By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
A Plot: Jesus and Morgan
This week’s episode picked up where last week’s ended with Jesus and Morgan transporting the prisoners back to the Hilltop. Morgan and Tara still don’t think the Savior prisoners should live and Jesus adamantly believes that anyone who surrenders shouldn’t be murdered. As with last week, humanity was a major theme in this week’s episode and we explored where everyone’s head was. Jesus may be the only one left who thinks the people can change and Morgan has lost his mind (again). The wild card to come from this storyline is Maggie. She’s seemingly taken over the Hilltop and has shown mercy to Gregory by letting him back inside. It looks like she’s also going to accept the Savior prisoners but we’ll see how long that lasts. In the end, I feel like this whole thing will come back to bite Jesus. I just don’t see a way in which these people can ever live peacefully alongside the other survivors and I’m sure it will lead to the death of someone in the next couple of episodes.
B Plot: Rick and Daryl
We came back to Rick being held at gunpoint by Morales and the writers used this moment to once again explore how people view Rick as the real bad guy. I thought this question was settled in the season premiere but I guess we’re going to just keep going back to the old debate of whether or not Rick is just a step or two away from being just like whomever the big bad guy is. I will admit that this scene was made more powerful by the presence of Morales. I think it was important to have someone familiar with Rick, even if they only knew each other for a few days, telling him that he’s a monster. I don’t think there is much development left for Rick in that regard but this might influence how he chooses to handle Negan later on when he inevitably captures him.
Daryl was particularly brutal in this episode. It wasn’t quite as verbalized as it was with Jesus and Morgan, but Daryl doesn’t seem to think any of the Saviors are worth saving either. It was particularly poignant when he said he knew exactly who Morales was and it didn’t matter. The point was driven home again at the end when he shot the surrendering Savior without a second thought. Even Rick seemed surprised by that move.
C Plot: Ezekial and the Kingdom
Ezekial didn’t escape the humanity question as his men began executing the captured Saviors and he justified it as an “us or them” moment. I like how the writers are handling this question of the fate of the Saviors. Jesus is an unquestionably good person so it’s not surprising that he would not want to murder people. Morgan really pushed the whole “life is precious” narrative in the past so it’s surprising how far he’s fallen. Ezekial is also an unquestionably good man so it’s surprising to see how nonchalantly he allowed the Saviors to be executed. The fate of the Saviors isn’t an easy question to answer so I appreciate that the writers aren’t handling it as a mere black or white thing. There’s plenty of gray areas and the writers are showing that through the mindsets of various popular characters.
Thanks for reading!