NO TOMORROW YET – 8.5/10
Many moons ago I wrote a review of The Walking Dead’s first episode. Being a long-time fan of the comics I did my best to explain that TWD was more than just a zombie horror, it’s a survival drama. Of course zombies play a huge part in creating that drama, but TWD was, is and always will be a tale of people trying to survive in the next world. This week’s episode was The Walking Dead at its best, a thoroughly gripping episode filled with human drama and incredible intensity. There is a storm cloud gathering over Alexandria and its name is Hurricane Negan. There can be no tiptoeing around it anymore, no accusations of ‘spoilers’, Negan is coming and people we care about are going to die. It’s just a question of who and the lasting effect that their death will leave on the group.
This week took the group one step closer to their date with destiny as Rick led a brutal assault on The Saviours. Having agreed to serve as mercenaries for The Hilltop, Rick returns to Alexandria to break the good news to the rest of the community in a town meeting, naturally Morgan is opposed to the idea. He suggests a more democratic approach but is outvoted. The Saviours represent a clear threat to anyone they come into contact with which is why Rick intends to strike first. While Rick continues to tolerate Morgan’s pacifism, he would certainly be less accommodating if he knew the truth about his actions on the day that the walls came down. Although we discovered this week that Carol has convinced everyone who knows about what happened to keep it a secret.
It seems that everyone’s favourite cookie making badass is working through some issues of her own. With the exception of Rick, Carol has experienced the greatest character arc of anyone on TWD. From abused wife, to grieving mother, to survivor, to a pragmatic and brutal warrior. But this journey has taken its toll on Carol, resulting in sleepless nights where she has little else to do apart from keep a tally of all the lives she has taken. Perhaps this is why she has chosen to protect Morgan, while she may not agree with his philosophy she at least respects it on some level. We also saw yet another side of Carol in her flirtation with Tobin; baking him cookies and sharing both a smoke and a kiss with him, pretty much putting an end to the possibility of a Daryl/Carol romance.
While romance was blossoming for Carol and Tobin it was reaching a bitter end for Abraham and Rosita. Abraham was as eloquent as ever in his explanation to Rosita as Eugene watched on, reminiscent of how he used to watch the pair making love. Glenn shows considerably more concern for his partner, but he is unable to talk Maggie out of joining them on the mission. After being briefed on the Saviours’ base by Jesus and Eddie the gang ships out for a night time assault. Tara still has some reservations about the attack and she is clearly shaken when Rick echoes the governors words, claiming that they will “kill them all” in the town meeting. But put simply this is what the Alexandrians must do if they are going to survive, if you can’t live with that then you die.
The plan involves finding a zombie head that can be used as a stand in for Gregory, once the head has been exchanged for the captured member of Eddie’s team they can take out the guards and kill the sleeping Saviours. Things go smoothly enough to begin with, with the group sweeping through the base with military precision in search of The Saviours’ arsenal. They kill several sleeping Saviours, which proves especially tough for Glenn, who has yet to take a human life. While others have been forced to kill by circumstance, Glenn’s first kill is a defenceless, sleeping Saviour and this clearly affects him. However his guilt is somewhat eased by the discovery of a gruesome collage made up of photographs of the Saviour’s victims, all with their heads caved in.
Things soon fall apart when a Saviour stumbles upon the group and manages to trigger an alarm, leading to an epic shoot out with remaining Saviours. No one is spared from killing here, not even Father Gabriel who claims his first life. The gang manages to clear the base, discovering the arsenal in the process, but Michonne questions if Negan was actually amongst the men they killed. They aren’t able to celebrate their victory for long as a lone Saviour makes a dash for it on the bike that Dwight stole from Daryl. Feeling somewhat possessive, Daryl shoots him and demands answers but before he can receive them a voice comes over the Saviour’s radio telling them to lower their guns or Maggie and Carol will be executed.
The Governor once declared that there was no coming back from the brutality of this new world and he was right. While Rick may be numb to the necessary evils of survival the others aren’t, as demonstrated by Glen’s decision to take the burden of a brutal murder away from Heath. Everyone is affected by the things they have had to do and it’s a terrible bond that they share, even if they react to it in different ways like Carol and Morgan. The assault on the base showed just how good at surviving the group has become, they can easily overcome both the living and the dead. However they have seriously underestimated the size and strength of The Saviours and that is a mistake that will cost them in ways they can’t yet imagine. Do you feel that? That’s Hurricane Negan drawing closer.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- It was strange to hear Glenn say he’s never killed anyone, he’s been in plenty of firefights including the one at the Prison. If it is true then he certainly made up for it this week.
- We know that The Saviours have huge numbers so it seems highly unlikely that they would all be located in one place with minimal security.
- Line of the night goes to Abraham for the most brutal break up line of all time “Why are dingleberries brown? It’s just the way shit is.”
- There have been a great many ominous moments of foreshadowing this season but having a character stare at a wall of crushed skulls may be a tad too obvious.
- With Morgan creating his own prison cell in Alexandria is he hoping that he can reform Negan just as he himself was reformed by Eastman?