[Spoilers follow for “The Walking Dead” Season 7, Episode 14, “The Other Side.”]
Whose Episode Is It?
We’re back at the Hilltop, which means it’s time to see if Sasha and Rosita can pull off their attempt to assassinate Negan. Meanwhile, the Saviors drop by unexpectedly, giving Maggie and Daryl a chance for a heart-to-heart, and giving Gregory a chance to grovel to Simon, The Only Savior That Matters. The episode seems mostly to be an excuse to give Rosita some semblance of character development,
something she’s been sorely lacking over her four seasons on the show. It’s also mostly set-up for a cliffhanger to lead us into the final two episodes. It’s serviceable on both counts.
A Shred of Humanity
The Hilltop rebellion seems to be in full swing, as Sasha and Maggie train the townspeople in self-defense (in the woods, away from Gregory’s prying eyes). Daryl has returned from the Kingdom, but he’s sullen and separated from the others. Rosita arrives to make her offer to Sasha from “Say Yes,” and Jesus, to his credit, immediately catches on that something’s up. He lets Sasha have whatever she needs to carry out her mission, but does ask her to at least talk to Maggie first. Enid is more forceful: she gives Sasha ten minutes to talk to Maggie before Enid snitches to her. Sasha figures Maggie doesn’t need her now that she basically runs Hilltop.
But never mind that, because here come the Saviors! Maggie and Daryl have to hide in the cellar, while Sasha and Rosita take a secret passage out of Hilltop, which allows both pairs to work out their issues. Maggie wants to know why Daryl hasn’t spoken to her since his return to Hilltop, and the answer’s pretty obvious: He’s consumed by guilt about Glenn’s death. Daryl, openly sobbing, tells Maggie that Glenn’s death was his fault, but Maggie disagrees. She wants to kill the Saviors just like Daryl does, “but we have to win. Help me win.” Maggie’s character has started to hover dangerously close to sainthood lately, but this scene is still a nice moment of grace between two of the show’s stronger characters.
On the way to the Savior compound, Sasha tries to get Rosita to confess anything about her backstory, but she’s reluctant. Rosita notices that Sasha is wearing the necklace Rosita gave Abraham, and at first it seems like the episode will continue to push Rosita’s single defining character trait — her relationship with Abraham — but fortunately she eventually opens up a bit more to Sasha. After the zombie apocalypse, she went from guy to guy, learning skills from each of them before discarding them and moving on to the next. She eventually stuck with Abraham because he knew she could take care of herself. She also had trouble acclimating to Alexandria, and was resentful that Abraham didn’t. As an explanation for Rosita’s seemingly random skill set and lack of character development thus far, you could do worse. But it still feels like a last minute effort to get us to invest in Rosita right before she’s put in danger.
Obligatory Zombie Action
Sasha and Rosita set fire to a car in order to distract some zombies for about five seconds so they can steal another car. It’s completely perfunctory and utterly tension-free.
Man Is The True Monster
The Saviors are at Hilltop to steal their doctor, since Negan killed his own doctor back in “Hostiles and Calamities.” Gregory is put out, since giving up the doctor makes him look even weaker to the rest of Hilltop, but it’s not like he has any choice. Gregory insinuates to Simon that if he looks bad enough, someone less amiable to the Saviors might take over, and Simon says if that day comes, Gregory should come straight to him. Gregory hasn’t gone full-blown heel yet, but the seeds have been planted.
At the Savior compound, Sasha and Rosita can’t get a good shot at Negan from afar, but they do spot Eugene overseeing his molten metal zombie plan. They head in to try and spring him free, but he refuses to go, although it’s a bit unclear if it’s fear or his new, cushy position (probably a bit of both). He runs off, but they still seem ready to head in to the compound, until Sasha feigns some issues with opening a fence to lock Rosita out. She tells Rosita that it’s not her time and heads into the compound alone, shooting some straggling Saviors and immediately drawing attention.
It’s a moment that feels manufactured and under-motivated (like Morgan’s turn last episode), since Sasha never seemed to have much of a martyr complex, and her major character beat in the series so far was finding a way back from the brink after she became suicidal back in Season 5. It’s possible that Abraham’s death pushed her back in that headspace, or maybe she’s simply decided that Starfleet needs her more. Still, it’s an exciting enough cliffhanger, as Rosita finds some surprise backup in Daryl as the episode ends, promising even more action next week.
- Some good lines from Simon the #1 Savior this week. “I’m a man of shifting specifics of taste and transition. I’m into tequila now.” “I’m an unusual kind of creature.” “As long as there are no shenanigans afoot.” I will be sad when he eventually gets killed by Maggie or whoever.
- Daryl only asks Jesus where Sasha and Rosita are once night has fallen, so it seems like Enid forgot to snitch.
- • Speaking of Jesus, he also gets a little character development this episode, talking about growing up in a group home and coming out to Maggie.
- Eugene is still kissing Negan’s ass, even in radio messages: “This is per Negan, who I also am.”