The Walking Dead 8.13

‘The Walking Dead’ 8.13 Recap: “It’s Time to Do Some Proper Slaughtering”

My heart sank when I sat down to watch ‘The Walking Dead’ this week and saw that my DVR had recorded a two-hour episode. Fortunately, it was just a ratings stunt and the last hour was actually an unrelated preview for AMC’s new series ‘The Terror’. I don’t think I could take two hours of this show in one sitting right now.

This is a Negan-free episode, so we’ll need to wait a little longer to find out what Jadis is going to do with the rotten bastard. In the meantime, the hour is devoted to Simon leading a group of Saviors in an attack on the Hilltop. Contrary to Negan’s original orders, Simon is very eager to murder everyone there.

When the Saviors arrive at the gates, Maggie gets on a walkie-talkie and threatens to kill the 38 hostages unless Simon turns around. Unconcerned about that, Simon says “Screw them” and orders the assault to begin. Daryl immediately comes out of nowhere on his motorcycles and shoots at the Saviors with a machine gun, apparently hitting no one. As he turns to return to the Hilltop, the gate is left open long enough for the Saviors to charge in, which seems like an incredibly stupid mistake but may have been deliberate. Later, another character will commend Maggie for saving the gate; she may have been trying to lure the Saviors through in a controlled manner so they wouldn’t smash the gate. Which still seems like a stupid plan, if you ask me.

Whatever the case, the situation quickly gets out of hand with lots of running around and shooting. The scene takes place at night, and is so dark and chaotic that it’s difficult to tell what’s happening beyond a general sense that a bunch of people are shooting at a bunch of other people, and despite previous talk of an ammunition shortage everybody seems to have an unlimited supply of bullets. The Saviors also brought a bunch of gore-tipped arrows and prove to be incredible archers.

At some point, Dwight feels pressured to join the fight or risk raising Simon’s suspicion. He fires an arrow and hits Tara in the arm.

When the Hilltoppers shoot out all the lights on the Saviors’ trucks, the scene gets very quiet all of a sudden. In the moment of eerie calm, Simon leads all of the Saviors into an open clearing where they stand around begging to be shot. Eventually, Maggie’s people do open fire again, and completely miss hitting Simon or anyone else important. At that moment, Rick then returns and comes at the Saviors from behind. He blows a bunch of Saviors away, and when he runs out of ammo, he hatchets a bunch more. Finally, Simon orders a retreat and the Savior trucks drive away.

Aftermath

Come morning, the Hilltop begins a cleanup effort. Damage gets repaired. The dead get buried. The injured get patched up. Tara is fine, with just a minor flesh wound. Daryl is super-pissy about Dwight, but Tara still has sympathy for him. Carol’s boyfriend Tobin took a stabbing to the gut but appears stabilized.

Little psycho Henry, who was itching to kill some Saviors and was disappointed when Ezekiel and Carol made him stay inside during the attack, steals a gun when nobody is looking.

All the wounded are brought into the main house to sleep through the night, and it’s at this point we remember that the Saviors’ weapons were doused in zombie gore. Tobin is the first to go. He dies in his sleep and turns, then bites some people around him. Nobody else wakes up or notices this happening. Before you know it, a horde of newly turned Walkers are roaming around freely through the Hilltop, biting new victims left and right.

Henry sneaks over to the cage holding the Savior prisoners and talks to Gregory. He demands to know which of the Saviors killed his brother. Apparently, he didn’t buy Morgan’s story that the already-dead Gavin did it. For absolutely no reason at all, the moron kid unlocks the gate and goes inside, waving the gun around. He could even more easily have just stayed outside and shot whoever he wanted through the fence.

Of course, precisely at this moment people in the Hilltop start noticing the Walkers. Henry is distracted by the sound of screaming, and the asshole Savior named Jared grabs the gun. All the Saviors then flood out of the cell.

The Walker outbreak is eventually suppressed. Carol finds Tobin turned and has to put him down herself. Rick puts the pieces together and deduces that the Savior weapons were infected. This sounds like really bad news for Tara, who’s nursing a wound on her shoulder, but she doesn’t look sick so far.

About half the Savior prisoners escaped from the Hilltop, but the other half chose to stay because they like Maggie better than Negan. Carol goes looking for Henry and can’t find him anywhere. Thoughout the episode, Morgan is haunted by visions of Gavin telling him, “You know what it is.” I presume that the “it” is the fact that Henry is a psychopath. That’s an awfully strange way to phrase it, though.

Episode Verdict

Superficially, this episode is moderately more interesting than the past few, but it doesn’t really amount to much. The run-and-gun stuff is confusing and grows boring quickly. Many of the characters make truly idiotic decisions. I get that Henry is a kid, and kids are dumb, but the part where he opens the cell is painfully stupid and simply bad writing.

