In which Shawn and Kim debate to "Just give up."
Shawn: After seven seasons and nine episodes, the show finally gave me title cards. Just in case I don't get around to it - thank you. Not to sound ungrateful but locations and dates and times might be considered for future upgrades.
MICHONNE. The show has had this annoying pattern of following up major deaths with much less intense episodes that usually carry no weight. I figured that this was either going to be some version of a Benny Hill episode or 74 minutes of Rick and Michonne wringing their hands and crying. I'm happy to report that things actually happened and the mourning seemed appropriate considering the circumstances. Michonne likes to deal with emotions by slicing open heads. I love that predictable part of her personality and it's endearing to me now. The scene of her at the door to Alexandria included my favorite zombie scene of the season with the walker getting their face ripped off in the door.
ENID. Of all the characters singled out to get their own title card, this one made the least sense. First, it's pretty much Aaron doing all the important stuff here. Second, I just have never been an Enid fan. We didn't see her for a couple episodes and I tend to forget about her. Her relationship with Aaron is so forced that it kinda makes me uncomfortable. I don't like them all hugging and stuff. With all the characters we need to catch up on - maybe there should have just been a scrawl at the bottom of the screen that says "Enid and Aaron haven't really accomplished anything and ended the day back where they started."
SIMON. The dude is a Grade A a-hole. I think one of the best things they've set up is the difference between some of the leaders and some of the supporting cast. It's a bit of an encyclopedia of different ways to rule a group. Ultimately, every leader has to lead. And that usually means being a jerkhole. Say what you want about Negan but he seems to have a philosophy. Simon is pure emotion and not good-decision-making emotion. You know the kind of emotion that makes the lefthand side of the Taco Bell menu sound like a good idea at 2:30am. Simon's attempt to "Negan" the Trash People goes awry. He says all the right words but he's no Negan. The slaughter of the followers of Jadis may be his downfall and turn her into just the messianic leader the rebellion needs. The dread blue paint shoe will be his downfall.
JADIS. We already had a Jesus in the cast but now playing the role of "Jesus" will the Jadis who I originally saw cast as the Judas. Judas/Jesus/Jadis did not not have the best episode but it was probably the best appearance of her and her group. One, her people are dumb as goat pandas. Why did they give up their guns? They had to have seen a movie or two before the crap hit the fan. Never a good idea. Two, her apology was obviously going nowhere so I'm not sure why she even bothered. Third, what makes me more mad than her stupid speaking pattern is that it was all an act. Her finally giving up the act and telling a season worth of backstory is nice but I'm like "Dude, what was the point?" As she sits there drinking applesauce, I'm having a thought that her garbage pile is covering up a helicopter or plane of some sort.
NEGAN. Finally an episode with some insight into Negan. It feels like we have only had reactive Negan for most of this season except for his long conversation with Carl at the end of the half season. His relationship with Simon has always been something needing further exploration because I can't imagine a guy like Negan having much patience for the loose cannon of a dude like Simon. His walkie-talkie conversation with Rick was a great conclusion to the arc of this episode and put a nice button on the last two episodes. I really did sense a level of respect between Negan and Carl and was most interested last week in seeing Negan's reaction. They actually give it to us and his words to Rick ring pretty true. The measure of a great villain is that they speak truths that make you pause a bit. It's easy to see why people follow him initially. I'm thinking of the Joker in The Dark Knight as a similar character that speaks truths until you realize the heinous acts he's going to commit to get to his conclusions. Negan did a nice job of pointing out to all of us what we knew - Rick, you're an ass.
THE LOST AND THE PLUNDERERS. In what was a pretty good episode, I'm concerned that they are going to start getting out of hand with the episode titles. I have loved the show for the simple one-word episode titles. This one misled me in a number of ways. First, it gave me hope that they'd find a hatch and a way to the island and we'd have the Lost crossover I've been waiting for all these years. Second was the weird word "plunderers". Aren't they all plunderers? Who made who, who plundered who. When I read it even now, it feels like a group from Peter Pan. I could keep going but I'll follow Negan's advice: "Just give up."
Kim: Right off the bat, I’m going to say that I hope when Negan discovers that Simon had all of the garbage people killed that we get to see Lucille in action on that Burt Reynolds wannabe.
Having gotten through that, let me tell you what I think of the continuing formatting issues for this show. What’s going on with Daryl? What happened to Jerry? What’s Maggie up to? What about Eugene? Father G? Jesus? Rosita? Tara? Everyone else? [sigh]
Are all of the survivors from Alexandria and the Kingdom holed up in Hilltop? Where in there was there room for them? Do they believe that Negan’s gang isn’t going to show up and discover that they’ve found all of the people? How come we’re two episodes into this half of the season and I still don’t know where/what at least 1/3 of the main cast is doing?
Now let me get this straight - the trash people talked like back-country, uneducated hicks because they wanted to be different so that Jadis could look at them all as her artwork? Not that it matters because basically we spent a lot of time over the past year or so trying to figure out how those people would fit into the story, only to find out that they are basically hamburger meat. Right? I’m sure we’ll see Jadis again in some capacity. I’m also sure she’ll meet quite the untimely demise and an entire story arc will have been wasted, while we’re anxiously awaiting Maggie and Glen’s baby to come shooting out.
I was irritated by Rick telling Negan that Carl’s dying wish was that they stop fighting, but also that he’s going to kill him. I’m almost as tired of Rick threatening to kill Negan as I was with Rick telling Carl to get in the house. The whole setup for these two eventually having the chance to off each other is really played out. I’m unsure if there is anything they can do at this point to make it even remotely interesting to me. I think part of that is because I don’t believe for one second that either one of them is going to kill the other. I think they’re going to have a chance, but mid-fight Carl will make a yoda-like appearance, wearing a white robe with the spirits of Lori, T-Dog, Glenn, Abraham, and Merle. They’ll remind Rick that life is worth living and blah blah blah.
So, the ocean girls…I still don’t see a place for them in this show. In fact, I’m 95% certain they’ll go the way of the trash people. Or Jadis will show up and they’ll embrace her because who doesn’t need another unstable chick hanging out with them. I mean that one girl already has the crazy-eyes and I’m just picturing her and Jadis sitting down for tea. So, Aaron is going to stick around and try to convince them to help out. Because why? They don’t have any weapons and I’m pretty sure you don’t have many weapons back at Hilltop. Sure, TWD - leave the gay man to influence the man-hating women. That’s a great idea. What could go wrong?
The funny thing about this whole episode is that a lot happened, but nothing that matters happened. Simon and Rick stepped in some blue paint. Rick and Michonne thought they could go through trash mountain instead of initially just climbing it. Poor decisions are being made by just about everyone in the show, and apparently by the writers as well.
I hate how hard it has gotten for me to watch this show and actually enjoy it or feel anything about the characters. I’d like that back any time now. However, I’m also pretty sure that much like when Rick and Negan finally meet, the anticipated outcome isn’t going to happen. I still watch, but it almost feels like something I’m required to do at this point. I’m worried that I’m never going to fully enjoy this show again. Maybe it’s time for AMC to call it quits with this show. I might be close. Not there yet, but maybe they'll grow some balls and make the call for me.