And we're back ...
We start with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham getting stopped on the road by Negan's men. Our three are disarmed and one of Negan's thugs takes Daryl around back of the truck, ostensibly to search for whatever else loot may be stashed there. The head guy yammers on a bit; the rest of the thugs aim all their guns at Sasha and Abraham; the droning music amps up the tension. Then the head guy decides that he is, in fact, going to shoot Sasha and Abraham, despite having promised that he wouldn't. He raises his guns and then BOOM ALL THE GUYS DISINTEGRATE IN A MASSIVE EXPLOSION. Heads fly everywhere. And Daryl saunters out from behind the truck - where he somehow killed the thug he was with without anyone else hearing anything - holding that rocket launcher Abraham scavenged. It's completely ridiculous: we never heard or saw the rocket fly by, for one. But it's also kind of nice to have a tiny little bit of humor in this largely humorless show. "What a buncha assholes," mutters Daryl, as they climb back into their truck.
Back at Alexandria, Rick leads Jessie, Sam, Ron, Carl with Judith, Gabriel and Michonne through the milling zombies. I believe their original plan was to get to the arsenal and at first it goes well - they aren't being noticed at all. But then they step off to the side as Rick tells them that the weapons they'll get at the arsenal won't be enough (so? at least they'll be more than what you've got now) so they should walk all the way to the quarry and then drive back to lead the walkers away. Terrible plan, Rick. But everyone just nods their heads. Gabriel volunteers to take Judith to the church to wait it out and for some reason, Rick decides that he can trust the reverend with his daughter. Really? Jessie wants Sam to go to the church too but Sam is terrified to leave his mother and insists that he can make it. They all grab hands and continue on.
Tara, Rosita, Eugene, Carol and Morgan regroup where the Wolf and Denise left them in the brownstone (a brownstone? in a rural housing development?). They've only got Rosita's gun and Morgan's staff. Carol takes the gun and does a sweep of the house. Meanwhile, the Wolf and Denise hunker down in a stairwell, waiting for a break in the zombies to make a run for the wall. Doesn't seem like that's a particularly safe place. Denise looks like she's about to go into shock but the Wolf is all, I need you, we can do this. Also, Glen and Enid get to the church and look for supplies - guns, ammunition, sheets they can use to climb the wall and get Maggie down from her perch. This is weird, though: how fucking big is Alexandria that Gabriel and Judith haven't gotten to the church yet? Have the Glen and Enid scenes been edited in out of order? Enid finds a gun hidden in the altar.
Editorial insert #1: This fucking show keeps changing the rules. Whereas sometimes people can't talk at all without being tracked by the walkers, now it appears that low talking - not even whispering - is okay ... until it isn't. Then Rick changes the plan halfway through town? He couldn't have gotten them to safety inside the arsenal, with additional weapons, before revising the plan to head for the quarry? Also, the first time they tried the zombie guts disguise, they were drenched with the gooey stuff. This time they're just wearing barely coated ponchos. INCONSISTENT. Writers, you need to keep the rules of this universe consistent. Sigh.
All of a sudden, it's night.
Editorial insert #2: Night really? Already? And Rick's group STILL isn't out of town yet? How were they possibly going to walk to the quarry in the dark with all those zombies? STUPID SHOW.
Everyone's zombie guts poncho is pretty dry by now but still the zombies don't notice. Until Sam - who was doing fine before - decides to remember all the crappy things Carol told him about getting eaten alive by monsters and freaks out. He stops in the middle of the road, refusing to go any further. Jessie, Rick and Ron whisper-shout at him and still the zombies don't notice. Until suddenly two zombies swoop into the shot and start gnawing on Sam. WTF? Did none of Rick, Carl or Michonne see them coming? And then Jessie screams and zombies pounce on her. And then Rick starts to go a little crazy, having flashbacks of how much he lurves Jessie. Jessie is getting chowed on but is still holding onto Carl's hand and he can't get away. So Rick takes out his machete and hacks her arm off. Carl falls over, his gun getting knocked out of his hand. A traumatized Ron picks up the gun, aiming it at Rick or Carl, whoever. Before he can shoot, Michonne skewers him through the back with her katana. He lurches and the gun goes off. Rick flinches but it was Carl who got shot. In the eye. As Michonne wields her sword like the badass she is, Rick snatches up Carl's limp body and they make a run for it.
