Previously on The Walking Dead: Something about Negan and the Saviors/Saviours coming to Alexandria to make their presence felt, followed by something about Rick saying ‘thank you’ to Negan after letting Negan slide his dick down his throat for ninety minutes.
Oh yeah, and Father Gabriel is creepy as shit.
THE STORY SO FAR: Maggie and Sasha, both of whom are still grief-stricken after the deaths of Glenn and Abraham, take shelter at Hiltop Colony and are in danger of being kicked out and left to fend for themselves thanks to its cowardly leader, Gregory. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid temporarily leave Alexandria, each for very different reasons.
WHAT WORKED IN THIS EPISODE: Maggie, even with all of her anger and grief, showing that she was willing to do more than just sit on the bench and rely on others to look out for her. Instead, she took charge, called out orders, and did what she needed to do to keep herself and others alive and safe from a late-night surprise attack by Walkers, even if it involves into a tractor, backing that thing up (if Juvenile is now rapping “Back That Azz Up” in your head, you’re welcome), and using it to destroy the classical music-blasting-loudly-from-its-speakers vehicle sent by The Saviors/Saviours to cause havoc in Hilltop Colony. Followed by her punching Gregory in the face after his failed attempt at betraying her and Sasha, and making it very clear what her name is and what she’s capable of and that he better not ever forget it.
Sasha, carrying her own grief, determined to look out for Maggie as well as herself, as well as encouraging Jesus to step us and do what he needs to do in order to help Hilltop Colony gain the leadership it needs. Every single time Gregory opened his mouth and made her come this close to knocking his ass out. And her decision to have Jesus find out where Negan lives and not telling Maggie about it. Not the smartest play, but if it means knocking The Saviors/Saviours down a couple dozen pegs, it’s most welcome.
Jesus. He may want to be a leader and be the one calling the shots about as much as Jack from Lost (i.e. not at all) but that won’t stop him from calling Gregory out on his shit (if he had to take a shot every time that was necessary, there’d be no scotch for the Saviors to steal) and supporting those who need his help. While also kicking many a Walker in the face and rocking a pretty impressive beard.
Carl and Enid finding two pairs of rollerskates and forgettting for a couple of minutes that they’re teenagers living and growing up in the Zombie Apocalypse, and are able to laugh and be happy and just be teenagers. Even if only a for a couple of minutes.
Gregory getting punched in the face.
Rick and Michonne still going strong. Or as strong as they can be at the moment, what with everything they’re presently dealing with.
Gregory getting punched in the face. (The moment was that enjoyable and that necessary)
Jesus finding out that he’s not alone in the back of Negan’s truck.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN THIS EPISODE:
The Saviors/Saviours and rolling into Hillop Colony like they’ve done everywhere else, led by Simon (who looks like a cross between Walton Goggins and Michael Kelly from House Of Cards) and just doing the same thing we see them do every time they show up (only take half of someone else’s belongings, lots of threats and intimidating talk) and someone being forced to kneel and recognize who the real authority is. I know it’s still early in the season, I know, but the sooner that someone, anyone, does something to push and fight back against Negan and The Saviors/Saviours so that everyone else will stop looking like pinatas who are constantly being beaten and broken, the better. Because this is starting to get old.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: A somewhat decent hour just to see Maggie, Sasha, Jesus, and even Carl begin taking steps to strike back against the Saviors/Saviours. And if AMC is going to insist on giving us more 90-minute episodes of The Walking Dead, they better actually be worth the extra half-hour of running time. Because the last time we got ninety minutes of The Walking Dead, it was just to see Negan and The Saviors walk around and take shit and embarrass Rick, and we’re going to need more than that as we reach the midseason finale. (I know we’ve had years to grow accustomed to this, but I hate that term. The only finales I want to see for television shows are season finales and series finales, and midseason/fall/winter finales are not a thing that should exist.)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go outside and yell at a cloud.
This episode of The Walking Dead was brought to you by “Brand New Key” by Melanie. (If you should happen to find yourself thinking about Boogie Nights due to this song choice, for…reasons, then it’s your own damn fault)