By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
Daryl has been mostly ignored this season. We got the one scene with him in episode one when he said that Alexandria still needs to recruit people, and we checked in on him every once in a while as he led the herd away, but that’s about it. When we last had a major story arc for Daryl, it ended with him as a better person. He found not only someone he could trust in Aaron, but someone who could return that trust. Aaron saw Daryl in a way that no one else in the group seemingly did. To Aaron, Daryl wasn’t just a tracker and a fighter; Daryl was a good person that could tell the difference between good and bad people. Tonight, that theme returned as Daryl ran into three stragglers. This episode highlighted the chaotic nature of the times. No one knows which side everyone else is on, and it’s impossible to tell good from bad. Daryl thought that these were three innocent victims and it cost him dearly in the end (ok, he has to get his crossbow back, right?). What will this do to Daryl as a person? Maybe nothing. We know Aaron was right about Daryl all long, and getting blindsided by some random people shouldn’t change who he is, but what if it did? What if this is the event that pushes Daryl over the edge from an idealist to a caustic survivor? After being ignored for most of this season, I think Daryl’s character just got interesting again.
Abraham and Sasha have been through so much, and neither one of them is sure of their own place in the world. Sasha went on a downward spiral after losing Tyrese and Bob in quick succession. She then experienced some harsh survivor’s guilt once she got to Alexandria. Abraham looked like he was ready to give up when he met Eugene. Getting him to Washington, D.C. become his sole mission in life. We saw how literal that was when Eugene’s lie was revealed and Abraham again seemed ready to give up. Both of these characters are closer to being whole again, but they have a long way to go. I feel like the biggest positive development tonight came from Abraham. His new mission is simply survival. He’s in a relatively safe place in Alexandria and he wants to keep it that way. He trusts Rick and the rest of the group. Like Eugene before, the group is now his new reason to live. When he went into that office and found the Army uniform, and then later put it on, I think that was supposed to symbolize Abraham going back to his roots; he’s a soldier and he’s not going to give up when there’s still reasons left to fight.
The New Group
I’m not sure, but I think we just got our first look at the Saviors. We know this is coming. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan, and he will supposedly make his debut in the second half of this season. We also know that the unnamed group from tonight has a leader that they bow down to, one that is feared by the three stragglers that Daryl came across tonight. Introducing them now leaves plenty of time to develop them, and Negan, into the menacing force that they are. Negan is a terrible man, even more so than the Governor. If that was indeed the Saviors that we met tonight, The Walking Dead just laid the groundwork for what will probably be the most exciting and heartbreaking story arc of the whole series.
I liked the scene where the two survivors ultimately betrayed Daryl and took his crossbow and motorcycle. We don’t know who these people are, and they clearly don’t know Daryl. Leaving him alive was the biggest mistake they ever made in their lives. No one takes Daryl’s crossbow and lives to tell about it. No one.
Thanks for reading!