Even if the Saviors’ weapons hadn’t been tainted, it was a very foolish move to put all the wounded in one location with no one looking over them. Any one of them could have died and turned just from their injuries, causing the same outcome. Honestly, Tobin was probably a goner regardless.

I’m not worried about Tara. A fan theory has it that Dwight didn’t coat his arrows in gore and hit her arm on purpose. Even if that’s not right, what’s the difference? The series recently showed us with Gabriel that a couple of random antibiotics will knock the zombie fever out of even a direly sick person within minutes. No, that’s not how antibiotics actually work. And yes, that does flatly contradict years of previous storytelling on this show, which told us that once a person had the zombie fever nothing could save them. That’s just one of the many reasons this infection storyline feels half-assed.

19 comments

  1. Csm101

    I’ve kind of coasted through this season only half engaged. Is the Hilltop heavily fortified to keep walkers from even gaining close proximity? The reason I ask is because I remember when one simple gunshot would attract walkers from everywhere and now they have these long drawn out machine gun fights and they seem to be a non issue. Anyways, I found these last two episodes pretty entertaining at least.

  2. Tom Spall

    I agree that the writing in this episode was pretty sloppy but I enjoyed it more than other episodes so far this season. I thought I was going to stop watching this show after a terrible episode two weeks ago, but they kept me interested for a little bit longer.

  3. The tainted weapon played out about as dumb as I thought it would. Nobody watching critically injured people in this world? I find that hard to believe. Everybody suffering from these wounds (or subsequently bit) die and turn really quickly. Where was their letter-writing time? A zombie falls down the stairs in a house packed full of people and nobody wakes up at all? How!? A few more come stumbling in from the outside and the racket of near a half dozen walkers causes no reaction until they wreak absolute havoc? Did these fresh zombies come with the best stealth upgrades on the market or have only the heaviest sleepers survived? The walker in the prisoner pen somehow went unnoticed with everyone awake around them? What!? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    I’ll defend the episode a tiny bit, though. I think saving the gate was actually really smart. Assuming you survive the human attack, you’re still going to need that gate to keep the walkers out. It also allowed the Hilltoppers to funnel their attackers where they wanted. I like that they’re finally using Maggie and she’s showing some leadership chops, including a bit of self doubt. I want this character to survive, so I hope negotiations work out with Cohan.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      If Maggie was trying to funnel the Saviors where she wanted, she did a pretty crap job of it. They were running all over the place within seconds of getting in.

  4. Ally

    I believe that Gabriel was on antibiotics due to infections obtained when he got injured. It wasn’t the zombie fever.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      No, he got the zombie fever from smearing the guts all over himself. He was on the brink of death from that, until they found the cabin with a couple bottles of antibiotics, and suddenly his fever breaks and he’s cured.

  5. DH

    I’m just going to re-up my comment from last week: everyone is already infected; that’s why they turn when they die. Am I missing something, or is this the dumbest turn yet?

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Everybody is already infected with a latent virus that activates when they die. But until they die, they will live seemingly normal lives without exhibiting symptoms. Getting bitten or scratched by a Walker will infect the victim with an active, deadly virus that kills them fast, thus prompting them to turn. In previous seasons, we were told that once that infection took hold, there was no way to stop it. The person was a goner at the first sign of a scratch.

      This season, the show seems to be drawing a distinction between getting bitten/scratched by a Walker, vs. getting stabbed with a weapon tainted with Walker blood and gore. Logically, you’d think that these two things would have the same outcome. Sadly, logic is something the current writers have little use for. Gabriel got infected through contact with blood and gore, yet recovered after popping a couple amoxicillin pills.

      • genesim

        Man these reviews seem to get more cranky as time goes on. lol

        Gabriel could be lots of things. The way humans react to infection is different for every living person. Science proves this and we don’t really know what made Gabriel sick (and I am referring to the deeper aspect of his DNA not just some cute scene in a movie).

        I think they played out that Gabriel was sick quite well and he still seems to be groggy and not fully well. Hell isn’t the dude blind? I don’t call that recovered.

        It is like assigning some magic to Maggie being some super leader. She is A leader that makes mistakes. She funnels saviors to one spot and plays off their bravado. The plan worked had it not been for the dirty warfare. If anyone was an idiot, it was Simon doing the whole big talk in front of dead windows when he knows how much of a threat they are. The sacrifice of all those saviors reminds me of Hallorann in the Shining shouting his arrival. Call it horror, call it a laugh later (yes I am sick I guess), but we wait with bated breath on what is about to unfold and that my friend is old school Walking Dead.

        Then again I guess I choose to watch the show for the story it tells, not the story that I want it to tell. No disrespect intended on all of this. I enjoy your feedback Josh in most everything you write, even though I can’t stand your attitude. Hell it is what makes the internet interesting to me.

