This review contains spoilers.
In our first episode post-Carl Grimes, we get a little something new in The Walking Dead. No, they haven’t fixed some of the nagging issues the show has been carrying for a few years now. But they have at least tried to bring something new to the show. Title cards.
The episode was split into four different character viewpoints, and while they end result could have worked without the titles breaking up the different stories, it worked well enough. But before I go into that, the episode started with some Carl fallout. Rick started the episode by trying to avoid the subject, whereas Michonne let her frustration and hurt out on a handful of Walkers. The contrast worked well, but Rick, the lack of obvious emotion would not be absent for long.
We’ve not seen ‘real world’ Negan since the show returned from the mid-season break, and boy did Jeffry Dean Morgan make up for lost time. Not only did he start the episode brilliantly, with some epic exchanges with Simon, but he delivered some powerful lines at the end of the episode too. To begin with, his interactions with Simon in this episode show that there is some strain on their relationship. Simon is disobeying orders and pushing back a little, how long he can continue to do so before Negan flips, remains to be seen. I could watch an entire episode of Rick and Negan back-and-forths. And when Rick told Negan that Carl was dead, it was a big moment for Negan.
You thought that Rick would try to come to some sort of agreement, but no, Rick wants Negan dead. But as harsh as his death threat sounded, Negan got the killer blow in the conversation when he said that Rick had failed as a father. This was such a joyous scene to watch, and while some of the show decisions and plot writing may be frustrating at times, the acting can never be questioned.
The majority of the episode was centred around the ‘Trash People’, and that is never a good thing. However, watching Simon and The Saviors kill all of Jadis’ followers brought a welcome end to this particular faction. They are just so boring and not compelling to watch, so I welcome the decision to kill them all off. I’m glad that Jadis is still around though, and I’m intrigued to see what happens next with her character. She’s back to speaking properly, so has her version of a ‘King Ezekiel’ act dropped for good? What is with the helipad that was so clearly mentioned? There is more potential now this faction is down to a single character.
Oh, and while I could badmouth this faction all day long, the grinder scene was brilliant.
We had some Oceanside which, like the Trash People, is a ‘meh’ thing. They haven’t really done much so far, and I was hoping that Aaron would have more to do here, but it looks like he’s falling back down the secondary character pecking order.
Overall, it was an ok episode. It had some nice moments and was probably elevated thanks to Negan’s presence. They have improved the pacing this season, but this episode just felt a little slower and felt more like a problematic episode which, worryingly, The Walking Dead is getting too good at producing. The acting was superb though, so no complaints there. We just things to get going again as the season heads towards the finish line.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below.