EAST – 8/10.
The Walking Dead has been toying with us for weeks now; every interaction or revelation has left us pondering who will be the first person to fall to Negan. Even the most avid comic reader has found their opinion changing from week to week. I personally declined to place a bet on it, and I am exactly the kind of smark who likes to act as if they know every last thing that is going to happen in TWD. The truth is we don’t know anything, but in just 7 days we are going to find out. This week’s episode served to heap more fuel onto what was already a very intense fire, teasing us with the happy lives of our group before sending them hurtling towards oblivion. There is no escaping destiny but would TWD be so cruel as to start taking lives before Negan has even arrived?
Carol has undergone one of the most interesting character arcs of anyone in TWD. While she is still a very capable warrior she has become tired of the burden of constant battle. This is why she chose to leave Alexandria rather than stay and commit yet more horrors in the fight against The Saviours. Unfortunately fate takes the decision out of her hands when she is confronted by a group of Saviours on the road. Like most of Carol’s adversaries, the men make the fatal mistake of underestimating her. Despite her reluctance to do so, she eliminates them with brutal precision using a gun hidden in her coat. Out of ammo, she impales one of the men with a spike before finishing off the leader with one of the other Saviour’s guns, but it seems that Carol may have been wounded in the fight.
Unaware of Carol’s departure, the group enjoys a moment of calm despite the looming threat of war. Rick is almost cocky in his belief that they will be able to fend off any attack, clearly he still doesn’t understand what he is up against but he soon will. While Maggie and Glenn enjoy a tender moment together, Daryl continues to torture himself for allowing Dwight to escape in the woods. He blames himself for Denise’s death and it is this guilt that pushes him to leave Alexandria to hunt down Dwight. While Michonne, Rosita and Glenn chase after Daryl, Rick and Morgan head out in search of Carol after Tobin reveals that she has vanished in the night. Maggie watches them as they leave the safety of Alexandria and there is an inescapable feeling that not everyone will be coming back.
Rick and Morgan soon arrive at the scene of Carol’s shootout, she is long gone but the men find a trail of blood that they believe to be hers. They follow it in to the distance, failing to notice an injured Saviour slinking away behind them. The blood trail leads to a farm where an armoured man fights off a zombie using spears made by the Hilltop’s blacksmith. Rick assumes him to be a Saviour and tries to shoot him but is stopped by Morgan, allowing the man to escape. Rick is no longer willing to take chances, whereas Morgan believes that taking chances on people is humanity’s only hope for survival. He finally tells Rick what happened with the captured Wolf before sending him home. Morgan vows to find Carol and tells Rick not to come looking for him if he doesn’t return.
Back at Alexandria Maggie begins to suffer complications with her baby while her husband runs into problems of his own. Having found Daryl at the spot where Denise was killed, Glenn tries to convince him to come back to Alexandria by ominously stating that “it’s gonna go wrong out here.” But his warning falls on deaf ears and Rosita ends up joining Daryl on his hunt. Michonne and Glenn start to make their way back but they find themselves surrounded by a group of saviours led by Dwight. Daryl and Rosita later find Glenn and Michonne tied up in the woods, they go to rescue them but it is a trap. They are ambushed by Dwight who shoots Daryl at point blank range. The group’s darkest hour has truly begun.
While this episode did feature a lot of smart characters making frustratingly bad decisions it did move all of the players into position for the final reveal of Negan. With Carol, Daryl, Morgan, Glenn, Michonne and Rosita all out on the road we have now narrowed down the field in terms of potential victims, but there is still one missing element; Rick. Rick has to be there when Negan emerges, so it seems likely that he will spend the next episode trying to rescue his friends only to see someone he loves perish at the hands of his new nemesis. It was interesting to see Rick’s exchange with Morgan as Morgan’s faith in others is a trait that Rick will need to rediscover in the coming war. Even the most unlikely of foes can become an ally and Rick is going to need all the allies he can get.
The season finale is shaping up to be an incredible ending to what has been one of TWD’s best seasons to date, but will everyone make it that far? While both Daryl and Carol seem to be wounded we didn’t actually see either of them die, the general rule for the show is don’t believe it if you haven’t seen it. But their survival only makes them even likelier candidates for Negan’s first victim. Negan is coming and he is going to hurt someone that Rick cares about, more importantly he is going to hurt someone that we care about. But whose death could possibly have the most impact; an expectant father, a new found lover, a loyal friend, a bastion of hope, a broken warrior, or… urm, Rosita? Or could this even be the end for Rick Grimes himself? Seven days my friends, seven days.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- After shooting Daryl, Dwight can clearly be heard to say “You’ll be alright” which further suggests that the gunshot was non-fatal. But 7 days isn’t much of a reprieve!
- Comic readers will have recognised the armour that the man on the farm was wearing. Without giving too much away he is neither a saviour nor is he from The Hilltop.
- So Michonne did steal Morgan’s protein bar in ‘Clear’. I’ve got to say, I am a little bit disappointed in her.
- Where is the surviving Saviour going? It appeared as if he was following Rick and Morgan but with a bullet wound it seems more likely that he would head back for reinforcements. Could this be what finally draws Negan out in to the open?