The Walking Dead 8.14

‘The Walking Dead’ 8.14 Recap: “Everybody Turns”

Rick takes a major turn for the dark on ‘The Walking Dead’ this week. Is that supposed to be surprising? How many times do we have to go through this storyline?

Trashtown

In a flashback, we learn how Jadis survived the Heapster slaughter. It turns out that Simon didn’t let her live intentionally, as I’d previously assumed. Instead, she played dead and covered herself in another victim’s blood until the Saviors left. (Still seems pretty dumb that they didn’t check her closely or shoot her again for good measure.) Later, in a flash-forward to the present timeline, we see that Jadis lives inside a clean and spartan apartment fashioned out of a shipping container. Negan’s bat Lucille rests against a wall as her only decoration. Negan himself is tied up in a sweatbox.

When Jadis pulls Negan out and straps him to a rolling dolly cart, he tells her that he didn’t order the massacre and actually apologizes to her. The rest of this storyline makes so little sense that even network cheerleader Chris Hardwick and his guests on the ‘Talking Dead’ aftershow seemed baffled by it and could offer no explanation.

Jadis wheels out another cart with a growling Walker welded into it. I assume her plan is to torture Negan or force him to fight in a weird gladiatorial combat. She leaves him within rolling distance of a gun and a flare, and for some reason a collection of photographs that she cherishes. Negan gets an arm free and lights the flare (with one hand, neat trick), then threatens to burn the photos. Jadis panics and threatens to destroy Lucille in turn, which prompts Negan to reveal a bit of personal info about himself. He says that Lucille was the name of his wife, the only person who helped him survive through the apocalypse. After she died, he named the bat after her and now has an unhealthy emotional attachment to it. I guess this is supposed to be a major revelation, though it doesn’t really tell us much.

The helicopter that appeared in a previous episode flies over the dump, leaving Negan dumbstruck. He drops the flare into a puddle. A panicked Jadis runs to get another flare, but by the time she gets back, the helicopter has turned around and flown away.

Negan tells Jadis that he can make things right and promises to “settle it” so long as she doesn’t hurt Lucille. She eventually frees him and lets him go, though won’t answer his questions about the helicopter. Negan says that Jadis has set him on a new path and offers to bring her back to the Sanctuary with him. She refuses, so he tells her that he’ll swing by again to check on her.

On his way back to the Sanctuary, Negan stops his car and picks up someone we’re not allowed to see. By the time he gets back, he’s alone in the car again. He tells the Saviors at the gate to keep quiet about his return because he has a surprise planned.

Morgan and Carol

Ezekiel wants to go chasing after young Henry, but Carol resists. She’s already written the boy off for dead. That appears to be enough discouragement for Ezekiel, because he does nothing for the rest of the episode.

When Morgan announces that he’s going to hunt down the Saviors who escaped captivity, Carol decides to go with him. In the woods, Morgan spots Henry, but it turns out to be another delusion. He’s convinced the boy is dead and haunting him. Carol sees Morgan talking to himself and admits that she tagged along with him because she’s worried about him. He tells her to stop trying to save everybody.

The two of them later encounter a Walker with Henry’s staff stuck in it. At this point, Carol changes her mind about the boy and wants to go searching for him after all. Morgan is determined to see his own plan through, so they part ways.

Carol eventually hears Henry screaming and rescues him from some Walkers. They hug and cry. As they return to the Hilltop, Ezekiel is relieved to see both of them still alive. Carol tells him about her daughter Sophia and cries again.

Daryl and Rosita

Tara hasn’t gotten sick from her injury and it appears that she’s not going to. She feels confident that Dwight only hit her with a clean arrow, and in doing so he saved her from being killed by the other Saviors. Daryl isn’t convinced and still wants to kill him.

Pointing out that the Saviors are now using hand weapons, Dwight suspects that they must be low on ammo. Rosita reminds everyone about Eugene’s plan to make bullets. She knows where he’d have to go to do that. Later, she and Daryl spy on the Saviors’ foundry outpost and start planning how to kill all the Saviors there without damaging the equipment.

