This Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 12
“Not Tomorrow Yet” packs another punch of the action movie variety that’s hard to take your eyes off of…for the most part. I’d give this episode even more credit if it weren’t also delivering on last week’s “Abraham has feelings” debacle that made for a very tough hour of television. His storyline doesn’t fare much better this week, especially when Michael Cudlitz is forced to deliver lines about dingleberries. The fact that Rosita can even cry after that…You’d think she’d realize she was better off. Christian Serratos does her best to give us a soap opera moment instead of bursting out in laughter, but I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to do that scene. It’s JUST SO PAINFUL to watch.
Of course, Abraham’s realization that he has something to live for and someone to live it with doesn’t fare well for the character. I’d say the writers are setting this guy up for death, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon. A character who’s had nothing to do since early season 5 is being kept alive through the life support of a devastatingly bad romantic subplot. Who on this goddamn planet thought it was a good idea to focus in on Abraham this way? Last season’s Abraham origin story episode, “Self Help,” was easily one of the hardest things to watch on television that Sunday night. I know showrunner Scott Gimple is following Robert Kirkman’s comics pretty closely for this Abraham storyline, but could he not?
I really enjoyed the rest of the episode, though. There’s stuff going on with Carol that we got a whiff of in “JSS,” but hadn’t really seen since. There’s bits and pieces here and there, but it’s when Carol is writing down the number of people she’s killed in that notepad at her bedside that it really hits home. Carol is going through a bit of killer’s remorse, it seems. I like that she doesn’t sit on the steps with Tobin (who’s her love interest now out of nowhere?) telling him all about how she used to be and how this cruel world has changed her, though. True to the character, Carol doesn’t just offer up her feelings. Instead, she lets Tobin make the observation that she’s everyone’s mother (except his, because the kiss would be really weird then). Carol replies that she used to be a mother, which is just such a sad, minimalist, beautiful line.
We see a tenderness in Carol in this episode that we just haven’t seen since her days before the Prison. She was once scared, but gentle. Then she became brave and hardened. Carol is trying to find a middle-ground now, but struggling to see a way back to it. I love watching her at her closet, trying to decide whether to wear her old battle rags or keep the flower blouse and cardigan look going. I really like that she decides on the latter but is forced to slip back into her “battle armor” anyway. Rick’s line as he arrives back at the Safe-Zone, “We’re gonna have to fight,” is so devastating and you can see it on Carol’s face. Melissa McBride is the best thing that’s ever happened to The Walking Dead.
Morgan’s future on the show is a bit uncertain. He’s a bit beyond his storyline in the comics, so there isn’t much to pick apart from that, and the writers haven’t really spent much time with him since the midseason return. I think Morgan plays a role that’s true to character this week, as the pacifist who pretty much no one else agrees with, and there’s even a clash with Rick, which is something this show loves to tease for some reason. But besides begging everyone to stop murdering everything, I don’t see anything for Morgan to really do. Except for welding, I guess. I do like the symbolism at the end of the episode, as the camera switches between shots of Morgan building something and Rick’s A-Team celebrating the fact that they killed a bunch of dudes in cold blood while they slept, all accompanied by that Hozier song. (You know the one). Everyone’s got their own way of rebuilding on this show.
Oh man, and there’s Father Gabriel, who I suddenly love. Ask me last season and I would’ve pretty much brought the pitchfork myself when it came to whether Gabriel should get killed off or not. Because he was the worst. But since the midseason premiere, the guy’s been real solid, finding the power within himself to fight. I loved how he recited a Bible verse before shooting that Savior dead. Did anyone else think of Jules from Pulp Fiction? Here’s to hoping that next week he asks a Savior if he/she thinks Rick Grimes is a bitch.
Okay, let’s talk about that action setpiece that takes up a large chunk of the episode. I really loved watching the A-Team sneaking through narrow hallways, rifles at the ready, like the deadliest postapocalyptic SWAT team to ever appear on screen. They’re definitely way more competent than the terrible police force in the beginning of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead at least. You see the evolution of the group in these scenes, moments of tactical precision I’m not sure I’ve seen from them before. Most of their fights have been messy, haven’t they? I’d like to go back to season 3 to see how they cleared out the Prison and infiltrated Woodbury again. I can’t imagine it was as efficient as this. Sure, Rick’s plan had a few kinks, like making sure the base was actually empty before celebrating to Hozier and taking a head count of his own people, but the squad looked real good otherwise.
These scenes are even frightening or, at the very least, spine-tingling. I found it a bit hard to watch Glenn stab his sleeping enemy in the head. The look on Steven Yeun’s face is heartbreaking. The show quickly switches back to action, though, with that delightful scene where Glenn and Heath dive for the armory and shoot the bad guys through the door. Was this filmed in the 80s?
Something also has to be said about the base’s design. Those satellite dishes provide for really surreal scenery. I’d almost forgotten that OF COURSE there are still old things like satellites in the postapocalypse. It’s just weird to actually see them. The blinking lights of the bunker are also a bit eerie. While the inside of the base is a just a bit underwhelming, the lack of space allows for all the fast-paced action. It’s been so long since I saw someone like Rosita running through hallways with a rifle, mowing down enemies.
The cliffhanger ending is really solid, too, if a bit predictable. We never see Maggie and Carol again after a certain point during the assault, which usually means something’s happened to them off-screen. But when that voice came through the radio and revealed that the Saviors had prisoners, I still gasped a little. What a way to end an excellent episode, with the promise of a lot more tension next week. Hopefully less dingleberries, though.
– Eugene trying to make things less awkward by describing his cookie to a sobbing Rosita is EVEN MORE AWKWARD. And equally hilarious. I love this character so much.
– What the hell is up with Abraham’s bandana? Are his sweat glands so much mightier than Rick’s? Than Daryl’s? Please stop being such a cartoon character, dude.
– I like that Carol suddenly has a potential love interest, but that probably won’t end up well for Tobin. Everyone around her seems to die all of the time.
– Carol leaving that cookie for Sam was really nice. I wonder if she subconsciously knows that she’s the one that kinda got the kid killed?
– Ninja Jesus is now the best Jesus.
– LOL at Rick punching that bodiless head in the face in order to make it look like Gregory. What a time to be alive/dead!
– WHY DID GLENN THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR MAGGIE TO GO ON THE MISSION? Yes, Maggie insisted and all that, but…couldn’t Glenn have been at least a little more persuasive? Maybe even reply or something? Not a good start to the whole “keeping your family safe” thing, dude.
– I feel like we still won’t see Negan next week. There’s still too much time left, and I feel like this show can’t help itself but to end on a HUGE cliffhanger. You’ll see.
– Abraham and/or Carol are this season’s goners. For real this time.
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