This Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 6
Rick’s plan sucks. Why on this zombie-infested Earth would he think it was a good idea to show up at the Heapsters’ junkyard alone? Please don’t bother making the “he has something up his sleeve, obviously” argument to me. The fact that the show could possibly suggest that this is the most credible course of action after cornering the Saviors SIX episodes ago is absolutely insulting to its viewers. No, you can’t even make the argument that Rick now needs the Heapsters to deal the killing blow since the Kingdom’s army is no more. THIS WAS ALWAYS THE PLAN.
Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom’s leaders sat in a room and decided, “Okay, first we’re going to basically beat the Saviors by unleashing a zombie horde on their main base. Then we’re going to eliminate all of their smaller outposts. THEN we’re going to take/destroy all of their heavy weapony. Last but certainly not least, we’re going to send Rick into enemy territory alone to get captured so that we can rescue him in the midseason finale.”
Forget the fact that the plan is asinine. The ridiculously slow pace of the first half of season eight is made even more painful by the fact that it’s led to the most ludicrously convenient setpieces a writers’ room has ever put on the page. Rick gets himself caught so that we can watch him escape in the midseason finale in a blaze of glory – or perhaps Alexandria’s army will show up to get their leader back, which will lead to a big, EXPLOSIVE battle at the junkyard. And this will all happen FOR NO REASON.
Rick, my dude, you had this war won in the first episode of the season eight. How you got locked in that storage container I never want to know.
Meanwhile, two of the most lone wolf characters on the show, Daryl and Rosita, along with gritty Tara and a healing Michonne, decide that it’s time to just attack the Sanctuary on their own and end the war once and for all. Which great, good for you guys, congrats on showing initiative – except that this is the EXACT same plot point from the second half of season seven. Remember when Rosita and Sasha went on an ill-advised mission to take out Negan? This mission will also fail, perhaps alongside a big death or whatever (out of these four, only Tara could possibly die).
It was nice to see Michonne again tonight. Michonne’s been absent for most of the season due to the injuries she suffered in the season seven finale (in real life, Danai Gurira was shooting Black Panther!!!), but we got to see her in a fight again finally. Mind you, it’s not one of the most interesting shootouts of the season – in fact, it’s one of the more boring ones – but I always love when badass women team up on this show. Gurira and Christian Serratos don’t have quite the same chemistry that Serratos and Sonequa Martin-Green did last season, but they work well together nonetheless. Although their fight with the Saviors doesn’t save this incredibly stale episode, it is a high point. Also, Rosita blows that dude up with a rocket launcher!
If you were wondering if Siddiq from the comics would show up on the show, you have your answer. I found his re-introduction this week after popping up briefly in the first episode of season eight to be intriguing. An aspect of Fear the Walking Dead that I’ve really enjoyed is the way spirituality and religion intersect with the undead. We’ve not seen that in the main series until now. Siddiq believes that he needs to put down the walkers so that the dead can move on, and in this way he honors his deceased mother. Hopefully, we’ll get to hear more about Siddiq in the next few episodes as he begins his new life in Alexandria.
That said, the show is up to its incredibly old tricks this week by putting Carl in harm’s way despite the fact that we all know he’s not going to die. At one point, Carl has two walkers on him, one of which is primed to bite the hell out of his arm, yet the boy remains unscatched, protected by his state-of-the-art plot armor. The “will he, won’t he die” setpiece is a frustrating bad habit that I don’t think this show will ever shake. Please find a different way, ANY WAY, to tantalize us.
Last and certainly least is what’s going on at the Hilltop. The twenty-minute moral debate on whether or not to kill the Savior soldiers is filler at best. We’ve been listening to Jesus say the same exact lines since episode two and we’ll probably continue to hear them until the midseason finale when that annoying long-haired Savior undoubtedly breaks out and kills someone.
This show is long past the days of morality. Most of these characters have done some really shitty things in the course of eight seasons. Perhaps Maggie has never reached Rick levels of killing machine, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t partaken in some fucked up things (e.g. the slaughter of the Terminans, the massacre in the Savior outpost, etc.). It’s hardly captivating that Maggie is thinking about executing the Savior troops. It’s the smart decision for the war effort, even if there could be repercussions after the fight is over. The fact that it’s taken her this long to become this cold is another story.
It feels redundant to have a moral center on this show at this point, and Jesus is a poor replacement for Dale and Hershel as it is. I’m not having fun waiting to see if the Saviors rebel within the Hilltop’s walls or not. It’s very obvious that the show is just filling time with this storyline when it could be showing us what’s going on at the Sanctuary – the only location where actual things are happening for a change.
After two better weeks, including the first great Negan episode, The Walking Dead totally drops the ball once again with an hour that’s devoid of logic, redundant, slow, and mostly a drag to sit through. Did I mention that Rick’s plan is stupid?