Well… it was alright I guess.
Coming off last week’s really excellent third episode, THE WALKING DEAD this week had the challenge of not necessarily topping that but at the very least keeping the momentum going. And it did that, just about. Things haven’t gone backwards but nothing was taken forward either. We did at least get to visit the last key member of episode one’s traumatic events. So I suppose that’s a win.
Focus is always something THE WALKING DEAD has struggled with. As in, it’s never really had it, or when it has had it it’s been incredibly sporadic. But focus is what it needs, it is what every show needs. And for a show like this one with such a large cast and a meandering, directionless plot, there have inevitably been struggles aplenty. Whenever the show has taken the time to actually shrug off a few characters and settle on down with a particular character or two for an episode, things have unsurprisingly improved. So it was a smart move for sure to see this season opening up with a series of more narrowly focused episodes.
But focus of course doesn’t always equate to quality, the Carol centred episode two a prime example. That was a stinker and this week which concentrated on Maggie at the Hilltop and Enid on her way to the Hilltop, was nowhere near as foul as that, but it’s a shame that it couldn’t have been something more. We essentially watched as Maggie and Sasha struggled to convince Gregory to let them stay until Maggie gives birth, and as Enid and Carl do what they normally do and just generally be annoying as they talked about stuff and things like killing Negan. So it wasn’t exactly winning material. Nothing new was found here but at least it was kind of central to this season’s main plot — seeing that the Saviours happened to pay the Hilltop a visit, which of course led Maggie and Sasha to have to hide out for a little while.
It all ended up with the two ladies getting to stay at the mansion and Sasha convincing Jesus to track down Negan’s abode by hopping on one of the Saviors’ trucks, only to find Carl already there in the same spot with the same plan. Speaking of whom, this kid really needs to be taught a lesson. You’d think a bullet in the eye would do it, or seeing his friends beheaded by a bat, or nearly having his arm cut off by his dad might sort him out, but alas… no, he is as dumb and as frustrating as ever. I am not ashamed to admit that I hope he gets caught and when he does get caught that Negan disposes of him. For one that would get rid of a major character and two, it would be doing the show a massive favour in getting shot of someone that adds nothing to the show in any way. Talk about dead weight. Maybe at least Negan can give him a haircut.
Again, the focus is appreciated; the lack of substance at the heart of that focus is frustrating but not at all surprising. This is the show we are watching. We’ve bought the ticket a thousand times now. We know the ride we’re on. But I am, admittedly out of morbid curiosity, interested to see what happens with Carl and Jesus as they try and take out Negan/infiltrate his HQ. I can’t say the same about the adventures of Maggie at Hilltop. It was nice to see her get to mourn Glen a little and begin the process of moving on, even if it was a little mundane. Hopefully we now don’t have to visit with her anytime soon. As mentioned in previous reviews, the show is at its best when Negan and Rick share screen time, but of course we can’t have that for sixteen episodes. With THE WALKING DEAD’S formula, there has to be filler.
We shouldn’t be surprised to see ourselves back with Daryl or maybe Carol next week. Fingers crossed for the former. At least with Daryl there is drama and pertinence available — pretty crucial ingredients. But who knows, perhaps something unexpected might happen. Time will tell as it always does. Onwards, and hopefully upwards.