Despite the fact that a large quantity of bullets have been exchanged, Tigers have ripped throats out, and skin has been torn off by flesh eating zombies, season 8 has been a little dull and it appears that hating on the show is the new cool thing, so everyone is doing it. As soon as someone starts a conversation about TWD, someone has to add in their dislike of it and the current season. And as per my last two reviews, it appears that even I have not been overly keen of it. However, I actually came away from this week’s episode feeling as it I had rather enjoyed it. It was by no means perfect, and naturally there were things to moan about, but it distracted me long enough to forget the mundanities of my shallow existence.

This episode picked up exactly where the last one left off, with every character still at the same locations they were last time doing exactly the same thing… so we are not off to an overly good start. As I said in my last review, it appears that I am right on the money in thinking that the first half of this season is going to take place all in the same short period of time (similar to how season 6 did it).

Ezekiel is first seen motivating his troops and giving them a speech about how if they remember their training and fight well, then they will not suffer a single casualty. We see them being held at gunpoint by a group of Savoirs (whistling in case we forgot that the Saviors do this, for some reason) before it is revealed that Carol has laid an ambush for them and absolutely mows the Saviors down with her commandos. Ezekiel is pretty chuffed that he was right and that no one had managed to get killed, and it seems that everything he has planned has come to fruition as the Kingdom push forward and take down outpost after outpost, racking up the kills (improving their overall K/D) and carving through the Saviors.
Unfortunately, all this talk of not losing any casualties makes me instantly know that something far worse awaits them on the horizon.

Elsewhere, the writers of the show are assuming we care about Aaron and his Eric’s relationship. Eric, who we have only seen about three memorable times, was shot in the last episode and Aaron takes him away from the battle to rest beside a tree. The two of them know Eric is done for and he tells Aaron to get back into the fight. As much as I don’t overly care about this forced emotional scene about Eric; a character who could have been utilised a bit more, I do actually quite like Aaron as a character overall. I swear that there was a moment when I felt like the characters had swapped names and I couldn’t remember which one was which.
To be fair to the writers, this death is handled a lot better than the comics did it (which has only happened a handful of times during the course of the show), as Eric is just hit in the head with a crossfire bullet and job done. Unfortunately, us not having enough time with this character makes us completely unemotionally attached to them, and giving them a long death is not the best way to go about it. Earlier in the series, they replaced Tyresse’s death from the comics; where he has his head hacked off with Michonne’s katana by the Governor, to Hershel, as Tyresse had not been in the show long enough and so it would not have as much of a powerful impact to the audience, which is fair enough. So maybe they should have shown us a little more of Eric to make us actually care about what we were being shown.

Anyway, the main thing about last episode was Rick being held at gunpoint by Morales (from season 1), who reveals himself as a Savior. Rick’s story continues on here and the two of them exchange a competition as to who has the most gravely voice and speak grimly. Each one layout everyone they have lost along the way as it is revealed that heading to Birmingham was a terrible idea and resulted in the lost of Morales’ family. He also reveals that Negan has ordered Rick, the widow (Maggie), and the King (who doesn’t need an introduction) to be kept alive if possible, meaning that Negan knew they were coming. So perhaps we have a traitor in our midsts… or maybe it was just when Nicolas went head and told Negan they were coming (more on this later).
Rick tells Morales about Glenn meeting his demise at the hands of Lucille, but he seems unaffected by this. He informs Rick that when the Saviors found him, he was a wreck and they gave him a sense of purpose. Thus declaring himself “Negan” (another thing the Saviors do that we have all kind of forgotten about).

I like that he tells Rick that “Officer Friendly”; a nickname Rick had all the way back in season 1, died with the others long ago. Rick has been a bit of an unlike-able character in the last couple of seasons. I know my missus has not warmed to him recently, and I think a lot of the audience has lost this connection as well, which is never a good thing for the main character of a show. This episode showed a different side to Rick, so maybe after seeing the baby and then his bloodied self in the mirror, in the last episode, Rick might start to become more likeable the further the season goes on.
This is strengthened when Daryl shows up and suddenly shoots Morales dead with his crossbow, as Rick desperately tried to get him to stop, thinking that maybe he could have turned him back onto the path of good.
It was a bit sudden to kill Morales off so quickly after bringing him back, but with something that happens towards the end of the episode (which I will cover in a mo), it helps reinforce this idea that Daryl is pissed with the Saviors and he is purely out for revenge, and actually becoming a little darker and more unpredictable, which is exactly what the character needed to evolve to, as he is far too much of a goody goody. I am secretly hoping that this leads to the character’s death to be honest. Killing Daryl will have a massive impact to fans of the show.

Daryl and Rick become under fire suddenly from a group of Saviors who have swarmed back inside, and after a little gun battle, Rick manages to utilise a fire extinguisher to get the upper hand.

