‘The Walking Dead’: Up her sleeve

The Walking Dead
“East”
March 27, 2016

We begin with quick shots suggesting a bit of unpleasant business: a bullet hole through a windshield, a puddle of blood, Carol’s rosary beads in a pile on the ground, someone screaming. Oh, Carol, what have you gotten yourself — and who even knows who else — into?

First we back up, somewhat unnecessarily, to see that before she left the protections of Alexandria, Carol did a little light sewing, packed up a backpack full of trail mix and brooded. She then slipped out in the middle of the night while Tobin slept, probably because she couldn’t take listening to him prattle on about whatever it was he was even saying who can even listen to his Charlie Brown teacher voice, not Carol, that’s for sure.

So Carol smears some grease across her face and steals one of the War Boys’ spike cars and heads out to the open road.

imperator-furiosa-skeptical

However, Furiosa only makes it a couple miles down the road before she passes a ISIS truck full of Saviors who promptly shoot out her tire without even so much a howdy-do. RUDE.

Carol grabs her rosary beads and gets out of the car, hands raised, announcing that she doesn’t have anything but the one knife for the dead. Talky McSavior disagrees: she has information about where she’s from and where she’s going. So Carol tells him that she’s “Jake from State Farm Nancy from Montclair” who has just been bouncing around from place to place, surviving. “Uh huh,” says Talky. “And you just happen to be driving around in one of Immortan Joe’s cars, like the ones we saw outside the Citadel down the road?”

sure jan

When Talky suggests that she take them back to where she came from,Carol Nancy begins her whole panicking and hyperventilating schtick (or is it?) again, and she begs them to stop before someone gets hurt, that it doesn’t have to be this way. But Talky McSavior, like allllllll the other Saviors before him, underestimates what he’s up against and the next thing you know, Carol Nancy is filling the truck and everyone in it with bullets from the gun she sewed into her jacket sleeve. Because of course she sewed a gun into her jacket sleeve. This is Carol Nancy from Montpelier we’re talking about.

Some of the Saviors manage to survive, only to have Carol stab one through the chest with one of her Mad Max spikes, and shoot the other when he refuses to come out from behind the car. And now Carol is going to take all your guns and cigarettes, ya dumb jerks, all because you wouldn’t listen to Carol. (As it turns out, one Savior manages to survive the attack, and flees into the woods with Carol’s rosary, which I assume will be a relevant point later. We shall see.) And then Carol wanders off into the distance to go find the rest of the Vuvalini in The Green Place.

Back in Alexandria: Sasha and Rosita share pointed looks; Carl examines a gun in the armory that has a curious symbol carved into the handle:

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(amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead)

Glenn and Maggie take a shower together which is something people just loooooooove to do in movies and on TV but is THE WORST in real life, but go ahead and let Maggie soap up your head, Glenn, and keep pretending you’re not FREEZING YOUR RHEES OFF over there in the corner; Daryl mopes over the Dennis keychain; and Rick jinxes his group by telling Michonne that they are “ready” for an attack, and that the world is theirs. These two then eat an apple in bed like a couple of savages. That’s just gross, y’all. Go put on pants and eat the apple in the kitchen like humans. I KNOW YOUR MOTHERS RAISED YOU BETTER THAN THAT.

Outside, Daryl announces that he’s got stuff and thangs to do outside the gates, and proceeds to drive off into the wilderness. Glenn and Michonne jump into a van to stop him, with Rosita in tow because she’s the only one who knows where he’s headed. That and her whole death wish thing.

Around this same time, Tobin shows Rick Carol’s goodbye note, and Rick is like, “CAROL AND DARYL? BOTH OF THEM HAVE LEFT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?” And then Morgan is like, “Welp, you and I, two of the best fighters in Alexandria, should definitely go off to find her, especially now that all of our other best fighters have left to go find Daryl. This is just a very good, well-thought-out plan.”

On their little road trip, Morgan and Rick grunt vaguely philosophical nonsense at one another:

“I’m not right. There is no right. There’s just the wrong that doesn’t pull you down.”

“It hasn’t pulled me down.”

“I think it will, because I know you.” &c., until they come upon the mess that Carol and her sleeve gun left behind.

Rick finds one barely alive Savior — whom he determines is a Savior based on the Hilltop weapon he has on him, even though it might suggest that the guy was, you know, a Hilltopper, BUT NEVER MIND THAT, the point is, Rick is all, “WHERE IS SHE?” And the Savior is all “gurgle gurgle gurgle.” So Rick stabs him in the head. He then surveys Carol’s death toll and is like, “Alright, Carol! Good job, Carol!”

juno-go-carolwalking-dead

Morgan and Rick begin following Carol’s trail into a meadow and continue their philosophical musings. Morgan asks Rick if he’d kick Carol out for killing and burning Karen and David today, and Rick is like, “NOPE. That was the right call, as it turns out.” Morgan points out that Rick didn’t kill her for that, he sent her away, and consequently, Carol came back and saved them all at Terminus.

As they approach a barn, they spot a guy killing some fresh walkers who calls out to them that he doesn’t want any trouble, he’s just looking for his horse. But when Horse Guy doesn’t immediately drop his weapon, Rick shoots at him, only missing because Morgan shoves his arm at the last second.

Rick complains that they don’t know who Horse Guy was, and Morgan is like, “EXACTLY,” before finally telling Rick about his adventure with the Wolf: Morgan saved the Wolf and then the Wolf took Dr. Denise hostage but then the Wolf saved Dr. Denise and then Dr. Denise was there to save Carl. EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED, MAN.

