So here we are with one week until the extended season finale of The Walking Dead and I have to hope the writers have something great in store for us. I say this because “Something They Need” is the second week in a row of table setting. That is not always a bad thing, as The Walking Dead has easily used downtime between major episodes to allow for some strong character bits or even creative zombie kills moments. However, with last week’s dull episode and now this week’s very messy one, I just hope the payoff is worth it.
Three separate plotlines make up the story of this week’s episode. The first is easily the silliest of the bunch. It’s the return to Oceanside. The idea is watching how Rick and the gang go about getting the guns and perhaps new members for Rick’s army for the sake of satisfying the junkyard people and having what is needed to take on the Saviors. It plays out in the most ridiculous way possible.
From what I saw, Rick (off-screen) laid out an entire plan involving bombs, perimeter forces and sending in Tara to sort of negotiate a plan of surrender, knowing that it most likely wouldn’t work. In a better episode something bad would have happened, but miraculously nothing bad happens at all. The plan goes off pretty perfectly with the exception of a brief hostage scenario involving Tara. No one gets killed, brief teamwork occurs when a pack of walkers enter the scene and Rick and his crew leave with all of the guns.
Obviously this is considered by the show to be a good thing, but something about a random bearded man coming in and barking orders to this secluded group of women who have fought hard for their land doesn’t sound right. Given how we are supposed to be rooting for Rick, I couldn’t help but feel disturbed by just how close to Negan his character seemed to be. He may not have beaten Natania’s head to a pulp with a baseball bat to make his point, but there was still an aspect to all of this that felt unexplored if the idea really is to show a certain duality of leaders. And just to reinforce this thought – that whole plan was a ludicrous set up.
Moving away from Rick, we have Sasha. This plot played out better, although it cut out the whole suicide run Sasha went on at the end of last week’s episode, which feels like a missed opportunity to see her in action (as opposed to more shots of Rick acting heroic). Regardless, this storyline finds Sasha in lockup at the Sanctuary. A brief encounter with a potential rapist is cut short thanks to Negan’s strict “no rape” policy (what a great guy) and leads to a different conversation. Does it really add up though?
I can understand having one loose cannon, but it seems like Negan is now just taking in anyone who wants to take a swing at him, because he admires their “beach ball-size lady nuts”. If I had a team of evil bullies working for me, I don’t know I’d want one of those members to be someone who really wanted to kill me. But what do I know? I’m not a narcissistic murderer with a penchant for making really bad jokes to impress my crew of evil cronies and hold onto power at my post-apocalyptic fascist capital. So Negan allows Sasha to hang onto a knife and figure out her next move. Eugene arrives to try and reason with Sasha, but she’s basically planning to go along with Negan until she can find a chance to kill him. This probably won’t go well, but at least she’s trying.
The final plotline is just a brief couple of scenes involving Maggie and Gregory. It lets us know that Maggie is still a good farmer and that Gregory is still a bad coward. There’s a moment of tension where Gregory thinks of stabbing Maggie in the back, but that is twisted around at the sight of walkers. We get the extra bit of info that Gregory has never killed before (though he has lied about it), which presumably sets him down a new path. By the end of this episode, it appears Gregory plans to take a trip to the Sanctuary to talk with Simon.
So yeah, this was another episode of people moving around to specific locations to get things ready for what should be a fairly action-packed finale. I just wish it made more sense. There is a level of acceptance I have to take with a show that can be as silly as this one, but given the strides The Walking Dead has gone through to get me to certain points with these characters, seeing someone like Tara just roll with Rick’s idiotic (yet somehow successful) plan was a hard pill to swallow. At least Negan’s inflated Ego helps his part of this episode make a level of sense.
In the grand scheme of things, this was another episode that will be remembered more for the bullet points version of what “important” things happened as far as setting up certain plot points, more than anything else. Aside from Xander Berkley’s Gregory (as usual), no one really stood out here and the action was mainly point-and-shoot zombie kills. The amount of Negan and his use was the kind I prefer and the end goes for another classic cliffhanger moment. If it means a big game changer, then at least we get to have one unexpected thing on the record for this week.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Maggie does some effective heavy lifting thanks to her trusty spade and gets two walker kills.
- Okay, so the last moment with Dwight pays off the mini-mystery from last week and helps explain why lots of focus was put on him throughout the season. MILD COMIC SPOILERS – I was aware this was coming and given his overall goal against Negan, I’ll be curious how this TV version of the character continues to function in the show, especially since he has a wife out there somewhere.
- Seriously Rick? Set off bombs all over the place? That’s a key part of the plan? C’mon!
- “Baby Steps” – Sasha is entering the Negan school of becoming a henchman. Let’s see how long that lasts.
- Negan is apparently on to Rick in some way. How?
- “See you later Rachel [flips her the bird]” – That was a hilarious callback. Leave it to this show to make flipping off a little girl funny.
- “Get on your knees” – Rick is really leaning into partial dark side territory (again).
- Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what myself and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on the The Walking Dead TV Podcast.