Previously on The Walking Dead: Carl revealed to Rick and Michonne that he had been bitten by a Walker and then spent the rest of the episode saying his goodbyes in probably the longest death scene since Cate Blanchett’s performance as Daisy in the present-day scenes from The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
THE STORY SO FAR: Rick and Michonne are, of course, still recovering from losing Carl as they attempt another meeting with Jadis and the Not-At-All-Affiliated-With-Bill Cosby Junkyard Gang. Negan, however, is still displeased about Jadis’ attempted double-cross and sends Simon to teach her a harsh-but-fair lesson in loyalty. Simon, on the other hand, is in a “Let’s just nuke the entire site from orbit” state of mind and wants nothing more than to dish out harsher lessons than Negan is currently willing to allow. Aaron and Enid are captured by the women over at Not-Themyscira and despite their attempts to have them join forces with Rick and company in the All-Out War against Negan, they’re not interested. And when Jadis is finally willing to work with Rick and Michonne, Rick reveals that he’s tired of her crying wolf and leaves her to the mercy of the Walkers that have taken over the junkyard, including her recently murdered friends.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Negan and his response to Carl’s death after hearing about it from Rick. Despite everything that he put Carl, Rick, and their friends through, despite all of his braggadoccio and his seemingly merciless nature when dealing with others, it’s always been very clear how fond Negan has been of Carl. And for him to realize that he too is now a casualty is clearly a lot for him to bear. Kudos to Jeffrey Dean Morgan for selling that moment and for not having it come off as insincere.
And a shout-out and additional kudos to Pollyanna McIntosh for her performance as Jadis. Ever since she first appeared, I was never entirely sure what to make of the character, or how McIntosh was being asked to portray her, and the inexplicable usage of limited English which resulted in Jadis sounding like The Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok didn’t help much. (I get it when it comes to say, Daniel Dae Kim as Jin on Lost as we were led to believe that he had little to no grasp of the English language before the three years he spent on The Island). And neither did seeing her constant Starscream-like betrayals of Rick, who was foolish enough to not have anything resembling a back-up plan in dealing with her. But seeing her fighting to hold on to what little she had left (her independence, her home, her sanity, her life) after Simon attempted to take it away by slaughtering all of her friends in front of her and then having to use her ingenuity to kill all of the invading Walkers, many of whom now wear the faces of those she considered friends, by leading them all into a trash compactor and turning them into Walker bolognese…after all of that and seeing her guzzle a large container of applesauce as if her name was Carl Grimes…she pretty much earned her victory, and we’re now left wondering what her next move will be.
Michonne’s response to seeing Carl and Judith’s painted handprints on the porch.
Simon reminding us that he can just as charming, petty, and downright vicious as Negan, and why he is just as deserving of the next person dropped face-first into Jadis’ trash compactor.
Rick going back and forth between wanting to simply collapse both physically and emotionally after everything he’s been through, and making it absolutely clear to Negan that he intends on killing him and winning this war, despite Carl’s letters and dying declarations that he wanted the two of them to find some way to live together in peace.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: I haven’t been given much reason to care as to whether or not the Not-Amazons will take Aaron and Enid up on their offer to help Rick and company, so I don’t really care about them or what they decide to do. Other than wanting to create a new world in the garbage dump and start over, there really isn’t much explanation as to why Jadis and the Junkyard Gang all chose to speak like that.
IS NEGAN IN THIS EPISODE?: Well, yes.
MICHONNE?: She’s here too.
CARL?: Considering that he died in last week’s episode and spent the entire ninety minutes doing so…no. He’s not in this episode.
IS DARYL STILL ALIVE? BECAUSE IF NOT, THEN WE’LL
PROBABLY RIOT IF WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO: Yes, he’s still alive.
DID YOU WIN YOUR OSCAR POOL? DID YOU EVEN WATCH THE OSCARS?: I didn’t compete in a Oscar pool and yes, I did watch the Oscars. I was happy with many of the winners, Jimmy Kimmel as host was (insert Kanye-shrug here), and I may have clapped like a seal on weapons-grade crack when Jordan Peele won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: This episode was certainly better than most, and the fact that it didn’t run for ninety minutes was a blessing as always. We’re now left wondering how far Negan is willing to go to hold on to his supremacy, how far Rick is willing to go to defeat him now that this All-Out War has resulted in him having to bury his own son, and how far Jadis is willi g to go now that all of her people are gone and she has no one to turn to.
Only six more episodes until the All-Out War comes to an end…or is stretched out to last until next year’s midseason finale. Considering this show and its history, I wouldn’t be surprised at either choice they decide to go with.
This episode of The Walking Dead has been brought to you by “Not Your Kind Of People” by Garbage: