So far, this season of The Walking Dead has been punctuated with sharp action-filled moments. I stress punctuated, because the rest of the season has been long, rambling sentences that just go on forever. Sure, it’s nice to get some more story, and to learn more about the motivations of our characters and the rest of the world that they’re living in, but that isn’t generally why people are watching TWD. No, they’re watching for those sharp, action-filled moments, as long as they follow some sort of internal logic.
It’s that internal logic that’s been taking a hit a little over the episodes since the mid-season premiere. Think back to the last scene we saw before we went on the break. It featured Sam, pre-lunch, calling for his mother in the giant zombie herd. Given that the show made strong points of reminding us that noise draws the deceased, we expected to see the group immediately swarmed. However, in the multi-hour trek across town (seriously, day became night so very quick), nothing happened until a later moment where Sam decided to freak out. With the original meeting of Jesus, he stole the truck full of supplies that Rick and Daryl had discovered. Instead of making him pay for their lost (and much needed) supplies, they end up capturing him and bringing him back to Alexandria, thereby giving them another mouth to feed, and nothing to feed it with. And then we get to this week’s episode, where the day-to-night quick transition was reversed (either that, or Jesus just talked FOREVER), and the entire experience at Hilltop didn’t seem to jive with the actions we’ve seen from Rick’s group. But hey, they made it to Hilltop! They learned a little more about Negan! A threat is looming, right? Let’s just hope that we don’t have to wait until the season finale before actually seeing the story move at anything more than a shambling pace. In the meantime, let’s look at who made our list, as Knots Untie.
Let’s be honest, though. Despite the errors of logic, time placement, and just overall logic lapses, the episode itself worked, overall. We got to see a different side of survival in this post-apocalyptic world, and we’re starting to see how, or even if, Rick and his group can really integrate with others who have been successful in the long run. In many ways, the residents of Hilltop have it better than those in Alexandria ever did, since they haven’t merely been relying on supplies gathered during raids, but have been becoming a relatively sustainable community. In fact, if it wasn’t for the threat of Negan, the Hilltoppers probably wouldn’t even have a use for Rick’s group, and the Alexandrians would be left to their own devices until they figured out how to actually farm, or died trying. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of stupidity to go around, so let’s not waste any more time.
Alright, we get it. The dude is hung up on Sasha. It’s entirely possible that she’s the first woman to ever speak bluntly to him, and she clearly unlocked something in him during their time together on the road. But his obsession with unprotected sex? He made a point of talking to Glenn, at some length, wondering if Glenn and Maggie were actually trying to make a baby, or if it was just an accident. Even if it had been an accident, that is just NOT something you ask someone, especially when that someone is heavily armed, highly skilled, and constantly JUST dodging death. Also, how long has it actually been since the midnight axe-a-thon? Shouldn’t Maggie be showing a little by now?
Denise, also known as the only medical professional that Alexandria has, was kind enough to make up oat cakes for the group going along with Jesus to his colony. Leave it to Daryl to remind us that he’s a man’s man, by which we mean that he’s certainly not going to take any yucky oat cake because it might taste bad. But it’s okay, because Daryl explains that he’ll just make a pit stop while out. Looks like Daryl forgot that there is no such thing as a drive-thru window anymore. Suddenly, the apocalypse, and no 24-hour McDonald’s breakfast, doesn’t seem so bad.
Rick drives the RV straight into a giant mud puddle. Rick is the impetus behind leaving Jesus handcuffed, but only under the watchful gaze of one person. But where does Rick stop using his brain? How about when he’s assembling the crew to make the away trip in the first place. Rick needs a solid crew for this voyage, because he doesn’t know what he’s going to be finding out there in the wide open. However, an indeterminate amount of time after Alexandria was overrun with walkers, Rick assembles his away team from most of the heavy hitters. Daryl? Check. Glenn and Maggie? Check and check. Yes, he left behind Morgan and Carol, but he even tried to bring Carl along. Clearly, that is a good showing of trust in the new walls of Alexandria, but there’s got to be something said for not trying to shove all of your expert-fighter-eggs into one scavenged basket.
2. Hilltop Guardsmen
This could have ended so much worse than it did. As Jesus brings Rick and his group to the walls of Hilltop, complete with more Hilltoppers that were rescued along the way, the guards atop the walls decide that they’re going to try and posture, and be threatening. The problem with that? They’re looking down on a group that, at that moment, outnumbered them and their friends. They don’t know that Jesus pretty much admitted that the Hilltoppers are farmers, not fighters, but they had to know that their odds couldn’t be good when faced with superior numbers (although maybe they were just expecting that they had the benefit of a lot of back-up). However, it isn’t the numbers game that really makes this moment stand out. Let’s just say that there were another hundred Hilltoppers lying in wait. Would it actually have mattered? After all, Rick and his group had guns. Lots of guns. So many guns. What do the Hilltoppers on the wall have? Spears. Yup. Spears.
Gregory isn’t evil. He’s misguided, and kind of a dick, but he isn’t evil. He’s also clearly done something right, because the Hilltop colony is doing fairly well for itself. Sure, you can question his decision to bow down to Negan’s demands, but that’s a decision that many people would make. Even the incidents that caused him to get attacked by Nathan probably weren’t actually his fault (unless we find out later that Gregory was deciding to skim from a lunatic, in which case, back on the list he’ll go). However, Gregory painted himself into a corner, and Maggie took full advantage. She certainly should have, given the way that Gregory thought he’d try and coerce and flirt with her to get his way in their first exchange. It may be the apocalypse, but Gregory should have shut that line of thinking down when she first indicated that she wasn’t down. It shouldn’t have taken her mentioning her husband, and it REALLY shouldn’t have gone beyond. Oh, yeah, and even though he might not have been responsible for WHY Nathan stabbed him, he did still pretty much go straight towards the clearly angry and stressed individual who was armed at the time.
That wraps up this week’s look back. We’re inching towards the first appearance of Negan, and that should certainly carry some impact, if the comics can be trusted as a judge for what’s coming. See you next week!