Last week we saw the triumphant, yet secretive, return of the Saviors fearless leader; Negan, as he escaped the clutches of Jadis in the Junk Yard, picked up a mysterious companion (who I completely forgot until the end of this week’s episode when they finally revealed who it was that he picked up), and prepared us to see him bring down Simon and his coup de grâce that he has been leading in Negan’s absence.
Meanwhile Daryl and Rosita prepared for the captured or assassination (wasn’t 100% if I am honest) of the Bullet Maker; aka Eugene, in an attempt to cripple the Saviors’ ammunition supply.
So overall we were set up nicely for a great episode! And It was. I really enjoyed it and it has made me realise that I do not care for Rick and the rest of them miserable bunch over at the Hilltop. When the episode began, the intro was of Rick finally reading Carl’s letter (are we not done with this already?!), with Carl narrating over the top of it, and I could hear my brain going “oh for god sake! Just get on with it!”, but thankfully, after the beginning credits, we didn’t see much else for Rick, Maggie, and everyone else who talks to one another in a miserable breathy and angry tone of voice (sure, they have been through a lot; losing husbands and children, but come on… it makes for such dull viewing), and the episode shifted over to Simon, Dwight, and Negan as they competed for this rock, paper, scissors match (Simon wanting to be in charge, Negan wanting to get things back to how they were when he was in charge, and Dwight secretly working for the good guys).
This made the episode a million times more enjoyable, and I would much rather watch an entire TV series about the bad guys, than put up with another one on one emotional dialogue piece.
Oh, there was a story about Aaron, desperately trying to get those strange forest/coastal group of women on their side, by hiding out in the woods and not fucking off, but it is such a dead storyline that it needs to just be done away with. Give me a hundred junk yard groups over these bastard women knocking about in the woods! I actually cannot stand anything to do with them. No one cares if they join the fight or not. I don’t care… no one cares. Leave it Aaron.
But he continued hanging about, to the point of almost dying and killing a small horde of undead, eventually convincing them to join in the fight for the final episode. Woohoo ¬_¬ I would have much rather the Kingdom was still around with the bloody tiger than these guys.
Anyway, thankfully this didn’t take up much of our screen time, so we won’t waste any more of this review on that!
So, moving on. The other key storyline this week (apart from the main one, which I will get to next) was Rosita and Daryl’s, but really the focus was more on Eugene. He has been living the life of riley, bossing people about, making his college day’s mac and cheese, women, pickles, video games, power, a purpose, everything! Negan has given him everything he could ever want… so fair play to him. If I am being honest, I probably would have done the same thing. Why the hell would I want to go back to the Hilltop or Alexandria, and be treated like a piece of shit, not being used to his optimal capacity, and just being a general waste of space, like he was in the last couple of seasons before he was captured? You wouldn’t.
So here we see Eugene being a bad guy. I have always suspected that he has been secretly up to something, such as making shoddy bullets for the Saviors that won’t work when the time comes, but by the end of his segment of this episode, I do think he is now just purely on the Saviors side. Even when Rosita and Sasha tried to take him back last season and he didn’t go, I had a Luke Skywalkers/Darth Vader moment where I still believed that there is good in him, but after this week’s performance, I am happy to have him as another antagonist.
I still reckon that there bullet thing could happen, and that his actions and current persona, is all just a façade to make the audience think that he has truly been corrupted by the dark side, so at this point in time, I believe it can really go either way.
Last week I thought that Daryl and Rosita were going to kill Eugene, but it turns out there plan was just to capture him, bring him back to the Hilltop, and imprison him, but still have him making bullets for them.
Well after Eugene had a go at poor blind and sick Father Gabriel, who is currently working on the bullet production line under duress, Eugene pops outside to test a few bullets out, only for the guards to be killed and Eugene becomes captured.
Now since they didn’t storm inside and slaughter everyone, which is currently what the “good guys” do, and the fact that Rosita and Daryl had parked about 12 miles away, I knew that this was not going to go as planned.
Eugene tried to explain how he had been seduced by the dark side and how he tried to resist, neither of his captives wanted to listen, resulting in Daryl threatening to cut off his tongue, and Rosita telling him how they were going to lock him up for the rest of his days.
Man… fuck these good guys! I am with Eugene. Screw going back there.
Thankfully Eugene is a surprisingly resourceful fellow, and given the amount of mac and cheese he had eaten, he was able to projectile vomit over Rosita whilst they were distracted by a group of Walkers, allowing him to escape. It was amazingly disgusting. I am pleased my wife wasn’t watching as she would have gagged haha.
Eugene then evaded capture and got himself back to the workshop where, filled with what can only be described as anger at his former friends back at the Hilltop, he tells his people that he will meet all Negan’s bullet shipments on time.
Now he could be playing still and is getting them to make duds, but given everything he just went through, it would be a colossal waste of everyone’s time, and it wouldn’t make sense as he has a much better chance staying with the Saviors, than he does or returning to a life of imprisonment with the supposed protagonists. So I am hoping that he is now well and truly “Negan”.
So, now that the rest of the episode has been dealt with, we get to the main bulk of the episode; Negan’s return to Sanctuary.
Well Simon has been running the show, and he hasn’t been running too bad a one to be fair. Maybe I have a bit of sympathy to the actor, as I do like him, but he hasn’t really done much wrong. In fact killing the filthy Trash people was a much better choice than keeping them about to betray the Saviors once again.
Simon is doing the boss thing now, and he had a little meeting with Gregory (previously escaping the Hilltop), telling him that he is now in charge, which Gregory seems to be quite pleased with, given Simon and Gregory’s history. Simon does tell him though that he is of no longer useful to them, which Gregory takes as meaning he will be exiled, causing him to stand up to Simon, but Simon easily puts him flat on his face with one swift hit. Although it seemed to work in Gregory’s favour, as Simon was planning on killing him, but has instead allowed him to join them at Sanctuary.
