A Look at The Walking Dead #164: “A Fallen House”

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This issue fascinated me for a variety of reasons.  We’re still in the middle of dealing with the roamer herd making its way through Alexandria, Rick and Negan get a chance to bond in the strangest of ways, and Carl is slowly growing into more of a leader with the Hilltop residents, among other reasons.

For now, and I could be wrong, it looks like the survivors will be able to thin out the herd in no time at all.  Not in “No Way Out” speed, but judging from how quickly Andrea and the others are working, they’re able to draw away the herd in massive chunks.  It could be enough to draw out the residents, in addition to Rick and Negan, so they can help further cut down the roamer herd.

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So I’m guessing either the Hilltop residents covered a lot of distance or it doesn’t take that long to get from there to Alexandria, because Maggie and company arrive in no time at all. Good because this draws Maggie into the fray and towards a possible confrontation with Negan, but also puts Carl in a leadership role in Maggie’s absence, which I’ll touch on again later.

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The bulk of issue #164 revolves around Rick and Negan stick in one of the Alexandria buildings while they’re surrounded by the roamer herd.  This could’ve gone down two ways: one is that they’re at each other’s throats because of all the shit Negan has put everyone through, or the two could have the smallest semblance of a conversation while they wait out the danger around them.

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We get the latter.  Part of that is because there’s no way in hell that Negan will shut the fuck up, especially when he’s stuck with Rick Grimes of all people.  He’s saved Rick’s life twice now and since he’s trapped with him, the least they could do is attempt to talk.  It helps that Negan has seen the fear in residents when they fled for their lives, versus him and Rick, who ran, but managed to remain calm.

Of course, Rick has no reason to indulge Negan.  As he says, if there was a point when he and Negan could have been friends, that time has passed.  Even at this point, I imagine it’s hard to forgive Negan for killing Glenn, among other things, but he’s proven his worth to Rick, Andrea, and the others, and after saving Rick’s life, the least the two could do is talk.

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And talk they do.  Here I was thinking Rick would name a specific kill or moment where his life changed- something like Lori’s death, Carol’s suicide, or Carl almost getting raped, for example- but no, it’s something much more tragic.

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As strange as this sounds, Rick and Negan are more alike than we realized.  Rick admits that the worst thing he did was just survive when other people who should have lived ended up dying.  For all the suffering Rick has seen, it’s changed the man he is today, but now we see he carries this guilt, as if he also should’ve died like the others.

Was it fate that did those people in or were they just weak?  Who knows?  Either way, we see just how much Negan hates weakness in people.  As we learned during his introduction, he gets off on people fighting against him.  Spencer was a coward who tried to work with Negan while screwing over Rick.  Rick was willing to comply with the Saviors’ demands, but he still despised Negan and let him know it.

Some people are just not equipped to handle this new world, and Negan knows that.  He’s seen his share of cowards lose their lives because they lacked the will to live or just knew how to find trouble.  In Negan’s twisted way, it becomes easier to kill people who he believed would get themselves killed anyway.  This isn’t an excuse for what he did to Glenn, but I get Negan’s perspective, especially after seeing what he’s been through.

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I don’t know if this was an intentional move on Robert Kirkman’s part, but this issue and Negan baring his soul to Rick are both given more weight through “Here’s Negan” and watching him grow increasingly frustrated with the people he ran into getting themselves bitten or killed.  You can read and enjoy this without reading “Here’s Negan,” yes, but I think looking at it helps you understand Negan’s case.

There, we saw him leave his wife to rot and it’s eaten away at him ever since.  Unlike his recently departed bat, Negan never got to give his wife a proper burial.  And should he live through all of this, I’d be curious to see if he would ever return to the hospital to see if there’s anything left of his wife to bury.

To veer off-topic for a bit and put on my speculation hat, I’m curious how the Saviors came to be.  We know how much Negan hates cowardly people, so how did he come to convince a large group of people, some of whom couldn’t have been as brave as others, to follow him?  That’s more a discussion for “Here’s Negan,” but with Negan talking about how he hates spineless people, I’d like to know more about the beginning of the Saviors.

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For now, though, I’m excited to see Rick and Negan working together.  With the folks outside able to thin out the numbers, this should give the two an opportunity to either escape or at least kill a few roamers and make their way through Alexandria.  But with Rick having lost his cane and Negan still able to do…well, anything, there’s no telling what could happen.

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Anyway, the rest of the issue deals with the groups on the outside still drawing away as many roamers as possible, but there are some character moments.  We get Eugene and Heath talking about how being outside the walls makes them feel complete.  It keeps them busy.

This is what the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone lacked before Rick and company arrived.  They grew complacent because of their supposed safety within their walls.  Not that Heath or Eugene are weak.  Not at all.  But I like how dealing with this herd and being in the middle of this unpredictable sea of the dead gives them value. As the two admit, it’s fucked up, but I love it all the same.

And again, this is what the Alexandria residents would have benefited from if they didn’t close themselves off from the world.  Rick and company are battle-ready and more than willing to step into danger because they’ve lived and survived that lifestyle for so long while they’ve been on the move.  As was the case when they first arrived in Alexandria, taking a step back would make them soft.

Plus, we see how much Eugene specifically has learned not just from working with Rick, but dealing with roamers so much that he can pick up on subtle details that will help him lead away the roamers that he sees as simple creatures.

This is such a short scene and I didn’t expect to talk about it as much as I did, but that’s how much it stuck with me.

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Meanwhile, we have Dwight, Laura, Andrea, Magna, Yumiko, and the others also leading away the herd through noise, and it’s great that they’re making such good progress, but hopefully they don’t get surrounded, as Laura feared.

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Now back to Carl.  He’s rallying the Hilltop folks to fight against the dead now that the herd is thinning.  I don’t know if this the best idea since Maggie did tell him to stay behind.  She said get ready to move if it gets unsafe, but the situation looks like it’s getting better unless the herd heads his way.

But the good thing is that this shows Carl’s continual growth into a position of authority. Though far from the oldest person here, he’s assuming the role of leader and convincing the Hilltop people to help finish off what remains of the herd.  Through this, I can see more Hilltop folks warming to Carl not just because he’s Rick Grimes’ son, but because of his determination and leadership.  Hopefully he’s not leading some folks to their deaths.

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No, that honor might fall to Sherry.  I’m not sure if this plan has been thought out that well, but what do the Saviors expect will happen when they enter Alexandria?  Rick and the others will be too tired to fight?  Hell no.  If anything, they’d be more than willing to indulge the Saviors again.

In addition, just how many Saviors are left, anyway?  I imagine there’s still a sizable number at the Sanctuary, but Sherry doesn’t have a lot of people with her at the moment. Between Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom, the other communities eclipse them by a wide margin and Rick is already anticipating an attack from them.

Not to mention the Saviors would still have to contend with the roamers as well.  It sounds like a suicide mission, but hey, maybe the Saviors can squeeze out a victory.

Either way, “A Fallen House” is a good issue with its biggest strength being the conversation between Rick and Negan as the two realize, that for how different we may think they are, they’re more similar than we realize.  The herd is beginning to thin out, so here’s hoping the survivors can stamp out the Whisperers’ plan before it gets worse.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 6: “Swear”

You remember Tara and Heath, right?  While Rick and the others left to further attempt dismantling the Saviors, Tara and Heath left to go on a run after the events of “Not Tomorrow Yet.”  Now it’s time to catch up with The Walking Dead’s two most exciting characters.

I kid, but there’s been a lot of speculation about this episode.  We’ve had bottle episodes this season that deal with, for the most part, one community.  But given how the Saviors are the major threat, it’s easy to write off Tara and Heath’s time as filler.  However, that’s not the case here, as we get an episode that focuses a good amount of time on Tara and introduces us to a new community that could be vital to the battle ahead.

This is “Swear.”

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The episode begins by the water.  A couple of girls: Cyndie, played by Sydney Park, and Rachel, played by Mimi Kirkland, make quick of walkers lying dead in the sand, though Rachel is more eager than the other.  They then stumble upon Tara’s body.

Rachel wants to kill her, but Cyndie says that they don’t have to, even if that’s their responsibility.  Rachel won’t snitch, but she’s not going to help Cyndie, either.  With that, Cyndie drags Tara onto the shore.

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Then we cut back to the camper as Heath and Tara go through what they’ve found so far.  They two went further than they were supposed to, but as Glenn once said, there’s nothing in the world that isn’t hidden, so they just need to keep looking.  But there’s not enough gas to keep going, as it’s already been two weeks.  Tara maintains that they need ammo and medicine, so she doesn’t want to leave without fulfilling her end of the bargain.

But Heath is still rattled by the amount of people killed at the Savior outpost.  Sure, maybe they all had to do it, but Heath reminds Tara that the people of Alexandria lived a certain way before Rick’s group arrived.  Now Heath gets it: you take what you can, kill who needs to be killed, and keep going because no one is in this together.

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Tara calls bullshit on that and knows even Heath doesn’t believe his words, but Heath disagrees.  That’s not just him, but it’s Tara and everyone who wants to stay alive.  After today, Heath declares that the two will push towards the shore, but head back after that, even if they just have rusty cans.  Tara picks up the gun with a bat scrawled onto it.

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In the present, Cyndie, after looking over a map, returns to the shore and leaves Tara two bottles of water, a fish, and a spear before leaving.  Soon after Cyndie is a good distance away, Tara awakens and begins to down the water.

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As Cyndie goes through the forest, Tara follows her from a considerable distance and winds up in a small village.  She finds the people working under the cover of mesh, which also is used to cover their homes.  Soon, the members then all fall in, grab their guns, head off…and start opening fire on Tara.  But they have Stormtrooper aim, so of course they all miss.

