This review contains spoilers.
There was plenty of things happening this week on The Walking Dead. The pattern of the show so far this season has been to localise the episodes, focusing on either one or two story arcs. This time around however we had multiple stories progressing at various locations within the world. You had Rick on a mission to convince the Scavengers to join the fold. The Hilltop had Savior prisoners to deal with, Carl went wandering, Carol had King problems and Michonne and Rosita finally got off the bench. So there was a lot packed in to one episode.
Overall it worked, the episode added much needed character and story development and acts as setup for the next phase of the series as we head towards to the halfway point. The only negative with so many stories and characters is that it felt like the series had stopped it’s momentum. However this halt is understandable, they have been going full speed for five episodes now, so the show had to inevitably catch it’s breath. I would rather they take their time in one episode to setup and align all their characters and stories, than to spread it out. Get what needs to be sorted out there and over. When you return with the next episode you can get back into the pacing of the show, which so far this season has been excellent.
There was a lot of tension on the Hilltop this week, Jesus continues to watch over the Savior prisoners, whilst Maggie and others are not so happy with their presence. Whilst understandable, I still think Jesus is doing the right thing when this is over you need to live with others. Win over the hearts and minds, not all the Saviors are bad, many just want to survive. All our favourite characters have done questionable things in the show, so it’s not like anyone really has the moral high ground. I knew Gregory would get his comeuppance when he spoke about wolves and sheep. It was the perfect line to allow Maggie to grow as a leader on the show when she inevitably uses his words against him and locks him away with the prisoners. On the plus side, we also got to see Kal again. He’s definitely one of my favourite background character for sure. Hopefully, he avoids his comic book fate.
The recovering Michonne and Rosita decide to go on a Thelma & Louise adventure. By good fortune, they stumble upon a rescue attempt by some Saviors. The plan is to load a truck up with speakers, blast out the music and draw the walkers away from their compound. A brief confrontation leads to Rosita blowing up one Savior with an RPG. It was a cool visual, if not a little silly. Just as it appeared that they had bodged things up, Daryl ploughs into the escaping truck and then gets out and shoots the Savior. Another act of no-nonsense bloodshed from Daryl. Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Tara have now teamed up and are heading to ‘end things’ at the Savior’s compound. This story was OK, but I find myself disliking Rosita more and more, she has become a very bland character.
My favourite story this week was probably the one involving Carl, which I never thought I would write, given my disinterest in his character. He manages to track down the petrol station survivor who, as it turns out, is pretty good and killing walkers. In yet another nod to previous seasons, Carl asks him ‘the questions’. The quality of the dialogue writing was extremely strong here, so fair play to Chandler Riggs as he really excelled with his delivery. I like the look of Siddiq, depending on how they want to use the character he could be a big asset for the show. Avi Nash put in a tremendous performance and hopefully, he sticks around for many more episodes to come.
At the Kingdom, Carol is trying to figure out what to do next. Her ‘Plan A’ of getting Ezekiel back on track didn’t go the way she had hoped. I was actually glad about this, I was worried they were going to rush it and in one episode pull him back. After Carol’s fantastic speech I fully expected it, but I was very relieved in the end after Ezekiel rejects her help. This needs to be played out and allowed to continue, it will make his re-introduction much more worthwhile. It’ll be worth the payoff.
Not much of Rick this week. He bookended the episode with his time at the Scavengers base, starting off with his ultimatum and ending in the buff locked inside a shipping container. Rick walked in there probably knowing he could end up captured, so I assume there is back up close behind ready to make their move. Lets bust Rick out ASAP and rid ourselves of the Scavengers. I’m not down for a prolonged Scavengers sub-plot, they just don’t offer that much in terms of engaging story. They shot their load early with Winslow, the armoured spike zombie, and since then we have just been left with an underwhelming sticky mess of a group. Or group of mess. I’ll stop now, I talk too much.
Overall, another enjoyable episode. It may not have hit the heights like other episodes have this season, but it still played out at a reasonable pace. It added lots of setup and character development in preparation for the next phase of the series. It was needed, and if you struggled to get into the episode you will soon see the benefits later on in the season.