This week on The Walking Dead every possible emotion was wrung out of the escaped prisoners subplot from last week, leading to an episode brimming with emotional guilt and depicting our heroes brutally murdering people.
But hey, we got to see Rick and Morgan team up again.
Last week’s zombie fiasco allowed some of the captured prisoners at the Hilltop to make a break for it, led by professional long-haired asshole Jared. Henry, the kid who had foolishly opened their pen, was also missing, so Carol and Morgan set out to find them.
We’ve had a lot of Carol and Morgan scenes together, ever since they both ended up at the Kingdom last season. Their mutual respect and trust has been well-developed, which makes Morgan’s descent back into dementia all the more troubling.
Morgan’s character development has been incredibly frustrating. I love how Lennie James portrays the character, but I’m mostly confused as to what Morgan’s state of mind is at any time. Over the years he’s gone from dependable, to completely insane, to zen-like pacifist monk, to murderous rampage. His latest stint is another bout of madness that at this point just feels tiresome. Even Carol can’t snap him out of it, and she continues on to search for Henry, while Morgan tracks down the escaped prisoners in different direction.
Rick is going a bit crazy as well, still suffering from Carl’s untimely death. He goes to Alden, the one seemingly decent dude from the Savior PoWs, to ask where his buddies might’ve gone, seeing as how Simon basically disavowed them in the earlier fight.
Alden grudgingly reveals a diner location, and then gently suggests that Rick not murder them all. Rick basically replies with, “whatever dude,” and trots off. He meets up with Morgan, and the two instantly get captured. Come on, these are two of the biggest badasses of the zombie apocalypse!
They awaken tied up to some drama unfolding in the prisoner group. One of their members is heavily injured, and they know a herd is headed this way. Jared wants to first bring them back to Negan, then just kill them. Rick and Morgan play a little good cop, bad cop, with Morgan threatening to kill them all while Rick suggests they can all head back to Hilltop and let bygones be bygones (kudos to Andrew Lincoln for not literally winking at the camera).
Our plot herd shows up right on schedule, and some of the prisoners decide to free Morgan and Rick to help them fend off the herd.
I’ll admit what happened next caused me to actually blurt out the line, “holy crap!” The pair do help defend against the herd, but then they slowly make their way behind the other Saviors, who are likwise firing into the oncoming zombies. They give each other a look, then completely turn on the Saviors, murdering about half a dozen men in cold blood. Again, holy crap.
Jared escapes, of course, and Morgan hunts him down. After a brief fight Morgan holds him in place while some zombies chow down, leading to one of their more brutal, nasty murders we’ve seen outside Lucille. Morgan gets his vengeance for Henry, and this whole loose end is bloody well tied up.
Henry is actually alive, the little scamp. He’s in a bit of trouble in a swamp, and Carol is able to easily save him, and bring him back to the Hilltop, followed by Rick and Morgan’s return. A single glance from Alden knows that Rick has no more fucks to give when it comes to dealing with Saviors, further proving that he should absolutely not be in charge of diplomacy. Or anything, really.
Meanwhile we get to check in with the big cliffhanger from two weeks ago: Jadis capturing Negan. This was a bizarre sequence of events that involves Jadis sort-0f torturing a tied-up Negan, Negan emotionally confessing that his bat is named after his loving wife, and the two of them seeing a helicopter (!) fly over head, which Jadis fails to signal with a lit flare in time.
Not only does Jadis not actually hurt Negan, she can’t even bring herself to destroy his beloved bat. Instead she simply lets him go, and Negan walks away, which makes most of this a colossal waste of time, even with that WTF helicopter.
One of our final scenes checked in with Daryl and Rosita. The pair are spying on the bullet-making outpost that currently houses Eugene and Father Gabriel. They’ve deduced that the Saviors attacked with zombie-coated weapons and arrows because they’re low on ammo, and confirmed that Eugene has started making bullets.
Time is against them. Leave it to Daryl to go off half-cocked on a dangerous, reckless plan to assault the entire outpost to sabotage their efforts. At least they’re giving these two something to do other than piss and moan.
Rick and Morgan: Seeing Rick and Morgan kicking ass together is a lot of fun, even if them getting jumped and captured together is some major BS. I do wish we’d slow down and let them work out some serious issues with their now common history of losing their sons.
Carol: Once again it’s up to Carol to do the right thing. She prioritizes saving Henry, and does just that. But I’m putting her here for being the only one able to really get through to Morgan (though ultimately she fails to sway him). Her scene with Lennie James was one of the most emotional of the entire season, and that includes the whole Carl-dying thing.
Rick, Morgan: These two dudes are really losing it, and it’s getting harder and harder to cheer for them. Rick is evolving into a straight-up evil character while Morgan tends toward being a sociopath.
Jadis Capturing Negan: Seriously what was the point of this, other than to let Simon carry out the attack on Hilltop? Thus far all of Jadis’ antics have felt like big globs of filler in a slow-moving half-season. The helicopter was a fun tease but for right now doesn’t change the situation.