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Tara manages to take down one woman, Beatrice, played by Briana Venskus, and knocks her out with the butt of her gun, but she’s soon cornered by Rachel, who still wants to kill her.  Tara finds herself surrounded and then meets the group’s leader: Natania, played by Deborah May, who warns Cyndie to get away from Tara.  In response, Tara feebly offers to leave.  A bit late for that, Tara, isn’t it?

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We flash back to Tara and Heath heading to the bridge, where they find a cavalcade of vehicles .  The two wait to see if any human or walkers are waiting to strike, but soon head towards the cars.  They then happen upon an overturned truck filled with sand.

Just as Heath finds some shells in the ground, Tara pulls loose a backpack that sends down all of the sand.  Walkers begin to crawl out of the sand.  As walkers surround Tara, Heath falls back.

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Back in the present, Natania introduces brings Beatrice and Kathy, played by Nicole Barré to speak with Tara.  Natania explains that the bells and horns that Tara hears are in place to redirect any dead.  The area is clear, for the most part.  When asked where she’s from, Tara explains that she came from Atlanta and stayed on the move with her friend, whom she worked with on a fishing boat apparently called a larder.

Then Tara is asked why she’s here, as the community gets nervous when newcomers arrive.  Tara explains finding the settlement on the bridge when, during the walker attack, she got knocked off the bridge and ended up in the water.  She only snuck around to see if the area was safe.  If she’s pointed in the right direction, Tara will leave.  However, Tara knows too much about the community.

Normally, Tara would have been killed because strangers are killed on sight, which I find hilarious since these women can’t aim for shit.  But anyway, Tara spared Beatrice at least, so that has to count for something.

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That evening, Tara is invited to dinner, which is fish stew.  Natania then formally introduces Cyndie to Tara, who thanks Cyndie for saving her life.  Cyndie is trying to show Rachel a certain way, as she hasn’t had to kill yet.  Natania explains that living so close to the ocean gives the village access to fish.  She’s hopes that Tara can stay so the village stays a secret.  Plus, Natania believes that Tara is a skilled fighter and is a good person.

When Natania offers a chance for Heath to stay as well, Tara asks the million dollar question: where are the men?  The women explain that their group got into a fight with another group and none of the men made it.  After that, the women decided to protect themselves and kill whomever they met on sight.

Again, ladies, your aim is shit, so I don’t buy that claim.  Anyway, the women found the village with the intent to stay hidden and alive.  Tara could have hurt them, but she didn’t.  Natania hopes that Tara can be honest about where she’s really from since a larder is not a boat, but a room for storing meat.  Silly Tara.

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Tara talks about her community, her girlfriend, and how her group has done bad things like this village, like kill this group of people at a satellite station.  In Tara’s eyes, the people her group killed got what they deserved, but that’s not why they were killed.  Tara’s group did it to stay alive, just like these women.  In fact, she hopes that the communities can work together, but the women shoot down that idea.   After all, they want to stay hidden.

Tara says that, eventually, the village will need friends.  If they see everyone as enemies, then enemies are all they’ll find.  Natania offers Tara a guide so she can find Heath and so the women can check her community.  Beatrice will go, but Natania refuses to let Cyndie leave as punishment for breaking the rules.  Though Natania does tell Cyndie that, if this works out, there will be plenty of other chances.

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The next day, Natania bids Tara farewell as Kathy and Beatrice escort her away from the village.  When the three happen upon a walker caught in some branches, Tara goes to kill it right when she finds herself under fire from Kathy and Beatrice.  But again, their aim sucks, so they miss as Tara makes her escape.

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Tara soon hides in a ditch and eventually engages Beatrice in another fight until Beatrice gets her gun.  Tara pleads for Beatrice to let her go, given that Tara could have killed her.  Beatrice retorts that Tara’s group had no idea what they started by killing the people at the satellite post, and she calls mentions the Saviors by their name.

Even if Tara’s group got one small win, Beatrice tells her that there are more Saviors and outposts, and if they know about Tara’s group, it’s too late for them.  Beatrice explains that the Saviors executed every man and boy over the age of 10.  Jesus.  The remaining people were supposed to keep working for the Saviors, but they decided to just leave.  And Beatrice won’t let Tara lead the Saviors back to them.

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Before Beatrice can open fire, given her many chances, Cyndie tackles her.  Tara continues her escape, knowing that Cyndie won’t shoot her since she saved her already. Cyndie wants Tara to swear that she’ll never return or tell anyone about this village, but Tara sees no reason do so in the first place.  Cyndie tells Tara that her group didn’t have to kill the Saviors at the outpost.  No one is evil- they just decide to forget who they are.

Again, Cyndie demands that Tara swear that she’ll keep the area a secret, and Tara soon does agree not to talk about the village.  Cyndie gives Tara a backpack of food and water before taking her to the bridge.

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The two return to the bridge, with Cyndie not willing to leave until Tara makes it to the other side.  Tara asks why Cyndie isn’t like the others, but Cyndie simply asks why Tara isn’t as well.  That’s not an answer, Cyndie.

The two make their way past the vehicles and take out as many walkers as possible. Cyndie picks off as many as she can, but she soon runs out of ammunition.  As luck would have it, Tara soon makes it to the other side.

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After a flashback of Tara and Heath’s final moment before the two were separated, Tara spots Cyndie being hauled away.  She continues her trek when she spots a pair of broken glasses and begins following a path in the dirt.  She then finds a key card in the dirt, hoping it was Heath, and heads off.

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She later happens upon a fishing boat because payoff and then winds up at a supply shop where she eats the fish that gave her.  With a new pair of sunglasses, Tara soon returns to the Alexandria Safe Zone, where she reunites with a crestfallen Eugene.

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Having been briefed on what’s happened, Tara later talks with Rosita, who asks if she has any leads on guns or ammunition, no matter how dangerous of an area she found. She’s ready to take this fight to the Saviors and needs any way to make this right, but Tara that they can’t.  The episode comes to a close with Tara telling Rosita that she didn’t see anything while on her run.

Well, here we are.  There’s been a lot of talk and anticipation about this episode.  Many had believed it would be filler or just a much slower paced episode.  Given how we’ve spent the past few weeks dealing with how communities deal with or combat Negan, to go from that to catching up with Heath and Tara felt like something that wouldn’t factor into the overall plot.

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Not to mention the fact that Tara and Heath probably aren’t topping many people’s favorite character lists, and how we were meeting this new community, “Swear” had the makings of what could have been an episode that people could write off as irrelevant to the season.

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But, to my surprise, that wasn’t the case.  While this wasn’t anything great, this episode did two things: first off, it introduced us to Oceanside, a community I never thought we’d see this early on the show.  More than that, the show fleshed the community out in a way that I don’t believe the comic did, certainly not this soon or prior to “All Out War.”

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However, instead of the TV version of Oceanside having any generic backstory, the show managed to tie them into the main storyline by connecting them to the Saviors.  Granted, if you removed the Saviors from the equation, Tara’s time with this group probably would seem more like filler, but this was a good way to make the community more relevant right now as opposed to later.

And while Tara may have been cocky enough at first to think that the outpost attack was enough to derail the Saviors, the Oceanside community knows all too well what happens when you fight against Negan.  And wow, the repercussions paint Negan as even more of a villain than he already is.

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This is a lingering questions I have regarding Oceanside’s conflict with the Saviors: what in the world did they do to warrant all of the males over 10 being executed? Hell, Rick’s group killed an entire outpost and Negan planned to kill just one person in retaliation- two due to Daryl’s interference.  But the Oceanside group must have screwed up or fought back long and hard to lose the majority, if not all, of their male population.

Either way, even if we don’t know, this further showed the consequences of trying to fight against the Saviors and took some of the wind out of Tara’s confidence.  Tara was in cahoots with the Governor and now sides with Rick: she’s now allied with two leaders willing to kill who needs to be killed in order to survive.

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Sure, Tara is nowhere as hard or cold as Rick or the Governor, but she still understands the need to strike early.  But between learning how both Oceanside and Alexandria suffered at the hands of the Saviors, I think that Heath’s words about killing have left a mark on Tara and she may not want to take part in or possibly be the catalyst of another incident.

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After all, she didn’t tell Rosita about what she saw on her run, but keep in mind that Tara only promised to not reveal anything about Oceanside.  She didn’t promise anything about the bridge.  We saw all of the shells in the sand, and between that and Rosita wanting Eugene to make her a bullet, there’s nothing stopping Tara from at least telling the others about the bridge.  So the door’s still open for Oceanside to meet our survivors.

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As for the Oceanside folks themselves, I’m curious to see whether they play a part in the coming conflict with the Saviors.  Given how we see all of those guns just after Negan has deprived Alexandria of their weapons, I expect some sort of follow-up.  You don’t introduce a community like this that has a shit ton of guns and there not be any sort of payoff later.

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That said, I’m of two minds about the inhabitants.  They seem like decent people when you get to know them and they have every reason to be suspicious of anyone they meet. But for all their talk of killing strangers on sight, Tara walked out relatively unharmed.  Not even so much as getting popped in the knee for even sneaking around the village.  It’s hard for me to think Oceanside’s inhabitants are ruthless when they couldn’t subdue one person.

But at least they were smart enough to see through Tara’s ruse and invite her to stay to help grow the community.  I get the sense that Oceanside would prefer not to engage in battle, but if necessary, they will defend themselves.  Of the residents that we meet, Cyndie comes off as the most welcoming to Tara, given how she saved her multiple times and helped her cross the bridge.

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And I got the vibe that she’s one of the residents who is still willing to fight the likes of the Saviors.  The others seem reluctant, but ready, to take part in another clash, but Cyndie admitted that she’s a good shot and she’s not against breaking the rules to help out someone else.  If the other communities had a battle ready ally in Oceanside, I would put good money on Cyndie stepping up first to lend a hand.

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It was nice to see Tara handle this new situation on her own.  While I like Alana Masterson in the role, Tara has never been a character I’ve had an attachment to, and while I’m still not her biggest fan here, it was good to see her prove how useful and good of a fighter she is outside of the main survivors.

Though she could use work on her storytelling, since she was exposed on not knowing a larder, followed by her coming right out and admitting what her friends had done to the Saviors.  Then again, as far as I can tell, she hasn’t told them the name or where her community is located, so she didn’t play her entire hand.

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The problem with this episode was the pacing.  More so the cutting back and forth between the past and present.  It wasn’t done as well as “First Time Again,” I feel, and not like the flashbacks were frequent, but I would have rather we had all of Tara and Heath’s moments played out as one long sequence.

You can start out with Tara washing up on the shore, sure, but then just start with Tara and Heath’s conversation, end with Tara falling into the water, and then play out the rest of the episode in the present.  The problem with cutting back and forth is that we knew where Tara ended up before we saw the scene of her ending up in the water.

And once more, going back to “First Time Again,” those flashbacks filled in the blanks of how the community dealt with the deaths of Pete, Reg, and the new set of circumstances. Those flashbacks were complimented by them still addressing those issues in the present. Whereas here, Heath and Tara have a conversation before heading to the bridge and dealing with walkers.  That’s about it.

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I hope that Heath’s fate being unknown isn’t just a way for the show to remove Heath from the equation right now since Corey Hawkins is also going to be on 24: Legacy, but for now, where Heath went to is anyone’s guess right now.

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By the way, getting real tired of these fake-outs.  It would have been pretty damn cliche if the walker Tara saw on the bridge was indeed Heath, but it wasn’t.  Just a fake-out.  Was it necessary?  No.  Was it effective?  Also no.

So “Swear” was a good episode.  Not as bad as people expected it to be, but not as engaging as the others, in my opinion.  The introduction of the Oceanside community and the reveal that they have had a run-in with the Saviors helps connect this village to the greater, ongoing story.  Even though Tara swore not to tell anyone about what she saw, I’m hopeful that we see more of Oceanside this season.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 5: “Go Getters”

Right, so last time we were at the Hilltop, Rick killed one of the members and acted like he hadn’t done a damn thing.  Well, things have changed now.  As Maggie and Sasha have finally arrived at the Hilltop, the two become more direct in their confrontations with Gregory and their plan to strike back at Negan.  But not before an unexpected visit from the Saviors.  This is “Go Getters.”

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The episode begins with Maggie awakening at the Hilltop.  Carson informs Maggie of her condition, detached placenta and such, and trauma she endured, but despite that, she didn’t lose the baby.  Carson advises her to take it easy for a few days so she can recuperate.  Maggie asks Carson to repeat everything he said.  God, Maggie, start listening.

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She’s soon released and reunites with Sasha, who takes her to the grave sites of both Abraham and Glenn.  Sasha hands Maggie the pocket watch that was in Glenn’s pocket.  Maggie then rests her father’s watch where her husband now rests.  Sasha feels that everything is wrong now, but to Maggie, not everything has gone to shit.  Given Carson’s instructions, Sasha insists that the two of them stay.

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Jesus approaches and places flowers on the graves.  Blue flowers apparently inspire strength, and green mean release.  Gregory joins the two and asks whether the rest of their group eliminated Negan, but it was just the folks at the outpost.  He wants Sasha and Maggie gone and isn’t going by Carson’s instructions.  Also, Gregory informs Sasha and Maggie that the dead at the Hilltop are burned, not buried.  Keep that in mind.

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Gregory tells Jesus that he’s recuperating just like anyone else is.  Stab wounds can make you do that.  Maggie promised that her group could take care of the Saviors, but the Hilltop is still at risk.  If the outpost was attacked, Negan may think it was Gregory’s idea.

But if Maggie and Sasha leave, then Gregory has plausible deniability.  He concedes that the two can stay the night and leave in the morning.  And though Jesus wants to talk about this later, Gregory won’t have that.  So it’s settled, but not to Sasha.  And Maggie’s pregnancy isn’t Gregory’s problem- it’s Maggie’s problem.  Well, shit.

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Over at the Alexandria Safe Zone, Rick wants Carl to come with him on a supply run for the Saviors, but Carl still doesn’t like this arrangement.  He’ll stay behind to take care of Judith.  As Aaron heads downstairs, Rick gives Michonne a walkie-talkie and tells her that he’s headed north.  The two have a goodbye kiss before Rick departs.

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Carl later asks why Michonne didn’t join Rick, but she has to figure out how the community can do this, if possible.  Carl doesn’t see a way and thinks that his father is wrong about this deal.  Even still, Michonne doesn’t know.  She cautions Carl to change his bandage and be nice to Olivia.  What the hell did Carl do to Olivia?

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He heads outside and finds Enid preparing to scale the walls again, as she’s planning to see Maggie at the Hilltop.  Enid assures Carl that she will be fine, and has better aim than Carl.  Enid, don’t be a dick.

Carl tells Enid that he won’t be saving her anymore.  He claims that he did as much in the armory.  Plus, not sorry about what he had to see on the road, either.  Enid then heads over the wall.

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Jesus helps Sasha set up in her room, but she wants him to get Gregory to change his mind.  She asks Jesus why he isn’t in charge, but he doesn’t see himself as a leader.  The people need Jesus there.  If it was just Gregory, things would be worse.  Sasha offers to scavenge for the Hilltop as long as Jesus can keep Maggie safe.

Jesus doesn’t want that, though, so Sasha asks what he wants the Hilltop to be.  Jesus responds that he just tries to help, so Sasha says that he may need to start doing more. He then pulls out Abraham’s necklace that he dropped in the dirt during in “Knots Untie.”  You remember that fight, right?

He gives it to Sasha just as Maggie arrives and tells Jesus that she won’t be around much longer.  Jesus promises that he’ll do what he can to help.  When Maggie asks Jesus why the dead are burned, Jesus says that it’s just to keep going.  Their memories remain in the people who are still alive.

Sasha suggests that the two of them stay.  After all, Gregory is an idiot and coward.  True as that is, Maggie suggests that they sleep it over so their minds will be clearer in the morning.

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So Enid finds a bike and spots a walker approaching her.  It’s soon decimated by an approaching car that quickly crashes into a post.  The driver backs up and slams the walker into a wall.  Turns out that it’s Carl, who tells Enid that he likes to drive.  I don’t see how.  He’s a worse driver than Lori.

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That evening, Maggie and Sasha hear whistles, music playing, and spot fires across the Hilltop.  With the windows locked, Sasha slips out on top of the trailer just in time to spot walkers streaming into the Hilltop.  Maggie alerts Jesus that Sasha needs backup, as well as tells two Hilltop residents to close the gates.  Sasha approaches the source of the music: a locked car.

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Then, the badass she is, Maggie enters the battle with a tractor that she uses to mow down walkers because that’s how Maggie rolls.  While Jesus and Maggie continue taking care of walkers, Maggie backs the tractor over the car and stops the music.

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The next day, Carl and Enid, now on foot, talk about killing for the ones they love.  Carl counters that it’s not for them and he apologizes for locking her in the armory.  Enid is still concerned about Maggie.

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Jesus tells Gregory that he won’t turn away Maggie and Sasha, but Gregory maintains that he’s in charge.  However, if Jesus says the word, he can have the Hilltop and all the shit that’s happened with the Saviors.  Then Sasha and Maggie enter just as Gregory informs the two that they can leave and take Jesus with them.

Sasha offers to leave, but Maggie stays in exchange for what happened last night.  She asks Gregory what can be done to make this right.  For that to work, Gregory wants to meet one-on-one with Sasha, and Maggie gets the wrong impression about that.

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The conversation is interrupted by the sound of a truck arriving.  While Jesus puts Maggie and Sasha into hiding, Gregory watches as Simon leads a large group of Saviors into the Hilltop as they converge on the mansion.

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Back on the road, Carl finds a backpack that actually contains two pairs of roller skates that miraculously fit both him and Enid.  Now what are fucking odds of that?  The two join hands and skate down the road like something out of a 1980s movie.

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The Saviors enter the mansion with Simon surveying the place.  He tells Gregory that the two of them need to talk in his study.  See, Simon wants to see Gregory’s painting.  He then brings up that the Saviors that Gregory used to deal with have been removed from play, hence the need to talk.

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In the study, Simon does indeed admire the painting.  Gregory received last night’s message loud and clear, assuming that the Saviors were just showing who is in charge.  Simon, though, is transfixed on the painting, seeing it as management by example.  Simon figures that people in the Hilltop probably forget what the corpses look and smell like.  He offered to kill the walkers, but Gregory already cleaned up the mess.  Simon likes that.

But Gregory says that the Hilltop picked up skills from the Saviors.  He’s a team player, which is why the people chose him.  But Simon brings up the other people who apparently got spoiled dealing with Gregory.  Gregory is surprised to learn that these other Saviors are, in fact, extremely dead.  And the people who killed them work for the Saviors now.  They’re real go-getters.  Roll credits.

Gregory wants Simon to tell Negan that he understands the benefits in crossing the aisle, but Simon sees no reason for that.  Right now, Simon is Gregory’s Negan.  It means a lot that Gregory sees what the Saviors can offer.  It’s why he’s still alive and others aren’t.  Simon asks if there’s anything else he should be aware of, and Gregory eventually says that there is.

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So he takes Simon to a closet to reveal…alcohol.  Unfortunately, Simon hates scotch- it tastes like ashtrays and window cleaner to him.  How he knows what those taste like, I don’t know.  Anyway, Simon is a gin man.  Negan will love it, though, and Simon will say that it’s from him, so he takes the whole damn box of booze.

