Previously on The Walking Dead: Daryl and Connie (and Daryl’s dog, Dog) both decided to go after Henry and Lydia and get them both away from the grasp of The Whisperers. After leading a herd of Walkers to ambush their camp and decrease their numbers, Beta and several other Whisperers went after them in an abandoned office building, resulting in Henry being injured and Daryl squaring off against Beta and dropping him down the nearest elevator shaft. And it was all directed by Liesl Tommy, who deserves one more reggae air-horn as celebration for her outstanding achievement …
THE STORY SO FAR: Daryl, Connie, Dog, Henry, and Lydia arrive at Alexandria to get Henry’s injuries patched up, which (along with her and Judith butting heads over the lack of hospitality towards the Hilltop and the Kingdom) triggers horrible and unpleasant memories for Michonne as she looks back to what happened to her, to Daryl, and to Judith that made Michonne shut down and keep the other communities at a distance.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: True Blood’s Rutina Wesley and her guest appearance as Jocelyn, an old friend of Michonne’s who reunites with her and shows her in the worst way imaginable that she is not the same trustworthy person that she was before the Walker Apocalypse started. Aaron’s reference to the Whisperers as ‘skin jobs,’ which is a term that should be familiar to those who know and love Blade Runner, though the usage of it in this episode is a lot less hateful and discriminatory. The scene between Michonne and Negan. A pregnant Michonne still searching for Rick months after his disappearance (and taking down many a Walker while doing so), and ends up finding his trusty revolver, along with confirmation from Daryl that he will never stop looking for him. Michonne’s final confrontation with Jocelyn and the Not-Children Of The Corn, in which she shows what she’s willing to do and what she ends up having to do in terms of killing nearly every last one of them, and how it scars her in ways that are more than just physical. And Michonne and Judith opening up to each other about what happened, what they remember about it, and how they’re willing to truly move forward and start helping the people they love.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: As much as I have talked plenty of shit in the past about how The Walking Dead has a tendency to stretch out story elements much, much, muuuuuuuuuch longer than necessary, part of me wanted the flashbacks to go on for at least one more episode, if only to feel more of an impact as to Jocelyn’s betrayal of Michonne and the fact that she’s become willing and able to train kids to become ruthless child soldiers in order to survive. But after the many complaints the show has gotten about Negan and the Saviors and the All-Out War was handled and portrayed, its hard to be mad at The Powers That Be for getting their point across regarding Jocelyn and then hitting the Wrap-It-Up box as early and efficiently as possible.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Yes, he is, and when Judith suddenly leaves home and disappears, he is confronted by Michonne as to her possible whereabouts and also why the two of them talk to each other in the first place. Kudos to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for acting the hell out of this scene opposite Gurira and for never letting us forget how dangerous and manipulative he still is, and yet none of that changes how much he actually cares about Judith in the same way that he once cared about Carl.
CARL?: No. Still dead.
JUDITH?: Yes, and she shows with her wakizashi that she’s definitely a little girl being taught and raised by Michonne.
RICK?: No. Whereabouts remain unknown.
JADIS/ANNE?: Same as above.
MAGGIE?: No. Still working alongside Ugly Betty’s older sister to keep the country safe.
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 not only do we get to see what he and Michonne went through at the hands of Jocelyn and her fake-ass Village Of The Damned, we also see him helping Michonne during her pregnancy as he continues his search for Rick.
ARE THE WHISPERERS IN THIS EPISODE?: Two of them appear at the end of the episode, as they see Lydia, Michonne, Daryl, and company enter The Kingdom via horse-drawn automocarriage (I don’t know what else to call it, so this made-up word will have to do). Their response? “We need to tell Alpha.”
TO SUM IT ALL UP: One of the best and most disturbing episodes of the season, and none of it had anything to do with Walkers or Whisperers, just Michonne being reminded yet again of how some people are more than willing to completely discard their humanity if it will guarantee their survival and their supremacy. Danai Gurira’s performance in this episode was a reminder of something that many viewers of The Walking Dead have known for years: that she truly is one of the best things to ever happen to this show, and that this show (even if it continues the impressive momentum that it has been maintaining so far this season) will truly miss her when she’s gone.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Bleed Like Me” by Garbage: