Oh boy. The last time we talked, the calendar still read 2016. Who could’ve guessed that, by the time our favorite survivalists returned to the screen, we’d be looking at something more akin to the 1950’s? But hey, when you get to kick off Valentine’s week with the dulcet tones of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Khary Payton, it can’t be all bad. Seriously, can we just get the two of them reading the want ads at each other every week? It might actually be more logical than some of the other things we end up seeing in the show.
As for this week’s episode itself, after the mini-bloodbath of the mid-season finale, we were certain to be in for one heck of a ride when the second half kicked off. Except that the only ride we actually got was a pretty nonsensical one, even if it did lead to a pretty cool visual. It was all just one big Rock in the Road, and there are plenty of spots open on this week’s list to get filled in. Is one of them actually gold?
Okay, we get it, Gregory. You’ve decided that you would rather lay in bed with Negan and his crew than even make an attempt at fighting back. That being said, damn, man. When you ask a rhetorical question, you shouldn’t have to call out with a sing-song “rhetorical” to let people know you didn’t want an answer. Besides, it’s pretty clear that EVERYONE saw Rick and his crew marching up towards your mansion. You can ask them to leave through the back, but there’s no way you’re keeping that meeting secret.
The King actually has a little better positioning on wanting to keep The Kingdom out of the potential conflicts, and that’s largely based around the fact that he’s somehow managed to keep his deal with Negan secret from most of his people. That being said, one would have to think that Morgan’s argument about being somewhat surgical in the attack against the Saviors might have swayed him a little. Sure, Negan is only the head at the top, and there are a few others who could theoretically take his place, but none of them are the same kind of character. Besides, tigers eat a lot, and if things went really south while Negan was captive, Shiva could have some lunch.
3. The Ricktocracy
Or is it currently the Ricktatorship? Either way, Rick and his away team stumble on a trap set for walkers, and we all get to learn that Rosita is an explosives expert. Everyone panics when Carl sees a herd of walkers, until they are reminded that only one eye means no depth perception, so they can take their sweet time getting the last of the explosives. The escape vehicle is primed and ready to go, and the best place they can think to put it is actually closer to the oncoming herd? Really? Sure, you’ve loaded explosives into the back of it, but it still looks like you’re in an SUV, and that there’s some decent flat expanse of land just off of the road on both sides. The guard rails don’t extend the full way. Maybe you could wait for Rick and Michonne a bit further from the impending danger. But no, instead we get to see our booty knockers not only get to mow down a gaggle of walkers, but we then get to see them rush through the remaining herd to try and get to safety, thereby endangering everyone holding back for them. Good thing they have plot immunity.
2. The Saviors
Speaking of the whole mess that allowed for the fairly cool visual and the sudden need to run through a herd of walkers, can we talk about why the Saviors would have left their barricade, and specifically their explosives-and-cable connected cars with any sort of fuel? Or, and here’s a better question, why they connected the cable to cars in the first place, and not the stationary guard rails on both sides? Yes, as mentioned above, it did create a pretty visually stimulating series of walker kills (or at least severe injurings), but there’s absolutely no reason why the set up should have been left as it was. Even if the Saviors were planning on driving the cars themselves, if they didn’t take apart the explosives, it would have been a suicide mission. Sometimes, it’s better to just keep things simple, and use your surroundings, instead of giving your enemies the ability to drive at the exact same speed despite not having a clear view of each other.
It’s hard to hate on Jesus. Except for the whole “shucks, that Carl kid outsmarted me” bit. And other moments of incredible stupidity. But hey, the guy was able to get one of the radios from the Saviors, giving Rick and his group the ability to listen to Negan ramble on (and on… and on). He also, after the rebuff from Gregory, is the one to inform Rick about King Ezekiel and his community. Oh, wait. Hold on a minute. Jesus has been scavenging and scouting the area for quite a while before Rick and his group even showed up. He therefore has probably known about at The Kingdom (and maybe the Oceansiders) for quite some time. Why would he wait until now to let Rick know that there were others who could help? Sure, it could be that he wasn’t sure about Rick’s intentions, but that theory goes by the wayside with how quickly Jesus trusted Rick and brought him to Hilltop in the first place. He’s known Rick wants to take down the Saviors, and he’s had to have known that Gregory would be a non-starter. By waiting so long to point out other potential allies, Jesus may have indirectly lead to every death that the Alexandrians experienced ever since they first met the Saviors. At the very least, he’s certainly slowed down any progress that could have been made against Negan, and that just doesn’t look smart in the current environment.
That wraps up this week. Next week, we’re bound to see why Rick was smiling. Maybe it’s finally the end of his journey, and it was an accidental smile by Andrew Lincoln, who can go back to holding up signs made for Keira Knightly. More likely, Rick thinks he’s found his army, and will use his incredible charisma to sway them to his side. Or get Enid to do it.