After the first eight episodes of the season, which for the most part was a mess, I was really hoping that the writers had something special in store for us when the show came back from its winter break. I didn’t need one of ‘those’ episodes either, where they try and shock us with a surprising or disgusting death, just some better quality episodes overall. With a few exceptions this has not happened and the pace of the show has gone from a slow crawl to an agonizing painful march through molasses. A perfect example of this is “The Other Side” in which we are supposed to feel some kind of tension yet instead we get more of the same long winded dialogue.
When we last left Sasha and Rosita, they were getting ready to go and kill Negan all on their own, not worrying about whether they came back or not. As the episode plays out there is a nice back and forth between the two, in terms of which one really wants this more, which goes on right to the end of the episode. If only they could have stuck to that instead of trying to go ‘deeper’ into the characters, it might have been more enjoyable.
Meanwhile back at the Hilltop, things are supposed to be pretty tense as the Saviors show up for something other than they’re regular tribute. People hide, Saviors search…yeah, we’ve been here before, people. Without some actually resistance, even though it’s supposed to be coming (sometime), this has gotten a bit stale. However, the back and forth between Gregory and Simon, with Gregory’s cowardice and arrogance and Simon’s creepy, grinning psychobabble, is still great to watch. Actors Xander Berkeley and Steven Ogg have really done a superb job with these characters, both of whom are despicable in their own ways but damn enjoyable to watch.
This is pretty much where the fun ends with “The Other Side”. We then embark on a mission of sharing between Sasha and Rosita as they make their way to The Sanctuary to kill Negan. I am going to go out on a limb here and say this sharing and bonding time between these two is supposed to give the viewer a better understanding of who they are as characters and care more about them dying on this suicide mission. Uh-huh. All I felt was a sense of frustration as the minutes ticked by on yet another episode where not much happened. It’s a bit late in the game to be trying to get the viewing audience to care more and again, this came off as filler and not much else.
In fact, all the tension in the episode came in the last five minutes and in the end it left me wondering why they couldn’t have gotten to this point much, much sooner. The episodes in the second half of the season have not been a total right off but for the most part it feels like something we should have been watching in the first half of the season. It certainly couldn’t have hurt that big, convoluted mess.
Instead, we are now left with two episodes and the nagging thought that they are going to leave far too much unanswered at season’s end. I don’t want all the answers but I would enjoy some action packed viewing, both verbally and physically, and leave the continued character development until we return in season eight. (Zombies would be nice as well)
Three stars out of five
- Simon and Gregory continue to chew up every scene they're in
- Sasha and Rosita might be misguided but they make a formidable team
- Are the zombies on this show even a threat anymore? Are zombies even ON this show anymore?
- Stop talking, more action
- The pace of this episode was so slow it actually hurt