The Walking Dead S07E05 “Go-Getters” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on FOX, Mondays at 9pm
Writer: Channing Powell
Director: Darnell Martin
Essential Plot Points:
- We wake up with Maggie. She still looks like hell but she’s alive and at Hilltop with the Doctor. He explains that she suffered from a separation of the placenta from the uterus and while that’s unusual, both she and the baby are doing fine. Maggie, still weak, still in pain, politely asks him to repeat himself to make sure.
- Outside, Sasha is on guard. Maggie gets up, meets her and asks to be taken to the graves. She pays her respects and Sasha hands her the pocket watch Glenn was carrying. Maggie kisses the watch and leaves it on her husband’s grave. Sasha talks about how she feels like everything is wrong and Maggie replies, “Not everything.”
- Maggie agrees to stay and rest up and Sasha vows to stay with her.
- Jesus arrives and we’re instantly reminded of how completely adorable he is and how NICE he is, leaving flowers on the graves and by Maggie’s bedside.
- Then Gregory shows up and is just a thunderous asshole criticising them for burying the bodies and literally yelling at Maggie over the body of her dead husband. He’s panicky, arrogant and argues they leave now for plausible deniability. He, reluctantly, agrees to let them stay the night and when Jesus argues, threatens to throw him out.
- At Alexandria, Carl is railing against the new regime as Rick heads out with Aaron on a scavenging run. He leaves a walkie talkie with Michonne who, while not cool with this in the slightest, is at least on the same page as Rick.
- Carl asks why she didn’t go and she replies she has some stuff to figure out; like how to make this new regime work. Michonne begins packing for a trip of her own, and as Carl rails against being left alone.
- Carl sees Enid by the wall and goes to her. She’s getting ready to climb the wall to walk to Hilltop to see Maggie.
- She says something terrible about Carl’s eye and he says he isn’t going to save her anymore. She climbs over the wall and he leaves her to it.
- At Hilltop, Sasha is prepping a couch to sleep on. Jesus tells her he’s glad she’s here and she kicks off about how Hilltop is run. Jesus claims he isn’t a leader, and Sasha offers to scavenge for Maggie, to pay her way. Jesus says he doesn’t want that and Sasha channels her inner Abe and asks what he DOES want.
- He finds a keepsake of Abraham’s and gives it to Sasha. Maggie arrives and asks Jesus why they burn their dead. He explains the idea was to keep going and when she asks what they have to remember the dead by he replies, “Us,” and leaves the two women alone for the night.
- Sasha suggests they just stay and Gregory won’t do a damn thing. Maggie replies he’s a coward and that makes him dangerous. They decide to think on it over the course of the night.
- On the road, Enid is biking to Hilltop. She’s cornered by a Walker who is then run over by a car and, somehow, not killed.
- The car is, of course, being driven by Carl who rear ends the Walker into a concrete post.
- Maggie and Sasha are woken up by music. The gates are open, there are fires lit and every single entrance to the trailer they’re in is locked. Sasha gets out of the skylight and looks in horror as a herd of Walkers comes in through the gate.
- The others wake up and Maggie, on top of the trailer proceeds to kick ass. She directs Jesus to help Sasha and others to close the gates.
- Jesus then proceeds to kung fu the LIVING HELL out of a couple of Walkers.
- Sasha gets to the car to find it locked down. Jesus backs her up and they watch as the huge four wheel tractor the Hilltop have is backed up to the car.
- Jesus and Sasha demolish the horde with a distinctly Abe-esque combination of martial precision and full-bore asskickery.
- Over at the far, far less interesting plot, Enid and Carl are walking to Hilltop. They discuss Negan, and what happened. We find out Carl watched the whole thing so he could remember it and use it to kill Negan. Enid reveals that she’s incredibly worried about Maggie and the conversation circles around the importance of caring for your loved ones.
- Gregory still wants to throw them out and actually offers them jam as a thank you for saving the entire colony.
- Gregory MAYBE hits on Sasha, so Maggie is all set to kick his ass until the Saviours arrive. Gregory hides them and a good 50 Saviours pull up.
- Meanwhile back at Frodo and Sam walking to Mordor, Carl finds a backpack full of stuff by the side of the road including, improbably, two pairs of rollerskates. They skate down the road, making way better time and hold hands.
- At Hilltop, Gregory lets the Saviours in and does his best to bluff. It doesn’t really take. Simon, Negan’s right hand man admits they opened the gates and triggered the attack the previous night. They were going to “rescue” Hilltop but they did that themselves and he commends them for it.
