Playing the waiting game…
That’s what it’s felt like the past couple week on TWD. Now that the television universe established The Saviors as a threat, seems like the writers are biding their time until Negan’s ready to be revealed, which looks to be soon. Not to say nothing important happened this episode; we lost a fairly loved character, plots were set in motion to better the future of Alexandria, a random character who we thought inconsequential makes a return and the episode ends with a new stupid plot point deviating further from the comic. Was this the best episode? Absolutely not, especially following really goods ones from this second half of the season. But was it an important episode? Yeah, I like it good enough. Plus the banter between Abraham and Eugene was top notch!
This was a mostly Rick-free show. As Morgan’s putting the last concrete block in Alexandria’s newly fortified jail cell, Rick looks around and simply asks Morgan, “Why?” Morgan responds, “It’ll give you some choices next time.” Rick doesn’t immediately understand upon entering the new cell, but the look on his face when he’s leaving shows he accepts what Morgan’s trying to do. Since Morgan refuses to kill again, this is his way of protecting Alexandria. He knows the “new world” needs rehabilitation rather than life or death. Morgan’s hoping that with a secure solution to bad guys, Rick learn to see it his way too.
I’ll talk about Carol’s plot points early on so we can get them over with. So following last week’s episode where Carol was hesitant to kill even when she knew she had to, Carol cuts and runs from Alexandria because she feels like she can’t protect anyone anymore because she doesn’t want to kill. I don’t hate this decision by her or hate that she left for that reason. What I do hate is how it’s handled – sort of brushed off like hey guys, Carol’s gone now ! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It takes away from the real troubles the group faces this episode and sets up yet another “waiting game” episode where now they have to go find Carol. I hope they don’t just find her next episode and the whole issue’s resolved as if it never happened. This better have long lasting repercussions down the line with The Saviors or with some other group our heroes find. But even then, they’ve done with before! Carol’s been banished and come back to save the day already! If they remix that old chestnut and expect us to bite hook, line and sinker I’ll be damn near close to shutting down on TWD.
Two groups set out to resupply Alexandria, both with less than perfect soldiers to babysit. Eugene and Abraham have a Rick and Daryl-esq brofest out looking for a factory where they can make bullets. Sticking very closely to the comic this time, Eugene reckons that if they can produce their own bullets, they can stockpile against The Saviors and have currency to trade with. A great plan through and through. With Rick planning defense for Alexandria, he needs an engineer to build its infrastructure. Looks like Eugene found his place.
While on the trip, Eugene and Abraham get into an argument over a walker in the new munitions factory. Eugene “calls dibs,” but Abraham eventually downs the zombie. Eugene gets angry with Abraham, insisting he’s a full survivor now and doesn’t need Abraham to protect him. They split up in a tizzy, however Abraham doesn’t actually go back home. He sticks out of eye shot of Eugene protecting him like a watchful parent, which we find out later.
I like weak characters becoming strong and on TWD, we’ve had so many of those kinds of arcs. While I think a little more fleshing out of “Strong Eugene” was needed before he could officially go Abraham-less, I like that he’s contributing something to the group after so long being a leach on our heroes. If anyone was going to die next, I might have suspected it be him, but now I think he’s set to be with the show for much longer.
The other group on a supply run is Rosita, Daryl and doctor Denise, who has absolutely zero business being outside Alexandria’s walls. While Eugene is better set in a protected environment, at least he’s been out in the horrific zombie-filled world, so he knows what to expect. Denise want to head to an apothecary shop that she finds out about through a newspaper ad she somehow found in her pocket. However, she doesn’t trust Daryl and Rosita to bring back the right meds, or maybe she does, but she wants to play the stubborn child and go with mommy and daddy this time. They both advise her the outside’s no joke and that they don’t want to babysit, but Denise won’t take no for an answer. She goes out, sees some horrific shit she wasn’t ready for and unsurprisingly reacts the way we’d expect her to. To her credit though, she doesn’t get bitten…
We learn a lot more about Denise’s back story during time on the road. We learn she had alcoholic parents, she had a twin brother named Denis, that she had oatmeal for breakfast that morning. Most importantly, we learn about Denise that she has had a little bit of training fighting walkers and that she’s not afraid to take chances. In yet another monologue about yet another character’s philosophy about life in this cold, dead world, she explains it’s stupid to be afraid; it’s stupid to stay behind the walls and to not take chances in the zombie infested world. When Daryl and Rosita think she’s an idiot for taking risks against walkers, Denise puts them in their place, explaining they’re the idiots for not letting her grow as a survivor. She respects Daryl because he’s strong and reminds her of her brother and she respects Rosita because she’s alone and gives her hope for the future. Denise’s lecture reaches a fever pitch when she scolds the two soldiers for not waking up and facing their…
An arrow goes right through the back of her head and out her right eyeball.
In retrospect, I should have known something was up. Whenever a B level character becomes too big for their breeches and develops any type of interesting personality, TWD historically kills them off – see Beth, T-Dog, Axel, Merle and Noah. It’s a shame for story reasons – Alexandria looses its one doctor – and for personal reasons – I really liked Merritt Wever in her role. She delivered her lines without so much stoicism like every other badass character seems to always do, Rick especially. She felt like a normal person caught in between a bunch of abnormal survivors just trying to keep up with them. She was even built like a normal fat person; there was nothing too remarkable about her. But that’s what I loved; her awkward exchanges with the likes of Daryl, Michonne and other soldiers. She represented us better than any character on TWD ever has.
So most comic readers know who shot the bolt that originally is meant to go through Abraham’s eye during his outing with Eugene – it was the blonde-haired dude from “Always Accountable” that made off with Daryl’s bike and crossbow after Daryl tried to bring him back to Alexandria. Turns out, this guy is Dwight, a Savior who is heavily involved in the coming war between Negan’s men and our heroes. He along with a group of more Saviors ambush Daryl and Rosita with Eugene already having been captured. We get a good look at Dwight’s very recognizable burn mark on his face which we’ll learn about later next season. Daryl looks pissed. He already was kicking himself over not killing that guy in the woods before, but not he just used Daryl’s own weapon to kill Denise! Not only that, but Dwight reveals that he’s been scoping out Alexandria for a bit now. The Saviors know where Alexandria is! Daryl wants his revenge, but with so many Saviors swarming just the two of them, he doesn’t let his emotions run away too quickly.
Like I said before, Abraham is following Eugene this whole time, waiting in the wings to make his move to help. Eugene sees Abraham hiding in the distance and strategically tattles on Abraham so Dwight would send solider out of position long enough for Abraham to engage them in 1776-style guerrilla warfare. Then, Eugene commits one of the most heinous acts ever committed on TWD – on his knees still, he bits Dwight as hard as he can in the dick! Not only for a second either, Eugene latches on there for a solid could minutes while Dwight’s trying to get him off. This give Rosita and Daryl enough time to grab weapons and kill as many Saviors as they can until they run back to Negan with their tails between their legs. Daryl want to go after them, but thinks better of it. Another Savior conflict the Alexandrians come out on top of. They’re building quite a report with The Saviors. With so many victories, we have to think some retribution is coming soon.