The Walking Dead
“Still Gotta Mean Something”
April 1, 2018
So this episode.
Let’s once again start with the B (maybe even C?) storyline: We go back in time at the Garbage Pile as Haircut’s friends are all being slaughtered by the Saviors, and apparently, they didn’t necessarily spare her to bear witness as I assumed, because here she is rolling around in blood and playing dead so as to not be shot. And it works because most of the Saviors are dumb dummies.
Oh, and she chose on her own to strip down to her slip after, which still seems like a questionable choice.
In the present, Haircut is in her very tidy little apartment where she packs a suitcase and plays with Lucille for a while before heading out to the storage container where she has Negan strapped to a dolly, and he is screaming, “WHAT THE SHIT?”
What the shit, indeed.
While Haircut checks her watch every 30 seconds or so, Negan does his bullshitting thing, swearing that whatever happened here, he was not responsible and that he is really sorry, but he can help her get it all back. Somehow. Haircut responds by nearly bashing his face in with Lucille. YEAH, SHE’S NOT REALLY READY TO TALK ABOUT IT YET, BIG GUY.
Haircut decides instead of using Lucille on Negan’s smug face, she’ll throw it in a wheelbarrow with a bunch of super flammable shit and take care of it that way. When her watch beeps she turns her back on this motherfucker for ten seconds and in that time, he manages to drag himself over to her supplies bag, grab a gun and a flare and begins threatening some personal photographs of hers that he is preeeeeety sure she cares about. “Let’s have a chat.”
Haircut begs him to leave her photos alone, and Negan asks her to not burn Lucille, explaining that he named the bat after his dead wife who “got [him] through just life, regular life,” even though he didn’t give her shit. Similarly, Lucille the Bat got him through this life, and he would appreciate it, please, if Haircut wouldn’t set her on fire, seeing Rick already did that once this season. After this supposed-to-be emotional moment, The Helicopter arrives, but in her struggle to grab the flare out of Negan’s hand, the flare falls into a puddle, and Haircut is unable to light another one before The Helicopter flies away again.
AND NOW SHE’S HELLA PISSED.
However, Negan is able to talk her down from burning Lucille, pointing out that he didn’t burn the photos when he had the opportunity, swearing once again that he wasn’t behind the slaughter of her people. Haircut has a good cry, which, honestly, everyone else in this episode could benefit from, too.
And with that, Negan is free and reunited with Lucille, and suggests that Haircut join the Saviors, but she’s like, “THANKS BUT NAH, ASSHOLE.”
On his way back to the Sanctuary, Negan — who has a car now? — pulls over and insists that someone we do not see get in. (Hmm … whatever did happen to that one Savior who saw Dwight betray them?) And then soon after, Negan arrives, alone, at Sanctuary, instructing his men to not reveal that he’s back because “Daddy” has some “surprises.” OOH, SIMON, YOU BEST RUN, GIRL.
Over in our A storyline, Tara informs Daryl that she’s still healthy which suggests that Dwight used a “clean” arrow on her, but Daryl is like, “I DON’T CARE, I STILL WANT TO KILL HIM.” So I am guessing there will soon be a showdown where Daryl has the opportunity to kill Dwight, but Tara throws herself in front of him to save him? Prolly.
Later, Maggie is informed by Kingdom Lady that they don’t have much ammo left and Rosita is like, “But you know who knows how to make more is that traitor Dr. Mullet.” So Rosita and Daryl go spy on the Machine Shop Outpost where they decide that instead of taking out the outpost, they should take out Traitor Dr. Mullet.
Meanwhile, Rick still hasn’t been able to read Carl’s letter in full because MAN FEELINGS. Michonne points out that when her child died, she couldn’t deal with it and moved away from it — until Andrea saved her. Now she’s saving Rick. “OK, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE ME READ HIS LETTER,” Rick does not say, choosing to put on his murder jacket instead and head out into the woods to deal with his psychological crisis literally and figuratively.
On his way out into the woods to deal with his psychological crisis literally and figuratively, Nice Savior is like, “Hey, man, if you run into the escaped prisoners, will you at least offer them a chance to come back with you before killing them? A lot of them made the choice to run before they had a chance to think everything through…”
Elsewhere, King Z tries to get Carol to go out looking for Kid with him, but Carol’s like, “No thanks!” So King Zeke calls her a coward. Fair.
Later, Carol finds Morgan preparing to go out looking for “them,” and she’s like, “cool, I’ll join you because I know you meant that you’re looking for ‘him’ and not ‘them’ even though you clearly said ‘them’ and you have murder in your crazyass eyes.”
The two of them wander around in the woods where Morgan has a vision of Dead Kid, and once he figures out that he was just imagining him, he’s like, “You know Dead Kid is dead, right?” But Carol explains that she didn’t come out to the woods to find Kid, she came to keep an eye on him. Morgan reminds Carol that she can’t save the dead, before explaining that he doesn’t die, he just sins again and again. And then they notice a zombie herd wander through the woods.
