By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
A Plot: It’s All Coming Together
This is what the first half of the season was building towards. I get the complaints people had about the story and pacing for first eight episodes, but they worked for me. The reason they worked for me is because every episode, every scene and line of dialogue, was building up to this moment. There’s still work to be done as Ezekial hasn’t been won over and Gregory is still around to influence the people of the Hilltop, but Rick now has people willing to fight with him. Honestly, I’m glad all the pieces didn’t fall into place tonight. Not only would it have felt forced, but I’m still enjoying the buildup to the war with the Saviors. I think my problem with the slower episodes in the past is that I didn’t know what they were building towards, and the payoff wasn’t always worth the wait. Now, I know basically what’s going to happen; these communities are going to band together to fight the Saviors and it will be an epic war. That excites me so much and the buildup enhances that. Despite some of the criticism leveled at the show this season, it’s not misery-porn or torture-porn, it’s a show about what happens when society is returned back to the state of nature. The first four seasons showed us how the world turned into a dog-eat-dog society and now we’re seeing how the people band together to create alliances to rebuild that world. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite seasons so the writers can just continue to take their time developing it.
B Plot: Hiding Daryl
I thought the writers would take an episode or two before they dealt with Daryl’s escape from the Saviors’ compound but that loose end was tied up fairly quickly. Leaving him in the Kingdom could be a great way to advance that part of the story or it could be a way to slow it down. Daryl has changed so much over the course of the series that he could convince Ezekial that this is a fight worth having or he could piss Ezekial off so much that Rick and Michonne have to come back and clean up the mess.
As for the Saviors, I imagine their part in this story is done for now. They didn’t find Daryl in Alexandria, and as far as they know, Rick and his people are ignorant of the Hilltop and the Kingdom. There’s really nothing else left to happen in this arc.
C Plot: What the Hell, Gabriel?
The bulk of this episode was sandwiched between to very big questions: What the hell was Gabriel doing with all the supplies and who were those people surrounding Rick and crew at the end? I feel like these two events should be related but I don’t know how they could be. I’m assuming Gabriel took all the food for a good reason, I just can’t think of what that reason would be.
As for the people at the end, I’ve heard speculation that it could be another group called the Whisperers. In the comics, the Whisperers cover themselves in walker remains so they can roam around herds without being killed. I saw no people covered in blood and guts, so either this group wasn’t the Whisperers or it was and the big reveal is being saved for next week (well, some reveal is being saved for next week). In the meantime, can we all take a moment to appreciate the eeriness of the smile Rick flashed as he was surrounded? This group doesn’t know it yet, but nothing good happens if you’re surrounding Rick Grimes and he’s happy about it.
Thanks for reading!