Plot Lines of The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 11 “Dead or Alive or”

By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)

WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.

A Plot: Daryl Leads the Way to Hilltop

This portion of the show featured plenty of drama and a little suspense. Daryl, with the help of Dwight, is leading the Alexandrians to the Hilltop. As expected, Tara isn’t having this newfound responsibility being handed to Dwight. That’s perfectly understandable; he was a Savior who had a hand, either directly or indirectly, in the deaths of plenty of people that the Alexandrians cared about. I do find it a little strange that Daryl isn’t sticking up for Dwight though. Of all the people in Alexandria, Daryl most understands Dwight’s motivations. He’s been in the Sanctuary and he knows what Negan was doing to Dwight’s wife, hence, he should understand that Dwight no longer has any logical reason to be loyal to Negan. There was a brief moment between the two of them where this was addressed but I don’t think the entire group knows anything about this. In fact, I don’t even think Tara or Rosita know Dwight’s backstory. I’m not saying it would or should change the way anyone feels about him, but leaving it hanging like this just feels like lazy writing to me. There should at least be a 15-second scene where Daryl mentions the wife and Tara says, “It doesn’t change anything.” That would go a long way towards not distracting me from what has otherwise been a decent story arc.

Surprisingly, Dwight has made his way back to the Sanctuary and under the umbrella of Negan. Even more surprisingly, Dwight is still alive. Again, this feels like lazy writing to me. In this very episode, Dwight mentioned that he killed Saviors and one got away so Negan should know about his treachery. I need to know why Dwight is back with the Saviors and why Negan hasn’t killed him yet. These are things the writers need to stop leaving hanging from episode to episode.

B Plot: Negan’s Deadly Revelation

In the first half of this season, I wrote about how the characters of the show seemed to be weaponizing walkers for the first time. That idea took the next logical step tonight as Negan, with a little help from Eugene, came up with the idea of using walker blood to infect the living members of the Hilltop. This is turning into actual biological warfare and I’m honestly surprised it took eight seasons to get to this point. I’m interested to see how Rick’s people react to this because they can turn the walker guts against the Saviors just as easily. Before you know it, both sides will be dipping their bullets and knives in walker blood and everyone will die and this series to come to a merciful end.

C Plot: Maggie’s Leadership and Morgan’s Empathy

We spent some time at the Hilltop tonight and it didn’t do much to advance the story but we got some nice character development for Maggie and Morgan. The former had to make a tough leadership decision and reduce food rations for everyone and the latter had to tell Henry which Savior killed his big brother. Maggie’s decision must have been a difficult one; just a few episodes ago, she was refusing to execute the Savior prisoners and now that’s resulted in a decreased food supply. It would be easy to cut off any food to the Saviors but that’s not who Maggie is and that’s a good thing; Glenn would not want her starving people to death, even if they are the bad guys.

Morgan’s decision was a no-brainer for me. Henry is carrying around so much anger that’s he’s on the verge of doing something stupid that could hurt everyone (or, another stupid thing that could hurt everyone). He had to learn that killing the man who killed his brother didn’t change anything and it didn’t make him feel better. This is the kind of lesson we rarely get on this show.

Thanks for reading!