Simon thanks Gregory for the gesture, and he then tells the Saviors to go through and only take half of what’s needed.  Also, Simon is taking the painting.

Then Simon has one last task for Gregory: he wants him to kneel.  And Gregory does just that.  Simon gets down to his level and tells Gregory to remember his solid kneel for next time.  As the Saviors get to work, Jesus stares down the Hilltop leader with disgust.

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Back to Carl and Enid, it turns out that the two have made it to the Hilltop in record time.  Carl wants Enid to come with her since, hell, they both want to kill the Saviors.  It would be for them, but Enid says that it wouldn’t be for Abraham, Maggie, or Glenn.  Carl is doing this for himself.  However Carl does it would still matter to Enid.  Enid begs Carl to return with her, but he refuses.  And she knows that she can’t stop him.

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Gregory is livid that Maggie and Sasha were hidden in his closet, not the hallway closet. He maintains that the Saviors attempting to kill him was a misunderstanding.  At last, Jesus puts his foot down: Sasha and Maggie are staying.

Jesus won’t be in charge, it’s just that Gregory won’t be.  That or the public can learn of the deal with Alexandria and Gregory’s plausible deniability.  Jesus, Maggie, and Sasha are staying so they can be one big, happy, and dysfunctional family.  Gregory says that he will keep things going.

If the Hilltop plays nice, the Saviors will play nice.  And that’s when Maggie slugs Gregory before taking Hershel’s watch, which he took because he felt a fine watch didn’t need to be outdoors and left in the rain.  Going forward, though, Maggie wants to be called by her proper name: Maggie Rhee.

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Later, Jesus tells the two that when he arrived at the Hilltop, Gregory was already in charge.  He didn’t like how Gregory operated, but couldn’t imagine anyone else in his place.  Now, he can.  Who?  Well, more on that later.  He apologizes for not talking to Maggie sooner and promises to make it up to her.  Also, the gates are finally closed.  Sasha tells Jesus that if he wants to make it up to her, find out where Negan lives.

With one of the trucks going back to Negan’s stronghold, Jesus may be able to do that.  Sasha asks if Jesus can keep this between them, and neither she nor Jesus like the sound of that.

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Maggie goes out and finds Enid at the gravesite, which now includes some green balloons.  Okay, did Enid scale the Hilltop walls or just walk right through the gates?

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Whatever.  Anyway, Maggie tells Enid that she couldn’t stand by and watch walkers invade the Hilltop.  It wasn’t hard or her first time.  She ran over this guy’s Camaro- Maggie is a dick to Camaros.  Then Sasha enters the trailer and learns that Enid came, alone, to help.  She asks about the balloons, but ultimately sees nothing wrong with them.  Plus, there was nothing marking the graves.  Maggie then gives Hershel’s watch to Enid.

After all, she doesn’t need anything to remember him by because they have each other.  Maggie then prays over the dinner, even though Jesus isn’t in their presence.  How rude.

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Meanwhile, the Saviors load up and leave the Hilltop, unaware that they have new travel companions in both Jesus and Carl.

Well, we were bound to end up here sooner or later.  While we’ve dealt with Alexandria, the Sanctuary, and the Kingdom in previous episodes, “Go Getters” lets us catch up with Maggie and Sasha in the aftermath of Negan killing Abraham and Glenn.  It’s not a complete bottle episode, mind you, as we do cut to the Alexandria Safe Zone for a bit, in addition to Carl and Enid’s adventures on the road.

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But for the most part, this was our chance to see how Maggie and Sasha have been, and I love every second of it.  Unlike Rick trying to make the most of Negan’s terms for now, right from the gate, we see that Sasha and Maggie are ready to fight.  Their bond, strengthened by the people they’ve lost, has elevated them to start calling the shots at the Hilltop.

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Yes, Maggie was the one who brokered the deal with Gregory, and in addition to Rick saying that his group has never had trouble with confrontation, she’s seen the consequences of her confidence.  But even with that and her pregnancy problems, Maggie is not going to sit on the sidelines and be a bystander.

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In addition to taking Glenn’s name, Maggie is rising as a leader at the Hilltop.  When the colony comes under attack, she springs into action and gives orders to the Hilltop members, who were just watching the walkers, to defend the community.  Despite her condition, she gets into a fucking tractor and crushes both walkers and the car to get rid of the sound.  Regardless of being hindered, Maggie still has a voice.

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And it helps that she and Sasha push Jesus to step up and become more outspoken. Even if Jesus does believe that he can’t be a leader, he’s vital support.  He can hold his own in a fight, we’ve seen how nimble he is, and he sees Gregory for the coward that he is.  I sort of see Jesus as a person who could lead, but might not want that responsibility.  As an adviser, maybe, but he has no desire to be in charge.

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But that’s not good enough for Sasha and Maggie because they’ve seen what he brings to the table as far as support.  So it’s great that the three of them have banded together to bring about a change at the Hilltop.

This extends to their plan of gathering information about Negan.  While Rick is trying to avoid pushing Negan’s buttons again for now, Sasha and Maggie are already brewing for war and have taken the first step towards that by asking Jesus to find out where Negan lives.  Even though Rick doesn’t want anyone else to die, Maggie and Sasha are being more proactive by learning whatever they can about Negan.

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They’re willing to fight back against him, unlike Gregory, who would rather keep his head in the sand to save his own ass.  I love how Xander Berkeley is handling Gregory, as he’s ripped right from the comics and brought to the life in a great way.  He’s mean, slimy, and doesn’t seem to have an ounce of integrity- proven when he tries to sell out Maggie and Sasha or when he takes the pocket watch.

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He kneels to the Saviors because he’s unwilling to fight.  He would prefer to stay fed and protected as long as he doesn’t piss off his oppressors, even though that paints him as a weakling.  He blames the Hilltop’s problems on Rick, Maggie, and their negotiation, as he refuses to take responsibility and lead the community.

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And I get the sense that he’s not interested in paying respect to the dead.  In addition to taking Hershel’s watch, he doesn’t dwell on the memories of those lost.  He prefers to burn them and move on rather than honor them with a proper burial.  Now this is a callback that I love.

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Remember back in Season One when Glenn told Daryl and Morales that they don’t burn their friends and comrades, but bury them instead?  This really shows the disconnect between the survivors we know versus Gregory.  Back then, they chose to honor the people they knew by giving them the burial that they deserved. Sure, Maggie wasn’t around back then, but I imagine she feels similar.

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But not Gregory.  He’s the opposite and would sooner burn the dead members of his community and deal with the next obstacle instead of giving the Hilltop a way to remember their fallen.

Not that there’s any sort of mandate on how to dispose of the dead, mind you, and Jesus does tell Maggie and Sasha that the living will preserve the memories of the dead. That’s acceptable, sure, but a burial still helps honor them as well.  And with Maggie passing Hershel’s watch to Enid, she acknowledges that she doesn’t need anything to remember Glenn by because she has friends who will no doubt remember him.

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As far as the Saviors go, I’m curious how much, if at all, the group as a whole know about the Hilltop’s involvement or the arrangement with Rick to deliver Gregory’s head to the outpost Saviors.  I say ‘as a whole’ because based on what Simon says, it seems like the Hilltop only dealt with the Saviors at said outpost.  With them dead and Simon taking charge, I will be very interested to see if the remaining Saviors know of the deal.

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And this is another casting I’m loving, by the way.  Steven Ogg is great as Simon.  In addition to being charismatic in the role, Ogg still manages to make Simon come off as intimidating.  Despite how cheerful and funny Simon can be, he’s just as scary, as we see in his exchanges with Gregory.

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The one part of this episode I wasn’t a big fan of was the subplot involving Carl and Enid. Perhaps it’s the writing or some of the chemistry between Chandler Riggs and Katelyn Nacon, but some of the interactions between Carl and Enid felt…odd and awkward.  I suppose that’s the point since they’re still kids, and it’s nice to see the two bond, but you could have trimmed some of this down.

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And you know, a big part of that has to do with the skating sequence.  Seriously, the stars aligned in their fucking favor that they found not one, but two pairs of skates that fit them no problem.  That’s not convenient- that’s just dumb.

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Adding to that, they find the Hilltop in no time without any issues.  They didn’t even have to skate away from walkers.  Carl didn’t go to the Hilltop in “Knots Untie” and I’m guessing that Enid has never been there, yet the two arrive there before the episode even ends. I suppose the roller skates were outfitted with rockets.

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Wait…

But that’s my only real gripe with the episode.  Otherwise, I loved it.  Great acting and character development, a well done action sequence at the Hilltop that allowed Jesus to kick ass and Maggie to show how time on a farm will make you handy with a tractor when dealing with walkers.

At the same time, “Go Getters” also allowed for smaller, more intimate moments, such as Rick and Michonne’s farewell and the reunion between Enid, Sasha, and Maggie.  Lauren Cohan continues to do a great job as Maggie and I’m happy that we’re watching Maggie rise in leadership at the Hilltop.

Going forward, though, we’re getting a clear divide between our protagonists.  Rick is playing a long term game with Negan, but Maggie and Sasha are ready to take the fight to him.  With both Jesus and Carl headed to the Sanctuary to gather information- or in Carl’s case, to kill- Negan is in for a surprise.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 3: “The Cell”

You know, of all the things that The Walking Dead manages to do to me, I never thought one of them would be to make me sick of a song that I had never even heard of prior to this episode.  But such is the case as we catch up with Daryl and see how life has been for him since Negan brought him along to the headquarters of the Saviors: the Sanctuary. This is “The Cell.”

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The episode begins with, Dwight watching, of all things, “Who’s the Boss.”  As he does, we hear The Jam’s “Town Called Malice.”  Subtle.  We’re then introduced to life at the Sanctuary as Dwight keeps tabs on folks in the compound, including one guy who gets a beating by three other Saviors.  Dwight minds his place, though, dropping to his knees along with other Saviors whenever Negan walks by.

