enid shot someone’s grandma, in an attempt to get those woman, who just want to be left alone, on their side to take on the Saviors. Great going. Now her and Aaron find themselves chained to a radiator with the Granddaughter of the woman shot, deciding their fate.
This was a classic dull Walking Dead scene with just over dramatic conversations about what they MUST do, and not to let her death be for nothing. Yadda Yadda yadda. It’s the same old stuff we have heard a million times, and Enid, you are not an interesting enough character for me to care when you are saying it.
I must admit I did fizzle out here, but I think Enid, somehow, convinced them to let them go, despite the fact she was being a bit of a dick about it after shooting their grandma. Aaron tells her to go to back to the Hilltop, as he clearly has something else in mind, but I am sure we will find out another time.
The next section is “Simon”, which I really enjoyed. Here we see him arriving at the Junk Yard to deal with the filthy trash people, as per Negan’s specific wishes, but after taking all of their guns and ammo, he still wants an apology. The trash people were reluctant to hand over their guns, all of them speaking in that stupid primal dialect, as if they have de-evolved from the year they have spent living in this filth, but they do so anyway.
Simon is not happy with Jadis’ lack of remorse, and so he shoots Jadis’ old second in command mate dead, which is fine. Negan did say kill just one to teach them a lesson, but then he shoots another, which prompts Jadis to attack him, and after dealing with that, he orders the Saviors to open fire on the Scavengers, wiping them out, but explaining why the place is overrun with zombies when Rick and Michonne get there.
Now, an interesting point, before we move on to next section, is that Simon makes an interesting comment when he is talking to Jadis. He mentions that there is an helipad and solar panels hidden somewhere in the Junk yard, implying that this place is not actually a Junk Yard, that it is housing something else, or maybe there is just something secret hidden nearby that Jadis and her crew do not know about. Either way, it is interesting considering all of the strange things occurring recently, such as the helicopter Rick saw but hasn’t mentioned since, which was heading towards the Junk Yard, and the time that some UFO flew past Rick’s head the first time he visited the Junk Yard a while ago. It is clear that the writers are laying the groundwork for something yet to come, or maybe they are trying to generate a bit of conversations and theory creations with a couple of LOST -esc mysteries. Either way, I was very interested in what was being said and would have love to have known more, but I am sure we are going to have to wait until the next season for this, at the least.
Simon returns to the Sanctuary, and is greeted by Negan who asks him how it went. Simon naturally lies to him, but I am curious to see how this plot goes, as we can see some tension building between Simon and his boss, and maybe an attempted coup might be on the cards. I really liked Simon’s little line of “there was remorse”.
So, getting back on track. Jadis’ segment was next and we cut back to Rick and Michonne arriving at the Junk Yard and being greeted by the horde of turned Scavengers. As they escape their doom, they find Jadis, now wearing a nightie, atop a pile of garbage, out of harms way. She looks beaten and broken, and is now talking normally, now that the rest of her community are all flesh hungry monsters.
She mentions how she used to come here to gather material for her art, and how she built a life here, in an attempt to fast forward a quick origin story for her.
Meanwhile Rich has been making make-shift riot shields out of junk, clearly for their escape. When Jadis asks to come with them, Rick turns into a MASSIVE DICK! and says no! That she has brought this on her own people and everything is her fault.
Oh right. You were arse licking in previous episodes, and even at the beginning of this one saying how they need the Scavengers, but now that they are all dead, he doesn’t need Jadis. What a user!
Was she even that bad? If you think about it? Maybe she was, but does leaving her to her own fate not really agree with this new way of life that Carl has been hinting at? I am going to be a bit annoyed if Rick gives Negan a prison sentence or allows him to become that “Uncle Negan” we saw last week, if he left Jadis to her own fate.
So as Rick and Michonne escape, now having totally wasted their time and ours, Jadis tries to follow but it looks like she might be overrun. She sees that Rick clearly doesn’t want anything to do with her and runs off, further into the Junk Yard, assuming towards her end, however, we see another shot of her some time after staring off and banging something to lure the undead remains of her friends towards her.
At first I thought she was going to be sitting down and just let them completely devour her, which is a grizzly way to go, but it would have been quite a ceremonial end, but when the camera pans down a little and we see her push a big lever, staring up some engine, I was not sure what was coming. Maybe it was a secret entrance to this mysterious government/military facility buried beneath the Junk Yard?
OH! It’s a big fucking meat grinder. She stands and watch as Scavenger zombie after zombie falls into it, creating a load of mince at the other end. We actually get to see the dead falling into the gears and being broken down into mush. It did look a little too CGI, but I am not going to complain as it did still look realistic enough, without actually crushing bodies.
Jadis, now covered in gore, heads down to grab a mysterious box in a hidden compartment. Would could it be? A secret item that tells us the truth of the hidden facility beneath the Junk ya… oh it is tins of apple sauce. Brilliant. Her final shot ends with her chowing down.
The final segment is Rick’s and this review has gone on far too long. 3 pages it enough.
Rick and Michonne are heading to the Hilltop when they decide to stop and call Negan on a walkie talkie he acquired earlier. Here he tells him that Carl is dead and that he has left him a letter. Negan is actually genuinely upset about it and is concerned that one of his grenades did it. Well that is the risk you take when you lob grenades into a civilian establishment. He is relieved to hear that it was not his fault, but if I was Rick, I would have lied.
Negan then goes on to tell him that it is RICK’S fault that Carl died. He failed him as a father as he was too buys trying to deal with the Saviors instead of looking out for his son. He says that all these people have died for a lost cause and that he should just surrender, seeing that the war has lost him more than he has gained, to which Rick remains silent as Negan is actually quite right.