        Now on a side note, I don’t know why anyone fan would be against a 2 hour Walking Dead. I never ever have a problem with more Dead content.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          The idea of trying to apply science to anything in this show is pretty funny. 🙂

          The show drew a direct connection from Gabriel smearing the guts over himself to him getting sick. That’s what gave Eugene the idea to douse guts onto the weapons. There’s no ambiguity about this. It was even explicitly stated in dialogue.

          Gabriel may be blind now, but that’s because it took too long for him to find the antibiotics. Nevertheless, the antibiotics did cure his fever and prevent him from dying. (Again, all stated in dialogue.) This contradicts years of previous storytelling, in which the zombie fever was uncurable once started. Even the CDC couldn’t stop it from progressing through a patient.

          I don’t expect Maggie to be a super leader, but all of the characters on this show have been making really stupid decisions lately just for the sake of moving the plot along. If Maggie wants to funnel the Saviors through the gate and lead them into a trap, that’s not a bad idea – so long as she has somewhere for them to go. The Saviors’ dirty weapons wouldn’t have mattered one bit if she had pinned them down and taken them out as soon as they came through the gate. But she didn’t. Once they got in, they were free to run all over the place. That’s terrible planning, and there’s no excuse for it.

          Little Henry opening the prisoner cell is really the height of idiocy on this show. There was absolutely no reason for him to go into the cell. He could have shot whoever he wanted through the fence. He only opened the cell because the show’s writers needed to contrive an excuse to set the prisoners free. This is simply bad writing, and it has plagued the series for the past few seasons. The show needs a major shake-up if it’s going to continue much longer.

  6. genesim

    I am sorry but I see a lot of definite conclusions for something that can’t easily be explained away.

    So guts are smeared on Gabriel. He gets sick and other don’t? AND? He goes blind from not having antibiotics, or he goes blind anyway. And? You see where I am going? There are all kinds of situations not spoon fed to us like babies and I am glad for it. Gabriel got sick in a way that is different from others. Perhaps he is not as immune, perhaps he was unfortunate for not getting meds earlier (and yes I got that from watching the show as you did) and?? Yes there is no ambiguity about the dialogue. Of course do you also believe it when someone says “they are telling the truth” and then they later lie? Do you proclaim bad writing?

    I don’t know, call me silly, but every time Negan dipped Lucille in the blood I think, boy they are pushing this, perhaps there may be another angle? Like Dwight using his arrow and how everyone is saying how bad he is for doing it? I do believe in multiple layers of red herrings and this show has produced it time and time again.

    Why does something have to follow a rule as you see it? Why can a show not take a turn? In the grand scheme of things there are all kinds of unexplained exceptions in life, should a TV show tie a nice little bow to make us all feel safe?

    There was no contradiction because there are no rules when it comes to nature. I crack up when people believe zombies coming back to life, but oh no if someone gets an infection that doesn’t follow their ideal pattern, that is just too much. I saw similar reactions to Lost in the later seasons and they didn’t have any merit then either. I can see it now. Rick dies from an infection by just falling and writing him out of the show. How dare they! So unbelievable, it never would have happened that way! As a preview see Carl fate reaction.

    Now we are onto Henry opening a gate door?? Let me get this straight, it wasn’t enough there wasn’t pandemonium, it wasn’t enough that we have people likely guarding that are not soldiers (and believe me, I have been a part of situations where order broke down because some buffoon with power decides to micromanage and pulls people off of posts for the greater good while putting everyone else in further danger), it wasn’t enough that people were likely feeling the effects of the reality vs the “plan”, but now you are trying to assign pattern to how a kid in mourning should act? How a kid should be a kid? Carl Jr.anyone?

    It reminds me of what you are saying about a somehow poorly executed funnel. I never got that at all. If anything the plan was never to let them in to begin with. The vehicles not getting where they needed to be was proof of this to me as opposed to some master bottle neck plan like you think it was or should have been. They were clearly panicked when the scattering started.

    Maggie pulled back and dealt with the situation in her feeble military skills and she did this with an announcement. That is the story. Although I would never proclaim no ambiguity because to me if she planned it all along, why announce it? Maggie didn’t have a plan past wanting to kill as many Saviors as possible with the ultimate goal to kill Negan, that is my belief (but I would never foolishly state it as some kind of gospel fact). They have beat us over the head continuously that Maggie can and does make mistakes (hence the parade that made them turn back on the road to begin with where Simon spared their lives.). What she woulda coulda shoulda done is of no consequence. So called brilliant leaders in all of history have made blunders and to me that is exactly as you say “moving the plot along”.