- He also manipulates Gregory into potentially admitting that Sasha and Maggie are there. The pair leave their conversation and Jesus watches horror struck as Gregory opens the closet they were in to reveal…
- Lots of it.
- Gregory, who is just a big pile of, “OH COME ON – NOT MY SCOTCH!” – isn’t happy. When he’s forced to kneel in front of Simon it gets even worse.
- Meanwhile, on the road to Mordor, Carl and Enid arrive to see the Saviours loading out. Enid realises Carl wasn’t coming to get her, he was driving to kill Negan. She also realises Carl has a death wish and no escape plan in place even if he succeeds in murdering Negan. They kiss and she begs him to go with her but he refuses.
- In Hilltop, Gregory confronts Jesus because he didn’t hide them in the hallway closet. Jesus retorts that he said, “closet” and proceeds to demolish Gregory effortlessly in a way that mirrors his martial abilities. Gregory, faced with losing power if the deal goes public, acquiesces. He turns to Maggie, says, “See, dear, the Saviours can be quite reasonable,” and Maggie punches him. She takes her watch from Gregory and tells him that from now on she lives here and that he’s going to call her by her name. Maggie. Maggie Rhee.
- Maggie, Sasha and Jesus watch the Saviours load up from cover. Sasha tells Jesus that if he wants to make it to them he should find where Negan lives. Jesus tells her he can, and Sasha asks him to keep it between them.
- Jesus isn’t happy but he agrees.
- At the graves, Maggie finds Enid with three of her green balloons tied to Glenn’s grave. Enid asks if she’s okay and she replies, “I’m not… but I will be.”
- They have dinner and Maggie reveals that wasn’t the first car she crushed. Sasha arrives and Maggie gives Enid her dad’s watch. She says they don’t need anything to remember the dead by, they have each other. The three women join hands around the table and Maggie leads them in prayer.
- We see the Saviours load up and roll out.
- We see Hilltop re-bar their gates.
- We see Sasha methodically sharpening a combat knife, Abe’s last cigar in her mouth.
- We see Jesus ninja his way into the last truck. We see Carl say, “Hey!” We see Jesus smile, clearly admiring the kid’s guts.
- Great minds think alike…
This is a massive improvement from last week for several reasons. The biggest is the sheer quality of the cast front and centre this week, the only problem being it reminds you how little we’ve been seeing of some of them. How the Hell has Jesus been on the show for almost two seasons and this is only the second time he’s had a substantial role? Tom Payne is fantastic as the gentle, sweetly unconfident ass-kicker and it’s a delight to see him take a step forward this week. Likewise, Xander Berkeley, undisputed Hollywood Champion of Cowardly Men, is on top form this week. You actually believe he might not be selling Maggie and Sasha out until he… doesn’t… kind of.
But the episode belongs to Lauren Cohan and Sonequa Martin-Green. Green does the quieter, arguably harder work here. She’s subtly shifted her posture and actions to something more Abe-like, Sasha grieving her almost boyfriend by becoming him. It’s a subtle, sweet, poignant gesture that almost gets lost but it gives Sasha real emotional depth and poignancy. It also, judging by what she’s doing at the end of the episode, adds her to the queue of Heroic Death Volunteers, just behind Rosita, Carl and Jesus…
Cohan is the best castmember on this show. We think that’s pretty clear at this point. Maggie’s evolution as a leader parallels Rick’s but has none of the increasingly tedious, “Man of peace/MAN OF WAR!” stuff he seems to be trapped in once again. Cohan plays Maggie as seething, furious and brittle all at once and it really pays off. The moment when she tells Gregory her name hits like a punch in the gut and her tractor fun is just straight up badassery.
But the episode really shines in its humanity. The oddly avuncular but savage conversation between Simon (Steven Ogg also on great form) and Gregory is a highlight but other moments shine brighter. The Jesus/Sasha, “Sorry!” joke in the middle of the fight is a wonderful piece of untidy, plausible humanity and the family meal that closes the episode is another. Sanctuary is a prison, the Kingdom is a friendly illusion, Alexandria is broken but Hilltop, as we see it here, is an actual community. At least once Gregory is got rid of which can only be a matter of time…
The episode isn’t perfect by any means though. The Carl and Enid plot pays off very well but slows the episode to a crawl. Similarly Enid’s plan and Carl’s refusal to tell anyone about it is utterly ridiculous and should get them both killed. Worse still is the ludicrous ninja-like qualities the Saviours need to have to make their attack on Hilltop work.