The montage ends as Dwight is interrupted from his sandwich as he watches two men evade walkers outside the gates of the Sanctuary.  One walker in particular is impaled right down the middle, so he won’t be moving anytime soon.

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Later, Dwight prepares a sandwich of dog food and drops it off to his prisoner: a naked Daryl who is more than glad to take the sandwich.  Dwight heads out of the cell, leaving Daryl in the dark.  So now we see how Daryl has adjusted since he arrived.  Well, truth be told, it fucking sucks.  So does the music. He takes any and every meal that Dwight hands him without question. But he is eventually given a jumpsuit with an “A” on it to wear.

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Dwight takes Daryl to a kitchen and instructs the doctor, Carson, played by Tim Parati, who is just finishing with Sherry, to work on Daryl.  And Dwight instructs Sherry to not talk to Daryl.  As for Sherry, her pregnancy results are negative.  Well, maybe next time.  Sherry cautions Daryl to do whatever the others tell him.  Carson tells Daryl that Negan will take care of him.  He’ll heal up in no time.

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As the two leave, they run right into Negan, who needs to talk with Dwight.  All Daryl can do is sit and wait until Dwight returns.  When he does, he takes Daryl outside to see various other men in jumpsuits fending off walkers.  Dwight’s at least getting better with the crossbow.  He pushes Daryl up to the gate and gives him a choice: he can be like the men in the gates or like him.

Back in his cell, Dwight tells Daryl, who refuses to kneel, that he really doesn’t know what’s going on, but he will.  As Dwight leaves, that fucking song begins to play again. This song, turns out, is “Easy Street” by Collapsible Hearts Club. You can thank AMC for that one.  Anyway, the song gets to Daryl to the point that he starts kicking at his door.

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Negan and Dwight talk about Daryl’s condition.  It’s working slow, but Negan knows that it takes longer to break others.  Since Dwight is doing so well, Negan asks Dwight if he wants to have a blast from the past.  It’s a joke, but Negan can pick whomever he wants as long as she says yes.  Remember that.  Negan then asks Dwight if his penis is working right.  It’s not down for the count, but Dwight won’t be partaking tonight.

And Negan wonders why Dwight would turn down free pussy.  Dwight claims it’s because he hasn’t finished the job with Daryl, so he hasn’t earned the pussy yet.  Negan disagrees, saying that you earn what you take.  The talk is interrupted by a message on the radio from other Saviors.

As Dwight prepares to head out, Negan tells him that he wants his shit back, but doing this grunt work shouldn’t be left to Dwight.  However, Dwight says that he prefers it.

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So while Dwight heads out to an overpass, another Savior is left to watch over Daryl, who is still happy to take any food that he’s given.  When the Savior leaves, though, he doesn’t realize that he’s left the door unlocked.  When the coast is clear, Daryl sneaks out and makes his way around the compound.

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Back at the overpass, Dwight finds the road littered with walkers in what looks like a truly fucked up accident.  But then Dwight looks up and runs just as a walker is falls over the edge.  Dwight, now surrounded, begins shooting at the walkers approaching him.

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Back at the Sanctuary, Sherry discovers Dwight and tells him to go back while he can.  Whatever has been done to Daryl, there’s always more.  And Daryl won’t get away.  Should Daryl end up back, things will just be worse.

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Daryl doesn’t heed the advice and continues his escape until he finds a number of motorcycles.  Before he can do anything, he’s surrounded on all sides by Saviors.  Among them is Negan.

As Negan asks each of the Saviors who they are, they all responds that they are Negan.  The point, Negan is everywhere.  Daryl failed to realize that point.  Life might have been cooler for Daryl, but not anymore.  He reminds Daryl that Dwight gave him options.

Negan breaks it down: one, Daryl can end up on a spike and work for Negan as a dead man.  Two, he ends up out of his cell and work for points, but he’ll wish he was dead, or three, he works for Negan and lives like a king.

There is no door number four.  This is the only way for Daryl.  But Daryl doesn’t respond, no matter how hard Negan tries to get into his head or when he almost takes a shot at him.  In fact, Negan loves that Daryl doesn’t scare easy.  But that pisses off Lucille.  She finds that disrespectful.  Luckily, Lucille isn’t feeling thirsty today, but Negan is, so he…goes off to get a drink.  As Negan leaves, the remaining Saviors gang up on Daryl.

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He’s returned to his cell, where Sherry calls out to him from the other side.  She tells him that back in the woods, after she lost Tina and when she and Dwight robbed him, she reminds him that Daryl said they were going to be sorry.  Turns out that she is.

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Dwight soon finds a man, Gordon, played by Michael Scialabba, struggling with a walker.  He tackles him to the ground and tells him that he’s going back and will owe more. Gordon pleads to be let free, but Dwight won’t allow him to flee.  Even at gunpoint, Gordon is defiant, reminding Dwight that he used to be friendly.  After everything that Negan did to Dwight and Sherry, Dwight changed.

So Dwight tells Gordon that everything belongs to Negan or it will soon.  Gordon refuses to walk- in fact, he’s ready for Dwight to kill him.  Hell, he even wants him to do it. Gordon says that there’s more to life than what Negan wants.  There are more people than him, sure, but now, the Saviors aren’t losing.  Gordon says that after he and his wife, Maria, survived for a few months, they thought being at the Sanctuary would be fine.

They believed that they knew how to fight monsters.  Gordon drops to his knees and refuses to rise.  This is the last time that he’s going to kneel.  Dwight tells Gordon what he plans to do, even if it means digging up Gordon’s dead wife.  Gordon soon tells Dwight that he won.  He rises, saying that there’s nothing left.  With that, Gordon begins walking again.  After composing himself, Dwight raises his gun and fires.

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Later, Dwight returns to the Sanctuary and runs into Sherry, who gives him a cigarette.  He asks Sherry if Negan is good to her.  She says that he is, and that’s a good thing in Dwight’s mind.  Dwight maintains that he did the right thing, saying that it’s a hell of a lot better than being dead.

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Daryl, though, is still listening to that godforsaken song as he stews in his cell, but the music soon stops.  Dwight opens the door and tells Daryl to eat his sandwich.  After all, he got his friend killed.  Daryl shouldn’t pretend that he doesn’t know the score.  In response, Daryl chucks the sandwich at Dwight, who tells Daryl that he should be dead.  Negan, though, has taken a liking to Daryl, so he should remember.

And just before Dwight leaves, he puts a Polaroid on the wall.  Daryl tosses it down, but as he turns it around, he sees that it’s a photo of Glenn’s corpse.  And that’s when a new song starts: this time it’s “Crying” by Roy Orbison.  And Daryl does indeed begin to cry.  Dwight remains on the other side of the door long enough to hear Daryl crying before he heads off.

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He later returns and brings Daryl to meet Negan, who tells Daryl that Carson will fix him up.  Negan tells Daryl that a man like Dwight hustles.  Things weren’t always cool between them, though.  Dwight used to work for points- him and his wife, Shelly.  But Shelly’s sister, Tina, who needed medicine, fell behind on points, so Negan asked her to marry him.  He would take care of her because he’s a standup guy.

But Tina said that she would think about it.  Then Dwight took the medication and fled with both Sherry and Tina.  So Negan sent his men after Dwight because something like that cannot stand.  There are rules.  It cost a lot to go after Dwight, but he still got away.  However, Dwight manned up, returned, and asked for forgiveness, which got Negan’s attention.  However, Lucille is a stickler for the rules.

So Dwight begged Negan to not kill Sherry, which Negan found cute.  Instead, Negan would have killed Dwight, but Sherry offered to marry Negan if Dwight lived.  It was a start, but not enough, so Dwight got the iron and then Negan married Dwight’s now ex-wife. Through all of that, Dwight is one of Negan’s top men and the two are tight.  Point is that Daryl might be ready to be that guy.

All that Negan offers can be Daryl’s if he just answers one question: who is he?  Daryl doesn’t answer right away, so Negan asks again.  Eventually, Daryl responds with his own name, not Negan.  And Negan isn’t bothered.  It’s not his problem if Daryl made a dumbass choice.

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Dwight returns Daryl to his cell, telling him that he can wind up in the room or end up on the fence.  Daryl, though, now knows why Dwight took the medication: he was thinking of someone else.  It’s why Daryl can, too.

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Dwight goes back outside and spots the newest addition to the fence: a reanimated Gordon, who eyes Dwight from a distance.  Dwight stares back for a moment before returning inside the compound as the episode comes to a close.

So we’re given another contained episode with “The Cell” and it manages to be brutal at times, but not as brutal as the premiere.  From a narrative structure, this makes sense, as apparently this episode was originally meant to follow “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be.”  Ezekiel’s debut would have been this week, but that would mean the show goes from Abraham and Glenn’s brutal deaths to Daryl being tortured in the Sanctuary.

Sometimes it helps to lighten things up, as we’ve seen with “The Next World” coming right after “No Way Out.”  The Cell shows us some of the inner workings of the Sanctuary, let us catch up with Daryl and process what he’s going through in light of what happened to Glenn, and revealed what became of Dwight and Sherry after their encounter with Daryl in “Always Accountable.”

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And that includes what life at the Sanctuary has been since they returned.  I like how even though we’re at the Sanctuary, we don’t see much of it.  I wager more of that will come in future episodes, but it was nice to see how Negan’s stronghold contrasts with other communities.

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Life here is much harsher than those communities based off of the points system alone, and given what we’ve seen of the Saviors, life is hell for those at the bottom of the food chain.  However, I do hope that we get to see more of this place from an outsider’s perspective.  Seeing it through Dwight’s eyes isn’t as memorable as it would be through Daryl’s eyes because Dwight knows this place- Daryl doesn’t.

