The Walking Dead
October 14, 2018
It’s been 35 days since the previous episode, a fact we know because Rick shares it with Negan in his basement prison cell. I mean, we don’t know that it’s Negan until the very end of the episode, but come on. Anyway, it’s been 35 days and things are so much better. They’re building! They’re growing! They don’t let the zombie apocalypse “define” them anymore!
Take the bridge, for instance. The communities have set up a campsite near the construction zone where everyone is living and working together and for the most part getting along. There, King Ezekiel explains to
the audience little Henry that the bridge, once completed, will connect the communities, allowing them to trade and hang out and stuff. To the future!
Henry heads off, only for Carol to ask him if he’s forgotten something. Henry returns and kisses her on the cheek, which is sweet, but she meant his Jedi stick which she hands him while King Z sighs wistfully that he’ll be heading off to college soon. Because get it? There is no more college anymore? Good joke. Anyway, King Z and Henry are going to head back to the Kingdom soon because Henry does actually have school and King Ezekiel does have people to boss around or something.
Elsewhere, Rick, Dr. Mullet, and Rosita go over a plan to set off detonations to distract a herd and discuss the most recent Savior defection, marking the 6th this month. Over in the medical tent, Siddiq oversees Enid while she gives Cyndie some stitches because you can never have too many medical quasi-professionals in a zombie apocalypse, especially since Siddiq needs to go back to Alexandria to deal with a bug that is going around. Because sending the actual doctor to go hand out Pedialyte to a bunch of olds and kids while leaving the teen to manage any injuries that might occur in a construction zone just makes good sense.
Over on the bridge, Aaron jokes about how Daryl will be a great dad one day, as Little Henry carries water to the workers. That One Lunkhead Savior, Lunkhead, gets irritated when Henry will only give him his assigned portion of water and shoves Henry. He then takes the jug and begins drinking all of the water because Lunkhead’s gonna Lunkhead. Henry, for his part, Jedi sticks Lunkhead, embarrassing him in front of all of his bros. As Lunkhead lunges for Henry, Daryl stops him, but Lunkhead is all, “YER NOT THE BOSS A’ME!” leading to a fight between the two men. Fight fight punch fight, until Rick shows up and is like THAT IS ENOUGH.
Daryl is HELLA PISSED that Rick won’t punish Lunkhead, but Rick is like, “I mean, we need him and the other Saviors to finish the bridge. Sorry, dude. We all have to get along.” Daryl insists that the Saviors aren’t going to just do what Rick wants them to do because he asks them to, and Carol agrees with Daryl: Rick’s kumbayah nonsense is awfully nice, but no one has forgotten what happened. Rick promises that if they all just keep moving forward together, they’ll all be on the same side.
Meanwhile, Operation Blow Shit Up is underway: Rosita and Arat, that one Lady Savior who cut Rosita’s face that one time, detonate one set of explosives, distracting one large herd. Elsewhere, Tara watches the herd from a cherry picker, and radios to Jerry to start the siren in another location. So far so good!
But then, just as Nice Savior is informing Rick that none of the Saviors who “deserted” ever made it back to the Sanctuary, and he’s worried something bad happened to them, Tara informs Rick that the second siren never went off and the herd is headed straight for their lumber crew.
Speaking of the lumber crew, Daryl and Aaron joined their ranks at some point, helping the men load huge logs onto the back of a wagon. Walkers arrive just on cue and everyone starts FREAKING OUT, including one dumb Savior who just fucking lets go of the log he’s loading, causing it to fall on poor Aaron, and trapping his arm underneath it. The men struggle to free Aaron as the walkers slowly shuffle closer which is when Rick and the rest of Team Rick arrive and save the crew.
Daryl carries Aaron back to the medical tent where Enid takes one look at Aaron’s arm and announces it needs to be amputated. Which is how we come to have the most unfortunately timed bone saw reference in the history of television.
And hey! Guess who was in charge of setting the second siren? That’d be Lunkhead, who claims his walkie wasn’t working. Daryl calls bullshit …
… and attacks Lunkhead for the second time in a day. Carol pulls Daryl off of him while everyone is like, “DAAAAAAMNNN.”
Later Rick tells Lunkhead to get his shit together and leave in the morning, but Lunkhead’s like, “Instead, I’mma get my shit and leave now, in the middle of the night, by myself, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. SUCK IT.” And Rick’s like, “Whatever works for you, my dude.”
Rick then checks in on Aaron who is alive and in a lot of pain but tells Rick it’s worth it. Or something.
