Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'New Best Friends'

"I feel like I have a bigger picture of where this is all going now and there's a certain satisfaction of watching the pieces fall into place like an old familiar movie." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim have some pretty separate takes on the latest twist in the story.

Shawn: If I felt like portions of the first half of the season were just long form advertisements for a new Walking Dead video game, then this week was a free playable demo that should be available for X-Box and PlayStation this week. Don't take that as too much of a criticism though because even though I will have some things to say and observations about some little things, I really didn't mind this episode at all.  I feel like I have a bigger picture of where this is all going now and there's a certain satisfaction of watching the pieces fall into place like an old familiar movie.

My first assumption was that once we climbed to the top of the heap (of garbage) was that we'd see the mental hospital that they all escaped from once the apocalypse hit.  The Garbage Gals, excuse me, the Sanitation Sweethearts didn't take long to go Beyond Thunderdome.  Most of the time, we meet people from The Hilltop or The Saviors and it doesn't seem that long since they lived in the real world.  Then there is this group and Terminus where two days after the first zombie appears and people are eating each other and forgetting the King's English.  Just from a sociological point of view I am fascinated with the Junkyard Jezebels.

The Kingdom remains the most captivating of the stories.  I really thought this was initially the weakest of the links in the rebellion chain.  I didn't bond with King Ezekiel at first and I really didn't grasp their relationship with The Saviors.  It all seemed more buddy / buddy than The Hilltop.  There was some more comic relief and more tiger-centric adventures but I was bored.  This week I felt like that bond with The Saviors was more tenuous than first thought.  This is the key cog in the plan to rebel.  Once everyone is onboard for the "Kill Negan" plan, The Kingdom will provide most of the horse power and manpower.  The Savior's weekly pickup was not the "New Best Friends" of the episode title.  I liked the Richard rebellion because it accomplished so many things at once including starting Ezekiel's turn, Daryl's journey to Carol, and Morgan getting his groove back after getting smacked in the ear.  Get it?  Morgan has Ezekiel's ear as an advisor and now Morgan got whacked in the ear.

I almost cried at the whole setup and reunion of Daryl and Carol.  The meal sharing and story telling felt like old war buddies getting together again.  There's a bond between these two that goes beyond friendship.  Daryl's choice to lie to Carol is interesting.  I get that he has taken a different route than most of the group.  We left most of our friends smiling with hope and love and heading out for a road trip.  Daryl is racked with the guilt of Glenn's death.  He wants to be the one to kill Negan and all of the Saviors.  So why lie?  Is it selfish out of guilt or is he really protecting Carol?  Of all the people he could confess this to, it would seem Carol would get it.

Why is Rick happy that he got a crappy cat sculpture, a scratched hand, and a deal with the nut jobs.  He's going to have to kill the lot of them for dropping him into the Rancor pit.  This is the most playable level of the Season 7 video game.  I suggest leveling up to something more than a keyboard in the fight.

The more I think about what I wrote above I think Daryl made the wrong decision in the long run.  The group can only go so long playing the "Glenn is out getting food" or "Glenn's going to the bathroom, you just missed him" game with Carol before she finds out he's dead.  And it's going to make for some very hurt feelings between the two. 

The Kingdom is Shakespearean and The Trashopolis is Mad Max.  That's clear.  What's unclear is why both are the worst-dressed sets in the history of the show.  The Kingdom seems like a high-school play set and in show that shows us interesting and bloody ways to die each week it's amazing that the scene at the "up, up, up" was the worst blue screen ever.  I wouldn't have expected that from this show.

Tara and Father Gabriel.  I've always felt slightly in doubt of how I felt about Tara other than she's hot.  I've never warmed up to Gabriel.  So now the redemption tour for both is fully underway.  Tara could tell people about Oceanside. Gabriel could show a little more backbone and fight.  I think these two are fully expendable in an it's too obvious we'll kill them at the end of this season way.

I see the battle clouds forming and we're getting the pieces into place.  Looks like we get some more Negan action next week and further cement our loyalties.  I'm more interested than I've been in a few months.

