Wow! This episode did absolutely nothing to relieve the tension of the group’s first meeting with Negan, who has yet to put in an appearance. The group has decided to make a preemptive strike on Negan’s compound but he’s not there. I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing but I’m dreading when he’ll show up. I just know there will be death.
We spend the first half of the episode with the group making the decision to attack the compound and them saying their goodbyes.Morgan, who is at this point, is really starting to get on my nerves, had to stand up and make a plea for diplomacy. I realized after a minute though that its easy to be mad at Morgan because I know more about the situation than he does. I know Negan is a bad man, who can’t be reasoned with, and Morgan doesn’t have any idea about that. I’m washing my hands of Morgan at this point because sooner or later this is a philosophy that’s just going to get him killed and I can’t allow myself to get emotionally invested in someone I know is going to die due to their own folly.
Aaron, who must still have some kind of residual guilt left, because his photos of Alexandria led the Wolves right to it, decides he would prefer to fight, and accounts himself well during the battle at Negan’s compound.
Heath, (who manages to look exactly like his graphic novel character), and Glenn express some reservations about killing human beings. Its one thing to kill Walkers, but its another thing to kill sleeping, defenseless people, but all of the fighters feel they are doing what they have to do to survive. On the surface they seem little different in their behavior from Negan and his people but dig a little deeper and they are both right and wrong on many levels. We, the viewers, know that Negan is a bad man and sooner or later his attention would have turned to them, but they don’t know this and just have to make the best decisions they can. But by preemptively striking at him like this, there will also be some kind of price to be paid later. Either way, violence was ever going to ensue.
But that’s what this world has come to mostly. Small groups of survivors battling it out for whatever resources are left. At this stage of the game, the only kind of people left are like The Saviors, The Wolves, or the Governor, the more ruthless and opportunistic members of society. This world will continue to winnow out the weak, careless, gentle, and diplomatic, basically all the people unable to adapt to this new, more brutal, reality. And it will get worse, until some kind of detente is reached among the various groups of people left.
Denise and Tara say goodbye to each other. Tara, in an attempt to distract Denise from her misgivings, tells her she loves her, but Denise won’t return thesentiment until Tara comes back home. After the fight at the compound, if she survives it, Tara will go out on a two week supply run with Heath. It will be a long time before they see each other again.
Abraham breaks up with Rosita, in the worse possible way, at the worse possible time. I didn’t really see this coming. I thought he’d stay with Rosita, but he may be planning to pursue Sasha. This leaves Rosita in tears, which is not a good place to be before a battle, but apparently she channels her anger into the fight because she handles her shit very well. This doesn’t look good for Abraham’s future, however.
Carol is angry that Maggie is coming on the mission because Maggie is pregnant and needs to stay home. When she argues with Maggie later, its clear that she is dealing with some personal issue that Maggie represents. Carol has a kind of death memorial in her house. She has a lot of death behind her, as quite a few people in this world do, but a lot of her deaths are children.
At the top of the episode we see her making cookies and passing them out to people in town.She leaves a cookie at Sam’s grave. Its clear she is feeling a certain amount of guilt over the things she said to him over the course of their relationship and those statements might have had some direct impact on his reaction to the Walker crisis. He’s just the latest in a lineup of dead children, starting with her daughter. On the plus side, Carol gets her ashes hauled and its about time. (Of course this means her lover will be killed later, I’m sure.)
Everyone sets out for the battle. The first half goes about as well as expected. They pretend to bring The Saviors Gregory’s head, just as The Saviors asked. Its the head of a Walker that’s been doctored to look like Gregory, but its accepted and the Alexandrians get in. By “Doctored the head” I mean that Rick punched the Walker in the face several times because it didn’t look quite enough like Gregory, prompting Jesus to tell Rick that he was scarier than The Saviors. I don’t know. If Rick is scary, how much worse must Negan be. and the foe after Negan, and the one after that, because this is the kind of world that breeds monsters, and I’m not talking about the Walkers.
Heath, Glenn and some others are supposed to kill any non-combatants they come across. Glenn doesn’t take this lightly. They are killing ostensibly innocent people, he thinks, until he finds the groups murder wall, featuring photographs of people they have brutally killed, which cements his resolve.
The Battle itself is interesting, carried out in a very Black-Ops kind of way because Abraham, Sasha and Rosita all have extensive military training, and it shows in the group’s teamwork and tactics. Despite the horror of what they’re doing, the battle still manages to be fun and exciting, to watch.
Father Gabriel gets badass, as he shoots a man in cold blood, after delivering some lines of scripture. Okay, its not Samuel L. Jackson levels of badassery, but it’ll do, because I was expecting a lot less from him.
The group successfully takes the armory but after the battle, find that Maggie and Carol have been captured, in the woods nearby. They decide to make a trade for them with one of the men they’ve taken hostage from the compound.
So yeah, I’m not feeling relieved or anything after watching this episode. There’s still no Negan in sight and their situation has just gotten worse.This is actually one of the few non-funny horror shows I can actually watch. I like my horror with a large dose of comedy and this show is not lighthearted in the slightest. I think at the end of this season, which has been very action packed, we are all going to need that 6 month break.