‘The Walking Dead’: Suprise, bitch

The Walking Dead
“The Damned”
October 29, 2017

I am going to be completely and totally honest with you: I have no fucking idea what was happening in this episode, you guys. Like, I get the basic premise: that this is Stage Two in Rick’s All-Out War against Negan and the Saviors, in which Team Rick, et al, hit the Saviors’ various outposts. But thanks to shitty writing and even shittier direction, I didn’t know where people were, what they were doing, how they were interacting or relating to one another … it was all just one goddamn hot mess. After years of screaming into the void that most basic of high school writing principles: SHOW, DON’T TELL!, I could have really used a lot more telling here. Woof.

What I could gather, there are four groups of our protagonists moving around in this episode:

Carol and King Zeke

The last episode ended with Carol and King Ezekiel approaching a Savior at what I thought was an outpost but apparently was just some building, and said Savior threw a grenade at them before making his escape in the smoke, like a children’s birthday party magician. When they gather their wits about them, the group heads out into the woods to try to find said Savior before he can reach his people and alert them that they are about to be ambushed.

Walking through the woods, walking through the woods, walking through the woods, some talk from King Z about how being a leader means faking it until he makes it, walking through the woods. Eventually, they catch up with the wounded Savior but before King Ezekiel or anyone in his group can do anything, Shiva jumps out of the woods and mauls the guy to death. Yay! But then they hear on his radio that the Saviors are anticipating their attack anyway. Boo. But then King Zeke is like, “LIKE I GIVE A FUCK.” Yay! I guess!

Jesus, Tara, Morgan, and a Bunch of Redshirts

This group hits the Satellite outpost again. After Morgan distracts the guard zombies, the group sneaks in and kills a bunch of unsuspecting Saviors. Tara and Jesus find one guy cowering in a closet, having peed his pants, and Tara is all, “SHOOT HIM. SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE.” But Jesus refuses, noting that the guy has his hands up and is clearly terrified.

whatever-who-cares-erika-rhobh
SHOOT HIM.

Guy tries to claim he’s just a lowly worker with a wife and kids back at the Sanctuary, not a Savior, but Tara is all, I DON’T CARE, SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE. Jesus still does not shoot him in the face, and for a hot second there, Guy manages to take Jesus hostage, but Tara is like, “You are fucking with the wrong people, dude,” and when he takes a misstep, Jesus and Tara are able to regain control over him. BUT JESUS STILL REFUSES TO SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE.

caroline exasperated annoyed sigh rhonj

Instead, when they hear over a radio the Saviors calling for a retreat, Jesus, Tara and the rest go around the building, wait for them to come out and demand their surrender, with which the outnumbered Saviors are glad to comply.

Meanwhile, in another part of the building, Morgan had been surprised by some Saviors and knocked unconscious for a while. When he comes to, he becomes the goddamned Terminator, cold shooting every Savior he finds until he comes outside and finds Jesus making nice time with the surrendered Saviors. Morgan, who has swung back hard on that pacificist/cold-blooded-kill-errrrrrybody pendulum again, is OUTRAGED and thinks REALLY HARD about killing that one asshole Savior who killed his teenage buddy last season and stole his Jedi stick, but doesn’t. BUT HE’S REALLY NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Aaron and a Bunch of other People, Including Rick and Daryl for a Minute

So, there’s this other Savior outpost that I see on the internets is at an insurance office? Sure, OK, whatever. Aaron, his boyfriend Whatshisface, and a bunch of other Team Rickies arrive there with their armored cars and start shooting up the place.

Meanwhile, Rick, Daryl and a couple of other guys run into the building under the cover of gunfire.

Shooting shooting shooting. Shooting shooting shooting. Shooting shooting shooting. HEY, MORE SHOOTING SHOOTING SHOOTING.

Eventually, Whatshisface gets shot in the belly and Aaron has a sad while trying to drag him to safety.

Rick and Daryl

Inside the outpost, Rick and Daryl wander the hallways looking for an armory that is supposed to be in this building somewhere. Wandering through the hallways, wandering through the hallways, wandering through the hallways.

Upon arriving on the top floor, Rick finds a bedroom and a locked door, behind which he is convinced are the guns he and Daryl are looking for. Before he can kick it in, he’s attacked by some dude. Fight fight struggle fight, and Rick manages to impale him on an exposed shelf bracket, which, just, OK, SURE, THAT JUST MAKES SENSE AND ALL OF THE LOGIC.

But the joke’s on Rick because when he finally busts in the locked door, instead of guns, he finds a sleeping infant who must be doped up on Benadryl to have slept through all that commotion. OH NOEEEEES, thinks sad Rick as he symbolically ponders his reflection in a mirror.

Rick then goes to another bedroom, where he examines a family photo. That’s when a man comes up behind him, pointing a gun at his head, and is all “Hi Rick, it’s your old buddy Morales from back in the Atlanta days. I’m a Savior now, and I’ve called for all of the backup.”

surprise, bitch

For those of you who were wondering about this Morales guy and whether or not we were supposed to recognize him, the answer is, I mean only if you have an encyclopedic memory. We first met Morales in the second episode, when he, Glenn, Andrea, and T. Dog save Rick, and Rick turns around and saves them from Merle. By the fifth episode, Morales has announced that he and his family are headed to Birmingham, KBYE. And then, some 7 seasons and 96 episodes later, he pops up and we’re all supposed to be like, “OH RIGHT, THAT GUY!” I mean, OK.

As for the rest of this episode, I will point out that there is an intriguing theory out there that the little girl from the flashforward from the previous episode is not grown-up Baby Judith, but this new baby, Baby Gracie all grown-up instead. It’s based on a tiny detail: a stuffed rabbit. In the flashforward, the little girl we all assumed was Judith is holding this stuffed rabbit:

bunny rabbit girl twd the walking dead.jpg

Which looks an awful lot like the stuffed rabbit in Baby Gracie’s crib:

bunny gracie the walking dead twd.jpg

Which leads to a number of interesting and potentially heartbreaking questions, the most important being, if that’s not Judith in the flashforward, what happened to Judith?

rick twd graves mercy

ramona shocked

LET’S HOPE NOT. (Actually, it looks like Andrew Lincoln clarified that those are, in fact, Abraham and Glenn’s graves, which is what I thought in the first place. BUT YOU GET WHAT I’M DRIVING AT HERE.)

ALRIGHT, that’s all I’ve got for this episode because BOO, THIS EPISODE. I know they want us to argue the morality of killing and the nuances of leadership, but, you guys, I don’t have it in me, especially for an episode that was so terribly written and directed. DO BETTER THIS WEEK, SHOW. BAH.

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

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