Previously on The Walking Dead: Dolores finally leads The Man In Black to the location of The Maze, Maeve continues her attempts to escape from Westworld by any means necessary, and we finally learned who—
Lord Castleton: Excuse me, but aren’t you supposed to be writing about The Walking Dead?
Lord Castleton: You’re writing about Westworld, which is what I do for Pajiba. You’re supposed to be writing about the other heavily-discussed hour-long drama that airs every Sunday night.
Me: Madame Secretary?
Lord Castleton: The Walking Dead.
Me: Oh. Right. I’m sorry, I’ll get right on that.
Lord Castleton: Good. And if I catch you trying to write about Westworld again, I’ll cut your throat. I’m on fuckin’ vacation.
Previously on The Walking Dead: Ninety minutes of Carl being forced to spend time and bond with Negan because having an Idiot Ball glued to both hands prevented him from pointing an assault rifle at him and pulling the trigger.
THE STORY SO FAR
Rick and Aaron go on the worst canoe ride since Deliverance in order to find and secure supplies and weapons for Negan and The Saviors. Carol just wants to left alone to bake cookies and possibly threaten more apple-cheeked children who cross her path, despite Morgan reaching out due to genuine concern and Richard reaching out due to his desire to have her convince King Ezekiel to take down Negan. Rosita is determined to use her one bullet to bust a cap in Negan’s ass. Michonne is still driving around with a Savior that she captured and is reminded of how massive the numbers are regarding how many Saviors there are, despite the fact that her being surrounded by Saviors as two of her friends were beaten to death right in front of her should’ve been enough to convince her of that. Spencer is determined to wear his best outfit from Abercrombie & Fitch to convince Negan that he’s the one who should be calling the shots instead of Rick, and that Rick needs to go.
Oh, and Daryl finally escapes from the Saviors’ compound and kills Fat Joe. (The Savior, not the formerly-fat-and-now-skinny rapper)
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THE EPISODE:
Rick and Aaron’s canoe ride.
Gregory’s piss-poor attempt at undermining Maggie and getting under her skin, only for Maggie—well, the entirety of their conversation can pretty much be summed up by this GIF:
The fact that everyone at the Hilltop colony is all about Maggie taking over and running things, and are giving her food and treating her like Al Bundy in that episode of Married…With Children where Kelly is dating an influential politician and Al begins acting and sounding like Don Corleone.
Enid: “Do you want a plate for that apple pie?”
Maggie: “No.” (scoops out a very large slice of apple pie with her spatula and eats it)
Negan: “I brought Carl home safe and sound. And…I made him spaghetti.”
Negan’s response to Spencer’s offer to take out Rick and put him in charge. And considering how annoying Spencer has been for far too long, the response from many an audience member watching at home was something along the lines of:
Daryl finally escaping from the compound and beating the shit out of Fat Joe/Fat Joey/I came this close to typing in Fat Tony (and if Fat Tony was somehow on The Walking Dead, I’d give this season 100.000 bonus points) while calling out The Saviors on their trigger-happy and opportunistic bullshit: “It’s not about gettin’ by here. It’s about gettin’ it all.”
Jesus and his immaculately trimmed-and-styled hair and beard. I don’t know what deal with the deities of their choice that Jesus and Father Gabriel struck to keep them looking so fresh and so clean in the Zombie Apocalypse, but…um…well…I don’t know how to end this sentence, but they look sharp.
Richard to Carol: “Carol, I know you’re probably not familiar with violence and fighting.” I haven’t laughed that hard at The Walking Dead since Carol first met Shiva.
Rick, Michonne, Carl, Rosita reuniting with Maggie, Sasha, Enid, and Daryl. All that was missing was the scene being shown in slow motion and set to the music of Michael Giacchino, as it reminded me of all the beach-set reunion scenes on Lost. And this scene was just as well-done and effective.
Daryl reuniting Rick with his trusty Colt Python revolver, which of course caused this to play in my head.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE:
It really didn’t need to be ninety minutes long. Much like the other ninety-minutes-long episodes so far this season
Negan, why did you have to shave the beard? Did Black Twitter not teach you anything about the fact that a good-looking man is one thing, but a good-looking man with a nice beard pretty much has this effect:
Having to be reminded yet again that Negan and the Saviors are soooo evil, from watching them beat the shit out of Aaron as if he was Daniel LaRusso and they were Cobra Kai, to Negan’s right-hand woman Arat shooting Olivia in the face…like, enough, we get it, they’re evil and they deserve what’s coming to them. Whenever that actually happens. You don’t need to keep upping the ante on how unapologetically evil and assholish they can all be.
Rest in peace, Olivia. May you never again need to deal with some asshole fat-shaming you, making lewd remarks, and making you cry and making you have to take a bullet to the face all because one of your people actually hit a baseball bat with her one and only bullet instead of the person standing ten feet in front of her who was holding it.
Unless Negan was protected by the same divine intervention that kept Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield alive when they were shot at by Not-Jerry Seinfeld (Rest in peace, Alexis Arquette), there is no reason whatsoever for Rosita to have missed the way she did.
If any of you fine Pajibans could put together footage of (dips) every (dips) single (dips) time that Negan dips when putting emphasis on specific words in his dialogue and set it to this song, I’d greatly appreciate it.
DOES NEGAN KILL ANYONE ELSE?: Well, yeah, hence the aforementioned Nelson laugh
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF HE’S NOT, THEN WE RIOT: Yes, he is, and he’s back with Rick, Michonne, and the rest of the crew, and hopefully ready to leave his bootprints all over the other side of Dwight’s face.
ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: (refuses to answer and simply looks at Dustin like so…
…before looking for the nearest bowling pin to crack his head open with, Daniel Plainview-style)
TO SUM IT ALL UP: A much better episode than the last few episodes that have come before it this season, but it still doesn’t change the fact that much of this first half of this season has felt like nothing more than a slow-moving, poorly-plotted set-up to the All-Out War storyline that is expected to happen in the second half of the season (at least, I hope it happens in the second half of this season, as this had better not be stretched out for another eight episodes like the rivalry with The Governor). And judging from the ever-growing complaints from critics and viewers as well as the declining ratings, it seems like Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman, and the show’s writers may want to step up the pace and try something different to satisfy and entertain those who are still watching and actually have there be some consistency in the show’s quality. Which is something that’s been sorely lacking from The Walking Dead for the last seven seasons.
This mid-season finale of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “My Shot” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton. (Don’t believe anything that Bekka tells you about not liking Hamilton or its music, as I’ve personally seen her on Skype, rapping and doing the Roger Rabbit along to this particular song)
See you all in February for the second half of The Walking Dead: Season 7. Unless I end up slipping into a coma from laughing too damn hard at all two hours of Fifty Shades Darker, in which case the recaps will then be written by…oh, let’s say…Jodi.