Morgan and Rick

Rick can’t bring himself to read the letter that Carl wrote to Michonne. He asks the friendly Savior defector named Alden where his buddies would have gone after escaping, and Alden points him toward an old dive bar on the way to the Sanctuary. Alden asks Rick not to kill any more of them than he has to. He says that most of them are just people who made a poor decision in the heat of the moment and can be brought around to realizing their mistake.

While searching for the Saviors, Rick catches up with Morgan, who admits to him that he’s not right in the head anymore. Rick doesn’t seem bothered by that. He offers to help him hunt and kill the Saviors.

As Rick and Morgan scope out the bar that Alden mentioned, someone sneaks up behind and knocks them both out. They wake up inside the building, tied up. This group of Saviors are a sad bunch. Some of them are sick and wounded, and others (primarily asshole Jared) want to cut them loose and leave without them. Jared is also very eager to turn Rick over to Negan in order to get back in Negan’s good graces.

Rick makes a counter offer to bring the Saviors back to the Hilltop with him and let them join the community. He gives them his word that they won’t be harmed, and their wounded will be treated. He says they’ll need to make their decision quickly, though, because a herd of Walkers are incoming and the building isn’t fortified to keep them out. The Saviors argue amongst themselves about this. Some of them like what Rick is saying, but Jared insists that Rick is lying about the Walker herd.

Almost as soon as he says this, Walkers come lurching into the building and chaos ensues. The other Saviors turn on Jared and free Rick and Morgan. The two of them help kill some of the Walkers, but as the battle dies down, they turn and start indiscriminately murdering all the Saviors too, even the ones on their side. Jared sees this happening and tries to run, but doesn’t get far. Morgan stalks him and traps him behind a gate until Walkers eat his face off.

A dying Savior asks Rick why he’d do this after giving his word. Rick coldly responds that he lied, then puts the man down.

Their mission accomplished, Rick and Morgan return to the Hilltop. Alden sees them covered in blood and intuits what must have happened. Morgan skulks off and cries. Rick reads Carl’s letter and also cries.

Episode Verdict

There’s a lot of crying in this episode. Everybody’s sad about their lot in life, or about what they’re turning into. None of this feels very revelatory to me. We’ve already had storylines like this before and the repetition is tiring. It’s just another sign that the show’s writers have run out of ideas.

The stuff with Jadis and Negan is particularly dumb. If she had a plan for him, it doesn’t make any sense at all. The whole storyline is just an excuse to tease viewers with the possibility of Negan dying, only to let him slip free again for entirely contrived reasons. I don’t believe for a minute that he’s had a change of heart and is a good guy all of a sudden.

I find the suggestion that Negan and Rick have changed roles and now Rick is the real villain to be kind of galling, honestly. Negan isn’t a good person and can’t be redeemed. I fear that the writers’ intention here is to keep him around for another season. The character is far too played-out to sustain that.

12 comments

  1. genesim

    I don’t know why, but I feel drawn to your reviews like honey. I am trying to remember, but didn’t Negan have two hands free? Gun in one hand, flare in the other? I think bat name was a nice touch and while kinda sick, added another dimension to him. It no more has to mean anything than Jadis escaping. She was made to watch a massacre and things get out of hand. Simon cares nothing about her and her getting away has no consequence. Bad writing, no, she is a survivor and found a way. I don’t see Simon to be the look under every nook and cranny kind of guy lately. He has been ruled by emotion at this point. His mow down was out of sheer anger. That and Simon seems to not care about leaving people that hate Negan alive either. Saddling Jadis with thinking it was Negan’s fault is not out of the realm of possibility. This is not making excuses, not blindly cheer leading, this is just as I see it.

    As for the crying not sounding revelatory, how about they just cry because they have been through a war and seems to never end? They put everything they as non-soldiers know how to do, and seemingly fail after going through some biological thing? I am glad this episode took some time to reflect, and more importantly it is showing how Morgan and Carol while strong are aging and they too are not taking it very well.

