“I just want to know which one of them was Negan.”
Oh, Michonne – probably none of them! The reality is that Rick and Co. murdered their way through this compound of Saviors, but their leader probably wasn’t there—people with this much ammo and this much delight in killing (the Polaroids of bashed-in skulls lining that guy’s bed like porn-magazine cutouts was a nice touch) aren’t going to consolidate all their power in one place.
They’re going to spread out—they’re going to have a group of female fighters capturing Carol and Maggie, and they’re going to have a messenger responsible for contacting Negan, and they’re going to hit you back. Alexandria is not going to be safe much longer, I think.
So what else happened in last night’s 12th episode of this season six of The Walking Dead? Let’s discuss!
+ “You’re a mom to most of the people here. You’re something else to me.” We haven’t seen Carol in a few weeks, but here we see how her fight with Morgan—and how keeping the secret of his capturing the Wolf, and failing to rehabilitate him—have weighed on her. She’s staying up at night, keeping a journal of how many people she’s killed. She’s throwing herself into baking (how did Tobin say “They’re the best beet and acorn cookies I’ve ever eaten” with a straight face?!) and other “mothering” tasks as a way to keep herself preoccupied. And now we see her pursuing some kind of romance with the very nice Tobin, who compliments her take-no-shit attitude (“You can do things that just terrify me”) but doesn’t seem to realize that Carol is unraveling.
Her identity as a mother, what Tobin says makes her so strong, is what is weighing on her conscience during their assault on the Saviors: she’s aghast that Maggie is there, she refuses to let Maggie go to Glenn’s aid (what exactly did “You’re supposed to be someone else!” mean?), and when she’s captured with Maggie at the end of this episode, you get the sense that Carol from a few weeks ago—Carol who murdered at will—wouldn’t have let this happen.
(Also, a note that the main woman who captures Carol and Maggie is played by Alicia Witt, who played the very annoying Wendy Crowe character in the very annoying fifth season of the otherwise excellent Justified. So I’m already irritated.)
+ “Morgan, they always come back.” The only person who isn’t sold on this assault of the Saviors in exchange for half of Hilltop’s food supply is, of course, Morgan. His brief conversation with Carol at Sam’s grave—where she left exactly one cookie, making me feel more for that stupid kid than I did the entire time he was alive—shows that Carol is still keeping his Wolf-related secret, and she’s asked Rosita, Eugene, and everyone else who was there to do the same thing. They’re protecting Morgan, but how much longer is that going to last?
His questioning of Rick’s plan, while clearly logical, doesn’t go over well (“We have to come for them before they come for us” is about the extent of Rick’s long-term planning), and he refuses to accompany them to assault the Saviors. Instead, we see Morgan welding something (I think the cage the Wolf was in?) at the end of the episode, weeping into his hands. I’m not sure this season has done a great job with Morgan (they’ve made his pacifism more irritating than feasible), but it’s clear how much all this killing is weighing on him. How is he going to react when Rick and Co. come back, with so much blood on their hands, and Negan theoretically still out there? Probably not well.
+ “When I met you, I thought you were the last woman on Earth. You’re not.” Poor Rosita. Last week Abraham was telling her post-coitus that she was pretty much perfect as a way to cover up his growing feelings for Sasha, but the night before the assault on the Saviors, Abraham takes it all back, packing up his stuff and breaking up with her. “It happens. This is how I want it … just the way shit is” may be the most words we’ve actually SEEN Abraham say to Rosita, but the dumping was not a great moment for him.
Obviously with death theoretically knocking on his door, Abraham didn’t want to die lying to himself about his feelings—but Rosita didn’t really deserve that harshness. And how long until she realizes that Abraham dumped her for Sasha, who he teams up with during the Saviors raid? Would Rosita care enough to hold that against Sasha? Does the romantic drama of this storyline actually MATTER to anyone?
+ “You’re all dead.” Finally, the assault on the Saviors! This attack, planned for the entire first half of this episode, is mostly really satisfying and finally really annoying. But let’s go with the good stuff first: that shot of Rick and Co. suddenly materializing out of the darkness to move aside the first Saviors guard’s body and then Michonne’s katana slicing open the second guard; the clear anguish felt by Glenn and Heath as they murdered sleeping men in their beds, a feeling that probably won’t go away anytime soon; the video-game feel of the shootout that ensued after that Savior pulled the fire alarm and all hell broke loose; and Jesus’s saving of Glenn and Heath, bandana pulled over his face, straight badass style. Jesus has been nicely enigmatic so far—and who knows if Gregory and the Hilltop people, and by extension Jesus, are hiding something—but having him firmly on Rick and Co.’s side was worthwhile this episode.
But the bad stuff—well, how was it nighttime during their assault, and suddenly daytime after only one commercial break? Did they spend the rest of the night going through the compound and killing everyone? And if so, how did they miss the area where the guy with Daryl’s stolen motorcycle was? How did they miss whatever vantage point the women who captured Carol and Maggie are hiding in? And why wouldn’t they keep someone alive and pump them for intel about the Saviors? Not saying that Rick and Co. are willing to torture people, but they are TOTALLY WILLING to torture people. Why not? That would be a smart play. But too often, we see Rick and Co. not thinking that long term. And certainly with the Saviors and Negan, that is going to come back and bite them. Big time.
+ “The Saviors, they’re scary, but this prick’s got nothing on you.” Not wrong, random Hilltop guy shocked by Rick’s insanity masking as resourcefulness. Not wrong.
Odds and ends:
+ Because I am a child, I laughed at Carol’s exasperated “Will you just put it in your mouth?” when Tobin was hesitant to try the beet and acorn cookies. Also, where is Alexandria getting all this Tupperware?
+ Does Abraham give Rosita back the necklace she made for him? By the looks of it I would say Rosita has the skills necessary for a post-apocalypse Etsy store.
+ Notice that Daryl and Michonne kill the two Saviors guards—and those deaths mean absolutely nothing to them. Daryl and Michonne do not fuck around. Rick and Maggie are in leadership roles, but I can’t imagine a scarier pair than the two of them.
+ “Rick and Carl taught me about guns … how to contribute. I’m still a priest.” Seth Gilliam continues to kill it as Father Gabriel. That is all.