From its sickeningly dark start, this season of ‘The Walking Dead’ has had some wild tonal swings. This week turns comedic as Rick and Michonne take a day off to have a date at the county fair.
Rick is in a pretty good mood ever since striking his deal with Jadis and the Heapsters. That hole in his hand from where he was impaled by a rusty, gore-covered nail seems to be doing fine with just a little bandage on it. It doesn’t impede his ability to use weapons at all. As he and Michonne go scavenging, Rick is very optimistic that they’ll find the guns they need. In the episode’s opening montage, the two of them take frequent breaks to have sex. Michonne worries that they need to get back before the deadline that Jadis imposed, but Rick is unconcerned. He repeatedly stalls and insists that they stay out just a little longer. They also talk about their relationship and about how the world should be “reordered” after Negan is gone. Michonne thinks Rick should be in charge. He says that anything they do, they’ll do together.
Eventually, they hit a jackpot at a former school that appears to have been used, at some point in the past, as a military outpost. From the looks of it, the place was overrun and some sort of last stand battle between the army and zombies went very badly for the living. Inside the school, they find a big stash of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) completely untouched. Even better, behind the building is a carnival setup in which dozens of undead soldiers mill about, still strapped with their guns. The site is secluded and fenced-in with only one entry point. Nobody else has found it yet and the zombies aren’t going anywhere. Rick suggests that they take their time killing the zombies and taking their guns. Michonne is antsy and wants to get it over with.
After a big feast and a good night’s rest, Rick and Michonne start the work of clearing the field. They split up and Michonne distracts a group of Walkers while Rick tries to push a car to block the gate entrance. Unfortunately, the car has a soldier zombie stuck in the windshield, and its body just falls apart when Rick tries to pull it out. As a result, it takes him longer than expected to get the car moving. In the episode’s goofiest moment, a soldier stuck to a fence shoots at them when its thrashing movements conveniently depress the trigger of its gun. Rick and Michonne dive into the car for cover, and it rolls right through the entrance, because of course its brakes don’t work.
Zombies surround the car, but luckily it has a sunroof. Rick and Michonne get out and split up again, picking off as many Walkers as they can. Rick climbs up a Ferris wheel and gets momentarily distracted when he sees a (really fake-looking CGI) deer. He and Michonne had previously discussed how he “owes” her a deer to replace the one he turned over to the Saviors. Suddenly, the platform he’s standing on collapses and Rick falls to the ground.
From Michonne’s perspective, it looks like Rick is swarmed by zombies and torn apart. Horrified by this, she drops her sword and stumbles around in a daze. Just as zombies start to converge on her, however, Rick pops out from underneath a box or something, picks up the sword, and tosses it back to Michonne. The zombies were feasting on that deer, not on Rick.
The two of them finish off the rest of the zombies and collect all their guns. On the ride home, Michonne seems shell-shocked. Rick stops to talk to her about how he managed to move on after Glenn’s death. He says that they’re bound to take more casualties in the battle with Negan, and may even lose each other, but life must go on.
Back at Alexandria, Rosita grows more and more impatient waiting for the war with Negan to begin. She’s short-tempered and pissy with both Tara and Gabriel. This makes Tara debate whether she should tell Rick about the Oceanside community.
After Rick returns home with the big stash of guns, he and Michonne clean themselves up and gather together a group to deliver the guns to the trash heap. In her ridiculous broken English, Heapster leader Jadis tells Rick that the 63 guns he brought are a barely adequate start, but they’ll need at least twice as many before her people will join the fight against Negan. She and Rick then haggle over the number of guns Rick’s people can keep, and about the stupid cat sculpture Rick stole after their last meeting.
Back in Alexandria once again, Tara pulls Rick aside and says she has something to tell him about.
Rosita gets fed up and heads out to the Hilltop without telling anyone. She meets up with Sasha and brings her a sniper rifle she swiped from the army stash. The two of them cook up a plan to go after Negan on their own, fully aware that it may be a suicide mission. They agree that if they get caught, they’ll kill themselves before they talk.
This is a very inconsequential episode. In terms of plot, nothing much of significance happens in it. On the other hand, it has a lot of good character moments (though I don’t buy Michonne’s brief suicidal moment).
I get what the show-runners are doing here. They want to give viewers a respite and elevate the mood a little before the inevitable carnage and despair to come once the war starts. In that regard, I suppose it’s nice to take a breather right now. However, a fan could easily skip this episode and not miss anything important.