    I have never see Jadis as some great thoughtful leader and has shown weakness plenty of times. While Negan being slippery is annoying, it makes for fun to me. Something you love to hate. Where do you seriously get that Negan and Rick have changed roles? I again think it is a Red Herring. I am fascinated by what is written in the letter and I like this turn.

    Rick making a war move was a good one to me. Forget those punks surrendering. They were part of the wrong side, and they ran again. They lost their get out of jail free card to me. Rick gunning them all down makes sense considering the predicament they were in. Does it show Rick getting colder like no other time before, absolutely, but then again look at all the chances he gave Jadis or even the Governer in the old days. A man can and does have a breaking point, and I will never ever forget that Negan is a sociopath. Wherever it goes, I trust the writers and I am looking forward to next round even if I can never guess where it is going. I was entertained by the episode….but yeah, shame Jadis didn’t bash him in the head.

    Oh and finally, the pickup, could it have been what his Dwight’s wife? I wouldn’t put it past Simon to try to squeal to Negan about turn coating plans to save his own hide. How this plays out has me double excited.

  2. Joshua P. Christie

    I agree about the storyline repetition. Lennie James and Melissa McBride were acting their asses off in this episode but they have 360’ed their characters so many times it is impossible to say and convey the same lines and story ad nauseum and expect there to be any effect left on the audience. The Negan blowtorch/gun bit was another example of piss poor quality control in that it was written for the convenience of getting the story where they needed it without bothering to set it up or execute. To a lesser extent, same thing with Rick & Morgan being captured. Mercifully only 2 episodes left…

  3. Joseph Levitt

    Good comments genesim. I, too, find these reviews like a bad accident that I have to take a look at. Anyone who reads the comics understands that the storyline has shifted and the “walking dead” are now as much the “survivors” as the “zombies”. Negan isn’t going anywhere. He’s still around in the comics, so everyone should get used to it. Ok, I admit not everything makes perfect and logical sense. Few things do. Honestly, I think HDD needs to find another “reviewer” for TWD starting next season. One who can see beyond the obvious and is less vitriolic.

  4. Josh Zyber
    Author

    These complaints asking why I still watch the show are almost as tiresome as the show itself has become. I’ve been watching this series for eight seasons and am invested enough with the characters that I feel a need to see the story through for a while longer. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the quality of the show’s writing has gone downhill recently, and I see no point in pretending otherwise. The plots have gotten repetitive and dull, the characters continually make really dumb decisions as if they’ve learned nothing from surviving through the apocalypse for this long, and even the zombie attacks and carnage are more silly and contrived than suspenseful.

    If all you want is some rah-rah cheerleadering for how this is the most awesome TV show ever and can never make a mistake, that’s what The Talking Dead is for. My intent for these recaps is to critically analyze what actually works and what doesn’t in the episodes. With every new week that goes by, I continue to hold out hope that the show will catch a second wind and the writing will improve, returning to the quality of the earlier seasons.

    I was ready to give up on Fear the Walking Dead after Season 2, but the third season saw genuine improvement, enough that I’m now actually more interested in new episodes of that show than of this one.

    • This right here. Thank you, Josh. We continue watching and criticize because we care. Further, Josh isn’t the only writer that does a weekly recap that is struggling with the show right now. A lot of them are. People that have been doing it for years. Try a google search, you’ll find them.

      One in particular that I recall from last week titled his article “…So Stupid I Can’t Stand It.” The guy has been writing WD articles for years, is often favorable, and optimistic for its future. But he also isn’t afraid to call the show out for dumb writing and there has been a lot of it recently.

  5. genesim

    Josh,

    If you get tired of criticism, I would think you stop responding. Not everyone can just agree with you.

