‘The Walking Dead’: Meet the Parents

The Walking Dead
“Guardians”
March 3, 2019

Over in Alexandria, Michonne is SO MAD about Father Eyeball’s radio project that ended with Dr. Mullet stuck out in the woods being hunted by Whisperers and with Jesus very much dead. Siddiq is like, “Yeah, but The Kingdom’s fair! We wanna go!” But Michonne is all, “NO. AND IF YOU HAVE A VOTE ABOUT IT, I’M JUST GOING TO VETO IT.” And Aaron is like, “WHAT SHE SAID.”

A grumpy Father Gabe returns home to Rosita with whom he doesn’t really want to talk about the meeting, so she brings up a different subject: “Alright, let’s talk about how I’m carrying another man’s baby but how I still want to be with you.” Father Gabriel, he’s not so sure.

Later, Dr. Mullet approaches Father Gabe in the church and is all, “ROSITA IS A DAMN FINE WOMAN AND YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE HER AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT,” — but, you know, in Dr. Mulletese — before handing Father Cyclops a bag of expanded-waist “pantalones” to give to Rosita as a peace offering after acting like such a jerk. Father Gabe does return home where he finds Rosita and Siddiq waiting for him. Knowing smiles are exchanged before they head inside, so … everything is fine now?

But … I kinda do have questions. When did Rosita and Father Gabriel become so serious? The assumption here is that she Siddiq were just fooling around when she got knocked up, so that means she and Father Gabriel have only been together for about a month now? And they’re talking about raising this baby together? Or did they have a relationship in the years we didn’t see, break up and get back together? And I get they’ve been friends for many years, but still, another man’s baby is a lot to ask of a relationship that’s shorter than a school’s grading period.

Elsewhere, Michonne questions Negan as to why he returned. In an attempt to make his point that he can be trusted now, he mentions that while he was out roaming around he went inside her house and could have killed her. NOT THE BEST ARGUMENT, DUDE. Michonne suggests that the reason he came back was because he couldn’t hack it out in the real world, and he’s like, “Well, I mean, yeah,” before suggesting that he can help her with her leadership crisis. He notes that she’s got quite the racket going: ostensibly Alexandria has a constitution, but somehow she has all the power. It’s a good start, but if she wants some tips on how to keep everyone in line … Michonne, furious, demands that his windows be closed up so he can’t eavesdrop on their meetings anymore when she catches a glimpse of Judith waiting outside to hang with Negan and is like “OH HELL NO.”

Michonne confronts Judith at the house and she admits that she’s been talking to Negan because she feels sorry for him. Michonne insists that HE IS NOT HER FRIEND and reminds Judith that Negan killed people Michonne loved, only to have Judith point out that he escaped but came back because he’s changed — people are capable of change. Michonne changed, after all. Michonne does not take Judith’s sass well.

But it clearly stuck in Michonne’s craw, because she’s soon over at Aaron’s, telling him that if the council wants to vote to go to The Kingdom’s fair, she’s not going to veto it. She thinks it’s a TERRIBLE idea, and that everyone is going to get their fool heads chopped off, but she can’t continue standing in the way of what the people want in the name of protecting them.

I’m sure this will go well and everyone will have a swell time at the fair.

Because now that The Whisperers have Lydia back, there’s no reason for our friends to be bothered by those skin-wearing weirdos. As they make their way back to their camp, Lydia fills Alpha in on what she learned about Hilltop: their weapons, supplies, that kind of thing, but tells her mother she doesn’t think there’s any sort of trading going on with other communities. Alpha is not impressed.

When the group makes a pitstop in the woods, Lydia finds Chekov’s half-buried yoyo, and Alpha’s giant friend, Beta, finds a Henry. Alpha threatens to break Henry’s arms and legs if he doesn’t reveal who he is, and, wanting to remain mobile in a zombie-filled woods, Henry obliges, explaining that he came for Lydia on his own, he wasn’t sent by Hilltop.

Alpha wonders why Lydia didn’t mention her little boyfriend, and Lydia tries to pretend that she barely knows him — she played on his sympathies by acting helpless and lying, and he, the big dummy, fell for it. Alpha notes that this is why she trusts animals more than people: animals don’t lie, before rewarding her daughter’s cleverness with a handful of grubs an apple.

