I don’t tend to keep a running tally on who my favorite and least favorite characters on The Walking Dead are, but I don’t think it would be too much of surprise to learn that Sasha and Rosita wouldn’t rank too high. It’s not the fault of either Sonequa Martin-Green or Christian Serratos, who have both done the most with what they’ve been given, but “The Other Side” seems to be the episode designed to get them past mourning over Abraham, squabbling over Abraham and plotting revenge against the guy that killed Abraham. It’s just a shame it took a long time for this episode to finally focus on their storyline.
Seriously, given how the cold open played out, it seemed like we were instore for an episode that followed these two ladies going on their mission. A somber montage played out in an effort to catch us up on the training of the Hilltop folk, concluding with an alternate angle of the scene we saw weeks ago with Rosita approaching Sasha for help. It’s nice that The Walking Dead has a level of appreciation for the audience’s comprehension of time passage, even if travel time between these communities still feels like something of a mystery (fast-travel must be an option, right gamers?). That said, once being caught up on the Hilltop timeline, things really slowed to a crawl for a series of events that can easily be defined in bullet points:
- Saviors arrive because they need to take the good Dr. Carson back to the Sanctuary.
- Simon and Gregory talk over things.
- Maggie and Daryl hide, but Daryl nearly kills a Savior.
These scenes could make for exciting television in some way, given the people involved, but rarely did these moments really come alive. The Maggie and Daryl situation, for example, allows a whole commercial break to cut into the tension of them hiding away. That’s not efficiency and it doesn’t get us to what matters more any quicker. It does allow for a moment to reflect on Daryl’s role in getting Glenn killed, but at what cost? Daryl had just almost killed a Savior, which would have made no sense.
Meanwhile, a good amount of time is spent with Simon and Gregory and it is only due to the strengths of Xander Berkley and Steven Ogg that these scenes had something extra for them. As I’ve been very clear in the past, Berkley is bringing character actor gold to a role that could easily be much less enjoyable. At the same time, Ogg is continuing to prove just how much more fun Simon is as a total corrupt bully than Negan. Still, it all amounts to a setup, given the assurance Simon provides Gregory that at some point he’s going to use him in an effort to stop the group that is all about taking down Negan.
Moving past all of this, which includes a scene of Gregory making sure Jesus knows who’s the boss around these parts (in title at least), we finally get back to Sasha and Rosita. There’s some walker action, as the two try to find a working car to help get them to the Sanctuary. We also have to bear witness to yet another scene of Rosita and Sasha reminding each other that they were both in love with Abraham. Cutting through this stuff though, we finally get to the heart of this episode. The two sit in a nearby warehouse (where they can take a shot at Negan, given the chance) and talk about things.
The writing is not exactly the best yet from The Walking Dead, but it is sufficient enough to flesh out these women as characters. I say that recognizing how they’ve grown since their introduction into the show, but still seem to have been coming up short in having the additional material needed to keep them relevant in more ways than one. This final section of the episode allows Rosita to explain how she has the skills she does and Sasha is able to relate with the person she inadvertently became quite close to. It all leads up to a final sequence that resonates because of the time spent with them talking things out.
An act of sacrifice means that Sasha is most likely on a doomed mission, while Rosita is forced to standby and retreat. Of course, she manages to come across someone in the shadows (could it be anyone other than Daryl, given that hulking silhouette?), but we’ll have to wait until next time to figure out what’s what. One thing’s for sure, Eugene did not like the sudden attempt to rescue him.
“The Other Side” is a downshift in terms of season momentum. Given how we only have two episodes left, I’m not sure providing lots of setup for things that may not even pay off this season was the best approach. It works overall, thanks to the work from Berkley and Ogg and the eventual scenes allowing Rosita and Sasha’s character to have more of a say about things, but last week’s stellar Morgan-focused episode really doesn’t help this change in pace. I may be more inclined to support the character-driven episodes, but here’s hoping things get back to walker action and community-building with Rick and the gang next week.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: There’s a moment when Sasha and Rosita both make quick work of two walkers in near-identical fashion that looked pretty cool.
- Lots of close-ups this week.
- Looks like things just got difficult for Maggie’s baby, although she still hasn’t even begun to show.
- Enid’s plan with the veggies vegetables did almost nothing useful.
- What flavors of ice cream do you think the Saviors have?
- Eugene had a whole bunch of hilarious lines where he gave orders and announced himself as Negan.
- Hot-wiring cars has never been easier than this week on The Walking Dead.
- 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.