Whose Episode Is It?
It’s a Carl episode, guys! When was the last time we had one of those? I’m seriously asking, since it’s been a while. It’s also a Negan episode, and he gets most of this episode’s bloated 90 minutes of runtime, so good news if you’re into Negan and bad news for those of us who got sick of his shtick before the end of his first episode. Fingers crossed that the many extra-long episodes this half-season is not an indicator of permanent runtime bloat like the kind that afflicted “Sons of Anarchy” in its later seasons. Filling more time is a burden this show really doesn’t need.
Man Is the True Monster
Carl successfully arrives at the Saviors’ main base after ditching Jesus (man, it must sting to get grifted by Carl). He manages to kill two Saviors before getting tackled by Dwight. Negan keeps him from killing Carl, however, because of course he does. Miraculously, late in the episode Carl actually asks why Negan spared both him and his dad, and Negan more or less confirms my theories by saying that it’s more productive and fun to break them. Carl responds awesomely, cutting through all of Negan’s bullshit with, “I think you’re not saying what you’re going to do to me because you’re not going to do anything. If you knew us, if you knew anything, you would kill us, but you can’t.” Can Carl and Negan perceive their own fictional universe, and understand that the Gimes family is too important to the narrative to kill? Wishful thinking, but it’s still a more solid explanation of why Negan hasn’t done the sensible thing in regards to the Grimeses. The audience knows that Negan can’t kill a Ricketeer every episode, especially not Carl or Rick, so instead of spending this episode fearful for Carl, we’re just waiting for Negan to shut up.
But before all that, we once again get a tour of the Savior camp, with a number of previous implications made explicit this time around. In the episode’s best scene, we meet Negan’s harem of wives, who he claims adore him but immediately run to the bar or to console one another when he leaves the room. So yes, they are sex slaves, in case you needed more reasons to dislike Negan. We also see Negan maintaining order by burning the faces of his soldiers who break his rules. We already knew that with Dwight and all, but for the slower audience members, we get a lengthy segment of Negan melting the face of a guy who shirked zombie duty to sleep with one of Negan’s wives. It’s honestly not all that gross by “Walking Dead” standards, so it doesn’t even have the shock factor going for it. Negan’s a dictator, you know the drill by now.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is once again given a number of cringe-worthy lines (this week’s victor is “A baseball bat doesn’t have a pussy!”) and his performance still remains smarmy and one-note. At this point, Morgan has cultivated enough obvious tics as Negan that you could probably whip up a pretty great impression to show off at the next party you attend. Just have someone say anything to you, suck some air through your teeth like you’re turned on, smile really big, and say something like “That’s the spirit,” or “I knew I liked you.” Feel free to emphasize the space between each word for added effect. You’ll be in charge of your own pack of psychopaths in no time!
What’s Everyone Else Up To?
Rosita and Eugene head to the foundry he and Abraham found last season to make a bullet (just one!) for Rosita’s planned assassination of Negan. Eugene thinks her plan is dumb (it is) and could wind up hurting someone other than Rosita (it probably will), but she yells at him about what a useless coward he is until he gives her what she wants. Afterwards, Eugene is mad at Rosita and so am I, because I thought Eugene had cleared this character hurdle last season.
In other attempted assassination news, Michonne spends the episode building a big zombie speed bump to hijack a Savior transport and insist the driver take her to Negan. Fortunately for Michonne, she got the only one-person Savior patrol we’ve yet seen, and gets the drop on the driver with her ninja skills. Why did the Saviors leave Michonne her sword? It’s a deadly weapon, but it’s cool as hell. If I were a Savior that’d be the first thing I’d grab, if only to hang it on my wall.
Spencer spends the first half of the episode being mad at Rick, which is honestly pretty justified, but Spencer’s a huge butthole about it so it’s hard to take his side. He tries to get Gabriel to agree with him, but Gabriel’s having none of it, since he converted to the Church of Rick a few seasons ago. Spencer runs off into the woods but lucks into a zombie carrying a note in Latin about a bunch of caches of supplies, so Spencer returns to Alexandria loaded with goods.
Rick and Aaron find a houseboat that might have supplies on it. The catch? It’s in the middle of a zombie-filled lake. That’s it. That’s what they do this episode.
- Rosita’s got her bullet, and returns to find Negan back at Alexandria, returning Carl. He seems like a real peach of an assassination target, considering he nearly got taken out by a teenager hiding in a truck and is wandering around Alexandria without any obvious nearby protection.
- Speaking of which, shout out to Olivia for slapping Negan when he suggests they have sex to make up for the cracks he made about her weight. Of course this is Negan we’re talking about, so he just says, “I’m at least 50% more into you now.”
- Spencer’s going to give all his newfound goods to the Saviors, adding, “I’m gonna do more than that.” It might be nothing, but it was a weird enough line (and this episode spent so much time with Spencer), that he probably has some butthole plan in store.
- Michonne is heading to the Savior compound because she doesn’t realize Negan’s in Alexandria. The Ricketeers should really have coordinated their secret assassination plans, because again, Negan seems really easy to get to.
- Daryl gets a note and a key slid into his cell telling him to escape. It’s presumably from Jesus, who we saw infiltrate the base earlier, but the odds are pretty good that Daryl will think it’s another Savior trick.
- At the episode’s end, Negan’s relaxing on Rick’s porch with baby Judith in his arms, and idly says that yeah, maybe he will kill Rick and Carl, after all. Probably not gonna happen, buddy.