I know that I should be focused on the episode as a whole, but I can’t get the ending out of my head. This is “East.”
The episode begins with Carol packing to leave when Tobin enters. He’s got a bruise from a slip when trying to build a new guard tower, but Carol is tuning him out as he talks about the infirmary being quiet since Denise’s death. She just stares and nods, as most people do during conversations. She’s more worried about how Tara will feel when she learns about Denise.
That evening, while Tobin sleeps, Carol slips out. The next morning, as everyone goes about their routines, we get Rick and Michonne in bed as the two share an apple, noting that Jesus came through with his promise on food. Rick wants to fool around since Judith isn’t up yet, but Michonne has plans. Maggie asked her to put up more bins and watch points- for a potential attack- and she has a detailed schedule.
As Rick and Michonne note, you don’t want to piss off a pregnant woman. Rick promises to end the Saviors when they come because the people of Alexandria are prepared for an attack. The world is theirs and they know how to take it. Everything they need is right inside the walls of Alexandria and Rick won’t lose any of it again.
So Maggie, Glenn, and Michonne go over hiding spots for guns when they spot Daryl leaving the safe zone. He doesn’t give specifics on where he’s headed and leaves before anyone can stop him. Because Rosita has an idea of where he’s headed, she joins Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne to follow him. Abraham is left to cover her shift.
Tobin then gives Rick the note that Carol left, but he’s unsure when she left or if she’s on foot. No one saw anything, and if that wasn’t enough, one of the two new cars outside the Safe Zone is now missing. Morgan and Rick also leave to join the search, with Rick telling the others to stay back and prepare for a fight.
So Carol did indeed swipe one of the missing vehicles Tobin spoke of and spots a car heading in her direction. The men in the passing car fire at her tires, forcing her to stop. She exits and offers the car, but the men want information about where Carol is from and where she’s headed. Carol says that she’s Nancy from Montclair, but she’s bounced around a lot and keeps moving.
The men know about the Alexandria Safe Zone and the cars with spikes through them, just like the one Carol is driving. Turns out these men were on the way to the zone. Carol, pulling another hyperventilating act, tells the men that it doesn’t have to be this way and no one doesn’t to get hurt. Then bullets cut through the men like Swiss cheese. Good thing Carol’s right hand doubles as a gun.
However, turns out that Carol missed one of the men, but she ends up skewering him with one of the spikes. Another of the men still lives and lunges forward with his blade.
Maggie joins Enid in the food pantry, telling her that she’s taking an extra shift since so many people are gone. Before Maggie can prepare her lunch, Enid offers to take said shift for a few hours so Maggie can rest.
On the road, Morgan tells Rick that he didn’t have to come. It’s a long shot, but Rick still wants to try. Morgan asks about the attack on the Savior compound, which was West, while Carol went East. Rick tells Morgan that he doesn’t know Carol, and while that’s true, Morgan has had time to do so. Rick then asks why Morgan is doing this.
Morgan knows that he isn’t right because there is no right. It’s the wrong that doesn’t pull you down. Rick believes it hasn’t pulled him down, though, but Morgan thinks that it will because he knows Rick.
The two soon happen upon the injured men in the road. They spot Carol’s car and Rick stabs one of the injured men that he figures for Saviors. Judging by the blood on the spike, Morgan assumes that Carol might have been hit. Rick is proud of Carol for taking down four Saviors, but Morgan points to the fact that Carol still left.
Morgan spots a blood trail that leads into the field. As the two head into the field, the remaining man emerges from the woods, picks up Carol’s rosary and, for reasons I can’t determine, follows the two into the woods.
Rosita, Glenn, and Michonne arrive at the train tracks where Denise died and find Daryl’s motorcycle. Rosita wants them to just let Daryl go after the Saviors so he can let out some steam, but Glenn thinks that Daryl is going to get himself killed.
Soon enough, they find Daryl, who shoots an arrow that almost hits Rosita. He still blames himself for letting Dwight get the best of him. Glenn tells Daryl to stop doing this for himself since Denise is dead. They need to figure this out at home or things will go wrong out in the woods. Despite Glenn’s talent for speeches, Daryl refuses to return. Hell, Rosita ends up joining him. The two groups go their separate ways.
Glenn tells Michonne that the Saviors could be in Alexandria right now. Despite this, with everything the group has endured together, it’s possible they could overcome this situation, too. To Glenn, though, between the Hilltop and the Saviors, the world is bigger than everyone realized. At the sound of a whistle, they spot Saviors, Dwight among them, surrounding them from every direction.
Morgan and Rick continue their search for Carol when they find a patch of blood in the grass. Rick is out here because Carol is family, but Morgan has learned what happened at the prison and how Rick sent Carol away due to her killing Karen and David.
If that had happened today, though, Rick would have thanked Carol or killed Karen and David himself due to the disease. However, Rick didn’t kill Carol. And it’s due to Rick sending Carol away that she ended up saving him at Terminus. In Morgan’s mind, people can come back.
