Spoiler Alert. Yes, it’s a recap and review. So yes, there will be spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Well, we thought we’d get some Negan this week, but nope. We also didn’t get a whole lot of fighting. Not a whole lot of zombies. But there was a lot of hang-wringing about how “in killing the monsters we’ve become the monsters” which, again, is a dad’s least favorite part of this show. Dads don’t want moral philosophical quandaries. They want to see zombies go splat.
That said, the episode had some enjoyable moments, so let’s dig into it.
It started off in a way that said, “Hi dads, we know you’re only paying half-attention while checking how your fantasy team is doing, we’re going to confuse the heck out of you now.” We see King Ezekiel’s group, in a series of cuts between speeches, ambush various groups of Saviors, and all the while not suffer a single casualty. Seems a bit too good to last (spoiler — it is) but it’s always satisfying to see the bad guys get got.
We still have Rick with Morales, at gunpoint, which got old almost immediately. They spent almost the whole episode waxing philosophic, which no dad particularly cares about. They don’t do much explaining the “where have you been” aspect for Morales (who again, is a character that your dad absolutely did not remember) other than to confirm that his family is dead and he’s a Savior. That whole subplot at least ends in a sudden, yet kind of hilarious, fashion.
Daryl just comes in and shoots Morales in the head with an arrow, says, “Yeah I know who he was, whatever, let’s go,” and we get to move on. We know it’s supposed to shine a negative light on Daryl’s “take no prisoners” approach, but honestly most dads are going to be on Daryl’s side on this one. Morales was kind of annoying. Daryl is the best.
When we check in on Aaron’s battle, where his husband says a bunch of charming things like, “Were you the one who shot me?” and telling Aaron to go back to fight and “win this thing” which, when combined with the fact that Aaron said that the bullet had gone clean through so it was going to be fine, basically told you right away that Aaron’s husband-who-never-really-did-much was going to die this episode. Still, when it finally happened toward the end of the episode, with Aaron’s reaction response to seeing his zombie-husband shuffling away, it was still a pretty heart-wrenching moment.
But that’s pretty much all we have there.
The final story we see in this episode is more back-and-forthing between Jesus (anti-killing the Saviors they took as prisoners) and Morgan (very much pro-killing, like, everyone). One of the more assholish Saviors kept trying to get Morgan to kill him by being a sarcastic jerk, but we never got to see that happen. Instead, we get one of our required zombie fights (thank God) with some real gnarly zombie bite shots including a favorite-dad-shot: blood splatter to the camera lens. The douchey Savior runs off with a group of prisoners and Morgan chases them down. He shoots one, and before he can kill the truly annoying guy, Jesus jumps in, and after some more *yawn* philosophy, the two start fighting. Jesus eventually wins that fight, and Morgan leaves, saying, “I’m not right, but I’m not wrong,” about his whole “they should kill all the Saviors because the Saviors they save are totally going to break out and kill a bunch of the good guys” belief. (We kind of think Morgan might be right here.)
Back at the Hilltop, Maggie greets a wounded that-one-evil-president-from-24 who used to run Hilltop, and was kind of the worst. This scene is probably the best non-fight scene in this season so far. It’s got Maggie being badass (dads love Maggie, in that “they always make ‘oh she’s pretty cute isn’t she’ comments to their kids” kind of way), it has the evil-president-from-24 being as slimy as possible, and has a great joke of Gregory (24 president) claiming, “Kal is delusional” followed by Kal popping up from the fence to say, “What the hell?” and flick him off. Also, we want Gregory shouting, “I DID NOT EAT THOSE PANCAKES” as our new ringtone.
Maggie lets evil-president in, but it’s clear that she’s in charge of the Hilltop for now. Jesus and Tara, no longer without Morgan, arrive at the Hilltop, and after some hemming and hawing they decide to put the Savior POWs in some sheds out back with 24-hour guards, which is not going to end well. It’s going to end so badly, you guys.
The episode ends with Daryl and Rick, now with a freshly stolen baby, meeting up with Aaron, who just had lost his husband and asked to take care of the child. There’s also a bit of Daryl shooting a Savior after Rick promised to let him go, which we’re sure will end up sitting nicely with Jesus, who at this point is going to stamp, “We can’t kill them, they surrendered” on his all-but-guaranteed-in-this-season tombstone.
And finally, we end where we start, with King Ezekiel and his troops, who have managed to take out scores of Saviors with no casualties. Only, things don’t end happy, and we’re treated to another cliffhanger as a machine gun opens fire, and dozens of the Kingdom are gunned down, including several who leap as human shields for their tiger-possessing king.
All in all, there were a few fun action sequences, but way too much Morales. Seriously, he spends a good 10 minutes of the episode just talking about how Rick is just as bad as he is, blah blah blah, before getting a much needed arrow in the neck. This episode was too talky by a mile, and still didn’t deliver us any Negan, which the show seems to be sorely lacking. Overall, this only warrants a Dad Grade of a B-.
Unnecessary Philosophy Rating: 9/10
This whole episode was that “but who are the real monsters” stuff. Pass.
Zombie Gore Rating: 3/10
We took out some zombies, but all were pretty much the standard “knife or gun to the head” kills. Nothing particularly standout.
General Gore Rating: 5/10
We got some pretty nasty shots from Zombies chomping on non-zombies, including a real nasty “oh crap that dude just got bit on the scalp!”
Any “Oh Hell Yeah!” Moments?
Definitely the blood splatter shot. And, honestly, when Daryl shoot Morales out of the blue. That was pretty great.
What Comes Next?
Obviously King Ezekiel is not dead, but we’re going to have some casualties. Carol and King Ezekiel will probably escape from the ambush, but suddenly things aren’t going to be so one-sided. The Saviors are going to go on the offensive, and we’ll hopefully finally see what happened to Negan and Gabriel. Morgan will be back, at some point, and the prisoners being kept at the Hilltop are absolutely going to get out and kill some people (our prediction – Gregory lets them out, and they kill him). Daryl also is going to keep killing Saviors, no matter what, and that’ll probably cause issues with Jesus. Oh, and our big guess- we think Jesus dies when the Saviors escape. He will have died like he lived- wrong about not killing the Saviors.
Anyway, we’ll see you next week!