What happens on ‘The Walking Dead’ this week? Seriously, I’m asking. I know it’s supposed to be my job to tell you, but I’m not sure anything actually does happen in this episode.
The episode is very descriptively titled ‘The King, the Widow, and Rick’, so I guess we’ll start by breaking it down that way.
Ezekiel is depressed. Really depressed. He refuses to leave his throne room and doesn’t even want to talk to Carol.
In a huff, Carol marches out to the woods to do… something, I guess. I’m not sure what. A young boy named Henry follows her, wanting to be helpful. He almost gets eaten by Walkers and Carol has to save him. The boy insists that he wants to join the war, in order to get revenge on the Saviors for killing his family. Carol admires his pluck, even though his presence would almost certainly be a hindrance rather than a help in any sort of battle situation.
The next thing you know, Carol is back in the Kingdom. She barges into the throne room and tells Ezekiel that the people need their king. He suggests that perhaps she should be their leader, but Carol insists that it’s Ezekiel responsibility to play the part no matter how he really feels about it.
That’s it. That’s everything going on in the Kindgom.
The Savior prisoners are all tied up outside the wall of the Hilltop. When Jesus feeds them some turnips, Maggie chastises him for wasting food. Jesus preaches about the importance of maintaining their moral values, even in war.
The Savior named Jared (the one who caused problems with Morgan) continues to act as assholishly as possible, as if begging to be shot in the head.
Gregory wants to position himself as Maggie’s advisor. He urges her to show no compassion to the prisoners, and recommends building a gallows. When Jesus and the prisoners hear a lot of hammering and sawing after this, they fear that Maggie may be listening to Gregory. Fortunately, what she really had built was a holding pen, so that the prisoners can be brought inside the walls. When Gregory admonishes her for putting the Hilltop in danger, Maggie decides she’s had all she can take of him and order him thrown into the cage with the Saviors. She’s not as stupid or naïve as Gregory thought she was.
Unfortunately, she’s not as charitable as Jesus thought she was either. She tells Jesus that she plans to use the Saviors as bargaining chips for a possible prisoner exchange later, and if that doesn’t work out, she may build those gallows after all.
Rick is an idiot this season. I don’t think there’s any other explanation for the extreme stupidity of his latest plan. He walks, solo, right up to the Heapsters’ junkyard and demands to talk to Jadis. He shows her photos of dead Saviors and the Sanctuary swarmed by Walkers, and tells her that Negan’s time is over. He has come to offer her a new deal. If her people will side with Alexandria, their betrayal will be forgiven. Jadis simply responds “No” and has him tossed into a sweltering shipping container.
What a dipshit. Did he really expect this to go some other way?
(By the way, that helicopter Rick saw in the last episode is not mentioned at all in this one.)
Defying his dad, Carl searches the woods until he finds the stranger he’d encountered earlier. He offers the man food and water and learns that his name is Siddiq. Carl asks him the three important questions and agrees to bring him back to Alexandria.
On the way, they stop to kill some Walkers (Siddiq believes that killing them will free their souls), only to get attacked by more stumbling through the woods. Carl nearly gets bitten but fights himself clear with little help from Siddiq, who isn’t much of a fighter.
Michonne and Rosita
Hey, remember these two ladies? No, they weren’t killed off, even though we’ve hardly seen them on the show this season. They’ve just been sidelined due to injuries they’d sustained last season. For reasons that make little sense, Michonne itches to get out and see the Sanctuary for herself. Rosita thinks that’s a great idea and tags along.
While driving, they hear music coming from the woods. They stop and search for the source, finding it in a warehouse where two Saviors are busy strapping giant speakers to a truck. (Sadly, they don’t seem to have a flame-throwing guitar to go with it.) The Saviors plan to drive this to the Sanctuary and play loud music to lure the Walkers away. Rosita and Michonne get spotted, sparking a gunfight. Rosita runs out of bullets but conveniently finds a rocket launcher and blows away one of the Saviors with an RPG.
Michonne isn’t quite up to fighting shape yet. The Savior woman she struggles with manages to hop in the truck and drive it away towards the Sanctuary. She doesn’t get very far before being T-boned by a garbage truck. It’s Daryl, miraculously arriving just in the nick of time for a convenient deus ex machina save. He kills the Savior woman and drives Michonne and Rosita to the Sanctuary. When they arrive, it seems like he has something planned to end the war early, which will almost certainly backfire and allow Negan to escape.
This episode has a lot of silliness in it. The RPG kill is pretty ridiculous. (At that close range, Rosita probably should have killed herself as well as the Savior.) The Heapsters’ absurd broken English dialogue seems dumber and more irritating every time we see them.
The episode also opens by introducing the idea that the Alexandrians have regular mail drops between the various communities, which I guess is supposed to explain how news of their victories and defeats spreads so quickly. Rick even conveniently picks up a stack of letters waiting for him in an old microwave on the side of the road, to make sure he’s fully up to speed with everyone’s status before talking to Jadis. Did ravens fly in from the ‘Game of Thrones’ universe to deliver all these messages within minutes of each battle being won or lost? With no computers in the apocalypse, imagine how long it must take a scribe in each community to hand write multiple copies of each letter.
This is a filler episode. Nothing of great consequence happens in it, and the setup for Rick’s imprisonment by the Heapsters is pure idiocy. With a downward trend in quality like this, it’s little wonder that the show’s ratings continue to decline this season.