Carol and Morgan find themselves on a road, where a zombie with Kid’s stick stuck through his belly wanders up. They kill it, but Carol has a sad because it’s not a great sign for Kid being alive. She suggests that they keep going along the road, that’s the most likely way Kid went, but Morgan is like, “NOPE, I HAVE PEOPLE TO KILL, BYE,” and he heads deeper into the woods because symbolism.
In the woods, Morgan comes across Rick and very nearly kills him, before explaining that he’s “not right.” And Rick is like, “No shit.”
But they are both out in the woods for the same reason: to kill them ALLLLLLL the Saviors. However, before they can kill the Saviors, the Saviors manage to knock them unconscious and take them prisoner. Whoops.
When Rick comes to, the former Savior prisoners are bickering about what to do with their injured friends: take them with them or leave them here and take Rick to Negan. That one Asshole Savior who killed Other Kid is obviously advocating for the latter when Rick is like, “Or, guys, hear me out: if you release us, y’all can come back with us to Hilltop and live there. I know that some of you don’t want to go back the Sanctuary and you just made a hasty decision, but that can be fixed. You have my word!” When the Saviors turn to Morgan, he’s like “Don’t look at me, I came here to kill all of you motherfuckers. But I will tell you that there’s a giant herd out there so you need to make a decision quickly before they come in here and eat all y’all.”
The Saviors bicker about what to do long enough that, in fact, the herd does find them, but the Saviors are considerate enough to free Rick and Morgan and return to them their weapons. Shooting shooting killing shooting and one walker very nearly bites Rick when one of the Saviors saves him. But then, at one point, Morgan and Rick exchange a look and start killing the Saviors, including the one that JUST SAVED RICK’S LIFE. WHAT THE SHIT.
Oh, and Morgan traps Asshole Savior in a hallway with a bunch of zombies and watches as they eat him, but Asshole Savior totally had that coming.
But Rescue Savior didn’t! He’s still half alive when Rick walks by and Rescue Savior is like, “What the shit?” So Rick shoots him in the head once and for all.
After, Rick asks Morgan why he saved him on that day long ago, and Morgan explains that only did so because his son was there. And then Rick looks into a cracked mirror because SYMBOLISM.
Also still out in the woods is Carol who happens to hear Kid crying for help. She finds him in the roots of a tree, surrounded by walkers and she saves him. He tearfully apologizes, and she apologizes in turn for telling him he wouldn’t survive.
They return to Hilltop where King Ezekiel is all, “I knew you weren’t a coward.” Carol then opens up to him about Sophia, and how she felt she became a better version of herself by being with Team Rick. Still, it feels like it could all be swept away again — but it doesn’t mean it will, and it doesn’t mean she couldn’t find herself again if it did.
Rick and Morgan also return and Morgan informs Kid that he killed the man who killed his brother. Kid tells Morgan he’s sorry he had to, which is not the reaction Morgan was expecting so he goes off by himself and has a cry.
Finally, inside the big house, Rick cleans up and apologies to Michonne for running off. She’s like, “Don’t worry about it, but BITCH, YOU BETTER READ THAT LETTER ALREADY.” And the episode ends with Rick taking Carl’s letter out — while standing in front of an intact mirror.
HO BOY, THIS EPISODE.
So, I’m not sure if you got what was happening here since they were so subtle with the writing, but this was an episode about loss — particularly the loss of a child — and how it can break people. Carol, Morgan and now Rick have all lost children, and it destroyed each of them. However, Carol finds hope when she does for Kid what she couldn’t do for her own daughter, whereas Morgan and Rick both wander deeper into the darkness and soothe their pain by killing. And if Rick isn’t careful, he’ll become just like Morgan — broken and crazy and unable to stop murdering.
Look, it is completely believable that Rick would lose his damn mind after Carl’s death. Considering how much he spun out of control after his wife died, it’s absolutely within character to have Rick break after the death of his son. It’s also perfectly in character to have him act out violently. That said, it struck me as just not in keeping with his character that Rick would become so villainous as to murder someone who had just saved his life twice over.
I understand that this story is headed towards a redemption of Rick, some moment when he will have to choose mercy over violence and they are showing us how difficult and profound that choice will be for him by sending him into this dark place. And there is a scene in which Rick and Morgan kill all the Saviors after promising them safety, therefore violating Rick’s “word,” that I could see working and making the same point. However, to go out of their way to show that one Savior save Rick only to have Rick very consciously murder him felt like they were taking Rick’s darkness to depths that he has never been shown to be capable of, all so that they can later redeem him. It was not about being true to character, but instead about facilitating a later plot point.
And the kicker is that this was already such a heavy-handed episode — with the three mourning parents each taking out their grief in their own ways, paralleled with Negan actually keeping his word with Haircut, and being a better human being than Rick — that they didn’t need to go that far with Rick. They did not need to make him such an obvious and overdrawn villain, especially just to make a point — Rick might not be that good a guy after all! — that has already been made to death over the past three seasons. We get it, can we move on already?
~gets off soapbox, takes off cranky pants, neatly folds them and puts them away for the next episode~
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.