Airing Mondays at 9pm in the UK on FOX
Writer: Eddie Guzelian
Director: Michael E Satrazemis
Essential Plot Points:
- The Alexandrians are heading to Hilltop, dodging Negan’s patrols.
- Gabriel and the doc have escaped the Sanctuary but are lost, and Gabe is sick. However, he believes he’s following the will of the lord and leads them into a forest where he finds a hidden building with vital supplies.
- Negan grills Eugene (not literally, Eugene hasn’t been overstepping the bounds with his wives) about recent setbacks. Then promotes him to his own outpost, making bullets.
- The Hilltop is running out of rations and is low on resources but the prisoners want time outside the pen and some shade. Maggie has a tough decision to make.
- Eugene’s talk about medieval weapons gives Negan the idea to use zombie blood to infect his enemies.
It’s another slow day at the office for The Walking Dead, although this episode does at least sow some seeds for the future.
There’s a mom and dad role for Carol and Morgan, as they try and talk Henry down after he killed Gavin. Henry also wants to know who’s responsible for his brother’s death and thinks it’s one of the captured men at the Hilltop. Carol doesn’t want to tell him, scared about what he’ll do, and the seed that’s (eventually) planted here is that Morgan agrees and tells the kid Gavin was responsible. That may come back to haunt both the surrogate parents, when Henry learns the truth, as his trust in them will be shattered.
There are also prisoner issues at the Hilltop, when it becomes clear that supplies aren’t going to be enough for everyone (and the captives fancy a stretch of their legs outside their barbed wire cage). However, resource management isn’t going to pull The Walking Dead out of its ratings slump, no matter how realistic it is in a world waging war with already scarce supplies.
Another seed dropped in the blood-soaked soil concerns Dwight, as the person who saw his betrayal hasn’t resurfaced yet at the Sanctuary. But you know they will. Meanwhile, Tara seems to have forgotten she came from an outside group, and was part of the Governor’s invasion of the prison, as she claims it’s too late for Dwight to swap sides. It’s a dumb, selfish position, especially as he can obviously help, as witnessed by the very fact that the fleeing Alexandrians are saved by Dwight’s double-agent duties.
The bulk of the episode is taken up with father Gabriel and doctor Harlan Carlson making their way to the Hilltop on a mission from God, so Maggie’s baby can be safely delivered. Looking for God in a world that’s been decimated by such a virile disease, with countless billions of innocents butchered by those affected, should be a futile exercise. While it all goes a bit Lost, after cheesy coincidences seem to point to divine help, everything goes back to being apocalyptic when the rule of two (there can’t ever be two doctors in this world for long) kicks in.
And is the show finally running out of set pieces? We haven’t properly seen an extended swamp scene before, so that’s how we’ll get to the Hilltop safely. While the submerged walkers are well crafted, with their mossy, leafy, overgrown faces, the lack of drama feels like the cast wading through them are treading water as much as the series itself is.
- Eugene’s power play. It’s amazing to see how easily corrupted he is, having been given just a little extra power.
- Pulling the rug from under Carlson and Gabriel’s feet just as they think they’re going to escape is a nice touch.
- Plodding plotlines are causing things to drag in a world that badly misses its war story.
Eugene’s rider for running his bullet-making outpost:
“Will there be wine?”
Review by Matt Chapman