Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “Hostiles and Calamities”

In which Shawn and Kim have the same thoughts about the episode where nothing happened. And they aren’t positive.

Shawn: Ridiculous.

I guess I’d be on “Easy Street” if that was all I said about this episode. But what’s an interrogation without a little torture. I sat through this and so I’ll torture you too.

Welcome to The Sanctuary – here’s how it works around here. Oh, did we cover that already in your previous orientation? Well, did we tell you there’s a number system? We did? Oh. Did we mention there’s a barber? That’s interesting, huh? And pickles. Really, really green pickles. Did you ever see This Is Us? You know that show where people cry after they watch it because they are so touched. We’ve got that here too – we call it Dwight and Sherri and we bet we can manipulate to care. No? I mean, he even brought beer and pretzels. Whelp, we tried.

Eugene’s trip to the Dark Side makes a little sense for our Apocalypse Jedi. But then again, it feels like a story they have only hinted at over the past season. His only real great move was making a bullet. We know Eugene lies. He’s great at playing the patsy much like a male version of Carol’s “poor me” desperation act. So that is a conundrum in this episode – are we to believe his quick acceptance of “I am Negan”? It would make sense that at least one of our crew went over to the Negan side. Is it Eugene or is he in the middle of a long con to infiltrate Sanctuary? If that’s the case, I’m going to be upset because it’s sloppy storytelling. Give us a reason to be nervous and tell us he talked to Rick ahead of time about this plan.

I’m even more confused about the Dwight story as I sit here considering the episode. He could go find Sherri but he heads back to tell Negan that she’s dead and to frame the doctor. What does that accomplish in the long run for him? I think I’ve missed something because I don’t see how this ends well for Dwight.

How will Tara and Rosita figure into this Eugene story? I have seen them as a trio for the past season or so. He seemed to have a special friendship with them and I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t somehow rescue them like he didn’t at the end of the half season.

Bouncing back to Eugene, I really don’t know how his story can end well either. Are we seeing a set up for the violent death of both Dwight and Eugene at the end of this season? Eugene witnessed the violent death of his friend Abraham and didn’t defend Rosita and Tara. So if this is some revenge plot, it won’t work because we’ve watched seven seasons enough to know that it’s Daryl or Maggie or more likely, Rick that gets to kill Negan. If Eugene really has turned to the Dark Side, then he gets a violent death by zombie as a coward. I am really puzzled at the point of anything that happened in this episode.

I took away only a couple positives from this ridiculous episode. We didn’t see a tiger doing nothing of importance, we didn’t climb up a pile of garbage, and we did get Eugene nodding his head to “Easy Street” and later playing Atari.

The rest will feel like a waste of time when this season finally ends.

Kim: Perhaps a better title for this episode would have simply been “The Shit Show”. This is brutal. No, not the episode, but what I have to say about it. Here’s the thing. How many times do we need to see Negan swinging around his little bat, calling everyone an “asshole”? I mean, are there still people who watch this show who don’t realize that he’s not a nice guy? Is there anything interesting about his character at all? I mean, there must be, but in the time that he’s been on my TV screen, I’ve learned absolutely nothing new about him that I didn’t get from the end of last season, before he even actually showed up.

Hauling Eugene to the scene in front of the fireplace to watch the doc get punished? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you just did this with Carl. Sure, you just had him burn the guy with the iron, and this time, Freddy Kruger’d the guy, but it’s the same tired shit that we’ve already seen. We get it. Negan is an asshole.

Now, I love Eugene, I really do. But was any of this really necessary? We spent an awful lot of time “learning” shit about him that we already knew. He’s super smart and he’s resourceful. He’s awkward around chicks. He will do and say whatever he thinks is necessary to make sure he’s taken care of because he doesn’t believe he could survive on his own. But there was a huge waste of time in this episode and it was the girls and the science experiment and the pleading to make a suicide pill – oh I’m sorry, it was two pills. And if you were so stupid to believe that they were for that tiny girl when they asked for two pills, then you probably are the reason we’re still having to watch Negan be a complete jerk-off. Predictability kills this show and that entire lead-up and outcome was about as easily telegraphed as could possibly be.

Now let’s talk about Dwight, because this also annoyed the hell out of me. So, he goes off to find his wife, bringing her beer and pretzels to their pre-ordained meeting place. And there’s this heart-felt letter from Sherry, or whatever her name is. It is a heart-breaking letter. And every last word of it is wasted. Know why? This show has not given us a reason to feel anything but hatred toward Dwight. I’m certainly not going to cry for him now, not after everything he’s done. Not even because he framed the doc to save the wife who still might show up somewhere and burn him. And the entire time, I’m thinking, “No one cares.” Because really, do we? The answer here is no.

Here’s the thing. Way back when, we had a heel-turn-good-guy with Merle. Remember that? Well, they had spent a bit of time making us hate him, then started to make us like him just a little, so when he died, it hit hard. Then, they made Daryl have to do in zombie Merle and it was heartbreaking, not just for Daryl, but for Merle as well. Dwight, however, is no Merle. He’s just as big of an asshole as ever and I really don’t think there’s much of anything he could do to redeem himself. Mostly because we’re not going to buy it.

So, I’m feeling like there should be something – a little light, a little hope, a little sparkle of curiosity as to how all of this in Negan’s world is going to play out. But you know what? There’s not. I don’t care. I don’t care about any of it anymore. I’m not shocked when he hurts someone, threatens someone, or even throws a guy into a fire. I still don’t understand the whole “I am Negan” thing, and I’m probably never going to. I honestly have zero interest what happens in the Saviors’ compound, much like I didn’t really give two shits about what happened in Woodbury. It’s already old and I’m sure we’re stuck with Negan for a long time yet.

I miss the days when the episodes centered on our group and you didn’t see the other side. I liked not knowing anything about Terminus until our people were there. I liked the surprises. I liked the suspense. I liked feeling like things were going somewhere. I miss the nervous anticipation each week as I wondered what was going to happen next. All of that’s gone. My wonder from week to week now is are we going to see anything we care about? Is anything going to actually further the story, or is it just going to be more of the same crap? How many more people are we going to cram into our little show that already doesn’t have time to show us what we care about?

Bottom line, I’m bored. And that is something I never thought I’d be with this show.

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Shawn Bourdo

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