Okay, yes, this week’s The Walking Dead was filler. Not much really happened, but there were some great character moments, and it was overall a nice setup for the last few episodes of the season.
The episode started with a 5 minute montage of training, eating, and basically just walking around at Hilltop. I saw someone say (jokingly, obvs) it was because AMC blew their whole budget on a CGI tiger, but to me the opening worked. It’s actually pretty ballsy to spend the first 5 minutes of an action show with no dialogue, set to classical music. Coming off of last week’s emotional roller coaster, it was a good way to set the episode’s tone.
Okay, so, important thing we learned this week: JESUS IS GAY!
Yes, friends, just like his comics-counterpart, our dear white Jesus is gay. The reveal was incredibly subtle and it would be nice to see Jesus have a boyfriend or at least make eyes at a dude…but I guess for now we’ll take what we can get?
Last week you might remember Rosita approaching Sasha to ask about assassinating Negan. We picked up there, and when Sasha told Enid her plan, she insisted on telling Maggie. Unfortunately she didn’t get that far, because as she left the trailer the Saviors showed up. Sasha and Rosita left through a secret tunnel Sasha has apparently been digging in the last, like, week. Fast digging, Sasha! Daryl and Maggie hide in a cellar, and Enid vows to distract the Saviors from finding them.
Simon, the smarmy Savior dude who always deals with Gregory, the smarmy leader of Hilltop, does his “Negan light” impersonation and eventually gets around to demanding Gregory hand over Hilltop’s doctor. Apparently the doctor Negan burned alive the other week was his brother, so that’s shitty for them.
Sasha and Rosita fight, and then bond, and as much as I loved seeing them come together, I’m still annoyed by the whole Sasha/Abraham thing. I never BOUGHT that relationship, and nothing they do now is going to change my mind. I mean Rosita’s crying over him (which is fine; they had A Thing), but then Sasha was too, especially when Rosita asked if she was happy.
Their plan is to camp out in one of the tall buildings across from the compound and shoot Negan sniper style. Unfortunately (just as they turn the walkie on, wow!) Eugene orders everyone out to round up walkers for their walker fence, so Rosita and Sasha know someone will be searching their building…though why there would still be lingering walkers on the second floor of the building directly across from Savior-land is anyone’s guess.
They realize they have to infiltrate the compound and kill Negan face-to-face, which is basically a death sentence. They approach the gate just as Eugene emerges with one of the guards, and Rosita kills the guard. Eugene refuses to escape, and instead runs back inside to hide. Because he’s a little snake. Though his hair is looking remarkably well-nourished after only a few days in Savior-land.
Sasha tells Rosita to keep watching (behind them…?) for more guards while she cuts the fence. Instead she jumps through and seals it behind her. Basically she considers Rosita too valuable for the group to die trying to kill Negan, and she sends her away. Soooo I guess they’re gonna kill Sasha? Fantastic.
Back in Hilltop, Maggie and Daryl have a fantastic scene down in the cellar where he apologizes for Glenn’s death and says it was his fault (which uh sorry Daryl stans, it basically WAS!) but of course Maggie insists it wasn’t. They hug it out and the whole thing almost made me cry.
When they emerge from the cellar they discover that Sasha and Rosita are gone, and apparently they go after them, or at least Daryl does, because the episode ends with Rosita running away from the Savior stronghold and catching sight of Daryl silhouetted nearby.
This episode was filler, but it was good filler. Mashed potatoes to accompany what will hopefully be next week’s pot roast. I enjoyed the episode, especially the quieter moments, and it did get some characters where they need to be to set up the last two episodes.
Now, having said that, here’s my problem: for all that a large chunk of the episode had Rosita and Sasha together, barely any of it passed the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test certainly isn’t the be-all, end-all of feminism, nor is it intended to be, but how do you mange to put 2 women together for something like 15 minutes and they manage to ONLY talk about the last like 6 guys left on the planet??
Rosita tells Sasha how she learned all of her tricks from various ex-boyfriends, then outgrew them and moved on. She also talks about Abraham, and their final make up moment is framed through Abraham: Rosita realizes she doesn’t hate Sasha, she just hates that Abraham “got his shit together” before Rosita did.
Um, okay? I hate hate hate that these two amazing women are reduced to this one dude who, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t matter that much. He was funny. Michael Cudlitz is an enjoyable actor. But…that’s it? What did Abraham, the character, actually add to the group? He brought them Rosita and Eugene, sure. Eugene is apparently a yellow-bellied traitor, and Rosita is the Most Capable but vastly underutilized…so what the hell makes Abraham so damn special that we can’t let him go? Why am I constantly being reminded how much Sasha ~looooved him, even though literally nothing ever happened between them?
The whole thing is so forced and I can’t wait until they LET IT GO. Why are they trying to give Abraham’s death the same weight as Glenn’s? It doesn’t compare in the least. Glenn left a pregnant wife, and people who had known and loved him since day 1. Abraham left Rosita (who he treated like shit) and, apparently, Sasha. We had at least 2 shots of Sasha mournfully tending Abraham’s grave, and then literally the only thing that came between her and Rosita—and brought them back together—was ABRAHAM.
Please go away, Abraham. Leave me in peace. I’m entirely sick of the show framing women’s narratives through male characters, and any time they wanna stop that I’ll be happy.
In other news, the scene between Maggie and Daryl was wonderful. I loved the chiaroscuro lighting, and how Daryl wouldn’t look her in the eye until she insisted. While I do believe Daryl should shoulder some of the blame for Glenn’s death, at this point there isn’t any reason for Maggie to do anything other than absolve him. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing, and it’s not like more guilt will help him any at all. They shared a very nice hug and some tears. Maybe it wasn’t an “action packed” moment, but it was important for character development and closure, and it’s the sort of thing Walking Dead usually skips.
Obviously I’m not happy about where the show seems to be going with Sasha. Sonequa Martin-Green was cast in the new Star Trek series, but it’s been indefinitely delayed. Clearly there’s no reason to let her go over that, and considering how they’ve been working around Chandler Riggs’ school schedule this season (Carl who??), you’d think they could figure it out.
Next week is, of course, the next-to-last episode of the season, so I’m expecting to be bored. Maybe I’ll get a nice surprise and there’ll be less bullshit than usual. One can hope!
Episode Grade: B. Points lost for all the damn Abraham.