With the season eight mid-season eight finale in the books, I can say The Walking Dead is now officially running on the fumes of great stories and seasons gone by. So many bizarre plot holes, idiotic decisions by characters, it has gotten to the point that this is now what I expect every week. There was a big hook at the end, the apparent death of a main character, but even that failed to elevate this episode to anything more than simply average.
The Saviors managing to escape the Sanctuary and the zombie horde surrounding it was not a big shock. I mean, having them all die would leave the writers scrambling to go in an entirely different direction. (Which at this point is not a bad idea) What was shocking, and ridiculous, was to see how Negan and the Saviors were able to manage a counter-offensive against Alexandria and the Kingdom, with loads of guns and ammo, and completely turn the tables on the good guys in such a short span of time.
Maggie and the gang from the Hilltop were intercepted while on their way to join the fight at the Sanctuary and instead of putting up a fight, they meekly handed over their guns, heads bowed. Yes, they had Jerry dead to rights but this is the best they could do? Thankfully, Steven Ogg was there to save the day as Simon was great yet again. This man needs a bigger role going forward as his scenes are always fun and never dull.
The Saviors hit the Kingdom with one thing on their minds, finding and capturing Ezekiel. No one gives him up though, and in the end, the King makes a sacrifice to save his people, even though it might be too late. This whole part of the episode could have been better had it been given more attention, but it came off as something of an afterthought instead of an important moment. Even last second appearances by Morgan and Carol couldn’t save this lackluster moment.
There were some good moments. Negan led the Saviors assault on Alexandria and had a great verbal one on one with Carl. It almost felt like Carl was getting through to him but that was shattered when Negan realized the moment was staged so people could escape out the back entrance. Of course, this led to Rick showing up and while looking for Carl at their home, finds Negan instead and the two men scrap it out. It was ridiculous of course, with both Negan and Rick having opportunities to kill their adversary but did not. Again, this felt like another moment that was more of an afterthought than anything, just another excuse to get these two together.
Chandler Riggs did have some great moments and yes, in the final minutes of the episode, it was revealed that he had been bitten. It probably happened when he was being foolish out in the forest a few episodes ago and got overwhelmed by some walkers but in any case, he is now going to die. Or is he? This is an important moment for the show because if they do something stupid and find a way to save him it will confirm The Walking Dead is now nothing more than a cartoon.
The first eight episodes of this season have not been very good. Except for one or two episodes, it has been full of bad writing, gigantic plot holes and moments where suspending your disbelief is still not enough. I can’t even guess where they are going to go next but anything can be an improvement over the first half of this season.
Two and a half stars out of five
- Chandler Riggs had a great episode as Carl
- Some good action and tense scenes
- Poor writing made some scenes almost unwatchable
- Dumb decisions by characters now becoming the norm