Previously: Review: 11x06 On The Inside
Directed by Sharat Raju
Written by Julia Ruchman
One of those lovely moving-all-the-storylines-along-nicely episodes, with loads of stuff to mull over! A friend on Twitter told me that some viewers are getting frustrated with the pace of the Maggie-Negan thing, but I think it's a necessarily slow development; the resolution will mean much more if the suspense/path has been gradual. As for the Reapers, as soon as we saw their faces they became less frightening, but that's the nature of the beast—the unknown is always more terrifying. It will all pan out beautifully and the story arc will work its own magic, I am sure, because the writers and story editors of TWD are just the best. Ditto the Carol and Daryl thing that so many are waiting for - a journey, not a destination!
Promises Broken ... some in the Commonwealth, Daryl's to Leah, Leah's to Pope, but I believe the most important was that made by Gabriel to Maggie, i.e., that if he saw any Reapers on his scouting mission he would kill them. That he was unable to kill a fellow man of the cloth will, I think, have dire repercussions somewhere down the line. Something about the way in which Mancea asked God to guide him, then said 'Thank you' as he looked in Gabriel's direction. Did he see him?
I totally love Negan at the moment... great little scene here: 'This is not fun' 'Not with that attitude'. Then the Whisperer Masterclass. Every skill comes in useful in the apocalypse, and none more so, at times, than learning how to utilise a herd of Walkers as an effective weapon!
More than ever before, we were shown his side of the age-old rift with this question: 'How did Aaron get Gracie?'.
Remember Rick killing a man presumed to be Gracie's father in 8x02 The Damned? Also, as Negan pointed out, the Saviors massacred in their sleep in 6x12 Not Tomorrow Yet had friends, girlfriends, just the same as Glenn, Abraham and everyone else. Negan wished he'd killed them all so that no more of his people would die. Same as anyone, about their community. One thing he's not doing that he should, though—he needs to show Maggie that he understand how she feels. How he knows what it's like to lose the person you love. Show just a bit of compassion for the fact that Hershel Jnr will never know his father.
So to the Commonwealth, and it doesn't look like our four are getting help for Alexandria any time soon. There is so much afoot that we're not seeing yet—no clues about about what's really going on with the clearly very scared Tomi who insisted that 'you have to know your place' before being hauled off by the white space suit chaps - for what? The 2 x Stephanie situation is equally as baffling—though Real Stephanie is obviously concerned that Eugene is okay.
I wasn't convinced by Pamela Milton's son Sebastian—I thought his reaction to Eugene and Fake Stephanie made him more like a pantomime character than we usually see on TWD. Comedy zombie apocalypse. Twelve or so years in, surely he would have noticed Walkers so close to him (hearing them? Smelling them?), and been grateful for being saved, and his girlfriend looked like she'd never seen one before, though granted if they've been hidden away somewhere like the place in World Beyond, or wherever Rick is, she might have been sheltered from them. Sebastian is potentially a great character, but I think he needs making a bit more ... realistic.
As for Eugene in the cell, I don't believe for one minute that he's about to give up Alexandria. He's way too sharp for that these days; he'll have something up his sleeve. The cowardly cleverness that persuaded Abraham to act as his protector has evolved, in a good way; now, as was evident in the Season 8 finale, he is capable of working out detailed strategy—patiently, quietly and effectively.
It's possible that Ezekiel's got something going on, too—the delight with which he returned from seeing the doctor seemed somehow faked, for the sake of the guards. Btw, I like the friendship between him and Princess very much. They seem to gel really well. :)
Back at Meridian, Daryl is making friends and Leah is pissing off Pope by backing up the inept soldiers, who clearly don't have Daryl's tracking skills. Pope accused her of doing so to make them like her, but I thought it was solely for Daryl's benefit.
Though she kind of blew it all later, when she and Daryl were on the hunt and they talked about the Reapers' taking of Meridian; she appeared to think it okay to kill people and steal their home and food. If Daryl had known she was like that before, I doubt he would have been with her at all, attraction or no attraction.
In this world, what you will or won't do to keep your people safe and fed is what separates the good guys from the bad guys.
Later, when she found the family and let the father and son go, then was unable to put the mother out of her misery, I thought that was more because of her memory of the boy she adopted, rather than genuine compassion for the people concerned.
So the grave wasn't for Alden as I feared last week (phew), and Elijah wants to be the one to kill Pope, no doubt even more so after we saw what was clearly his sister, now a Walker. Dodgy moment there, followed by a lovely one as Maggie took his hand. Elijah seems far too switched on to have blown it by letting his emotion ruin the plan, though.
Episode sevens usually do a grand job of setting the scene for the part-season finale, and this was no exception. The final scene promised great things to come for next week - a bit of déjà vu from 10x15 The Tower, too!