Mar 282016
Dwight sneaks up behind Daryl

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I think that everything I have seen on TV in the past two weeks started at a point in time and then backtracked to “how we got here”. In The Walking Dead episode East, the “point in time” showed absolutely nothing—blood dripping on the ground, voices, gunfire—so what was the point? The Walking Dead is necessarily about how “cool” it all is, it serves fans who find the zombie apocalypse cool. But the coolness of the dripping blood was somehow the Anti-Cool for me; it was too cool.

In other words, I enjoy this show, and I acknowledge it does not speak to my better angels that I enjoy something so gory and violent. But an all-too-clever celebration of that gore—the blood on the asphalt—is a turn-off, at least for me. It reduces the show to that one element—LOOK AT THE BLOOD!—and mocks the viewer for acting like there’s more to it.

The world is ours, and we know how to take it.

I am at this point so riddled with anxiety about the 90-minute finale and the introduction of Negan that it’s hard to focus. Did we watch an episode of The Walking Dead? Was it good? Negan is coming aaaaaah! There were visuals in this episode that were nods to readers of The Walking Dead comic book. At all times, this show does a great job of being separate from its comic book origins. Key characters—notably Daryl—don’t exist in the comics, and others have different fates. Carol is dead by this point, and Andrea is still alive. So the show definitely stands on its own, but there are always little winks at readers of the comics, little bits of “Hey, we know you’re out there”. Which is cute. And yes, the symbol on Carl’s gun is one such nod. More I will not say.

Rick’s quote above speaks to an over-confidence that cannot be anything but foreshadowing. He will certainly have his ass handed to him next week. Especially because, as confident as he is, everyone behaved stupidly this week. Running off alone when you know you’re surrounded by an encroaching army? Running after people who run off alone? Stopping for long, meaningful chats without watching your back while you’re running off alone? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE ARE YOU NEW?

What I believe…I’m not right. There is no right. It’s just the wrong that doesn’t pull you down.

It’s fine to discuss the morality while driving; driving is actually a great place to chat, since zombies and Saviors aren’t sneaking up on you. I do think they drive way too fast, though. There’s enemies and there’s walkers and there’s natural roadblocks and no governmental road maintenance, so I really think 25 mph is plenty.

Carol is the one person who doesn’t act like an idiot, and she cries while doing well. She’s been pulled down, to use Morgan’s term, by the killing she’s done, and now we know the weeping while held prisoner by the Saviors wasn’t fake. While Carol isn’t stupid in the sense that she can handle an attack, she’s extraordinarily stupid to head out on her own and imagine this means she’ll have to kill less. She doesn’t want to kill for those she loves makes sense if, when on her own, she’s willing to sacrifice herself. If she’s now Gandhi and would rather die than kill—clearly that’s a choice she shouldn’t make for Rick, or Tobin, or Judith. But if she’s going to kill to defend her own life—a perfectly valid choice under the circumstances—then it’s pretty obvious she’s going to do that a lot more without walls to defend her.

Now I think I’m that much more ready to tear the world a brand new asshole.

Michael Cudlitz must love reading his script every week—Abraham invariably gets the best lines. He’s the Roger Sterling of The Walking Dead. Abraham, with a military background, is comfortable seeing the post-walker world as a military situation: He made his peace with killing long ago. He also articulates a clarity that Carol could, potentially, gain: Love doesn’t make you weaker, it strengthens you.

I think Carol will be back. Unless she gets killed by Negan. Or maybe she comes back and then gets killed. Or maybe Abraham gets killed. Or Daryl.

Oh my GODS THEY SHOT DARYL. The episode ends with blood on the screen and I’m talking about Carol? What’s wrong with me?! Okay, folks, calm yourselves. No way did they kill Daryl like that. He’s the most popular character on the series. If they kill him, he’ll get a great death scene, and he’ll be killed by the main villain—not killed off-screen, and not by a henchman. Dwight’s an idiot who, by his own admission, cannot shoot straight. If anything, Dwight shooting and wounding Daryl saves him. Will Negan kill someone who’s already wounded? Maybe not. I hope not.

In truth, I don’t want any of these characters to die, and I know at least one of them will. Hence my anxiety. I mean, go ahead and kill Father Gabriel. That’ll be fine. Otherwise, I’m anxious. Maggie appears to be miscarrying. What with all that bruising on her lower back, and her experience held prisoner by the Saviors, I’m not surprised. The horror is that it leaves her on the list of potential victims. Roberta said she thought murdering a pregnant woman might be too far even for The Walking Dead, but murdering a no-longer-pregnant, and grieving woman? They might, rabbit, they might.