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And part of that is the comic fan in me wanting to view certain aspects of the Sanctuary as they are brought to life, but things like Negan’s harem or the iron ritual are things I would refer to see rather than be told about them.

Granted, seeing all of that might have taken away from Daryl’s story and his struggle after Glenn’s death, but if we’re spending the majority of the episode here, it would be nice to see more of the Sanctuary along with him outside of a few rooms, the gate, and some hallways.  But hey, this probably won’t be the last time we see the Sanctuary.

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But we see that, unlike the other communities, being in the Sanctuary, more so if you’re working for points, is like living under a constant sentence of death, and you never know when your time will come.  Hell, it may never come, but it could also be anytime.  As Dwight tells Gordon, everything belongs to Negan or will soon.  Or, to go further back, it’s similar to the Hunters’ philosophy of being the butcher or the cattle.

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It’s a brutal life, but regardless of your choice, there’s no escape.  You can sacrifice whatever worth or dignity you have to live under Negan’s rule, but have a chance a chance at survival, or take your chances and wind up never escaping his reign, as seen when Dwight brings Gordon back to the Sanctuary as a walker and adds him to the gates. Even if Gordon wanted out, at the end of the day, he remained a prisoner.

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This episode helped make Dwight a bit more sympathetic.  He’s done terrible things, yes, but he made an effort to help Tina and now he’s paying for it.  Not just by losing Sherry to Negan, but also whatever remaining remnants he had of his former self.  For now, at least.

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Gordon reminded Dwight that he used to be much different and there’s still a good man behind all of the bad things that Dwight has done.  But rather than reclaim his life, as Gordon wanted for himself, Dwight has given into Negan’s rule and is willing to do and say whatever is necessary to prove his loyalty.

But there’s clear doubt on Dwight’s part.  It’s not helped by Negan mocking him whenever given the chance or admitting that he now owns Shelly.

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There are clear parallels between Dwight and Daryl, yes.  Both made a risky move to help a friend, someone ended up dead in the process, and they are now dealing with the consequences.  The difference is that while Daryl refuses to bend the knee, Dwight kneels because he knows that it’s easier than dying.  That and he can bide his time while getting in Negan’s good graces.

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But not Daryl.  The guilt of Glenn’s death is eating away at him and while he’s not completely broken, he’s not trying to punch Negan right now.  It’s like he’s been tamed, but still won’t blindly commit to his master.  Daryl feels that this is his penance, and Dwight showing him the Polaroid of Glenn is salt in the wound.

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Even though he’s trapped, at least Daryl took an opportunity to escape when given the chance, even though it may have just been a setup.  Though Daryl is surrounded without allies, he’s not 100 percent resigned to his fate and won’t just stew in his cell all day like a trapped animal.

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Despite Daryl’s shitty situation, he did end up vindicated in one regard.  He told Sherry and Dwight that they would be sorry, and that’s what happened with Sherry’s sacrificial move to marry Negan in order to save Dwight- who ended up getting the iron anyway.

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I feel that this was done to make Sherry seem sympathetic as well.  Like Dwight, she’s making the most of a shitty situation, but she’s chosen dependency through Negan instead of returning to Dwight, as that would have meant survival in order to get points. With Negan, there’s no need for that since he provides security.  So like Dwight, Shelly takes the easy way out.

But again, living in the Sanctuary, even under Negan’s protection, is a hellhole since, as Shelly tells Daryl, things will get worse, no matter how bad they are.  And as we’ve seen for them, Gordon, and probably countless others, they do.

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Although Negan isn’t in this episode very long, his presence is felt throughout and Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes good with what little screen-time Negan has.  Even though we’re at the Sanctuary, it would have been easy to give us too much Negan, but I’m fine with what we got here.  Plus, given how the Saviors appear to be headed for Alexandria next, I’m sure that he will get more to do in episodes to come.

“The Cell” was a good look at some of the inner workings of the Sanctuary, but I hope we see more of it from a newcomer’s perspective as we learn more about life under Negan.  It gave us a slightly broken, but not defeated Daryl trying his damnedest to survive while being tormented from every side.

The episode did a good job showing how hard things have been for Shelly and Dwight since they returned to Negan, proving that no matter how much you want to escape, and even if you get away, there is nowhere to run when everything you have and all that you are belongs to Negan.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 7, Episode 2: “The Well”

I imagine it’s hard for many to progress with and process The Walking Dead after watching Negan bash Glenn and Abraham to death.  But it’s time to put Rick and friends on hold so we can find out what happened with Carol and Morgan after “Last Day on Earth.”  And it involves a man and his tiger.

It makes sense in context.  This is “The Well.”

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The episode begins with Carol and Morgan being led by their two new companions.  As Morgan makes marks on the trees, Carol continues to rest on the carriage.  Soon, Morgan and the two armored men fend off walkers.  Carol, though, becomes frightened at the sight of walkers and heads for the woods.

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As she passes a house, other folks arrive on horseback and eliminate the walkers with ease.  Carol, though, sees not walkers being killed, but humans.  Morgan continues to make markings on the way to guide a path for those who may follow behind.

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Carol later awakens, now bandaged, and learns from Morgan that she’s been asleep for about two days.  Morgan takes her around this new community and tells her that they’ll be sticking around until they’re ready to leave, which could be at least a week.  As for this community?  Folks call it The Kingdom.  Carol worries if Morgan told the members about where they’re from, but Morgan wasn’t specific.

Anyway, Morgan is taking Carol to meet the group’s leader, who calls himself King Ezekiel.  As Morgan wheels Carol into an auditorium, we meet him.

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Sitting on a throne with his tiger, named Shiva, at his side, is King Ezekiel, played by Khary Payton.  Ezekiel feels his tiger’s concern since neither of them have met Carol, but if she’s a friend of Morgan, then both are a friend of the realm.  Ezekiel formally introduces Carol to The Kingdom.

Carol remains silent.  Ezekiel senses her skepticism, so he asks what she thinks of the Kingdom.  Carol finds it all amazing, as she has no idea what the hell is going on in the most wonderful way.  Ezekiel encourages those who come to the community to enjoy it for as long as they like, as long as they contribute.

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Drink from the well and replenish it in return.  Ezekiel’s right hand man, Jerry, played by Cooper Andrews, offers Carol some fruit, but she refuses.  Not even a pomegranate.

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But all Carol would like is some rest and a hairbrush.  With that, Morgan wheels Carol out.  Naturally, Carol is skeptical.  She calls the place make-believe and refuses to stay.  She’ll wait, and when Morgan isn’t there, she’ll leave.  And the decision isn’t up to him.  Morgan knows what he’s started, but he won’t let Carol die.  But to Carol, it doesn’t matter what Morgan does.

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Ezekiel brings Morgan along to accompany him and some Kingdom followers out for work. The group herds some pigs into a room with a tied-up walker, which Morgan finds problematic.  This is to fill the pigs up with rot.  The group takes care of some approaching walkers, with Ezekiel delivering the final blow since Benjamin, played by Logan Miller, can’t bring himself to do it.

They tell Morgan that the folks back home don’t need to know any of this, whether it’s pigs eating the dead or anything else.  As Morgan spots another caravan heading off, he’s only told that they’re going somewhere else.

Now there’s a reason that the pigs are feasting on a walker, but we’ll get to that later.

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Ezekiel compliments Morgan’s skill with his staff and asks where he learned.  The two talk, with Ezekiel talking of pessimists and optimists.  The realist, though, looks look forward.  He thinks that Benjamin’s path needs adjustment since he’s not good with munitions or blades, so hopefully Morgan can train him.

Morgan tells Ezekiel that the man he shot to save Carol wasn’t killed by the staff.  True enough, but it has saved Morgan.  Ezekiel is confident that Benjamin will become a vital member of his court, but he needs to be trained and survive.  Morgan soon agrees.  The Kingdom is favored by Morgan’s presence, apparently.

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As life in The Kingdom continues, Carol remains skeptical.  While Morgan trains Benjamin, Carol wheels herself around and grabs a blade.  Later, she talks with one of the community members about different kinds of cobblers.  Did you know that there’s lunch cobbler?  Carol still finds it all hilarious.  Lunch cobbler is hilarious.

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Benjamin asks Morgan about his philosophy book and asks if he can borrow it since he’s read every book in the community.  Ezekiel approaches and tells the two men to follow him for an important matter.

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Ezekiel later tells Morgan that the secrets he keeps from the community are also burdens. And we learn just why the pigs feed on walkers, as the Kingdom folks are joined by a group of Saviors who are ready to pick up their eight, well fed hogs that totally didn’t just feast on a walker.  Ezekiel, you sly son of a bitch.

One of the Saviors picks a fight with one of the Kingdom members, Richard, played by Karl Makinen.  A fight breaks out, but Ezekiel orders his troops to lower their weapons. This is not how they act.  So the Savior gets in a few free shots at Richard.

But the leader of this small Savior group orders his man to stop, saying that the Kingdom has been good to the Saviors.  Ezekiel tells Richard that they will discuss this later.  The Saviors will be back in seven days for produce week.

If they don’t deliver, Richard will come first.  Morgan tells Ezekiel that the man he killed was also a Savior.  He then asks if he’s been brought to the Kingdom because he can kill Saviors again, but Ezekiel says that isn’t why he’s here.  In fact, it’s the opposite.

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Later, Benjamin reminds a kid, Dutch, to clean his plate before he goes off for Movie Night. When Dutch leaves, Benjamin admits to Morgan that he doesn’t what he’s doing raising him.

Ezekiel was close with Benjamin’s father, who was one of the Kingdom’s best fighters.  One year ago, Ezekiel sent some members to clear out a building, but there wasn’t enough backup.  Eight men didn’t make it out, and Benjamin’s father was one of them.

