Previously on The Walking Dead: A year-and-a-half after the end of the All-Out War, all of the communities (the Hilltop, Alexandria, the Sanctuary) are working together in various ways to try to rebuild their lives and restore some semblance of normalcy. Which hits a serious fucking roadblock when Kenneth, one of Maggie’s people, is killed after bitten by a Walker and Gregory convinces Kenneth’s father to kill Maggie in retaliation. Earl fails to do so, Maggie confronts Gregory about what he’s done and has him executed in front of everyone as punishment via hanging (and unfortunately for Gregory, he doesn’t have The Man With No Name to come through and save him at the last minute.)
THE STORY SO FAR: The communities are working together to rebuild a bridge, which would make transportation of supplies much easier for everyone. And that also hits a serious roadblock when Justin, one of the former Saviors, not only butts heads with Daryl but fails to do his part in diverting a herd of Walkers, leading to Aaron being severely injured and needing to have his arm amputated as a result. Earl is still being held in captivity by Maggie a month after his attempt at killing her but after a conversation between the two (and seeing that both and her father have more in common than expected), she decides to show him a little more mercy. And some of the people from the Sanctuary have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances, which has some people worried …
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Maggie’s conversation with Earl, in which she finds out what led to his sobriety and what led him to turn his back on it. Henry showing that he’s learned a few things from Morgan ever since he went on to join the cast of that The Walking Dead spin-off whose fans really miss Kim Dickens. Enid also showing that she’s learned enough about medical care that she can decide that Aaron’s arm needs to go. Rick getting his Atticus Finch on (a nickname I’m sure he’d appreciate more than ‘Mother Goose’) in using his rifle to sever the ropes holding back the logs and releasing them all to finish off the herd of Walkers. Rick then making it very clear to Justin that he’s not here for any of his whiny bullshit and that he needs to disappear ASAP. Michonne and Maggie bonding with one another over how far their respective communities have come and what can be done to keep things running smoothly.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Nothing that immediately comes to mind, although I’m sure that you fine people in the Comments section will have something to add in answering this question.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Yes, he is. Not only is he still locked away by Rick and Michonne and apparently growing a beard that makes him look like Alan Moore, but he’s not at all impressed by Rick’s gloating about everyone coming together to rebuild the bridge. Because as Negan sees it, all Rick is doing is preparing everything and everyone for the eventual day when he finally gets out after all of his plans have completely gone to shit.
MICHONNE?: Yes, she is, as she attempts to convince Maggie to spare some resources and listen to her suggestions regarding common laws that they all have to abide by.
CARL?: Nope. Still dead.
JUDITH?: (Jane Lane shrug) Probably.
CAROL?: Still enjoying her relationship with Ezekiel, while also acting as referee for Daryl in trying to calm him down when it comes to his fury towards the formerly-known-as-the-Saviors.
JADIS/ANNE?: Has gone from being thirsty for Rick to being thirsty for Father Gabriel, and makes it clear how much she’s attracted to him. Once Gabriel lets her know that his being a priest doesn’t require him to be celibate, he makes his move and lets her know that he’s attracted to her as well. Which leads to the two of them doing R-rated things to each other that AMC isn’t willing to show on air, as opposed to people getting their limbs hacked off and Walkers getting their skulls crushed by flying logs.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Yes, he’s still alive and he’s still not hiding his contempt for all of the formerly-known-as-the-Saviors or how sick and damn tired he is of Rick willing to show mercy to them.
ARE MAGGIE AND DARYL AND JESUS STILL PLOTTING AGAINST RICK AND MICHONNE TO KILL NEGAN?: I guess, as neither of them make any mention of their plan, and the closest we get to them referring to it is Maggie letting Michonne know that some people (such as Earl) are deserving of mercy and redemption, and some people aren’t.
ANY SIGN OF THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: None, though we do get a possible hint of their existence when Justin is abandoning camo and walking down the road, only to come across a familiar (off-screen) face before getting ambushed by unseen forces as the scene cuts to black (it’s totally Cyndie).
ANY SIGN OF THAT BLACK HELICOPTER FROM LAST SEASON?: After Jadis/Anne is done getting her fuck on with Father Gabriel and is back on watch, she hears distant helicopter rotors up above her and seeing lights that look to be coming from the helicopter as it’s in transit.
SO…HOW ABOUT THAT IRON FIST GETTING CANCELLED AND NOT BEING RENEWED BY NETFLIX FOR A THIRD SEASON?: I really wasn’t happy with how Season 1 of Iron Fist turned out (and I don’t blame Finn Jones at all for the show’s quality, I blame former showrunner Scott Buck, who was also responsible for the last three seasons of Dexter and for the very short-lived and much-maligned Inhumans), and I’m almost finished watching Season 2, but from what I’ve seen so far, I really liked how the show was able to turn things around quality-wise and I really hope that Jones and Jessica Henwick are able to return as Danny Rand/Iron Fist and Colleen Wing. They shine brightest when they’re given really good material to work with, and whether it’s via a third season of Iron Fist on Disney’s new streaming service, having Danny team up with Luke Cage for Heroes For Hire, or Colleen and Missy teaming up for Daughters Of The Dragon, here’s hoping that they get more opportunities to shine with really good material.
And also so people on Twitter will stop going on endlessly about how Lewis Tan (who sure spends an awful lot of time on Twitter throwing shade at a television show that he was willing to take a paycheck from) should’ve been the lead of Iron Fist.. Every time his name is mentioned, I either respond like this…
…or like this.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: This episode continued to do an impressive job of showing how building a better future in the Zombie Apocalypse or any apocalypse, as essential as it may be, isn’t nearly as easy or stress-free as one would think, while also ratcheting up the tension of who and what will come to once again make life a living hell now that Negan is no longer the one doing so. Which means that it’s only a matter of time before the Whisperers come along to truly make their presence felt. Probably by the end of the eighth episode before the series takes its usual break until February.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Downtown” by S.W.V.
Header Image Source: AMC