Meanwhile Dwight is knocking about outside when he hears Negan’s whistle and looks round to see his former boss in all his glory. He uses this time to gain a bit of information as to what has been going on since they have been away, before holding a meeting of the Savior team leaders; including Simon, which is a bit crud as we do not get to see the moment when Simon learns that Negan is alive and in fact back. That is completely missing from the episode, which is a great waste. Instead we are just given a scene of all the top Savior guys in the war room with Negan well and truly re-established as their leader once again.
Simon does apologies for things, but states that he was just doing what he thought Negan would want, albeit taking things a little too personally when it came to the Hilltop… and the Junk Yard people.
During the end of the meeting, Negan gets up, with Lucille in hand and heads behind him whilst Simon is sitting in his chair, which is never a good thing. I would be incredibly nervous if Negan was talking to me whilst my back was to him. I was just sitting there and waiting for the moment when he cracked Simon over the head with Lucille and covered the entire war room in his brains, but the moment never came.
He told Simon to get on his knees, which he did, and when they started longing it out, I realised that it was NEVER going to happen. Negan tells him to take his shot, which Simon does not do, and this is revealled all to be a test whereby, at the end of it, Negan simply says that he forgives him.
Negan then reveals his big plan of having outposts stationed around the Hilltop, popping any of them off the moment the survivors there stick their head out. The waiting game, which Simon naturally disapproves of, despite now arse-licking Negan to the maximum.
Later Dwight is copying the battle plan onto a map to give to Rick, with the blatant words “Let’s End Negan” written on them which is a little dangerous if you ask me. Anyone who finds this would instantly know he was not on the Saviors’ side, where as if he didn’t write that, he’d be able to lie about it easier.
Anyway, Simon shows up and announces to Dwight that he is plotting another mutiny and has a group of Saviors ready for when the time comes. He basically forces Dwight into a position where he must agree, even though you know that Dwight is not going to do this. You can see it coming a mile off.
Even still, a great scene takes place after where Simon meets up with Dwight outside, along with his ragtag team of mutineers, but it turns out to be a trap and Dwight has grassed up to the big man himself. Negan pops out from his little hiding place, and his loyal Saviors gun down the rebel ones with ease, leaving Simon and Gregory (of all people) alive. At the time, I was not sure what the hell Negan’s plan for Gregory was. He is a traitorous coward who will do whatever he can to get by, but as the episode devloped, all was revealed and I was please with the outcome (sort of).
There is a little bit of a moment when we learn a bit more about Simon’s past, but it is never really developed. So maybe if we get a flashback Negan episode, we will see more of him then, but it appears that Simon was some kind of mad dog hanging out with a group of savage wastelanders in the days before Sanctuary. We do learn that Simon was there in the beginning, and that he has always been loyal to Negan, until now.
So Negan says that he is not going to kill Simon there and then and gives him his chance to best him, in some Black Panther-esc battle area, 1 on 1, with all the other Saviors gathered round to watch the battle of the century.
Here Simon spouts how they are going to get to work after this fight for the alpha is done, and cheap hit Negan, kicking off the fight.
We actually miss quite a bit of this battle, which appears to be going either way, when Dwight runs over to Gregory and gives him the map (of all fucking people!) and tells him to deliver it to Rick, which he does, running off during the commotion (once again).
When it comes back to the fight, Negan has Simon by the throat and he is choking him, so we missed most of the fight, and he tells him that he is going to do, pretty much, what Simon had planned for the Hilltop all along, before he breaks Simon’s throat, killing him.
After all is said and done, Negan and Dwight are walking and talking about everything that has transpired, and Negan says that now Simon is dead, Dwight will be his number 2.
Just quickly, a shot is shown of Gregory locked up in Hilltop jail once again as Rick takes the map from him and sees that Dwight has delivered the goods…. Or has he?
Just after Negan gives Dwight his knighthood, he opens the door to his room to reveal that the person he picked up the episode before was that bastard nose piercing woman Savior, who we all thought was dead when Dwight betrayed them after leaving Alexandria at the beginning of this second half of the season. Apparently she survived (not that I actually remember what happened to her… pretty coincidental that Negan himself managed to find her) and he has ratted on Dwight, so Negan knew all along that he was the one who had double crossed them, and that the plan Negan had for the Hilltop was bullshit, meaning that Gregory has just delivered some fake news to Rick, which will undoubtedly lead them to their doom!… but probably not.
In the final scene, Simon’s zombified body is tied to the fence outside the Sanctuary, probably as a message to anyone else thinking of trying to overthrow Negan, and the man himself receives a call on his walkie talkie from Michonne (of all people), who reads him Carl’s letter (this again!).
In the letter, Carl says how he wants Negan to make peace with Rick and that if the offer ever comes up during their battle, that he wants him to take it.
Negan pretty much says that the time for this has passed, and that Rick will suffer for everything that he has done, as he has been the cause for all of this, before smashing the walkie talkie on the floor, ending the episode.
So the finale is upon us next week, and I can finally stop writing these bastard reviews/episode breakdowns every week!
What do you think will happen? Will it go the same lame way that it did in the comics? Or will the show try something different? They killed Carl after all, so they are capable of anything.
Will Jeffrey Dean Morgan hang around for another season, now that he is big and famous, or will Negan finally meet his maker?
If you have been following this series, then you already know my thoughts on it, so I am pretty sure of most things, but who knows, I could be very very wrong.
Next week the final battle commences and we will have our outcome. Stay tuned.