In which Shawn and Kim wonder if anything but a bloodbath save this season now?
Shawn: I'm not going to have many complaints when they finally bring back my Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl to start the episode and then end with an actually interesting ending and in-between don't torture me with Carl or Father Gabriel. I mean, that's quite a formula for success. It seemed like a shorter episode, which is even better compared to the previous couple. I had a few thoughts along the way.
Catching up with The Hilltoppers is not my ideal setting for a whole episode. They are the most nondescript of the communities. I know Mayor Gregory and Jesus and the rest are dead on arrival when the battle with Negan begins. My brain likes clearing up little plot holes like getting a doctor back for the Saviors since their last one got himself a little burnt up. I'm not sure what Gregory has planned in the long run but it doesn't appear to be in Maggie's best interest and he's got a beef with Jesus for some reason. I don't get it because Jesus is just alright with me.
I appreciate Simon. He's an asshole like all of Negan's guys but he's not the most unreasonable of them. He has that silent dangerous look. He lets Gregory say just enough to corner himself and then asks just the questions to make everyone nervous. I don't get giving Gregory the FastPass to the front of the line to Savior Town. I also get the feeling that this means a finale death for both of them.
The Daryl and Maggie interaction was one that I've been waiting for all season. The result is about what I thought would happen - some Daryl tears. But I'm not sure the interaction had the weight I was expecting. Daryl is carrying a ton of guilt. Rick is carrying guilt. Maggie has guilt and anger. We know that the Sasha-and-Rosita anger is played out in like two minutes of Mission Fail. We couldn't shoot Negan in the minute he was outside so screw it Plan B is run in guns blazing . . . just not well thought out. So I need Daryl to relieve some of that guilt so that I feel better when Rick kills Negan.
Rosita backstory? Why bother now if you are going to kill her? So the larger logic of the previous seasons would tell me that Sasha is on the chopping block. She's already had her moments with Bob and Tyreese and the story seems to have come to an end for her. Rosita interests me a little more and she seems to have more strategic-thinking skills. Other than tying up some contrived loose ends with each other and helping us put a cap on the Abraham death, they also functioned to answer the question that Eugene has no visible plan. He's just going along to get along.
The two best moments showed that suspense has been missing this season. Maggie and Daryl in hiding from the Saviors was not even played to the extent that it could have been but I liked the two of them having to stay out of view. I wondered how we've gone this far into the season and not seen more of Daryl-on-the-run type of scenes. The final scene left a little cliffhanger that the show has forgotten how to do within a season. I'm mostly sure that the crossbow is Dwight and I don't see anyone dying immediately to start the next episode. If nothing else, it gives me two or three options to think about before next week.
Emo Daryl at the beginning montage was really the worst part of the episode. That beginning or ending musical montage has become a weak storytelling crutch for the show. In the first moments, we have to listen to a song while we see that the Hilltop is making knives, throwing knives practice, and Daryl sitting in his hoodie being all shoe-gazing sad. It's lazy and the writers have to find better ways to set the scene for each episode. As an aside - I have a basic knowledge of weather patterns of Virginia and this isn't a year around hoodie-wearing environment. Why isn't it either deathly humid or snowy from time to time?
Actual drama and my fave characters. Jesus coming out, too. So getting Daryl, Maggie and Jesus together in a scene just got more interesting. I didn't even wonder about Preacher this week.
Kim: If I let out a giant sigh now, will anyone care? Does this show have anything super interesting going on? The answer to both is no.
Here's the thing. When they finally got back to Hilltop, I'd forgotten what everyone except for Sasha and Rosita were up to. I didn't recall that Edith was there. When did Daryl get there? How was that received? Why don't they ever mention the rest of the group? Where are Carl and Judith? Why wasn't Gabriel lurking around? And for crying out loud, what are they eating? So many questions I'd rather have answered. Instead, we come up with four things worth talking about that together made up about 90 seconds of this show.
1.) Jesus is gay. Of course, I already knew this. It's that way in the comics and it's been hinted at throughout the show. And that revelation got two seconds of screen time. [sigh]
2.) Eugene. Oh dear Eugene. You're finally respected. You finally feel useful. No one is making you feel worthless. No wonder you didn't want to go. I wouldn't either.
3.) Rosita is about to come face to face with...Dwight. They want you to think it's Daryl, because he asked where she and Sasha disappeared to. But I'm sure this is Dwight. Does he let her go? Does he turn her in to Negan? Does he decide to help her? My bet is door number three. But really, does it matter all that much? These two aren't taking out Negan. If they did, this entire season was for nothing. Then again, anything is possible.
4.) Why did we only get a couple of seconds with Daryl and Maggie acknowledging Glenn's death and the blame Daryl places on himself? I will tell you right now that as a fan of Daryl and this show, and his arms, this did not get what it deserved. You expect certain things from this show. Glorious main character deaths and important characters having their shining moment. I was cheated out of it when Daryl lied to Carol and now this.
It's so upsetting to me, that time was wasted on where Rosita learned all of the shit she knows. More screen time was given to Rosita and Sasha tying knots. Hell, more screen time was given to the sex fest Rick and Michonne had. Yet this...a pivotal, heart felt moment was reduced to next to nothing.
I'd give it 3 out of 10. Wouldn't watch that episode again. Not even if you paid me. I'd rather watch an episode of Fear the Walking Dead and I hate all of those people.