Ok, I’m not a big fan of doing spoiler reviews, I do them time to time, but this week’s episode of The Walking Dead has some things that I just needed to talk about. Sure, there was a visit to a storyline the really needs to be disposed of but for the most part, it was a fun, messy and interesting hour, making it the first time in a while that I enjoyed back to back episodes.
One of the biggest problems The Walking Dead has is trying to juggle it’s numerous storylines. To that end, the Enid/Aaron arc is something that needs to be wrapped up, and soon. The characters just don’t mesh well together and with trying to recruit a bunch of unarmed women, who don’t want to fight for your cause to begin with, just makes the whole thing feel that much worse. It really dragged down the rest of the episode which for the most part was great.
While there were many who deserve credit this week, Simon was the glue that keep it all together. From the first moment he enters the room, he is like a cobra about to strike. Coiled and barely able to keep his anger inside, he seethes at Negan’s order to go to the Garbage People, collect their guns and kill only one of them as another lesson on how things work. When Maggie’s ‘gift’ arrives, I was sure Simon was going to lose it. However, nothing has changed and Simon’s mission with the Garbage People is still his main priority, at least according to Negan.
The meeting between Simon and Jadis at the dump is great and Ogg and McIntosh should be commended for giving great performances here. Simon is ready to blow and after shooting two of Jadis’s people I thought he might back down, then Jadish hit him and well, let’s just say that was the end of the Garbage People. I won’t miss them, they were really annoying most of the time and having Jadis as the only survivor is good for future episodes. Even better, Simon goes back and lies his ass off to Negan, continuing the writer’s storyline of playing these two against one another. Steven Ogg has been great, embracing Simon’s inner thug and making him a real threat but sadly, I don’t see him coming out on top of a confrontation with Negan.
Speaking of Jadis, Rick and Michonne show up at the dump to find not only are all the Garbage People dead, but have re-animated into the walking dead. They come across Jadis, who has now ditched that idiotic accent and talked about led her here, which was very well done. Rick and Michonne leave her and she is left to dispose of her friends in a very funny yet disgusting way. It wasn’t funny for her and I think now, with both Rick and Negan on her hit list, she may become a thorn in someone’s side down the road.
It was also fascinating to listen to Negan and Rick talk to each other via walkie-talkie at the end of the episode. It seems Carl’s letters
were a plea to Negan and Rick for peace and not surprisingly, Rick is the one who goes on and on about killing Negan. It has been brewing for a while now, but I can safely say that the idea that Rick is not that much different from Negan is now out in the open for everyone to digest and think about. Negan is not a good guy but he never said he was, not like Rick. In his haste to kill Negan and the Saviors, Negan reminds Rick that it was he who failed Carl, both as a man and as a father. It is a great back and forth, with a lot of interesting dialogue to chew on.
While not perfect, this episode and the goodbye to Carl last week represent the first time in a long time that I enjoyed back to back episodes of The Walking Dead. I am hoping this is the sign of a shift in direction and attitude and that more of the same is still to come.
Four stars out of five
- Simon was the man this week
- Jadis, minus the accent and Garbage People, could be a force to be reckoned with
- Negan and Rick's chat was honest, emotional and very well done
- When did Enid and Aaron get so close? What did I miss? Does anyone care?