By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
Not long ago, there was a time when I would have dreaded a Tara-focused episode. I think the writers know that which is why there was no indication at all that this week would focus on Tara and her scavenging adventures. It was all for the best since this ended up being a pretty decent episode. Tara is one of those characters that is stuck in neutral. We haven’t really explored her backstory or developed her beyond a girl that really enjoys awkward fist bumps. Tonight, we got a bit of a closer look at her and what kind of person she is. We’ve gotten to see how every character on this series was affected by the Saviors on a macro level. Everyone else knows about Abraham and Glenn, and we’ve seen how everyone has reacted to that without really focusing on any one person. With Tara, this was different. For 98% of this episode, Tara had no idea about that horror waiting for her back in Alexandria. As far as she knows, everyone, including Denise, is safe and sound. She actually thinks the group taking out that satellite station last season ended their fight with the Saviors. This is important because everything Tara experienced with this mysterious group of survivors was all pre-Saviors, including the promise she made to Cindy not to tell anyone of that group’s existence. Tara made that promise when she was still full of hope. Learning the truth could have changed her in a myriad of violent ways. Her girlfriend and friends are dead, and not just any friends, but the two who were probably the best of the whole lot. Tara is now at a low point, and she knows her group is backed into the worst corner imaginable. She knows that they will need guns and ammo if they ever hope to get out of that corner. She could have broken her promise and told Rosita about all those guns, but she chose not to and that moment was a turning point for Tara. She’s still a good person, one that is hardened by this experience but not turned to the point of being heartless. She’s a character I didn’t care about one bit before tonight, but she now has to potential to be much more interesting.
We didn’t get to actually see any Saviors tonight, but we learned there is a whole other level of their brutality. What we’ve actually witnessed is bad enough, but we learned that Negan’s people killed every male in this community over the age of 10. That’s so far beyond cruel that I can’t even think of an appropriate word for it. Rick and the other communities better tread lightly.
Thanks for reading!