In which Shawn and Kim demonstrate they aren't always in the same boat.
Shawn: I only have a few notes for you this week.
1.) PERFECT? My gaze didn't leave the screen at any point in the episode. None of those Carl moments that make me wander to cat videos or reach for the popcorn. I had even poured a perfectly wonderful Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado for the viewing that generally went untouched, except during commercials. I can't call it "perfect" because I think this show still has that episode in its arsenal. And truthfully there was some slow moments as we debated trading hostages.
We'll give you Carol for this guy and two Pete Rose rookie cards.
No, we want Maggie and we'll give you these freakin' terrible beet cookies.
But once Smoking Savior started in on Carol, it was on. I can't remember as many non-zombie moments that have had me as transfixed as when Carol was laying out sick survivors at the prison for the good of the group.
2.) CAROL. Damn. From meek to bad ass to maybe doubting her methods to actress to ruthless killer. This was seriously award-tape worthy material. I think the moment that still sticks in my brain is her smoking the cigarette. So cool and calm. "What, you gonna kill me?" and the understated whisper on her close-up, "I hope not," as her eyes are saying, "Yep, bitch." Carol wasn't always my favorite. I don't mind saying I had moments in the early seasons that she was just wallpaper. Since blowing up Terminus, I've been her biggest champion. This "do what you have to" persona is just what the group needs. This season has not had a happier moment for me than Daryl hugging her at the end. The sweet way they lean into each other shows the love they have for each other.
3.) "YOU'RE NOT THE GOOD GUYS." This is my favorite subject. Our "heroes" are pretty terrible. We follow them so we might see how evil other people see them. But out of context, they have probably killed more people than all the other groups put together. I like the philosophical discussion of that. Is there a moral explanation for burning the dudes in the room by lighting the oil on fire? "We are saving Alexandria" is a pretty slight excuse. There's an eventual point where this has to be debated with someone more than just Morgan. When Rick can so easily just shoot the fake Negan in the head, we've ran way past the thin moral line between life and death.
4.) DEATH. We've spared some main characters lately. It was a bit of a waste to get to know these captors and then just kill them off. Was it some lame attempt to get us to care and then feel bad that they were killed? In this show, that's not happening in just an hour. You better make it three shows before I even remember your characters name - Alicia Witt, other mom, smokey, and other woman. With such a long focus on Maggie and Carol, I do worry that it's the set-up to lose one of them by the end of this season. Please be wrong but that was a good way to bond us to the two and then to lose one would be devastating.
5.) MAGGIE. In a gag. Tied up. Just cast that line out there and let it float on the surface for a few minutes. Thanks.
Kim: I view this episode in a completely different light. I thought it was agonizingly slow. It had its moments, but for the most part it was just the same old, same old and it bugged me. I had even less to say than you did about it, but your insight gave me some "oh yeah" feelings and I'm just going to let them spill out, like walker guts after a kitana rip to the midsection by Michonne. I'll use your fancy numbering system, but this should in no way imply that I agree with you on anything. Except maybe 5.) Maggie in light bondage. Hot!
4.) DEATH. While this is an absolute necessity on this show, I think that this episode just pushed it over the edge for me. Was the point to show that women can be ten times more brutal than men? Were we supposed to get a sense of what a mother will do for her child? Couldn't this have all taken place over the course of 15 minutes? I named the characters Ginger, Smoker, Gretchen Wilson, and Whiny Dude. I did not have time for all of their shit.
3.) "YOU'RE NOT THE GOOD GUYS." It's true, it's true. They've turned into exactly what every other group who is still alive are. The difference is, I haven't spent 6 1/2 seasons getting attached to the Saviors. Truly, that's the only difference. I'd sure like 6 1/2 seasons to get attached to Jesus though. I don't see anything wrong with that. But seriously, I said it to my son right after the show ended, "They're not the good people they used to be, are they?"
2.) CAROL. She trolled those idiots perfectly. I couldn't imagine a better set up then for her to humanize and wussify herself in their eyes before cutting them down, one at a time like the psychopath she's becoming. But wait, she's not happy about it! Maybe those chats with Morgan and the cookie baking has really gotten to her. I don't really know. I've liked Carol for a long time - back to the days shortly after Sofia bit it. I liked her most when Rick kicked her out because she was pretty much on her own and managed. I'm not sure what I think about wishy-washy Carol who told Ginger to run instead of just popping her then and there. You burned friends alive at the prison, Carol. I think you can shoot a stranger in the face.
1.) PERFECT? Far from it. There wasn't a single person in this episode I wanted to have apocalyptic sex with. I got a flash of the back of Daryl's head and that was pretty much it. Slow, tired, unimaginative. That was this for me. That seems to be a theme throughout this season though - one great episode, a couple that make you say, "meh," and a sincere hope that next week will be better. Bring me Daryl and Jesus and we'll call it a wash, ok?
Side note: I wish they had never publicized that Jeffery Dean Morgan was going to be playing Negan. Know why? Because when Porno (or whatever his name was) said, "I'm Negan" to Rick, I would have written off that chapter, let my guard down and been completely blown away at the end of the season when the real Slim Shady shows up.
I miss the days when they wouldn't confirm a single thing and I wish that there wasn't such a thing as the internet to ruin all of the tension in a show like this. I hope they fix it somehow, and I do believe they will. I predict that the season finale will be more unsettling than anything we've ever seen on this show. I predict I'll reverse my judgement on this entire season (minus the two to three really great episodes I loved). I predict that inside of every one of us, there is someone who will do whatever it takes to survive any situation, even if it means we'll lose most of our humanity in that act. Why? Because we're all Negan.