Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
After several weeks of wheel spinning, The Walking Dead finally feels like it’s making some forward momentum, just in time for the mid-season break. It’s mighty frustrating, especially considering anyone with half a brain knew we’d end up here before too long, but at least the show is moving in the right direction.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. A lot happened in this episode, all of which contributed to the big moment the closed out the episode. I’m just going to piecemeal things together, and I’ll likely skip over some things. If I miss anything important, let me know in the comments below.
Let’s start with Carol, who we haven’t seen in a bit. She’s just chilling in her new house, eating some pomegranate. Soon she’s interrupted first by Morgan, and then by one of the other guys from the Kingdom. He’s there to convince them both to help him get the Kingdom to attack the Saviors before it’s too late. This feels important; we know the Saviors can only be taken out by a coalition of these smaller communities, and this might just be the first step toward that. But Carol demurs. This isn’t her fight, and she doesn’t want to be involved. It’s not the bold start we want, but the cracks are starting to show.
At the Hilltop, Maggie is establishing herself at the de facto leader. Not a lot going on here, so let’s move on.
Next up we check in with Daryl, who makes his move to escape. I figured that the note was a big setup, and he’d quickly be captured and further humiliated, but that doesn’t happen. He finds some clothes and food, grabs a pipe, and makes it outside. The Savior out there seems perfectly fine to let him leave, but Daryl isn’t taking any changes, and stoves the guy’s head in right as Jesus walks up. Daryl grabs Rick’s revolver from the man, takes a bike, and he and Jesus make a quick retreat.
Meanwhile, Michonne is still holding her Savior at gunpoint while the two of them head toward Savior headquarters. Michonne takes a look at it, decides against taking it down on her own, and murders her hostage.
Finally, Rick and Aaron continue to work on getting the supplies they’ve located, which involves rowing across a zombie-filled pond in a leaky boat. Aaron falls in the water, but somehow survives, and they eventually make it to the supply cache in the middle. Inside they find lots of good stuff, but also a taunting note. We cut back to see a man in heavy boots watching them. I’m sure this means something to comic readers, but I’m way, way behind.
Side stories out of the way, we’re now free to talk about Alexandria. Negan is still working on his spaghetti dinner while his men wait not-so-patiently for Rick to return. Spencer grabs a bottle of scotch and decides he’s going to charm Negan into letting him be in charge of Alexandria. Things seem to be going well enough, until Negan finally tires of the charade, and guts Spencer.
Rick and Aaron arrive with the supplies, and Negan’s men find some pretense to beat the hell out of Aaron while Rick watches helplessly. They’re allowed to once Aaron has been sufficiently beaten, only to hear a gunshot from the other side of town. That shot? Rosita trying to kill Negan, and only managing to hit a baseball bat.
Negan is not amused. Rosita is quickly held to the ground with a knife to her face, and poor Olivia gets shot in the face just to make a point. Finally, Eugene confessed to manufacturing the bullet, and is dragged away by the Saviors. Rick arrives to get taunted further by Negan.
The episode closes with Rick talking to Michonne about what needs to be done, and then reuniting with (most of) the gang at the Hilltop, finally ready to start fighting back.
As shaky as this season of The Walking Dead has been so far, this was a fairly strong showing. Hopefully things are moving forward now, but I guess we’ll see when the show comes back for the second half of the season.