Meanwhile, this is what Rick’s face looks like:

ricks-face-walking-dead-uhhhh
Duuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Morgan then instructs Rick to go home already, he’ll find Carol. And if Morgan doesn’t return, Rick shouldn’t come looking for him. Rick is like, “Cool, sounds like a plan,” before insisting that Morgan take Chekhov’s gun. “Trust me, you’ll need it at some later point in the plot, probably next season. Oh, and Michonne totally ate your protein bar.”

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Rick returns to Alexandria where he and Abraham have a weird moment where they are like, “wimmenz, amirite?”

Meanwhile, Maggie eats pickles, has Enid give her a mom haircut …

mom-jeans-snl
I’m not a woman anymore, I’m a mom.

… and then begins having worrisome baby-related pain. HANG IN THERE, BABY HERSHEL! IT’S NOT TIME YET, BABY HERSH! QUICK, SOMEONE GO PULL DR. CARSON OFF AIR TRUMP ONE AND GET MAGGIE SOME HELP!

Finally, over in our “Let’s Find That Idiot Daryl” storyline, Rosita leads Glenn and Michonne to the spot where Dr. Denise died and sure enough, Daryl’s motorcycle is hidden beneath a pile of leaves. They wander into the woods in the direction that Dwight and the Saviors ran off to, and soon enough Daryl is shooting arrows at their heads, and yelling at them that they shouldn’t be out there. Glenn urges Daryl to go back to Alexandria where they can figure out what to do next, but Daryl’s like “NOPE.” And Rosita is all “ME NOPE TOO.” And the pair of them go marching off into the woods because apparently between the last episode and this one, their brains fell right out of their fool heads.

And so, as they are making their way back to the van, Glenn and Michonne are caught by Dwight, tied up, gagged and set out as a trap. Which Dum-Dum Daryl totally falls for. As he goes to save Glenn and Michonne, Dwight sneaks up behind Daryl, and is all, “OH HAI!” before shooting him. BUT CALM DOWN, EVERYONE. Because as the screen goes black, we hear Dwight say, “You’ll be alright.” So he’ll be alright. That, and we know that the writers would have to have death wishes to kill Daryl off-screen, especially after what they put us through with Glenn earlier this season.

This episode.

rupaul-eyeroll

The worst, right? I’m sure by now you’ve seen plenty of critics eviscerate this episode — and with good reason. Putting aside the manipulative and overused cliffhanger ending, and the heavy-handed dialogue (when the dialogue wasn’t just a series of brooding stares and grunts), the story itself just didn’t seem very well thought out. Carol running away from Alexandria because she’s having a crisis of morality? Sure, maybe, I guess it makes sense. With “The Same Boat” they set up Carol’s emotional journey to this place, and she does have history of forging out on her own so it felt somewhat earned. But Daryl running off to the woods because he feels guilty about a relatively insignificant character’s death, thereby putting himself and others in immediate danger? Are we supposed to glean that Daryl had some sort of head injury in the time jump earlier this season and lost some IQ points? I mean, really, guys.

The most frustrating thing about the sudden stupidification of Daryl is that this is not necessarily a difficult plot point to fix. You still have Carol leave, you still have Carol kill one group of Saviors with her sleeve gun and wander off, but then you have Daryl be the one that goes out looking for her — and have him encounter Dwight’s group of Saviors who are also looking for their friends. Granted, it doesn’t make much sense for Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, Rick and Morgan to all go out looking for Carol — and you’d have to come up with some other reason to send Morgan out on his own (for reasons we can talk about in a moment). But Daryl chasing Carol, with some assistance from a few of the others, makes sense both story-wise and character-wise, and it would accomplish this episode’s intention: it would deliver Daryl and the others to the Saviors.

I just don’t know why this is so hard.

defeated shrug exasperated why sigh adam parks and recreation

The only hiccup in my suggestion is Morgan. The writers seem to be setting up a different path for him, and if he went along with Daryl and the others they would have had to come up with a way to split him off from the group. Comic spoilers ahoy! Scroll over if you don’t mind reading what happens (sorta) in the comics: So in the comics,to fight the Saviors, Alexandria and Hilltop join forces with a third community: The Kingdom. The community is in a school in Washington D.C. and run by an eccentric older man named Ezekiel, who has a pet tiger and refers to himself as a king. The Kingdom is part of the trading community with Hilltop and the Saviors (in so much that the Saviors “trade”) and have, like Hilltop, been relatively untouched by hardships. In the comics, Paul Monroe introduces Rick to his ally Ezekiel who has his own issues with Negan and the Saviors. However, there is speculation that on the show this community will be introduced through Morgan. The thinking goes that Horse Guy was being genuine when he said he was looking for his horse, and contrary to what Rick assumed, was not actually a Savior but a member of The Kingdom. Morgan, having sent Rick away, will find either The Kingdom or members of The Kingdom on his journey to find Carol, and he will serve as an emissary between the two communities. We’ll see.

In the meantime, let’s just sit here and stew about the writers leaving us on yet another unearned cliffhanger and worry about who it is that SPOILER ALERT! Negan is going to kill in the next episode. As for those rumors that the finale might also end on a cliffhanger and we might not know until October if Negan actually kills anyone at all? Forget killing Daryl — if they pull that nonsense, we riot.

The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sunday at 8/9 p.m.

This post first appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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