We’re one week before the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’. Doesn’t now seem like a great time to revisit the worst episode of the season? No, I didn’t think so either.
We’ve spent a lot of time recently with episodes devoted to just one group of characters or another. In order to set the stage for the finale, episode ‘Something They Need’ is split up among several different locations.
Tara finally broke down and told Rick about the community at Oceanside. Quickly, Rick forms a party to head out there and take all their guns. Michonne takes a position in a tree with a sniper rifle while Daryl sets up some dynamite in the woods. The fact that we see Daryl here but not Rosita suggests that the silhouetted figure she ran into last week must not have been Daryl.
Tara sneaks into Oceanside first and hides in community leader Latania’s cabin. When Latania and her granddaughter Cyndie (soon to be Tara’s girlfriend) enter, Tara reveals herself and holds them at gunpoint. She tells them that she’s not alone and makes a pitch for them to join Alexandria in the fight against the Saviors. They’ll have to decide fast, because she’s on a strict schedule. Latania angrily declares that she still wants nothing to do with outsiders. After a moment of this, Tara looks at her watch and says that time’s up.
Suddenly, a series of explosions go off in the woods. The people of Oceanside panic and start to flee. Jesus and Daryl run in and secure the armory before the surly Oceansider named Beatrice can get to it.
With all the distraction happening outside, Cyndie gets the jump on Tara and pulls a gun of her own, to which Tara surrenders and reveals that her pistol was empty the whole time. She never had any intention of harming them.
Rick and the other Alexandrians round up all the Oceansiders and make them sit down in a clearing. The explosions harmlessly went off well outside the community. Rick announces that he won’t hurt anyone, but he does have to take all their guns. He invites them to join him in fighting the Saviors. Some of the Oceansiders, including Beatrice, think this offer may be worth considering.
Latania then comes out, holding Tara hostage. She remains defiant and says that they’ll never join, nor will she willingly let them take the guns. She will give her own life if necessary. From her sniper position in the tree, Michonne tries to get a clear shot. Tara waves for her not to do it.
Attracted by all the noise, a small herd of zombies wander up from the beach into the forest. Having made their way ashore from a beached ship, they’re all waterlogged and covered in barnacles, which I’m sure the show’s makeup designer thought was awesome, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. (Wouldn’t the bodies decompose in the water before barnacles could attach to them?) Cyndie punches out her grandmother to save Tara. The Alexandrians and Oceansiders then work together to fight off the mutual threat. When all the zombies are dead, tensions between the two groups are mostly defused, but Latania storms away pissily.
As he promised, Rick takes all the guns but leaves all the Oceansider people alone. (Since it was just demonstrated that this location can be overrun with zombies, doesn’t leaving them without guns essentially amount to a death sentence?) Cyndie tells Tara that she’s sympathetic and wants to join the fight against the Saviors, but she has to stay behind to change her grandmother’s mind. With their community, it’s all-or-nothing. On the way out, Tara flips off the psycho little girl who tried to stab her in the head the last time she was there.
Farm girl Maggie teaches some Hilltoppers how to garden. When she goes outside the fence alone to plant a tree, Gregory approaches her and suggests that they need to work together, not against one another. Maggie agrees to talk with him later. In the meantime, she asks him to keep watch for zombies while she works. For a moment while Maggie is distracted, Gregory contemplates literally stabbing her in the back. Ultimately, he’s too much of a wuss to take such dramatic action. He gets interrupted by a zombie stumbling out of the woods anyway.
Maggie springs to her feet to deal with it, but Gregory doesn’t want to be upstaged by a pregnant woman. He moves toward it with his knife drawn. No surprise, it turns out that he’s never killed a zombie before. As it gets close to him, Gregory chickens out and runs away, leaving Maggie to do it. She swiftly moves in for the kill, but Gregory then gets tackled by a second zombie. He cries like a baby and begs Maggie to help him, which she does with ease. As Gregory pulls himself back to his feet, a group of his people walk by and snicker at him.
Feeling emasculated, Gregory returns to his office and pours himself a stiff drink. He then looks at the note that Simon left him and pulls out a map. He calls for one of his underlings to come in and says that he’ll need to be driven somewhere.
Although we aren’t allowed to see exactly what happened, Sasha apparently got captured shortly after chasing Eugene into the Saviors’ compound. She’s locked in the cell where Daryl used to live. (Fortunately, she isn’t being tortured with crappy music the way he was.) A creepy Savior named David enters the cell and tries to rape her, but Negan intervenes. Rape is against the rules at the Sanctuary (except for Negan forcing women to “marry” him, of course). For his transgression, Negan stabs David through the neck with a big Bowie knife and lets the dead body fall to the floor next to Sasha. This is his way of showing Sasha what a nice guy he is. He tosses her the knife and tells her that she has a choice to make. Either she can kill herself, or she can join him like Eugene did. To signal her acceptance of the latter, all she has to do is put the blade in David’s head before he turns into a zombie. Negan then locks her in the cell with the corpse to give her a little time to decide.
Later, Eugene visits Sasha to bring her a pillow and a blanket. He tells her why he joined the Saviors and urges her to do the same. As Eugene leaves, David’s body starts to twitch.
When Negan returns in the morning, the knife is in David’s head. Negan is pleased. He tells Sasha that she made the right decision. He also indicates that he knows Rick is up to no good.
Sasha has to stay in the cell for a while because Negan obviously doesn’t trust her yet. Eugene comes around again and talks to her through the door, trying to reassure her that choosing life was the only correct decision and he’ll help her come to terms with it. Sasha cries and says that she made a terrible mistake. She begs Eugene to help her and bring her a knife, or a piece of glass, or anything she can use to kill herself, because she’d rather die than let Negan use her to harm their friends. Eugene is conflicted. He says that he’ll think about it. As he leaves, we see Sasha smiling. She’s playing the big dope.
Unfortunately, Eugene returns and slips an envelope under the door. Inside are the two pills he made for Negan’s treacherous wives, which he says will allow her to take her own life peacefully. Sasha is disappointed. This isn’t at all what she had in mind. What the hell’s she supposed to do with these?
When Rick and his people arrive back at Alexandria, they find Rosita waiting for them. She brings them to the holding cell that Morgan made last season. Locked inside is Dwight, confirming that it was him with the crossbow last week. He says that he wants to help. Rick pulls his pistol and tells Dwight to get on his knees.
The show’s season finale is next week. I don’t have a lot to say about this episode in the meantime. It does what it’s supposed to do, which is to put the pieces in place for the big climax. I’m not thrilled that we have to spend time in Oceanside again, but that was an inevitability from the way the storyline last left off.
This episode holds no surprises. Everything that happens here was easily foreseen in advance and plays out exactly as expected. It does so competently, but that doesn’t make it exciting.
At this point, I have very little expectations for the finale. I’m both dreading it but and am also anxious to get this dreary season over with.