They arrive at home — for now — and the campsite is quite large and filled with a remarkable number of people for a sadistic baby-disregarding cult that wears the rotting flesh of the undead around for kicks. Are there really that many people who would be down with this lifestyle? Because ew.

Meanwhile, Daryl and Connie have been tracking Henry. They find his Jedi stick, abandoned, and are like, “WHAT A DUMBASS.”

Back at the Whisperers camp, Henry watches as Beta makes Lydia a new mask by slicing the face off of a corpse and is all, “GROSS, Y’ALL.” BECAUSE GROSS, YOU ALL.

Alpha explains that they have a whole survival of the fittest philosophy, that only the strong survive and the weak are left behind. However, one Whisperer points out that Alpha only lives that philosophy up to the point where her own family is endangered: she was so determined to save her own “cub” that she gave up two perfectly good hostages to get her back.

Alpha argues that it was worth saving Lydia for the intel she gathered, and, by the way, this sure sounds like a challenge to her authority. If Mouthy wants to challenge her, he knows the rules. Except when Mouthy steps forward, Alpha’s goon, Beta, grabs him and restrains him, which seems more like Westeros trial-by-combat rules than the Whisperers’ “survival of the fittest” rules but then what do I know?

Alpha then turns her attention to Mouthy’s girlfriend, Mouthier, and is all, “I know you’re Lady Macbething this whole situation.” Mouthier complains that Alpha put them all in danger, that keeping Henry is going to just draw his people to them, and his people have already killed a lot of the Whisperers. All that said, she really doesn’t want to fight Alpha! But Alpha is all, “TOO BAD,” before wrapping a wire around Mouthier’s neck, slicing off her head, handing her head to Mouthy and stabbing him in the gut for crying.

She seems nice.

Later that night, Lydia flashes that coin thingy that Henry gave her at him, I guess to let him know she’s still Team Hilltop or Team Him or whatever.

Meanwhile, Alpha privately tells Beta a story about her great parenting skills: this one time when Lydia was a toddler, she nearly died by being asphyxiated by a dry cleaning bag. Alpha stood there watching until Lydia collapsed, at which point, Alpha tore the plastic off her face, asked if she was OK and then hit her so she would remember to never do it again. Ah, it’s always fun when mommy is Betty Draper a psychopath.

sally draper mad men suffocating me plastic bag

Alpha and Beta agree that they need to prepare themselves for when Henry’s people come for him, and Beta points out that Henry might serve another purpose: as a loyalty test for Lydia.

To that end, they drag Henry over to Lydia who is given a knife by her mother, and instructions to kill the boy or Beta will kill them both. But! Deus Ex Zombie: a small herd breaks into the campsite, led by a masked Daryl and Connie. In the chaos, Daryl and Connie try to drag Henry away, but he won’t leave without Lydia, so Daryl and Connie take them both which I am sure will be a very good decision that will have no consequences down the road.

I really don’t have much to add to this episode except 1. GOD DAMN, ALPHA IS SCARY. 2. GOD DAMN, HENRY IS THE WORST. And, 3. GOD DAMN, THIS SHOW HAS GOTTEN GOOD AGAIN.

I have been resisting admitting that last point for a while now because I suppose I didn’t want to be disappointed. But the truth is, under Angela Kang, The Walking Dead has found its mojo again. This wasn’t a knock-it-out-of-the-park episode; if anything, it was a filler episode designed to get us to the fair at the end of the season. But that’s why I think it is a good example of how much the series has improved, that even a spinning-the-wheels episode gave us some indelible imagery and more insight into these new, utterly terrifying characters. It wasn’t lazy, and it didn’t feel like a retreading of the same old themes and conflicts that we have seen time and time again — which it would have been in previous seasons.

Also, I just can not get over Alpha, what a terrific character she is and what a great performance Samantha Morton is delivering here. Alpha is not the first utterly irredeemable villain on the show — the Terminal cannibals weren’t just misunderstood antiheroes, after all — but she’s the most terrifying. Not only is there something uniquely creepy about a female sociopath in general, but her entire Darwinistic philosophy which at root is an extension of and a justification for abuse — child abuse, specifically — it’s chilling because, like all good horror, it is based on something real and familiar.

Anyway. Off to go watch/write-up the next episode since I’m so far behind, but GOD DAMN. FOR REAL.

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

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