    This isn’t about being a cheerleader, it is about unnecessary bashing of every single little thing over and over. Even getting so nasty as to criticize not getting an answer when you want it in an episode? I think you are being unfair, but furthermore unrealistic. Things happen, and it doesn’t always have to be in a tidy bow.

    Reed,

    I don’t put much stock in the criticizers of later seasons because it has been a popular thing with all kinds of shows. You would think that LOST had become the worst piece of garbage ever if you trusted the tiring reviews that came later. Same with the Sopranos. Sorry, but I gotta disagree heavily. Both shows were darn near perfect to me.

    Getting back to The Walking Dead, I see no “dumb” decisions, but decisions that merely cope. I cannot go all ballistic on a kid like Henry for being a kid and to suggest otherwise is to disregard the history of human kind. To call it bad writing is also silly to me because it implies that kids cannot do these kinds of things. This is but one of the examples of emotional trashing that is going on rather than honest to goodness criticism.

    But hey, it is his column, and I read plenty of them. I just see reviews getting more and more mean spirited. It won’t change my enjoyment of the show one iota. I have seen nothing that is a deal breaker to me, or wanting it to end. If I want a show to end, I won’t watch.

    Come to think of it, I saw the same grilling with shows like Mad Men and Dexter which also delivered in their own way. I choose to see what the writer intends, not what I want it to be, and I feel rewarded because of it.

    • It’s possible that Josh is too hard on the show at times. I don’t necessarily think so, but I can see where some could. However, I would also propose that maybe you are too easy on the show. Lost, as an example. I agree with you in thinking that critics were a little too hard on it by the end. On the other hand, I think the writers really did paint themselves into corners that made it more susceptible to criticism. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle.

      Back to our current show where I see a similarity, I notice that the one example you bring up again from last week to defend the show against the “dumb” arguments is one of the easiest to hand wave away. Kids do stupid stuff. I can agree with that and see where it wouldn’t mean lazy writing. I think the reason it sticks in so many people’s craw, though, is because of all of the other dumb stuff that happened right before it. Or that we’ve already seen it before with young Carl. Or both.

      I know you wrote an entire dissertation about everything else last week, so I’m not going to rehash it all over again. But since I’ll give you one thing (kids do dumb stuff – not necessarily bad writing), how about you give me one? A zombie falling down a flight of stairs is going to set off alarms in a house packed full of wary people no matter how tired/shell-shocked/heavy sleeping any one of them might be. That was just absurd.

      • genesim

        Reed,

        I missed this post and dudn’t want to ignore. I see a Zombie falling down a set of stairs could/should get notice, but things can and do happen slow/fast in the Walking Dead world. Perception can be molded by them showing the magic trick to scare us or scream at the screen Friday the 13th style.

        Now has it been done to death, yes. Is Walking Dead truly original in that aspect, no, never was. I could point out 50 times in the series where similar annoyances happened before. As for Carl/Henry, yeah good tricks never cease to frustrate. It is like a fart joke. I was equally amused the first go (read wanted to punish that kid for the moment).

        I see your point, but hard to discern that much different than other moments. The show is not as good as season 1 to 3, but there is nothing like youth is there?

        Lost gotta disagree. Past/present/sideways, brilliant execution of an explanation of space time that says all things happened to progress to what the next step is. A brilliant show that still gets me. No painting into the corner for me.

  6. genesim

    By the way, I will calm down with my responses. I don’t want to get banned because I disagree. I respectfully still appreciate the reviews and will probably fade back now. It is after all one man’s opinion, and there is still some good observations from Josh.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I don’t ban people for disagreeing with me. The few people I’ve ever banned from commenting on this blog were all spammers or trolls. You can disagree or even argue with me all you want so long as you’re not an a-hole about it, which you haven’t been so far.

      I can respect that you have a different viewpoint on this show, even if I don’t agree with it.

  7. genesim

    Much appreciated Josh, you are obviously a great film lover and there is nothing that I can really dislike about that. Looking forward to next episode. Also looking forward to Fear cross-over (in the theater no less!).

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