Kim: As I sat and watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, several things kept running through my mind.  I made mental notes about what I wanted to say, but most of my comments have disappeared, much like most of my interest in this show. [heavy sigh]

What do I start with?  The good, the bad, or the ugly?  I suppose it doesn’t really matter because my overall impression of this episode is simply, “meh”.  I’ll go ahead and start with the ugly, because I really don’t want to leave a bad taste in your mouth (that’s what he said). 

Everyone in this entire show has somehow found a way to wash and comb their hair.   Everyone, that is, except Daryl.  Now, I understand that he’s a rebel.  This is one of the things that I have always loved about him.  However, this is really getting out of hand.  At some point, the man has to do something to better himself, or I am going to go ahead and denounce my favorite redneck.  Even in the apocalypse, I have standards.  Even if he was the last man on Earth, I’d be all, “dude, you’ve got to wash your hair or something.”  I’ll even accept a man-bun at this point and I think those are horrible.  Now, I had previously watched the latest episode of This is Us, followed by going to see A Dog’s Purpose, so I thought my emotional well had run dry.  Apparently, Daryl’s hair lubed it all up again because I actually wanted to cry the moment I saw him. 

So I’d do the bad next, but I think I’ll give some credit where credit is due first. I have waited so long to see Daryl and Carol (DarCar from here on out whether you like it or not) reunite.  The set up to this was amazing.  His anger at Dick (the Starship Trooper wanna be) made me giddy.  That’s his woman you’re talking about sacrificing, Dick.  Whether he openly admits it or not, she’s his person.  Don’t mess with a man’s person.  It was obvious that the quiet knock on the door signaled the DarCar reunion.  The hug!  The tears in her eyes!  The simple act of these two sharing any time together at all!  It. Was. Perfect.  

Now, I was disappointed that he lied to her about Glenn and Abraham, however, after her statements and outpouring of her heart, good-guy Daryl really couldn’t do anything else.  So, he has some food with her and then they say goodbye.  This killed me.  I didn’t want them apart then.  But, he’s respecting her desire to not be a part of it anymore and I have to like that in a dude.  Even one with greasy hair.  Daryl’s exit from the Kingdom is terrifying to me, as he’s being hunted and should probably lay low somewhere, but hey, this is our resident badass, and you can’t keep a good man down.  I mean his hair is trying, but those arms! 

I can’t put it off any longer.  I need to get to the heart of this show, which was apparently The Garbage Pail Kids (GPK).  Absent any other name given to them, I’m going to call them this, because it’s a fitting description.  I have an awful lot of questions about this gang and I’m going to start with this:  Why can’t they form complete sentences?  Did they eat lead paint over the past years to stay alive? I mean, Rick and our group, as well as almost everyone they’ve encountered, have all been out there just as long and yet everyone still speaks proper English.  Couple this with parts of their own little secret language and I’m all kinds of irritated with these people. 

So, here we have this group of people who:

1) have no command of the English language 

2) are too lazy to do shit for themselves, apparently

and

3) have all found some amazingly similar outfits

So let me get this straight, you can’t say “Take Rick up to the top”, but refer to that as “the up, up, up” and you expect someone to hand you more guns?” 

Even more curious to me is the fact that our group is going to go out and find guns and, apparently, jars for this group of wackos.  Why the hell haven’t you been out getting guns for yourselves and the rest of the people in Alexandria first?  I mean, if you’re so sure you can get them, why have you all remained unarmed?  This makes zero sense.  None. 

So the GPK sound ridiculous, even if they built a walker weapon and made Rick kill it.  Never mind that Rick’s going to bleed out while everyone stands around arguing over what to do next.  Never mind that Rosita has apparently lost her mind, being bitchy at Tara this time in Sasha’s absence.  Never mind that Gabriel is wearing a wife-beater.  Never mind that you’re all standing in the middle of the dump and at this point, it’s got to smell pretty horrific.  Never mind all of that.  What’s important here is that not one person has hair even half as greasy as Daryl’s.  [sigh]

I leave you with one thing that would have made this entire episode better.  When Rick calls out, “What’s your name?” her answer should have been “Fuckin’ Nuts.  That’s my name.*”   

*Source:  Chuck’s IM to me at that exact moment

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