Not going to lie to you, folks. I was waiting for this episode. Well, not necessarily THIS episode, exactly, but I was waiting for an episode where more happened than just a slow progression of character-driven story. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being able to learn more about the motivations behind these characters, but this is a show that has never really handled the quieter moments well. It was nice to see a return to form, as now there’s actual momentum pushing things forward, with people that we’ve known for slightly longer than a blink.
That doesn’t mean that the momentum spoken of wasn’t created thanks to moments fraught with stupidity. After all, we’re still talking about The Walking Dead here, and they just can’t escape completely from trying, and failing, to be clever. This episode finally gave the Kingdom the push that they needed to really start moving against the Saviors, and caused a total flip in action between Morgan and Carol. Maybe Richard was really the smartest one of them all (spoiler alert, he wasn’t). If you need to ask someone to Bury Me Here, there’s certainly other options to get there.
Dude, it’s a cobbler. And people in the Kingdom seem to be pretty respectful. Just ask literally any of them to keep an eye on your cobbler while you’re gone on your delivery trip. You’ll come back, and get to finish. Or, in case you don’t come back, bam. Someone else gets half of a free cobbler. But that’s going to get all over the truck if you bring it with.
Yes, as the leader of this particular recovery team of Saviors, you have to prove a point. The delivery you requested (seriously, one dozen cantaloupe? You’re going to blow through that much gas for just a little bit of fruit?) was shorted, and you can’t let this affront go by. However, instead of letting Jared shoot someone of his choosing, why not have him use the staff you stole from Morgan and just hit someone with it a few times? Jared is clearly looking to make others hurt, and, if he hadn’t shot Benjamin, maybe the line in the sand wouldn’t have been drawn. Instead, you let this situation unfold, and now the Kingdom has their backs against the proverbial wall.
When Morgan is lashing out against Richard, there is LITERALLY no reason why he shouldn’t be trying to send members of the Kingdom to break up the fight. Sure, it can be assumed that, maybe, Gavin and his crew had trained firearms on any of the Kingdom looking to stop what was happening, but that takes a bit of a leap, and wasn’t explicitly shown. Keep in mind that, at this point, nobody but Morgan knows what Richard did. Richard has been a loyal member of Ezekiel’s guard for a longer time. Morgan is still relatively new, and his biggest contribution, aside from a staff taken by Gavin, has been to teach Benjamin how to fight, and bringing Carol to the Kingdom just so she can stay away. And yet Ezekiel sits back and not only watches, but condones Morgan’s attack on Richard. That’s the kind of action that could seriously imperil a King’s standing within his community, tiger or no.
Our man with a plan is kind of all over the place in this episode, and that’s before he realizes what Richard’s done. He is visited by Carol, and first decides to keep the truth about Alexandria from her, because it isn’t his place, but then suggests that the two head to Alexandria together, so she can find out for herself. He seems conflicted in general, and, when he is getting the confession out of Richard, he even tries to sound as though he isn’t going to sway from his “no killing” rule, only to then lash out and attack Richard during the exchange of the single melon. Sure, it’s clear that, by this point, Morgan is having a bit of a breakdown, but even before that he’s making some really bad choices. Oh, and let’s not forget his proclamations against anyone heading outside of safety alone, so that he can then go it alone himself. All told, though, why wouldn’t he have taken some time to pull Ezekiel aside earlier, and tell him what happened? Why risk it all in the first place?
Poor Richard. Ultimately, this guy may actually have realized exactly what needed to happen to make sure that the Kingdom decided to take up arms against the Saviors. It certainly seems like his plan that Morgan is now pushing forward. But he spurred it all on by randomly stealing one melon, and then making sure that he looked supremely guilty the entire time that there was a confrontation over said missing melon? I get that nobody in the world of The Walking Dead has any ability to read facial expressions, but surely someone other than just Morgan had to see what Richard was telegraphing. Also, Richard clearly has no comprehension of the term “collateral damage”. Yes, you’ve stepped up and made yourself a target for Jared, but why on earth would you think the Savior would go for the obvious route? That isn’t how your opponents operate, and you had to know that someone else was going to take the fall for what you did. But hey, now that you’re gone, Morgan has told Carol the truth, she’s spurred into action to help mobilize the Kingdom, and Ezekiel seems open to joining forces with Rick’s group. If only there had been literally any other way to enact this plan, like, oh, finding out what happened with Negan and the people of Alexandria, and telling Carol yourself.
That wraps up another week. We’re inching towards the finale, and, at this rate, we’re probably looking at one of the bloodiest finales in a while. The big question is going to be whether or not the people behind the show learned from the outrage they received after trying to give the audience a cliffhanger, like they did last season. Just as long as they make SOMETHING happen, they’ll probably get at least a little bit of a pass.