Rick then looks around the camp at all the happy people, including Carol who allows King Ezekiel (who I thought was supposed to have left?) put the engagement ring on her finger. Rick has a smug.
Back in Alexandria, Rick smirks at Negan that while it was a hard day, in the end, everyone came together. But Negan isn’t having it and is like, “Cool story, Rick, but Carl’s still dead, and it’s just a matter of time before I take over again.”
Oh, and our friend Lunkhead? As he’s walking back home, drunk, he’s ambushed by someone hiding in the woods.
Over in our B storyline, Michonne goes to Hilltop to negotiate with Maggie: the ethanol the Saviors promised Hilltop never arrived, but the Saviors are still starving and in need of the promised Hilltop food. Jesus confirms that Hilltop has a supply of food, but Maggie’s all, “yeah, but, without fuel for the tractor or a blacksmith who isn’t locked in a basement prison to fix the old-timey plow, we’re not going to be able to harvest the crops, and then what?” Michonne suggests that she could let the blacksmith out of the basement prison, but Maggie’s like, “LOL, NOPE.”
Later, Brett Butler begs Jesus to let her visit her husband in the basement prison, and Jesus is like, “I mean, I’ll talk to Maggie about it, but you shouldn’t hold your breath.” Michonne, having heard the conversation, urges Jesus to talk to Maggie about it: she listens to him. Oh, and also, can Michonne interest him in this charter idea that she’s been working on?
Jesus checks in on Maggie, noting that a letter from Georgie is out — is Maggie considering joining her? Maggie explains that while she likes Georgie, she has plenty of future to build right here. Jesus then suggests that they allow Brett Butler to see Blacksmith, and, also, too, think about making a common set of laws for everyone to follow.
Maggie takes Brett Butler down to see Blacksmith, and overhears Brett Butler say something about how Blacksmith wasn’t responsible for his actions: it was the booze. Later, Maggie visits Blacksmith by herself and asks him about the drinking. He tells an emotional story about how he was drunk when his son was born, which convinced him to get sober. However, a few years later, during a time of personal stress, he drank again — this time while driving his toddler son. At some point, he pulled over and called his wife who came and picked them up. He marvels that Brett Butler didn’t leave him, though she should have, and he didn’t have another drop to drink — until Red Shirt Ken died.
Maggie thanks Blacksmith for telling her his story, and on her way out, he wonders why she didn’t hang him, too, but she answers a question with a question: does he think she made a mistake? Blacksmith does not, please and thank you.
Later, Michonne and Maggie chat on the porch where Michonne brings up the charter business again, and Maggie reveals that she sent the food to the Sanctuary. As for Blacksmith, she’s allowed him out of the basement prison to work on the plow under supervision. Maggie explains that her daddy used to drink, but that had he not been given a second chance, a lot of people — including Michonne — would be a lot worse off. Some people deserve second chances, others, not so much.
And over in our C storyline: Haircut does a police sketch of some woman that Father One-Eye describes to her. And then they talk redemption and how Rick is a good guy and blah blah blah, they’re in the same boat.
Later that night, the two are “on watch” talking about frog mating calls, and Father Cyclops explains that the woman he had her sketch for him was his church’s organist, someone he cared for but lost. Haircut notes that she thought priests were celibate, and he has to explain that he’s Episcopalian. They kiss. She goes for his belt.
Later, Haircut is up in the cherry picker when she hears and sees the helicopter overhead. “HMM … ” Haircut says to herself. But not out loud.
Alright, pumpkins, I’m not going to spend a whole bunch of time taking this episode apart because there’s nothing to really take apart? The bridge is an obvious symbol of Rick trying to unify the communities and the communities moving forward, leaving the past animosities behind; a project that is proving more difficult and time-sensitive than Rick had previously assumed.
Also, I guess I should point out that Aaron losing his arm is similar to an event that happens to comics Rick, in which The Governor cuts off Rick’s hand to show him who’s boss. The show chose to not go down that route as the CGI would have been too costly and logistically impractical to remove the main character’s hand for who knows how many seasons. This suggests that Aaron’s future my be put into question — or at the very least he will have a diminishing role on the show. But the larger point of the entire storyline is that despite his best friends having their reservations about his grand plan, there are people who truly believe in Rick — like Aaron here who that despite this terrible thing happening to him, still feels its worth it in the end if Rick’s utopian future can be achieved.
ALRIGHT. ON TO THE NEXT ONE.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.