This week’s entry of ‘The Walking Dead’ focuses on what happens with Carol and Maggie after they’re taken hostage by a handful of Negan’s Saviors. Despite an opportunity to give actors Melissa McBride and Lauren Cohen a really juicy episode, the whole endeavor comes off as rather pointless.
As this episode begins, viewers basically relive the ending of the last episode, this time from Carol and Maggie’s viewpoint. When a group of Saviors approaches them, Carol shoots its sole male member, Donnie, in the left arm. Their leader is Paula (Alicia Witt), and she’s the one who informs Rick over the walkie-talkie that they’ve taken Carol and Maggie hostage. The Savior Rick is holding is named Primo. Paula and Rick start talking about a possible hostage exchange.
With their heads covered so they can’t see where they’re going, Carol and Maggie are taken to a large industrial slaughterhouse, tied up and gagged, and placed in a room across from each other. In addition to Paula and Donnie, there are two other members of this small group: Chelle (Jeananne Goossen from ‘The Night Shift’), a young, in-shape Asian woman who seems handy with a gun; and Molls, an older, out-of-shape chain smoker (who immediately reminds me of the character Ann Dowd plays on HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’, and is just about as annoying).
Carol starts to hyperventilate until Paula eventually removes the gag from her mouth. Carol spends most of the episode acting both scared and depressed. Viewers are led to believe it’s all an act, though later on we’ll learn that much of it wasn’t an act after all. Anyway, she also gets her hands on some rosary beads, and her captors are too stupid to notice Carol using the cross on the end to cut through the duct tape binding her hands together.
While that’s going on with Carol, Maggie is taken into a separate room where Chelle interrogates her, primarily about where their home base is. (Chelle notices that not only is Maggie well dressed, but she’s allowed herself to get pregnant – an indication that wherever she’s from has some degree of safety.) Naturally, Maggie doesn’t give up any information.
Much – honestly, most – of the episode goes on like this, with the characters just talking to one another about their pasts (Paula goes on a long diatribe to Carol about how she used to be a secretary and that the first person she killed once the apocalypse came was her boss) and Carol being asked if she’s afraid to die. I’m sure the writers thought this entry would provide a deeper look into Carol’s mindset, but honestly the first two-thirds of the episode feel like a whole lot of filler.
Eventually… finally… Carol gets free and escapes the room to go find Maggie. After she’s freed, Maggie insists that they need to end things and kill all their captors. They start with Donnie, who has already succumbed to his injuries and has started to turn. They tie him up so that when Molls comes back into the room, the now-Walker Donnie bites her. That’s two down, two to go.
Carol and Maggie find the building’s exit blocked with Walkers who’ve been tied or impaled in a hallway as a trap. This is where they have a final showdown with the remaining two women. Maggie winds up in a fight with Chelle, who slashes Maggie across the stomach with a knife. Seeing this happen, Carol shoots Chelle in the head. Carol then confronts Paula, but has trouble shooting her. The two women get into a fight, which results in Paula being impaled on a piece of metal, then getting her face eaten by a Walker.
Knowing that Paula has already signaled a group of other Saviors to come to the building, Carol uses Paula’s walkie-talkie to lure them toward the slaughterhouse’s kill floor. When the men show up, Carol locks them inside the room that she filled with gasoline and lights it on fire, burning them to death. Now free to make their exit, the women run into Glenn, Daryl, Rick and their other friends on the way out.
Still holding Primo hostage, Rick demands to know if they killed Negan either in the compound or the slaughterhouse. Primo says that he is Negan (which is a callback to an earlier line in the episode where Molls tells Carol and Maggie that, “We are all Negan”). Rick promptly shoots Primo in the head.
Going into this episode, I (and perhaps many of you) thought that it might be the last one for either Carol or Maggie. Both their characters’ arcs seem to be pretty complete at this point, and I still can’t imagine this season ending without one of them getting killed (not that I want that to happen, but it’s something I’ve been feeling as a viewer for most of Season 6). Alas, any tension that the episode may have built up turned out to be pointless as the episode ended without any casualties in our group of heroes. Furthermore, since Paula and all her associates are now dead, what was the point of it all? We’re basically in the same spot that we were at the end of last week.
Also, as easy as Alicia Witt is on the eyes, I found her to be woefully miscast here and have never thought her to be much of an actress. Maybe I would have liked this episode better had a different actor been cast as Paula, but I never thought she posed much of a threat to our heroes, and actually would have been pretty ticked off had either Carol or Maggie been offed by her. If one of them is going to die, they certainly deserve to fall at the hands of a more dangerous foe.
Agree? Disagree? If so, tell me why I’m wrong!