Have at it, folks, who do you think will be available for a guest shot on Law & Order real soon?


  4 Responses to “The Walking Dead: East–Everyone is Stupid”

  1. I agree with the sentiment in this recap. The writers really do need to be as creative in getting characters captured as they are in finding new ways to kill walkers.

    The opening of Michonne giving Rick an apple Adam and Eve style had all the subtly of a rocket-grenade hitting a throng of Negan’s crew on motorcycles. Not sure what this bodes for the couple beyond getting them kicked out of their current paradise and completely changing the setting for next season. FWIW, I think Michonne is safe for now.

    There’s a lot of great Internet speculation on who will die in the next episode. Some of the best theories are based on how the series has deviated from the comics. I won’t delve into them here.

    I don’t have any dog in the hunt, but my own personal guess (based on nothing) is Glenn. Some say Glenn is safe because of the ridiculous hoops they jumped through early in the season to save his life (the old “hiding under a dumpster for hours” tactic). The writers may have thrown in that as a red herring to make it seem less likely for Glenn to die in the finale.

  2. Michael Cudlitz must love reading his script every week—Abraham invariably gets the best lines. He’s the Roger Sterling of The Walking Dead.

    I love this comparison! You nailed it!

  3. Great review Deb! I ended up binge watching TWD last year and became a fan after S5.

    But S6 has been a disappointment, this episode the worst for, as you put it, the monumental stupid going on. 6A was the never ending day of Rick’s idiot idea (even yokel Dwight figured out to burn walkers). 6B improved, but this episode was awful with the character destruction of Daryl and Carol through the foolishness and selfishness they showed.

    I agree with all the reviewers who say the past few episodes have been plot driven with characters morphing to further the plot, rather than the plot being character driven. That Daryl who in S5 chose Tyreese’s idea of hostage taking rather than warfare, who spared the life of the cop who tried to feed him to walkers, and who tried to adjust to upper class Alexandria for the sake of the group, would now abandon the group in a state of danger to get revenge is ridiculous. And that Carol who was strong, put the group first, and killed to save them, is within a few episodes a simpering wreck who abandoned the group is bizarre.

    Deb, in your review of “Same Boat” you referenced Maiden, Mother, Crone. It really got me thinking. One death that really bothered me was Deanna’s. She was such a strong, smart, capable woman in S5, and the writers turned her into a broken, barely competent women who couldn’t make it without her man in S6. I wished she had lived as she was in S5 and been a formidable opponent to Negan at the strategic and leadership level.

    But as I thought about your review, I wondered if Negan is supposed to represent the worst in masculinity, violence, dominance, law of the jungle. And in the TWD universe, civilization can be represented by women, like Deanna, Maggie, and Michonne in the way she wanted Alexandria to work for the group. If that’s the case, then in the lead up to Negan’s arrival all three aspects of the feminine should be destroyed.

    The crone was destroyed with Deanna. For the maiden I assumed either Tara or Enid would be killed. Tara by the standards of patriarchy would be a maiden since she’s lesbian. And since she’s out on a mission, she could be easily killed by the Saviors. With Enid, she’s a teenager, but I thought her death would be too cruel.

    And then in the next episode Denise is killed, so she may be the maiden. Interestingly, sexuality was prominent in the episode (Maggie/Glen, Rosita/Spencer, Abraham/Sasha), but Denise is portrayed without her partner. Moreover, her relationship which is stressed in with her brother and then a brother like relationship w/Daryl since he reminds her of her twin.

    So the next person up is the mother, which could be Maggie or Carol. Carol I doubt since Sophia is dead. Which leaves Maggie. One commenter on another website noted that since Denise is dead, then Maggie would have to go to Hilltop for medical care. And after watching her double over in pain, Maggie may have to go to Hilltop right away if it isn’t a miscarriage but severe complications. Which is very dangerous since the Saviors know exactly where Alexandria is as per the jerks who stopped Carol and they must be watching all the roads out of Alexandria.

    While killing a pregnant woman is brutal and horrific, Carol killed Chelle who the Saviors knew was pregnant while Carol did not. And since the Saviors did not know the circumstances (saving Maggie), they just saw their pregnant comrade shot in the head next to a room where their other comrades were burned alive, they will assume the worst. So killing pregnant Maggie may be an “even” kill from the point of view of the Saviors.

    Deb, I was wondering if discussing the officially released previews is ok? Because if you look at the preview after the episode and see who all go to get Daryl and crew, plus look at the preview from the aftershow TD and see who Rick leaves in charge of Alexandria, it looks like a major character is not in Alexandria and the only reason she wouldn’t be there is to protect Maggie on the drive to Hilltop.

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