We ended last episode on a speech, and we start this episode on the continuation of that speech. And hey would you believe they intercut this speech with shots of future events?
You must stop.
Here's the thing, it could have been a good surprise; Ezekial makes a rousing speech about how him and his boo are smiling and they won't lose any of their ranks, only to be caught out in the open by the Saviors. And then, ka-pow! It was a trap! The rest of Ezekials gang pops up out of the bushes to mow down the rival group. Let's just ignore the fact that the Kingdom residents were standing right behind the Saviors, which surely would have meant they would catch MANY of those bullets, and focus on the clever subversion of expectations -- that is kneecapped by The Walking Dead's inability to tell a linear story. We already know the outcome before Ezekial finishes his speech. WHAT'S THE POINT??
Holy. Shit. Walking Dead, STOP DOING THIS. It's like you're a freshman film student that insists on using the one trick they know in every project. You keep doing this over and over again, and the charm has long since vanished.
Ugh. So we're back with Rick and... uh... Oh yeah, Morales. Morales talks some shit about how they made the same trip from Atlanta to where they are now, except he calls Rick a monster. To be fair Rick is covered in the blood of man he impaled on a wall as his infant child slept in the next room. To appear tough, Morales calls Rick "peaches."
Eric and Aaron do some Little Hosue on the Prairie emergency care and talk at each others faces. Eric, who has never so much as spoken more than four words, gives Aaron a Rocky Balboa speech about getting back in the fight. These people don't matter.
The captured Saviors are taking the long walk to the Hilltop while Tara (the best character) mean mugs 'em.
Tara and Morgan are the only ones that want to put a bullet into each of the Saviors heads, and by that virtue they are the only sane ones. Jesus says they don't execute, but since when does anyone listen to a guy named Jesus anyway.
Rick finally explains that Negan bashed Glen's head in, but Morales tells him the Saviors picked him up when he was feeling blue and -- oh whoops, Daryl murdered him lmao
Rick: "That was..."
Daryl: "I know who it was. It don't matter. Not one little bit."
Fucking amen, Daryl. So much for last episode's cliffhanger.
Long hair douche is antagonizing Morgan for absolutely no reason, but before Morgan can blow him away a bunch of walkers hilariously tumble down a small hill and ambush the group, eating some faces on the way.
This enables Long Haired Douche's chain-gang to make a break for it. Morgan catches up and pops one. Before he can continue the killing spree, Jesus stops him to continue their boring conversation of morality in the Zombie Apocalypse.
"We're going to have to live with these people after." AFTER WHAT? Even if you kill Negan, these psychopaths aren't going to just shrug and go "well I guess we'll help you farm now."
Morgan does the right thing and says "come at me, bro" and we have Walking Dead: Civil War on our hands.
Rick and Daryl have to find their way out of the sticky situation with the Saviors that Morales (lol) called and shoot a fire estinguisher before they are completely out of bullets. For a second I was worried it would explode, impossibly, but it just gives them some haunted house cover so they can throw the Saviors down an open elevator shaft.
Meanwhile, Morgan almost puts a staff through Jesus' neck before coming out of his Berserker mode. He walks off into the woods to live on berries and wash his ass in a creek.
Gregory rocks up to the Hilltop like he's still King Shit of Fuck Mountain but Maggie is having none of it. Where every other character is a monologuing, cowboy-speech making sourpuss, Gregory is actually entertaining - and watching him get his dick bit off will be very satisfying once it happens. Maggie lets him in because he is "not worth killing," which I couldn't disagree with more.
Jesus and gang arrive with the Saviors, and Maggie has mixed feelings.
Jesus: "We can lock them up with round the clock guards until this all blows over." THEN WHAT, JESUS? Are you fucking serious? "We can't kill them." BULLSHIT. YES YOU CAN.
Oh now we know why Eric was given lines to say - because he dies like 20 minutes later, turns into a Walker, and goes off into the woods to live off small forest creatures and wash his ass in a creek. Alright, nice knowin' ya I guess.
Rick kidnaps a baby and gives it to Aaron.
Rick and Daryl are ambushed, but it's just one lone Savior that quickly gives up in trade for his life. After giving Rick the info of where the missing guns were moved, Daryl no-scopes him.
Ezekial is pleased as punch that they have yet to lose a single member of their party. Sensing the dramatic irony, Carol volunteers to go sweep the compound away from this open field and pretty soon a sniper starts gunning everyone down. Some redshirts form a meat sheild around Ezekial, and the episode ends. To my surprise it didn't fade up from black with some more slow-mo close ups of contemplative characters drenched in sweat.
All in all, a better episode than the previous. There are still plenty of overindulgent character interactions and rehashed conversations about what the "right" thing to do is, and whether they can "come back" from this, and this is the "way things are" now. At times the show can hold its cards so close to its chest you have no idea what is happening or what the motivations are, while other times they need to beat the audience over the head repeatedly with the same tired themes week after week. I don't need some nobody from season one to tell Rick they're "the same" now or some shit, Rick's inner conflict has been center stage for enough time now that you can stop spelling it out every chance you get.
My biggest gripe with the show, besides some exhausting directing and editing choices and ridiculous dialogue, is the fact that the journey to the "end game" is no longer enjoyable. Negan's introduction was The Walking Dead at its absolute best (finale cliffhanger notwithstanding), but by now I just want them to get on with it. We've lost some characters, had some fun action set pieces, but what have we accomplished so far in the last two seasons? They've taken some Saviors prisoner (which only subjects us to tedious "do we kill them or not" bullshit for hours on end), adopted a new baby, and didn't find some guns. I don't need everything to be wrapped up within 40 minutes, but this isn't Game of Thrones - there is no political intrigue, no multiple character plots spanning continents, it's just a bunch of dirty morons growling at each other. It's just one meaningless scene after another, where mostly nameless characters shoot at each other, that does not advance the plot or matter in the grand scheme of things in the slightest.
But no Carl this episode, so A-.