But Ezekiel is much more careful now.  He told Benjamin that he’s keeping his deal with the Saviors quiet because he thinks that people will want to fight.  That’s a fight the Kingdom would lose and Ezekiel doesn’t want to lose any more people.  Morgan wonders if the community shouldn’t fight.  Benjamin asks about a hand-written inscription in the book- not written by him, though.

It’s not about what Morgan thinks, though.  People can set you in the right direction, but they can’t show you the way.  You have to figure that out for yourself.  Morgan thought that he had it, but he didn’t.  Sometimes, we change our minds, and right now, Morgan is fumbling.  Anyway, Morgan heads off to talk with Carol.

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But when Morgan goes to check on Carol, he finds the room empty.

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That night, Carol picks some fruit when Ezekiel spots her.  He had the area re-purposed into a garden and it’s his favorite place in the Kingdom.  He’s glad that she’s seen the area before she chooses to leave.  Carol apologizes, but she feels that she’s no good here.  Ezekiel excuses Jerry, who overstays his welcome, and reminds Carol to not bullshit a bullshitter.

He sees right through Carol’s sweet and innocent act- it even worked on him for a bit.  She blends in and get people to trust her, and then she leaves, as if she wasn’t there.  It turns out that Carol’s guns in her pack belong to The Saviors.  Though she won her fight with them, she remains skeptical of the Kingdom, as she calls it and Ezekiel one big joke.  Outside is real.

Carol thought she could just be, but in her mind, Ezekiel is selling people a fairy tale.  Ezekiel takes a seat next to her and tells her that people want someone to follow.  It’s human nature that people want someone to make them feel safe.  If they see a man with a tiger, people star to tell stories about how he wrestled it into submission and turned it into his pet.

So yeah, Ezekiel became something larger than life.  Who was he to burst people’s bubble?  Next thing he knew, people treated him like royalty.  So Ezekiel gave the people someone to follow and faked it until he made it.  He was just a damn zookeeper.

One day, Shiva fell into a concrete moat and her leg was ripped open.  She would have bled out.  Ezekiel knew the risk, but he had to try, so he wrapped his shirt around her leg and saved her life.  After that, she never showed as much as a toot in his direction.  Keeping a tiger isn’t practical, though, yes.  Ezekiel has lost a lot, just like everyone else.

When the world went to shit, Shiva was one of the remaining animals at the zoo- trapped and alone, just like him.  She was the last thing in this world that Ezekiel loved and she protected him.  She ended up making him larger than life.  Ezekiel also used to act in community theater.  At the very least, Ezekiel is his real name.  But he does want Carol to keep all this to herself for the sake of the community…and a little bit for himself.

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And yet, Carol doesn’t care.  Ezekiel can do what he wants, but she wants to leave.  As Carol leaves, Ezekiel apologizes for whatever shit she’s been through.  There’s far too much of it out there.  It can feel even worse when you’re alone.  The thing is, though, it’s not all bad.  It isn’t.  Life isn’t, and where there’s life, there’s hope, heroism, grace, and love.

Carol may be walking around lost, but Ezekiel found a way to deal with all the bad shit.  He embraced the contradiction and, yes, went overboard.   Carol could do the same- she could leave and not leave.  Crazy as Ezekiel sounds, he’s willing to help if Carol lets him.  Why does Ezekiel even care?  It makes him feel good.  He then offers Carol to help her if she is indeed leaving.

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The next day, Morgan escorts Carol to a house just outside the walls of the Kingdom- the same house we saw earlier in the episode.  Morgan admits that the decision should have always been up to him and calls Carol his favorite person that he’s ever knocked out.  Well, that’s high praise.  The two bid each other a sort-of farewell.  As Morgan leaves, Carol enters the home and kills the walker.  She later buries it in the yard.

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Later, she tends to a fire when there’s a knock at the door.  It’s Ezekiel and Shiva, with Ezekiel insisting that Carol try one of the pomegranate.

Remember how, right after the very serious “No Way Out,” we got the fun and comedic adventures of “The Next World” where Rick and Daryl engaged in a comedy of errors while chasing down Jesus?  And how that episode ended with Jesus confronting Rick and Michonne, who were ready to fight him completely naked?

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“The Well” is that kind of light-hearted fun in the aftermath of Negan showing Rick and the others that he means business.  It opens up the world of The Walking Dead and introduces viewers to another community, but reminded us of the seriousness of dealing with the Saviors.  It was fun when it needed to be, but also serious when the situations called for it.

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We aren’t given a clear indication of when this episode takes place compared to the previous one, but given the timeline of “Last Day on Earth,” I’m thinking that Carol and Morgan must arrive and spend their first day at the Kingdom around the same time that Rick and company are captured by Negan.  That’s my best guess, anyway.

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In addition, the presence of Saviors could either be other members that came from the Sanctuary, or these could be part of the group that captured the survivors.  They could have just gone to the Kingdom after leaving Rick’s group.  Even if not spelled out, it’s an interesting juxtaposition to have Morgan and Carol living in this supposedly carefree community while their friends have been brought to a low point by Negan.

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And even though he himself is not here, Negan’s presence is still felt by Saviors arriving to collect their tribute.  On the Saviors for a second, they seem to have established some kind of rapport with the Kingdom to the point that the leader of the group tries to avoid a fight.  Little do they know that they’re being fed poisoned pigs, which, I’ll admit, is a pretty damn clever plan, even if it doesn’t work in the short or long term.

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I’ll get to the inhabitants of the Kingdom in a second, but as for Carol, I’m mixed on her at the moment.  I like that she keeps up the innocent act so she can, as Ezekiel pointed out, blend in, and it shows how wary she remains of something that looks too good to be true. Given what the group has seen and endured from other communities so far, I can’t say that I blame her.

But while Alexandria felt like a safe haven, the Kingdom is too good to be real.  A thriving, seemingly carefree community ruled by a man with a tiger?  Lunch cobbler?  A choir? Yeah, it does smell like bullshit.  Unlike Rick, though, Carol doesn’t just come off as antagonistic or go up and punch a stranger in the face.  She is, in fact, the alert Mama Bear, and despite her condition, she doesn’t drop her defenses.

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By episode’s end, she seems to have warmed to Ezekiel after he gets straight with her, but this is where I don’t know what to expect from Carol.  At the start, she still appears out of it.  I can’t tell whether she’s snapped out of her desire to die or if she’s still against killing.  At least, killing the living, since she took care of the walker in the home.  But is she back to normal or still hiding something?  Time will tell.

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Morgan has come a long way since Eastman’s teachings due to spending time with Carol. He doesn’t want to kill, but realizes more than ever that when put in a dangerous situation, he may not have a choice.  As the world continues to change, so does he, and hopefully this means he’s becoming someone more willing to kill instead of neutralize when he’s threatened.  His outlook on life is changing for the better when it comes to survival.

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While Eastman showed Morgan a better direction, he’s been finding the way himself, and I believe that he’s learned from his mistakes.  Him letting the Wolves escape is what led to them almost killing Rick.  And allowing the Wolf leader led to him taking Denise hostage. But when put in a situation where Carol almost died, Morgan made the ultimate choice. His staff has saved his life many times, but it was the gun that saved Carol’s.

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I think Morgan connects more with the people of the Kingdom than the folks in Alexandria. Under Rick’s rule, the people of Alexandria must be ready to fight. But the people of the Kingdom, while they may have a desire to fight, don’t necessarily want to, more so if the odds are high that they would lose.  I look forward to seeing how Morgan will mentor Benjamin.

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The Kingdom itself is what the Alexandria Safe Zone wishes it could be.  Even if unprepared, the inhabitants are ready to fight.  More than that, they’re well aware of the dangers from both walkers and other people like the Saviors.  And while Deanna was interested in community building, Ezekiel, though putting on an act, gives off the vibe of a capable leader willing to lead his people into battle.

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And chalk this up to The Walking Dead once again nailing a casting.  Khary Payton makes a great first impression as Ezekiel.  He walks and speaks with an air of confidence, but not arrogance.  He participates in hunts and dealings with other communities, can handle himself when dealing with walkers, and has given the people of the Kingdom someone they can trust.

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He’s active in training his followers and is very welcoming to Carol and Morgan, but despite how kind he appears, Ezekiel is no fool.  And I like how he sees right through Carol’s bullshit.  This isn’t a role that Ezekiel wanted.  But when an urban legend gets out of hand, in a world where hope seems lost, what choice is there but to embrace the fantasy and restore optimism to survivors?

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Hearing Ezekiel’s backstory helps humanize and makes him very relatable because, just like Carol, he’s wearing a mask.  Behind that bravado and tiger is a man who was just a zookeeper and community theater actor.  He didn’t tame Shiva- just loved her.  And while this humanizes Ezekiel, it also allows him to gain some of Carol’s trust, as she was ready to walk away from the Kingdom.

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I don’t know yet where the show will take these two.  Is the show setting them up for a relationship of sorts?  It’s too soon to tell, but since Michonne is currently with Rick, it doesn’t look like she’ll follow her comic counterpart and enter a relationship with Ezekiel. At least, not yet.  Again, there’s not much to go off of yet, but there seems to be something there

“The Well” is solid, light-hearted episode that opens up the world of The Walking Dead even more through the introduction of Ezekiel and the Kingdom, progressed Morgan and Carol’s character development, and showed that despite the likes of the Saviors terrorizing and antagonizing other communities, the Kingdom is a sign that there’s still hope in the world.  Ezekiel had a strong debut and I can’t wait to see more of him.

