This week’s episode of The Walking Dead at least offered something of a change of pace, both back in Alexandria (where they revisited The Hilltop) and in The Commonwealth, where the most interesting things are happening this season. Meanwhile, Maggie and Negan are holed up in a house waiting on others to arrive, and the exchanges were basically the same as they have been the last few episodes:
“Maggie, we need to cut our losses.”
“Shut up, Negan.”
“If you hate me so much, why don’t you kill me already?”
By the end of the episode, Maggie and Negan are in a tussle and I swear for a second I thought they were going to kiss before Father Gabriel and Elijah show up. Gabriel settles the Maggie/Negan dispute over whether to stay or go, opting to stay and wait for the others (of which, I believe there is only Daryl and Alden, the latter of whom is bleeding out in a church).
Back in Alexandria, Aaron is suffering from PTSD and experiencing nightmares with visions of all their worst encounters. It puts him in a hell of a mood when they decide to revisit The Hilltop to fetch some Blacksmithing supplies because Alexandria continues to fall apart (there was a breach in the wall, which you’d think would have been noticed before zombies started overrunning the place since there is always a lookout, but TWD is not exactly known for its consistency). Back at The Hilltop, they encounter a few straggling Whisperers, and Aaron and Jerry torture the hell out of one guy for information he does not have. Carol eventually serves as the voice of reason and convinces Aaron to leave them alone, and once that happens, the tortured Whisperer tells them that Connie is still alive. Next week, they’ll search for her (she’s hanging out with Virgil at the moment near Oceanside, I believe, but also missing from the show for a long period because she was off shooting The Eternals).
In Alexandria itself, the kids are learning how to defend themselves, and Judith has to deal with a bully and missing her mom, Michonne. It’s not a particularly compelling storyline, but Cailey Fleming is a terrific child actress, and Rosita finally plays a role in an episode that would pass the Bechdel test, offering Judith some comfort. The bullies, by the way, were stupidly taunting a zombie played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s son, Gus Morgan. It’s quite a transformation.
Finally, over in The Commonwealth, Eugene, Ezekiel, and Princess are given their work assignments, put into positions similar to their old-world jobs (Eugene is a teacher; Princess is in retail; Ezekiel is in animal control). As a lawyer, Yumika is immediately promoted to the upper level of the caste. She is also reunited with her brother, a former surgeon who keeps his old job a secret because all he wants to do is bake. He also informs Yumiko that The Commonwealth is not too good to be true, “as long as you follow the rules.”
Eugene breaks the rules on his first day by using The Commonwealth’s communication devices to reach out to Alexandria. He, Ezekiel, and Princess are supposed to stand trial and risk being banished, but some higher-up played by Josh Hamilton gives them a reprieve, at least temporarily. It seems fairly clear that “Stephanie” is not Stephanie and is, instead, a spy trying to learn more about Eugene and their group. The tell is when Eugene mentioned Rocky Road ice cream to Stephanie and her expression was blank; the real Stephanie had mentioned to Eugene last season that Rocky Road was her favorite ice cream.
Nevertheless, the plot is moving in The Commonwealth, and somehow the desperation in Alexandria and the opportunities in The Commonwealth will intersect. They’re slow-walking it, though, because there are still 19 more episodes to fill this season. God help us all.
Header Image Source: AMC