This was a strange episode. There were two storylines that were tied into one another and another with brand new people involved. Weird cut scenes, strange staging in terms of action, horrible marksmanship and an annoying character rearing her head again. That being said, the episode itself wasn’t bad, just too many old bad habits resurfacing that really should have been dealt with a long time ago.
Negan sends off a group to send yet another messaged, this time to the people at Hilltop, with weapons all coated with the blood and insides of the dead. No killing, just wounding so some of them turn, to evoke terror, or so that’s the thought. However, while riding together on this mission of terror, Simon shares with Dwight that he does not agree with the plan of action. We all know Simon is beginning to tire of Negan’s way of thinking, which he showed by killing the Garbage People even though Negan told him not to, so this is obviously a mutiny in the making, and Simon is trying to bring Dwight on board.
Rick spots this little caravan, is about to signal for help until he spots Negan, then chases him down, smashes into him and off they go on their marry way. Why Negan drove away from his gang of thugs is beyond me but the scene then cuts to both cars having crashed, no explanation how, and we are instead greeted with Rick emptying a clip of bullets into Negan’s car, although at this point he doesn’t even know he’s there. This was the beginning of what could have been a great scene but instead it collapsed into weird fight moments, bad shooting and mysterious cut scenes. The two interesting things that came out it were who ended up ‘rescuing’ Negan and Rick letting it slip what Simon had done to the Trash People. I love Simon’s character, Steven Ogg is fantastic but man, he is so living on borrowed time.
Over at Hilltop, a strange message ends up in the hands of Maggie and friends offering true knowledge in exchange for records. Yes, records, as in music. Maggie, Michonne, Enid and Rosita meet up with a strange trio of women who repeat the same bizarre offer and of course, Maggie isn’t buying it. She has become very cynical and distrustful and after disarming them, they take them back to Hilltop where she and Enid agree that taking their stuff and sending them on their way is a great idea. Really, this is how you want to handle this? Enid once again shows of her shrill babbling that proves yet again how she should be killed off, and soon. In the end, sensible heads prevail and Maggie is given something that is indeed very valuable and hopefully at the same time, learns that not everyone out there is a villain.
There was more good than bad this week, even with the ugly bad habits this show has in terms of writing, and I thought the new characters were interesting and funny. For The Walking Dead to survive, no pun intended, they are going to have to clean up the writing, kill off some of the deadwood characters and replace them with more interesting ones. They are moving in that direction, the three episodes of this second half are a huge improvement over what came before it, but they still have a lot of work to do.
Three and a half stars out of five
- Anytime Steven Ogg is on screen its a good day
- New characters look interesting
- Some nice emotional moments, such as Daryl and Ricks chat and Negans face when he learns what Simon did
- After all this time, Rick still cannot shoot straight
- Rick is not dumb, why do the writers continue having him make dumb decisions?