The two come upon a barn and find a man who is looking for his horse. He tells them that they’re coming and runs off as several walkers approach. Morgan and Rick make quick work of them. Turns out that the spear Rick finds was from the Hilltop. Rick thinks maybe the man was looking for Carol, or, as Morgan argues, he was looking for his horse. Rick reiterates that he doesn’t take chances anymore.
Morgan then brings up the Wolf that attacked him on the road. He reveals that he let him live and could have killed him, but all life is precious. He put the Wolf in the cell in hopes that he could change. And when the walls fell and the walkers entered, that Wolf saved Denise’s life, and Denise, in turn, ended up saving Carl. It’s all a circle, but the fact is Morgan did what he did. Morgan tells Rick to take the car home.
So Morgan chooses to find Carol on his own, but Rick tells him that he’ll come back. If he doesn’t, though, Morgan doesn’t want Rick looking for him. Rick offers his gun to Morgan and then, at last, tells him that Michonne did steal that protein bar. Well, I guess that’s closure.
Rick returns to the Safe Zone and informs Abraham that Morgan is still out there. Even still, Michonne hasn’t returned yet, too. Both acknowledge that they’re afraid of going back to letting someone get close, but Abraham is much more ready to tear the world a brand new asshole.
Maggie summons Enid to give her a haircut because she has to keep going and doesn’t want anything getting in her way. I don’t think Maggie’s hair ever got in her way, but whatever. Anyway, this transformation is interrupted when Maggie feels a sharp pain in her stomach.
We return to the Saviors, who now have a bound and gagged Glenn and Michonne. Daryl and Rosita stalk them from afar, but the Saviors, anticipating this, surprise Daryl and Rosita from behind. Before Daryl can respond, Dwight fires and blood spatters on the screen like something out of a first-person shooter.
Well, that was an interesting ending. “East” is an odd episode. We’ve spent a good amount of time with the survivors taking a preemptive strike to Negan and the Saviors in order to prevent a war, though we know that the big man himself is set to make his counterattack soon. The stakes have been raised and you’re just waiting for the survivors to receive their comeuppance.
I liked this episode, but it left me flat in a few places and I’ll start with that ending. First off, credit where it’s due, as incompetent as the Saviors have been these past few episodes, it looks like they’ve learned to anticipate an attack. Granted, Carol still killed a few on her own, but at least the Saviors were careful enough to leave Glenn and Michonne as bait in anticipation for Daryl and Rosita.
But what the hell was up with that ending? Glenn has had enough close calls for me to not buy the fake-out of Dwight killing Daryl. Truth be told, he probably didn’t kill him so much as just wound him, but why the blood-spattering on the screen like we jumped into a horror movie? That just took me out of the episode, even though we were already at the end. Why not just show the impact or Daryl hitting the ground and then cut to black?
And I get Daryl going on the warpath, but going in gung-ho wound up getting him captured. In his mind, he might have been thinking straight, but he didn’t have any actual plan outside of getting revenge on Dwight. The odds and numbers were against him.
Elsewhere, we’ve got Morgan admitting to Rick what he did involving the one Wolf. It’s nice for him to get that off of his chest, but Morgan hasn’t changed Rick’s mind yet and this speech didn’t do much for him, either. And while the Wolf did save Denise, she wouldn’t have been in danger in the first place if the Wolf had been taken care of in the first place.
Also, I call bullshit on Rick saying that he now would have thanked Carol for killing Karen and David. People can change their minds and the Rick back then isn’t the same Rick of now, but if that’s the case, why outright banish Carol? He could have just delivered a stern warning since he was so confident that Karen and David might have lived, which goes against him saying he would have killed them himself.
Yes, the world has hardened Rick, and maybe it’s just me not being a fan of flip-flopping, but he spoke in Karen and David’s defense to the point that he chose to banish Carol from the group. I would buy him saying that he’d have done things differently rather than saying he would have killed them himself.
And Rick still doesn’t take chances, but that’s my problem with Morgan admitting what he did with the Wolf- it didn’t do anything but just fill in Rick. Given how Rick knows that Morgan let those other Wolves live, I doubt he would have done anything drastic here when he didn’t before.
At the very least, I appreciate the moment of levity at the end where Rick tells Morgan that Michonne ate his protein bar. It didn’t feel forced and was a nice way to break the tension.
Carol doesn’t seem too far gone just yet, but just like her interaction with Alicia, she doesn’t want to be put in a situation where she’s forced to kill. There’s anguish and pain in her voice and all over her face when she tells the Saviors that no one has to get hurt. She’s no pushover. When it comes down to her or someone else, she’ll defend herself, but she hates having to kill.
Moving forward, though, a lot of the power players are now outside the Safe Zone and it makes me wonder who is going to end up meeting Negan. Maggie seems safe since she’s got pregnancy problems right now- if that’s indeed what’s causing her pain- but Rick and Abraham look like they’re about to head out, you’ve got Morgan looking for Carol, then Daryl, Rosita, Michonne, and Glenn.
“East” wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. It might be my least favorite episode of this second half of the season right now. That might change on a second viewing, but Carol killing a handful of Saviors didn’t make up for everyone being scattered and putting themselves in the Saviors’ crosshairs right when they’re all needed to defend Alexandria.