In the "brownstone," Rosita reminds Eugene that he's a coward and Carol and Morgan have a little talk - nothing much gets resolved except that she says she really should have just killed him. Outside, the Wolf and Denise make a break for it. He reaches the ladder up the wall but when she gets cornered, he goes back to help her, getting a big bite taken out of his arm for his trouble. Her backbone snaps into place and she says, "Get me to the infirmary and I can save your life." They almost make it too - but Carol, on lookout, shoots the Wolf down. He gives Denise a little shove, urging her on. Aaron and some others have taken refuge in the infirmary and when Denise looks out the window and sees Rick and Michonne coming with Carl, she has them help her stitch Carl back together. Because getting shot through the eye wouldn't kill you. (I know, it's in the comic but it's a little harder to swallow in a live-action show.) As they work to save his son, Rick freaks out some more. He grabs his machete and runs back outside.
Out in the horde, Rick is fighting like a maniac. As soon as she can, Michonne runs out to join him, as do Aaron and the other Alexandrians. Gabriel sees them from the church and decides to be brave, as do many other previously cowardly Alexandrians, and eventually Carol and her group - even Eugene - are out there too. The small group of humans hack and slash and kill walkers and make a stand, being impressively efficient at it.
Editorial insert #3: Seriously? I mean, it's very inspiring but again, inconsistent that this small group isn't being completely overrun.
Meanwhile, Glen and Enid get over to Maggie. Enid scampers up the scaffolding to try to get Maggie over the wall, Glen tries to singlehandedly murder scores of zombies and Maggie screams her lungs out because it pretty much looks like he's going to be killed. Until semiautomatic weapons roar out from atop another section of the wall: it's Sasha and Abraham and they rake the zombie horde with their guns, saving Glen and bringing death to the walkers from on high.
Daryl is there too, of course, and after they rescue Maggie, Enid and Glen, they back the tanker truck up to a little pond in the center of town so that Daryl can pour out a bunch of gasoline into the pond. Then he lights it up by shooting it with the rocket launcher. There's a huge explosion and the zombies are all attracted by the light and noise. Like bugs to a bug-zapper, zombies walk into the flames and burn.
Editorial insert #4: Is that a thing? I know we've seen zombies attracted by bonfires before but I really don't remember them walking right into it. Writers changing the rules again, just to suit the situation.
Then there's this strange scene of each of our heroes, one at a time, up against a black background, murdering zombies. Perhaps it's out of the comics, perhaps it's meant to be uplifting and inspiring, but it's just a little silly and out of place, IMHO. We get it. You kill zombies.
In the morning, it looks like everyone has survived (really?), including Carl. And Rick has had this massive change of heart: he realizes that the Alexandrians are not useless and that together they can rebuild the walls, rebuild the town. He gets all teary and tells his son that he has hope for a future for him, a feeling he hasn't had since before he woke up in the hospital. "Ah want to show you the new world, Coral!" And, heartwarmingly, just as the episode ends, Carl's fingers twitch and close around Rick's hand. Awwwwww!
I just. I don't know. Yes, this was a more exciting episode than many when they're just walking and talking and talking and walking. But even the zombie violence isn't that interesting anymore - there really needs to be consistency, so there can be tension when things are going badly for the characters and we know the writers aren't just going to change the universe's rules to get them out of it. There needs to be character development - look at Denise, for a decent example. There needs to be more plot than finding a safe place and then losing it moments later, then finding another safe place, and then losing that one moments later. The Walking Dead is such a hugely popular show - I just want it to be a better one.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
27 minutes ago