But none of these are dealbreakers and all of them are papered over by five top-notch central performances. We’re still building a head of steam this year but, based on this episode, any time we spend at Hilltop is going to be well spent.
- “I read somewhere that blue flowers inspire strength and calming.”
“Release.” Oh Jesus, this show has never needed you more than it does right now.
- “Maggie is pregnant.”
“Well, that’s her mistake.” Oh you are going to die a lot, asshole
- “So you’re going to be in charge now?”
“No, it’s just that you won’t be.” That is the line we’ve been waiting for. Things at Hilltop are about to get much more interesting…
- “It was a Camaro. And then it wasn’t.” Farmer’s kids will end you if you give them cause.
- “I’m gonna say it’s from me. Not mention you, okay. I really want the headline on this one.” The Saviours’ schtick is getting old, but this was great.
- Kung Fu Jesus! More of this please!
- Maggie just being an incredible badass. The tractor moment was a season highlight.
- Sonequa Martin-Green and Lauren Cohan are amazing, as ever. Martin-Green in particular is doing great, stoic work as a woman processing something awful the best way she can. And Cohan is surely the show’s MVP at this point, raising every scene she’s in.
- Tom Payne and Xander Berkeley also impress. Berkeley always does and no one does self righteous but somehow weirdly sympathetic asshole quite like him. Payne though is on great form in what’s basically only his second turn in the spotlight in two seasons. We see Jesus as a fiercely capable, gentle and unconfident man who doesn’t want the burden of command. We also, brilliantly, see him apply how he fights to how he thinks. He doesn’t beat Gregory, he just manipulates him into a position where it makes more sense for Gregory to quit. That’s smart fighting, smart thinking and a significant moment for a character who will hopefully be around a while.
- The attack is fantastically staged. After the increasingly lacklustre Walker moments of the last couple of episodes it’s nice to be reminded how scary hey can be.
- Why are Glenn and Abe’s bodies at Hilltop? Why do they have graves at Alexandria? How did the bodies get there?
- The Carl and Enid stuff is actively pretty dull until the ending. But, as we see in “And The Random”, there may be a reason for that…
- This is our first full go-round of where everyone is this season (aside from Tara and Heath – DON’T COME BACK, GUYS!). We’ve seen Rick and co at Alexandria, Carol and Morgan at the Kingdom, Daryl in Sanctuary, Sasha and Maggie at Hilltop and that’s fine. But it also shows that we need the pace to pick up and soon. Again, the Saviours have come in, taken half of everything and left. It’s not an overlong episode like “Service” but they’re becoming as dangerously one-note as Negan was looking last week. Time to switch things up.
- On a related note, how is the Saviour’s economic model POSSIBLY VIABLE? When they were first introduced, and certainly in “The Well”, they seemed to be basically trading. The Kingdom is put to work by them and they take their produce but leave them enough to survive.
- The last two times we’ve seen the Saviours, they’ve taken half of everything. And work on a weekly or less rota.
How in the blue hell are they not just butchering communities every two weeks?
- While we’re on that subject, the Saviours can clearly get inside Hilltop. They also clearly observed the attack given Simon knows that Hilltop saw the Walkers off itself. How the hell did they not notice Maggie and Sasha? Especially given Simon has been within a foot of both of them less than two weeks ago?
- STOP WITH THE “OR IS IT?!” MOMENTS! Last week we had the, “Olivia’s been beaten to death… except NO! Ha!” moment. This week we get the Closet Fakeout. Stop doing this. Stop it.
And The Random:
- We get the awful feeling the endgame is approaching for Carl. Chandler Riggs has completed his seven season obligation to the show and a Facebook post put up by his dad, and deleted soon after, implies that he may be done rather than re-signing.
- Along similar lines, surely Reedus and Lincoln’s contracts are up pretty soon? May be time to back those trucks of money up to their houses…
- All-female directing and screenwriting team this week! In an industry that often seems to think there are five women working behind the camera for the whole place that makes a really nice change.
- Darnell Martin has directed episodes of Gray’s Anatomy and Law & Order as well as the movies Firelight and I Like It Like That.
- Channing Powell is something of a The Walking Dead lifer. She’s been on the production staff since 2013 and has written eight episodes, including last season’s four-star “East”.
Review by Alasdair Stuart