A Look at The Walking Dead #159- “The Whisperer War: Part 3 of 6”

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You can always count on Robert Kirkman to find a way to surprise or shock you when reading The Walking Dead.  And that’s the case here with the third installment of The Whisperer War.  It’s a great read with plenty of good character moments, with Dwight in particular stepping up as a leader in this war.

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But before getting there, Negan versus Beta.  Unlike Alpha, I would expect Beta to stay around much longer than her, but there’s no question that Beta lost this battle to Negan.  It helps that Negan was more than ready to kill and even if there are some who still hate Negan for the terrible things that he’s done, he’s proving himself a useful ally here.

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And seeing Dwight toss Lucille to Negan was a great sight that made it feel like a true reunion.  And let’s be honest, it is.  Given how long Negan has been without her, and how he did tell Dwight that he’d get her back, this was the reunion we wanted and got as Negan laid waste to Beta.

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But then, she breaks.  You know, let’s take a step backwards, because this is a pretty clever move.  As the ongoing story progresses, we’re also getting Negan’s backstory in the “Here’s Negan” mini-series.  As of recent, we learned about the origin of Lucille’s name, and just when Negan reclaims her, she’s gone.

Now I’m wondering just how damn sturdy Lucille is.  Negan had her for quite awhile and we know she’s been used to smack across roamers and humans alike.  That she survived for this long is proof of her durability.  And yes, Negan’s rage may be exaggerated because at the end of the day, we’re talking about a bat wrapped in barbed wire, but damn it if it doesn’t sting nonetheless.

Hell, Lucille isn’t even technically a character, but I feel like I lost something with her breaking.  Now Negan could always make a similar weapon or a new one altogether, but whatever he does, it’s the end of an era here with Lucille’s death.  Godspeed, Lucille.  Yes, you took Glenn from us, but you remained in our hearts.

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Okay, moving on, so the team manages to keep the Whisperers at bay for awhile, but once more roamers arrive, Dwight steps up and decides to divide and conquer.  I’ve said it before and will no doubt say it again, but Dwight has ended up proving Rick right.  He didn’t want the leadership position, but Rick gave it anyway.  Now that he has it, he’s proving to be an effective strategist.

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And it’s a good plan as well.  No way should this small band be expected to take on that many roamers and potential Whisperers, so why not divide them up?  This gives them more time to weed out as many roamers as possible, but also formulate a plan to keep the oncoming herd from reaching one of the communities.

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Like the Hilltop, which is how I’ll segue over there.  Oh, Carl.  Poor, young Carl.  Lydia comes along and takes his virginity, and sometime after that, she says that she doesn’t love him, despite appreciating all he’s done- not to mention defending her.  So after all that, Lydia puts Carl right in the friend zone.

But, to be fair, Lydia has a good point about the difference between Carl’s group and the Whisperers.  The Whisperers just exist for nothing more than to survive and kill for their leader.  Carl and company, though, they want to rebuild society.  They want to make civilization what it was before the world went to hell.  To the Whisperers, they’re already in hell.

So, in a way, those emotions make Carl’s group seem weak.  And I gotta give Carl credit for making a stand, thinking that Lydia was talking to him out of fear.  He really is his father’s son, refusing to be swayed by a scary premonition.  But even a badass like Carl can’t be with Lydia forever, so she breaks it off.  Of course, they can probably still fuck, but Lydia tells Carl that he shouldn’t think that it’s love.

Zoned!  But at the very least, this could open the door for Sophia to make a move.

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Okay, I’m finished.  Moving onto the Kingdom for a second, damn this was a great scene.  So much got across in so little panel time, but William showed some serious fortitude here.  Zachary questioned his leadership and strength, but William is more than capable of leading.  Plus, despite his loyalty to Rick, he’s looking at the bigger picture.

If the Whisperers overwhelm and kill those sent out to fight them, of course they’ll start heading for the communities.  And William will be damned if he puts his people in danger or sit on the sidelines while other people risk their lives.  So as we see here, anyone who questions William’s leadership better be prepared to defend themselves.

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We get snippets of life at Alexandria, with Rick still taking a backseat approach while Dwight leads the team in the field.  It is unfortunate and inconvenient that there’s no way to be in contact with them because now Rick has no way of what’s going on with the others. And that could end up being a huge problem with where we end up by the of the issue.

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And that’s with Dwight’s group dressing up as the Whisperers.  It’s a good idea that could draw away some of the herds and kill Whisperers at the same time, but there’s a problem. Again, with Rick unaware of what’s happening, suppose Dwight’s group runs into someone from one of the communities that isn’t aware of his plan.  They could just see an approaching Whisperer and open fire, like on the show when Andrea shot Daryl.

So now we just wait and see what becomes of this plan, but all in all, a great issue.  We bid farewell to Lucille, Carl gets zoned by Lydia, and Dwight puts his plan into action to take down the Whisperers from within.  Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Saviors, who are trying to still stop Vincent.  They could still prove to be a thorn in Rick’s side if they don’t cooperate.

Still, though, great read.

A Look at The Walking Dead #151: “Call to Arms”

The Walking Dead #151- Cover

So after Rick’s call to arms, we have issue #151, titled…well, “Call to Arms.”  There’s a lot of nice character building in this issue that I enjoyed and overall, it was a good issue.

The Walking Dead #151- Dwight gives orders to the group

We build off of Rick rallying the communities by having them out in the wilderness, fending off roamers.  While I don’t necessarily think it was the best idea to be grouped together and fire their weapons since those sounds can draw in even more roamers, I like that we got to see the people training, rather than it all happen off-panel.

As we’ve seen both earlier in this comic and similar to what’s going on in the midst of the sixth season of The Walking Dead, Rick wants these unassuming, non-threatening people who don’t often see action to be prepared for when they take on The Whisperers.

The Walking Dead #151- Rick tells Dwight that he's a leader

But Rick has realized that all of his police training comes with a limit.  His style of training doesn’t mesh well when preparing for an army of people who dress in roamer skin.  And I doubt that Rick’s instructions would boil down to ‘Shoot to kill.’  That’s where Dwight comes in.  And I really like that, despite Dwight’s continuous objections, Rick sees leadership in him.  Again, Dwight took up the mantle when Negan was defeated, but he’s since had second thoughts.

The fact of the matter is that, in this charged atmosphere, he doesn’t get to just quit.  He’s already left The Saviors to avoid responsibility, but as Rick points out, he’s already a leader.  In my opinion, I think that even with Dwight’s reluctance, he may capitulate to Rick pushing him to lead because he values his opinion.  It’s an interesting way to force Dwight to grow.  He left to escape leadership and ran right into a scenario where his expertise proves valuable.  Here’s hoping he finally steps up to take charge.

As far as other characters go, we learn that Maggie is about to return to The Hilltop, while Jesus remains in Alexandria.  By the way, I love Jesus’ remark in response to Rick asking Maggie if she can spare more people, to which Jesus said that he’s staying, so how many more would Rick need.  It’s brief, but effective because it continues to show how much of a badass Jesus is, but also just how useful he is as an ally to Rick and Maggie.

The Walking Dead #151- Gabriel tells Rick that he wants to start training

We also finally get to spend a bit of time with Father Gabriel, who hasn’t had much to do since the time-skip.  Yeah, we’ve seen him here and there, but this is the most, if any, dialogue he’s had.  And it’s about him wanting to step up, which I like.  Gabriel isn’t a character we’d assume would normally be out killing roamers, but he did step up during “All Out War” and he realizes that it’s time he did more than just work to save people’s souls.  Good on him.

Now the most interesting part of this issue, to me, came from Rick’s conversation with Josh’s father.  Despite almost being killed, and even though Josh’s father wasn’t the one who did the attacking, Rick is taking a humane approach to dealing with people who do bad things.

The Walking Dead #151- Rick believes that doing a bad thing doesn't make you a bad person

He says “Doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person.  If we wrote you off after that one mistake…think of all the good you’re going to do that would be erased.  Don’t you get it?  That’s what we’re doing.”

The Walking Dead #151- Rick checks on Negan

Take a close look at Rick’s face right after he says this.  It’s brief, but effective, as if Rick has just had an epiphany.  Following this, he goes to check on Negan, as if he intended to say something to him, but just left.  Negan embodies that person who has done a bad thing.  Not to say that Rick would suddenly forgive Negan for killing Glenn or for any of the horrible things he’s done, but consider that Rick went to Negan for advice on leadership.

Part of me thinks that maybe Rick is starting to see Negan as more than just a prisoner, but a valuable resource.  I won’t go as far as saying this is the first step in Rick considering the possibility of releasing Negan, but maybe he’s wondering if what he’s doing, keeping Negan imprisoned, goes against what he said to Josh’s father about undoing the good that Negan could do.

The Walking Dead #151- Rick wants Michonne to be leader at The Kingdom

I always enjoy Rick and Michonne’s interactions, and this issue was no different.  It makes sense that, despite Michonne wanting to head back out to sea, Michonne realizes that she’d be of great use at The Sanctuary.  And we know that she already thought about going there, anyway, so all Rick needed to do was what he does best: give people that extra incentive to step up and lead.

It’s interesting watching our characters that we’ve watched grow, now become leaders.  You’ve got Rick in Alexandria, Maggie at The Hilltop, Michonne possibly heading for The Kingdom, and the possibility of Carl leading the Saviors.  That last one is a stretch.  Carl may be hardened due to his injury, but I don’t see anyone at The Sanctuary taking their orders from a kid.

The Walking Dead #151- Eugene gets a response on the radio

Finally, there’s the end with Eugene managing to make contact with someone on the radio.  The comic has been building this for some time and it’s a nice way to end the issue.  It seems like there’s a glimmer of hope, but as of now, it’s just a voice.  Who’s at the other end?  Are they trustworthy?  So many questions to come out of this, which is a good way to keep people invested until the next issue.  Good ending to a good issue.