By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
A Plot: Negan and Gabriel
This part of the episode was one of the most interesting stories The Walking Dead has told in a long time. We’ve talked about it ad nauseum but things have tended to go awry on this show when the writers begin focusing on the background stories of characters. Even when the writers gave us the background of a great villain like the Governor it was met with mixed results because it distracted from the main story without adding anything that didn’t feel like filler. I don’t think that was the case tonight. Negan long ago surpassed every bad guy this series has given in terms of quality and his character is so well written that I’m not sure there’s anything we can get in terms of his backstory that isn’t interesting. I hope his overall story and motivations remain a mystery but I like getting little clues here and there about who he was before the world fell apart. Finding out that he had a wife who died and he couldn’t “put down” humanized him a little but didn’t do anything to sacrifice Negan as a terrible man.
I also liked Gabriel’s part in this story. I don’t think there’s any other character on the series that Negan would have believably opened up to so trapping him in that trailer with Gabriel, a priest, was a smart move by the writers. It was also smart not to distract us by any new revelations about Gabriel. We already knew that he locked his congregation out of his church but re-telling that story, a horrific act of cowardice from someone who is traditionally supposed to offer sanctuary to people, got Negan to open up in a believable way. Every choice regarding these characters made by the writers was a perfect choice.
B Plot: The Sanctuary Council
Things are starting to unravel quickly for the Saviors. By now they’ve all realized that Rick and the groups have begun taking out their outposts and the Sanctuary workers are getting restless. On top of everything else, they now realize that someone on the inner-circle must be giving information to Rick. I’m honestly loving the drama of it all. These are all scary people and I think on some level they’re all afraid of each other. It’s easy to imagine every one of them being afraid that they’ll be killed to set an example even if there’s no proof that they’re the traitors. But that revelation must be coming soon. Eugene knows that Dwight is the traitor and he’ll have that chip to play if Negan decides to kill him for not figuring out how to clear the area of walkers. My only hope is that this part of the story takes a back seat for another episode or two. There’s three left before the mid-season finale so if it gets brought up again in the penultimate episode and resolved in the mid-season finale then I’ll be happy.
C Plot: Rick and Daryl, WTF?
I don’t really get where the writers were going with the fight between Rick and Daryl. Because it seemed to come out of nowhere, I think it slowed the episode down and was unnecessary. If the writers want to add some conflict between Rick and Daryl, which I think is a good idea, there are other ways to do that won’t feel totally random. I would fine if this idea gets abandoned and never brought up again.
Thanks for reading!