“Not Tomorrow Yet” was a big episode. My usual process is of course watch it live, then watch it once more for things I missed, take notes and such. But this episode, I couldn’t pin down all the intricacies in only two viewings, nor could I precisely determine my emotions felt by the end of the two showings. Maybe that’s just because I’m dumb. Huge possibility. However, this episode I could clearly tell is a turning point for the series. It’s the first in a long saga that’ll leave some of our favorite characters dead, but give new hope to TWD’s dying world. For this first time in a really long time (even when we didn’t know Glenn’s fate), I’m anxious for next week’s episode.
The episode begins upbeat with Parsonfield’s Weeds or Wild Flowers over “Carol’s Apocalyptic Cooking Hour.” She’s making cookies, beets and acorn cookies to be precise, I guess a delicacy among Alexandrians. It looks like, with all the turmoil at rest, Carol is embracing her house mom role in the community – thoroughly domesticated wearing her sweater and khakis, while still assiduously dangerous with her machete and knife at her hip. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there… Ugh, sorry force of habit. Like a good neighbor, she passes tupperwares full of cookies to pleasantly surprised Alexandrians and some not so pleased, like Carol’s new fling Tobin.
She leaves a special cookie at Sam’s grave. If you recall, Sam always nagged Carol for her cookies, to which Carol responded coldly and maniacally. She feels remorse for Sam’s death especially, possibly even feeling some guilt about it. Morgan approaches her (he didn’t get any cookies) to finally talk about what happened those two months ago with The Wolf prisoner. Apparently, they haven’t spoken since the incident and for good reason. One lingering question gets answered: why didn’t Rick punish Morgan for endangering the community? Carol chose not to tell him, instructing Rosita, Eugene and Tara, who were all also in the cell, not to mention it either. Morgan clearly feels guilty now in hindsight, but still maintains his “all life is precious” mentality.
We meet our heroes pulling up to Alexandria with the RV full of supplies from The Hilltop. We learn that there’s about a month’s worth of food on board – not enough to sustain the community for a long time, but more than they had before they found Jesus (har har). Rick immediately gathers everyone together in the church to discuss how the plan of attack against The Saviors. In his speech, Rick talks about hitting them before they hit Alexandria. He says they’d eventually come for Alexandria anyway, better to be proactive in this situation and kill them all first. Morgan is the only objector in the bunch, voting to stay behind while every other badass, including soccer mom Carol and pregnant Maggie take part in the siege.
Rick sounds a lot like a former one-eyed adversary who convinced his own people to fight an unknown enemy purely off his word without evidence these people actually exist. I’m talking of course about The Governor who not once, but twice convinced his group to attack our heroes at the prison. The third time, when The Governor rolled up with a tank, Rick pleaded with him to talk it out, that they could live together in peace rather than needlessly having people die. How one’s mood quickly changes after a rapist, some cannibals and a few Wolves attack him and his loved ones. For as welcoming as Rick is now to new members into Alexandria, he’s still has his kill or be killed mentality that be entered Alexandria with. Morgan is very reminiscent of “Prison Rick” in this instance, where Rick is acting like the evil he destroyed. Not only does he expect his own people to follow him to the grave in defeated these Saviors, people they’ve only heard stories about, but we as viewers are also supposed to just take Rick’s side on this, because obviously he’s our hero, he’s the good guy right?
I’m sure I heard a collective groan from every single American when Morgan stood up in opposition. Like, c’mon Morgan! You’ve seen The Wolves break-in an kill people, you’ve seen what your own dumb action caused and what you did to Carol, can you sit down and admit you’re wrong about this whole “every life is precious thing”?! It’s getting old for sure, but I’ll admit, I’ve kind of missed Morgan since we haven’t seen much of him in the first few episodes of this mid-season. While we as viewers might be gung-ho about killing anyone Rick wants to kill, we have to sit back and question his calls, even if they seem like the right ones. Right now Morgan might seem foolish, but in the long run, assuming Negan and the Saviors are defeated and Rick can re-build the world the way he promised Carl we would, we’re going to need people like Morgan who can reinstall morality into a dying world – to remember what life was like before there was nothing but the dead and the living. I’m predicting at some point Rick is going to realize his “take no prisoner” approach to anyone who breaks the rules isn’t just anymore, that he needs to raise himself up over common murderers to instill justice back into his new society.
The set plan is to show up to The Savior’s compound with a fake Gregory head in exchange for The Hilltop’s captured man. Andy (dude from The Hilltop) alone approaches The Savior’s compound with zombie head in a bag. The two guards believe Andy and one goes back in to get the hostage. While he’s inside, Daryl runs up and slits his throat. A group quickly moves the body before the other Savior returns. When he come back out with Craig (the hostage) Rick and the gang quietly kill the second guard too. Rick and his big group of badasses enter the compound with military precision – checking all corners carefully. They find Saviors asleep in the beds, obviously unable to fight back. In a brutal move, maybe the most brutal we’ve seen this far in TWD, Rick takes his knife and stabs one savior through his eye to his brain. Everyone else knows they must do the same if they want the operation to go smoothly. Heath and Glenn, who had never killed to this point, as deeply disturbed by this action. Glenn is able to muster up the courage to do what must be done, but he saves Heath from having to commit the same life-changing action.
Beyond just their gruff appearance, we’re getting a better look at what The Savior’s personalities are like. Their salty language and entitled attitudes make us want to hate them; they’re clearly villains. Killing people in their sleep is still harsh, but less so now that we know what kind of ruthless people these are. After Glenn kills the two Saviors in one room, he’s visibly shaken by the experience, but is hardened a little more when he looks up and sees Polaroids of people with their heads bashed in up on the wall. Is this foreshadowing? Maybe. As we know in issue 100 of the comic, Glenn gets his head beaten in with a baseball bat. I hope they deviate from the original story in this instance because we already got a Glenn death scare earlier on.
The plan eventually doesn’t go so smoothly and The Saviors take up arms to defend their compound. Luckily none of our heroes die (Rick takes out about half a dozen in like 5 seconds alone) and they make it out to the morning sun. As they open the door and the light shines in, Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier plays, contrasting greatly from Weeds or Wildflowers from the beginning of the episode. One Savior remains alive, but Daryl apprehends him as he tried to ride away. We hear a woman’s voice from The Savior’s radio saying they’ve captured Maggie and Carol who were guarding the perimeter. This is the cliffhanger setting up next week’s episode “The Same Boat.”
The exact thought that was in my head on first viewing was “they can’t go back from this.” This episode means a lot for the series and more for our heroes moving forward. This is the first time Rick’s group proactively killed other people – unprovoked; The Saviors probably didn’t know Alexandria existed. Of course, Rick thinks they’ve beaten The Saviors, that this was their one stronghold that needed to be knocked down. He thinks his community and The Hilltop are safe now that this group of Saviors are all dead. But, what if these aren’t the only Saviors. Is is possible that this was only one of many facilities Negan keeps to keep his hold on the area? By the end of all the killing, they weren’t sure which dead body is Negan’s, but maybe their princess is in another castle. Maybe they just pissed Negan off, kicked the hornets’ nest, and now the real Saviors are coming to for Alexandria bigger and stronger than any group Rick and our heroes have ever faced.
Spoiler alert: that last bit is all what’s going to happen.
Like I’ve said before, it’s all action from here. Nothing boring, no lame zombie killing, pure man on man shooting and stabbing. An all out war.