Warning: Spoiler Alert!
turn back now if you haven’t seen this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead World Tour Concludes
This week’s “Go Getters” concluded the catching-up of our four major locales. In the ever-expanding world of The Walking Dead, with a multitude of characters and locations, the show is definitely doing its best to keep us current on the goings-on. The show really has become a victim of its own formatting, as the weakest element is its necessary lack of focus between episodes as everything continues to scale upwards.
Remember, this is still the same one-hour show we got in S1E1 when it was just Rick, a hospital, a horse, a tank, Glenn, and a horde of the living dead. Even by the close of the first season, we barely had more than a small caravan of survivors around a campfire to keep track of. Now we have four cities, at least three major villains (Negan, Dwight, and toothy mc-tootherson [I can’t even name them all!]), and a small army of heroes or at least neutral personas (Rick, Carl, Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, Tara, Enid, Jesus, Carol, Olivia, Gregory, Morgan, Rosita, Eugene, Aaron, King Ezekiel, Daryl, yadda yadda yadda).
The point being, the show is doing its best to move the plot forward even as it constantly has to double-back to catch us up and fill in the gaps. We are now five episodes into season 7, and we’ve gotten one relatively large plot-mover (Rick and his group learn they are no longer in charge in the worst way) and one episode in each of the primary locales. It’s a lot of world-building, but the theme has been the same: Saviors rule, all others grovel. Each episode has featured the Saviors inflicting some torment on one of their vassal settlements: the Kingdom got a light punching, Alexandria got pillaged, Hilltop got attacked/pillaged, and even the Savior’s Sanctuary sent Dwight out to hunt one of their own when he tried to flee.
Don’t get me wrong, the set pieces and performances in “Go Getters” were as strong as ever. Maggie directing a zombie-repelling mission from atop a trailer and then coming out of nowhere to crush the Savior’s car with a tractor? Awesome. The middle-finger decal on the car’s reinforced caging: awesome. Jesus kicking zombie-ass with kung-fu kickboxing: awesome. Sasha chomping on a cigar in very Abraham-like fashion while sharpening a knife: awesome. Gregory kneeling his pathetic ass after trying to surrender Maggie and Sasha to the Saviors: definitely not awesome, bro.
Speaking of which, did Gregory just reveal he had some generic surprise for the Saviors in that closet? The camera cuts away before he says anything, but it seemed like he wanted to spill the beans on Maggie and Sasha. However, instead of saying: “They’re here somewhere! Jesus, where are they?” when he opened the closet and revealed naught but some liquor, he just harrumphs while the Saviors swipe his booze. Eh? Why would the saviors let him be so vague? Because, by the way it played out, when the camera cut away he must’ve said something to the effect of: “Actually, Toothy, I do have something I need to show you, and it’s right in this hallway behind door number one!” Oh darn, it’s my liquor cabinet. Looks like I just got the goat! Cue laugh track. Maybe Gregory is just that big a coward and the Saviors really do like surprises. It’s a mad mad mad mad world, after all.
Pride and Prejudice and Walkers
Carl and Enid also got to explore their adolescent feelings this week. First we get Enid running from Alexandria to Hilltop to check up on Maggie (when did Enid become such a softie? This is the same girl who used to write JSS: Just Survive Somehow on everything as a life motto). Then we get Carl crashing a car into a zombie (and a pole: seriously, Rick, give that kid a little Driver’s Ed training). Except he’s also on a stupid solo mission: go kill Negan single-handedly by stowing away on the Saviors’ truck. But did he know they would be hitting Hilltop next? Or was that just his plan A, he crashes into Enid (so to speak) then goes on a fun roller-skate outing the rest of the way to Hilltop with her and gets a kiss (plan B), then sees Negan’s guys at Hilltop and is like “yep, guess I’m doing this again,” Plan C? In the comics, Carl just stows away on the trucks when they are at Alexandria. Isn’t that so much simpler? Eh, whatever, the kid at least got to roller-skate with his girlfriend in the zombie apocalypse. Good for you, kid.
One Big Dysfunctional Family
Poor Jesus. The man is competent and caring, but he just does not want to lead. Do we know why? Not really. Guess he’s just not that into it. But he does want to bring Maggie, Sasha, and Enid under his protective wing. Gregory allows it, or at least tolerates it, in the face of possible reprisals from the Saviors if his secret collusion with Alexandria is revealed (ignore the part above where he tried to reveal it). You can bet he’s not going to make their lives any easier though. They even got the graves of Glenn and Abraham! Why weren’t their bodies taken back to Alexandria for burial (they do have a graveyard there, after all, and that’s where they lived and knew everyone)? Maybe I missed the explanation, but it seems to just cause potential problems for Hilltop and deprives the people of Alexandria of a place to mourn.
Speaking of stupid suicide missions, Jesus also decides to stow away on the Savior’s trucks to get a lock on Sanctuary’s location. Funny thing, he runs immediately into Carl. They run into each other by accident; I sure hope the Saviors don’t run into them on purpose. Jesus’s face is pretty priceless, though, when he sees Carl. The direction must’ve been something like, “Okay, Tom, we need you to look bemused, concerned, unsurprised, and totally bewildered. Go.” And it works. And that’s why Tom Payne gets our Shout Out of the week!
The two big themes of this episode were preparing to strike at the Saviors (Carl’s one-man army and Jesus’s recon missions [with Sasha’s knife-sharpening for emphasis]), and the idea that all of these people, this massive cast and expansive world, are going to need to try to get along at some point, disagreements and all, if they are going to survive. The question is: can they become one big dysfunctional family? Time will tell.
Of course, first the Alexandrians will need to learn about the Kingdom, and they need to talk to Hilltop and work out a plan, but with the capitulating Gregory in charge… ohmigod there is still so much work to do and we’re nearly half-way through the season.
Photos courtesy of Gene Page/AMC.