At the same sort of time, Tara and Morgan are not happy with Jesus and his plan to escort 30 Savior prisoners back to the Hilltop. The little bastard rat-like Savior is mocking Morgan and causes him to lose his shit, which is not overly hard to do given that Morgan’s character is sort of all over the place. Somehow though, a classic Walking Dead surprise Zombie ninja attack is under way and catches the escort completely by surprise. They would have seen those Walkers a mile off, as the road was just long and straight, with a clear view of the hills where the herd comically rolled down. These people are suppose to be keeping an eye out for the Undead… surely? Doesn’t that just become second nature now in this world?
Anyway, regardless of that, other than a couple of prisoners being horrifically eaten (which I was surprised to see given how last season the show dumbed down the gore after Glenn’s death), the little bastard rat one and everyone he was tied to managed to break away and run off into the woods, with the crazed Morgan in hot pursuit. Which is actually quite intense for the Saviors, as they are running desperately through the trees whilst tied to one another with Morgan shooting at them. I actually felt quite sorry for them.
Once he catches up to them and shoots one of them dead (not Jared; the rat one, unfortunately) and when he goes to kill the rest of them, Jesus himself appears and stops him. Morgan goes a little loopy and attacks Jesus. The two exchange a rather enjoyable, if not pointless, fight, resulting in Jesus getting the upper hand.
Tara shows up and says that she agrees with Morgan, but it is not enough to help, as he realises his ways and decides to head off into the wilderness on his own, leaving us wondering if he is gone for good, or just to think, or if he is heading off somewhere to actually do something. For now, only time will tell I am afraid.

At the Hilltop, Gregory shows up, having just mugged Gabriel off and stealing his car, demanding them to open the door and let him in. Maggie opens it a little and asks where Gabriel is, since he has his car, to which Gregory comically says that he has no idea who that is.
Maggie has a go at him and tells him how stupid he is for turning with the Saviors, at which point Gregory reveals that he was scared and wanted to avoid bloodshed.
Personally I really like Gregory. It is easy to dislike him, but since there are so many characters in this show that we are ‘suppose to like’ yet I can’t stand, having a character we are meant to dislike makes me like him even more. Similar to Joffrey or Ramsey Snow in Game of Thrones; we love them because of how much we hate them. Of course comparing Gregory to those two might be a little harsh, but I feel it highlights my point.
I also enjoyed the little back and forth between Gregory and Kal, where Gregory insults him, not realising he was listening in the entire time.

Eventually Gregory pleads with Maggie and she realises that she is better than this and lets him in, much to Enid’s displeasure (who even cares what she thinks… JSS somewhere else Enid!).
At which point Jesus, Tara and the 30+ Savior captives show up, and Gregory immediately changes his tune and says that they can’t come in here for what they have done in the past, which did make me laugh. Maggie shuts him down and tells him to get lost, before stating that the prisoners can stay in two trailers elsewhere under guard. How big are these trailers to house 15 grown men and women?

Anyway, back at the office outpost… place, Aaron goes back to where he left Eric but finds him gone. He sees him as a Walker staggering off in the distance to join a herd wandering past (clearly not attracted by the noise of the gunfire moments earlier). It was quite a nice little moment, but echoing what I said earlier; we really do not care.
Rick appears with the baby; Gracie, and a tearful Aaron says he will take it back to the Hilltop. I was worried that Rick had just left the baby when we saw lots of shots of the victims of the gunfight either reanimating, or being fed on by the Undead, seemingly swarming over the battlefield, but the goodies had this under control and cleared the place of Walkers after they were done.

As Rick and Daryl discuss the fact that the whole reason they came here was because of some heavy weapons (based on Dwight’s intel), it appears that it was for naught as the weapons are not actually here, someone fires upon them. Rick manages to talk the person down who surrenders and gives up that the weapons were moved a few days earlier. Rick seems like he is going let this guy go or bring him into the fold, but as I said earlier, Daryl is out for blood and shoots this seemingly nice young man, in the head. Rick gives him a look, but Daryl doesn’t even acknowledge that he has done anything wrong.

So, we know that the heavy weapons are elsewhere, and that there are 2 minutes of the episode left. We see Ezekiel and his men feeling good having just cleared another Savior outpost without a single casualty. So it doesn’t take long before everything clicks and near enough the entire lot are mowed down by the 50 caliber machine gunfire raining down upon them. A few of Ezekiel’s men rush over to shield him, but the episode suddenly cuts, leaving us wondering who is alive.
Now anyone who has read the comics knows what to expect, in terms of one of the characters, but I am pretty sure that means that a well loved character will surely be dead by the end of the next episode (you heard it here first!), but I won’t reveal who that is of course. I could be wrong, but it is all falling a little into line with the comics, and that means we might be in for a PROPER emotional death next week.

It is also worth noting that Carol and Jerry were amongst Ezekiel’s squad, so their fates are also left up in the air… for now. Hopefully Jerry made it, as I am sure Carol is fine, but Jerry is one of those characters who could die at any moment.

Overall the episode was actually rather enjoyable, I thought. It was not without its moments, but we have come to expect that with this show. If the season remained at this quality, then it would be just alright, if noting overly special. I have hopes that this might be the turning point that the season needed, and am actually looking forward to next week’s episode if my theory does come true.

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