    The final word on Gabrielle is that he is sick, and we don’t really know to what extent and to what he is immune to and how much of his faith will play into it, if at all. I choose to watch the story unfold and be darn entertained by it from day 1 (and it has NEVER let me down). There are people I know that stopped watching because of “stupid” behavior from characters. Eh, if I let that bother me I would never go to work or step outside my house to that extent, reality bud, plain and simple. That is the most real part of the show and what keeps it interesting. Glad Maggie isn’t a Mary Sue and any real fan of art wouldn’t crave it.

    And finally why didn’t the people pay attention or hear. They were lackadaisical and stressed from a war situation that they never been a part of before to that extent. It happened quick and it wasn’t pattern. Again, beating this dead horse.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I’m glad that you’re still finding enjoyment in the show, but everything you’ve just written reads to me like you’re struggling to rationalize why the characters are so dumb. It would be one thing if it was just one character who made a dumb mistake, but lately it’s been all of them, in every episode, over and over again. The cumulative impact is enormously frustrating to watch. These same characters were not so dumb in the early seasons. If they had been, the show wouldn’t have lasted this long.

      If things don’t get better next season, the ratings will continue to decline and the show may not be around much longer.

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        The Henry scene was so bad that even the guests on The Talking Dead rolled their eyes at it and professional AMC cheerleader Chris Hardwick acknowledged that it was pretty dumb. The man is contractually forbidden by the network from saying anything negative about the show, but he had no defense for that scene.

  7. genesim

    I think most shows get PERCEIVED fatigue around the 6th or 7th season. Good shows have the earlier great work hurdles to get past. You think I am rationalizing, I think you are nitpicking and expecting the show to be what you want it to be as opposed to it being a fair assessment. The worst part is the show is far from over. The story arch isn’t even finished and I think there have been some fantastic turns already.

    I take Talking Dead with a grain of salt. It is a goofy post wrap up annoyance that I could get on any extra. The “fans” that come on drooling are the worst part (Marilyn Manson proclaiming that TV shows are better than movies?)

    The Henry scene wasn’t “bad”, it is your opinion. There is no right and wrong. Sorry you don’t enjoy the show as much, but you stating it is redundancy. It is obvious from every review you make. Lately it has turned pretty mean spirited and it reads exactly what you are doing. Trashing the show. Just my opinion.

    As for Walking Dead getting cancelled or ending. Not with those numbers which may be a record low, but still twice as much as Breaking Bad/Mad Men numbers for examples (and yes I am aware of budget issues etc.). But if it did go away, I would be sad.

    Fear the Walking Dead is an amazing show and both together are going to be a blast to see in the theater shortly. I believe trashing a show seems to be the cool thing to do in later seasons and I have never got the mentality. For example Simon is one of the most interesting characters on the show, and that is saying a lot because there are so many great ones. Yet you just want him dead because he is in a power struggle with Negan? As if his character wouldn’t get ansy anyway. That is the best arch that I have ever seen. He is truly up to form and answered questions I have always had with his frustration at Negan’s bullying his own people.

  8. genesim

    p.s. It has been nice chatting. I don’t think I have made excuses, but I have used possibilities to explain questions that I really could care less about.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/03/18/why_i_could_care_less_is_not_as_irrational_or_ungrammatical_as_you_might.html

    I think some people that enjoy the show again take a watch and see approach. You can be lost as Tarantino would say, but you can still feel like you are in good hands.

    A kid acting like a dumb kid is common. Who says they have to act rational? Hell you say I am making excuses, I didn’t really think about it as much at all when I think of the stupidity that Carl has done over the years (Walker in mud anyone? Makes a tasty Dale dinner).

    To close this off, I just gotta say. Relax. The show may have some flaws, I guess, but far from a deal breaker to a great many that still follow the show. I just don’t see the point in cheer leading it into the ground.

    Last word, I think we have to agree to disagree.

  9. genesim

    Sorry to post again, but I can’t edit.

    Do not believe this foolishness about Walking Dead being in trouble. The Walking Dead is the second most DVR’d program of 2017. The final numbers after that were over 10 million watchers. While they are going lower the last couple, this is mid season and don’t mean jack. Watch for rejuvenate viewers as the season comes to an end.

  10. genesim

    A couple of observations that my wife made after reading through my long winded response.

    She mentioned that Henry seem to think he was a bad ass many times over after making the kill and was always trying to jump in. She brought up that it seemed to fall right in line that he wanted to open up the gate to try to intimidate the prisoners. Also brought up the point that not all the prisoners escaped and that was a very important part of the story of Negan’s people being mistreated.

    Another point she brought up was the fact that the body’s are decaying and that diseases will be worse as time goes on and that will affect Gabriel getting sick, but not necessarily from a zombie sickness.

    Her last comment was that all the people not noticing the dead coming back to life can be easily explained by the fatigue and the confusion. While I concentrated on them being tired, I think the shell shock/confusion is a better angle.

    Most all of this is self evident to me, but I think still worth mentioning for the sake of discussion.

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