Previously on The Walking Dead: Jeffrey Dean Morgan joined the cast as Negan and instead of becoming a villain that everybody loves to hate, he ended up becoming a villain that everybody just fucking hates and wishes would die already. Rick and company spent nearly the entire season licking their wounds, gathering weapons and supplies, building alliances with other communities, and preparing themselves for the inevitable and unavoidable All-Out War with Negan and the Saviors…which won’t at all be resolved until sometime this season.
THE STORY SO FAR: Rick and company are still going on the offensive to declare war on Negan and the Saviors. From strapping protective armor to their vehicles to setting up explosive tripwires and boobytraps to leading hordes of Walkers to where Negan and his people rest their heads, this all leads to both groups finally squaring off and failing to convince each other to not take this any further. When both leaders make it very clear that this won’t stop until one side is completely dead, both sides begin shooting at each other as if they don’t have limited ammunition for their guns and just replenish all of their resources thanks to the Bullet Farmer from Mad Max: Fury Road.
Gregory being Gregory decides to ally himself with Negan and make it clear that anyone from the Hilltop who goes against him will have no home to go back to. Jesus, and the rest of the Hilltop community, pretty much respond by telling Gregory to suck a bag of dicks because he’s not their real dad and Maggie is their leader now.
Dwight is still working with Rick and company behind Negan’s back.
Michonne seems to be healing rather nicely from the vicious, pointless, and Idiot Ball-driven fight she got into with a Junkyard Gang member in last year’s season finale.
Judith’s age hasn’t even hit double digits yet, but she still looks old enough to be played by a Fanning sister.
Tara is somehow able to locate Twizzlers in the Zombie Apocalypse.
And Rick is having dreams or flash-forwards to him being older and walking with a cane like he’s Alan Moore minus the wizardry and snake-worshipping as he lives in happier times with Michonne, Judith, and Carl. Whether any of this is real, a figment of his imagination, or part of the Sideways Universe is yet to be revealed.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THE EPISODE: Stuff is finally happening and Rick and company have finally made it even more clear that the days of him standing still and doing nothing as Negan humiliates him and his people are over, which comes in the form of blowing up the protective fences around the Sanctuary and allowing hordes of Walkers to infiltrate and wreak plenty of flesh-eating havoc. And if you’re a Savior who gets stabbed in a sneak attack by Rick but you’re still dumb enough to taunt him that Negan will win and kill both him and his son, expect a Walker to be cut loose so it can start eating your face like it’s a four-course meal at Cracker Barrel.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Gabriel being
stupid merciful and compassionate enough to go back and help Gregory, as Walkers are about to swarm on him…only to be rewarded by Gregory leaving him behind by taking his vehicle and driving off without him. To quote the wise words of one Homer J. Simpson…
Gabriel takes shelter in a nearby trailer, which is also inhabited by Negan, who then tells him that he hopes Gabriel is wearing his shittin’ pants. Because he is about to shit his pants.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Yes, he is, and he is as (dips) profane and (dips) delightfully evil (dips) as mother(dips)fucking (dips) ever!
DOES NEGAN KILL ANYONE ELSE?: No.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF HE’S NOT, THEN WE RIOT: Yes, he’s still alive.
ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: Don’t make me go after your collection of baseball caps and burn every last one of them because of your stupid-ass questions, Dustin.
DO WE FINALLY GET TO SEE JAMIE AND CLAIRE REUNITE WITH EACH OTHER IN THIS EPISODE?: You’re confusing The Walking Dead with Outlander, but…yes. Yes, they do. It happens as a post-credits stinger which you can watch here.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Yes, I still find it annoying that the All-Out War storyline was stretched out much longer than necessary, but if the show is going to insist on doing that, then the least I can hope for is that this season actually moves at a much faster and better pace than it usually does and that the Idiot Ball isn’t given to the characters too much so that the episodes are actually tolerable. This week’s episode was a damn solid one, but the next seven weeks will tell us whether or not any of this comes to pass and whether we’re better off just waiting to find out if Tormund is alive and will reunite with Brienne of Tarth.
This episode of The Walking Dead was dedicated to both John Bernecker, a stuntperson who died on the set of the show this past July after suffering serious injuries due to falling onto a concrete floor from 25 feet…
…And to George A. Romero, legendary writer/director of Night Of The Living Dead and its many sequels which helped make The Walking Dead possible, and who I also wrote about here.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by, what else, “Another One Rides The Bus” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.