In which Kim and Shawn find reasons to root for people again.
Kim: So, here we are with one episode to go this season. Here's a shocking statement: aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season. Do you know why?
We saw many of our core group two episodes in a row. We furthered the "war with Negan" storyline, adding at least the guns from Oceanside, while not forgetting about Sasha, Rosita, and Eugene from last week.
We got to see Daryl and Jesus in the same frame. We followed up with Maggie and that dick fiddler, Gregory. Tara had a purpose. Carl and Enid got to have a moment. Michonne climbed a tree, Rick showed his balls, Gabriel is trying to be useful, and Dwight is coming full circle.
This is how every episode should have been. Sure, we didn't see the Kingdom or the Trash People, but I'm sure they'll show up right when we need them to. And Carol can, once again, save everyone's ass.
Negan is still a class A dick, and that was done in a very short amount of time, not a long, drawn-out episode where people who don't matter are tortured or killed. This is how it should have been, all along.
The discussion Negan had with Sasha after brutally killing her would-be rapist was fabulous. Recognizing her giant lady balls was necessary. I'm really happy that happened because that whole situation really goes a long way in establishing some sort of good will in a "we can work with this guy if he just stops being a brutal dictator" kind of way.
I'm certain we haven't seen the last of the Oceanside ladies. They're going to want to help out, even if it's just to extract revenge on The Saviors, and maybe even our group.
Is there a little snitch telling Negan what's happening with our gang? Maybe. But maybe it was just a ploy to see Sasha's reaction. Who is it if there is one? I'll go with the Trash People, because it's likely to be someone who is easily expendable.
So, overall, this episode finally gave me things to think about. It gave me reasons to root for people again, and that is what has been missing this entire season. I want Daryl and Jesus to live. I'm rooting for them.
Shawn: I didn't hate that episode and I didn't love that episode. I think what bugs me the most is that over the course of the season I've finally realized the past few weeks that we aren't even close to solving the Negan problem. I think that makes this season's arc feel even less important. If we were building towards an emotional climax, I'd be happy in a little way. I realize now that we're getting a death or two but none of them will be Negan. That's obviously a season away.
"Something They Need" was really a need to just to waste another episode before anything new happened. We haven't had a visit to Oceanside recently so it's time to bring our group to ask nicely for some guns. Can you Virginia folks help locate these locations for me on a map? Are we really walking from Hilltop to Alexandria to Oceanside? This season has been such a time waste from the very beginning. Every episode has packed 15 minutes of actual story into plus-sized episodes. This week felt nostalgic just in that so many of our favorites were together. The Virginia travelogue needs to come to an end.
Fake drama. In the era of Fake News, this show has specialized in Fake Drama. There were two episodes of fakery here. There was no way that Gregory was going to kill Maggie. They aren't killing a pregnant Maggie and if they kill her, eventually it will be a major deal and not a gardening accident. Nice try, Gregory, we know you are a loser so that scene informed us in zero ways. Sasha, we know that there's a week to go, so you weren't getting that weapon from Eugene. The pill is a red herring and won't come into play in any meaningful way because it isn't an exploding, kill-sixty-zombies type of death. Subtle deaths don't happen anymore. No one is dying from diabetes or food poisoning or bad diarrhea. Stop trying to fake us out when we know there's still a big episode to go.
Negan will kill you with his little bat at the drop of a hat. He might even burn you up in the furnace. But he draws the odd line at rape. Well in David's case, at least at rapes that he doesn't commit himself. Poor David gets a knife to the neck (out of character) for being so rapey and he genuinely looked surprised, like maybe they didn't fully cover that in the HR meeting when he joined the Saviors. After playing the role of "savior" to Sasha, he goes into recruitment mode and he get the best line of the episode when Sasha calls Rick "your bitch."
Rick's Army. It's funny how quickly our ragtag group can put together a solid incursion into enemy territory when they need to get something done. It all felt like it played out with military precision as they infiltrated the Oceanside camp and took some guns. It feels so inconsistent in the scheme of things. But also can the Virginia people please also explain what that cruise ship was doing there? I panicked for a minute that I had tuned into the next season of Fear The Walking Dead.
Generic Brands Save You Money. I can tell you that in a few months I'll have trouble telling you the difference between Oceanside, the Hilltop, Garbageland, and the Kingdom. They are all just random, generic towns that served to waste time until the finale. There's nothing I care about in these towns that isn't our main characters (and that's saying something since one has a tiger). We did our appointed rounds this season and I'm ready for a vacation.
Walkers aren't even a thing anymore. Our group sets off explosion after explosion and the horde of zombies come rambling up. It's not scary anymore and it's rarely a challenge. The walkers don't just appear out of nowhere. They come in groups of 193 and they telegraph their appearances. Then they conveniently walk in single file to their deaths when they aren't walking down the middle of the road in their zombie parades. The Oceanside incident wasn't even a blip on my radar and I didn't remember it until I was trying to come up with one more point.
As the season pulls into the finale station, I can only thank the producers for leaving time each episode for previews for Preacher. It's been a season of recruitment after recruitment. Time to get off the recruitment train.