Last week, The Walking Dead showed us Daryl’s treatment at the hands of The Saviors. It also assaulted us with what might be the most vicious earworm of all time.
In “Service,” we get a 90(ish)-minute episode dedicated to Alexandria’s first meeting with The Saviors since The Lucille Killings.
The Bullet vs. The Blade
The episode opens with Michonne sneaking out of bed, grabbing a rifle, and heading to a field so she can practice her long distance firing skills. Sadly, she turns out to be kind of terrible. Not only did she completely miss the walker lumbering toward her (and have to kill it the old fashion way with her sword), but she also manages to accidentally hit a deer…that was really far away, hidden behind some trees, and didn’t run away despite hearing multiple gunshots.
It’s not very often that a scene can piss off both animal rights activists and hunters, but The Walking Dead definitely pulled it off.
Meanwhile, Negan and his Saviors arrive at Alexandria for their first aggressive supply collection. As expected, it feels all types of awkward. Negan acts like a living Comcast ad, raving about how grateful the Alexandrians should be for the protection his Saviors provide while robbing them blind. He also brings Daryl along, but refuses to let Rick speak to him.
Meanwhile, Dwight proceeds to obliterate any sympathy he’d cultivated in the last episode. After confiscating Rosita’s weapons, he pours out all her water, takes her hat (?), and drools over her like she’s a walker-fed piece of ham. He also makes her go on an errand with Spencer (which is a punishment in and of itself) to retrieve Daryl’s bike.
Locker Room Talk
Negan continues to taunt and enrage Rick, refusing the items that were set aside for his crew and helping himself to whatever “half” of Alexandria’s goods he desires–which apparently includes all their mattress.
Not content with his already high level of douchbaggery, Negan then demands to see Maggie because he thinks she’ll be an easy lay while grieving her dead husband. Who he killed. Good lord, man.
In one of the episodes’ few genuine surprises, Gabriel pops up behind Negan, startling him, and offers to take him to pay his respects at Maggie’s grave.
By the way, if you actually believed that the show killed Maggie off screen, then you’re clearly one of the people to blame for last week’s election.
Speaking of people losing their healthcare coverage, The Saviors decide that “half” of Alexandria’s medicine means they can take all of it. Carl, however, isn’t having any of it. After firing a warning shot (?) and threatening to kill the pillaging goons, Negan walks in and calms things down by threatening to kill everyone. He then decides that this is a good time to ask Rick about his missing guns.
Outside the town gates, Rosita and Spencer find Daryl’s bike. Rosita also finds a herd of walkers, giving her a chance to do some badass zombie slaying in between Spencer’s constant whining about how Rick put everyone in the terrible position they were in.
Rosita tells Spencer to man up (kind of) and takes an empty gun off one of the walkers.
A Simple Plan
Back in Alexandria, Rick leads Negan to their gun storage shed. After making a fat joke about Olivia, Negan and his crew begin to load up the town’s entire supply of guns. Everything seems to be going fine until they came up two guns short from Olivia’s hand written tally. Negan then declares that if the two guns are not found and delivered to him, Olivia will be killed.
Look, I’m not a very smart man, so maybe someone in the comments can explain to me WHY THEY KEPT AN ACCURATE WRITTEN TALLY OF ALL THE GUNS THEY HAD.
I mean, seriously, what am I missing here? They knew Negan was coming. There was time to prepare. And even if they didn’t decide to hide any weapons, wouldn’t a lower tally with “extra” guns on hand be a better scenario? Even Michonne (near the end of the episode) brings up the fact her weapon was from one of the outposts and wouldn’t be recorded.
Ugh. I’m all for dramatic tension, but not when it’s caused by such a transparently contrived and stupid situation.
Anyway, Rick calls a town meeting, where he begs everyone to tell him where the missing guns are while also giving the “Negan is in charge” line so they could use it in the episode trailers. Since we’re already on a roll with stupid plot devices, he just so happens to notice that the two people he saw leave Alexandria a few hours ago aren’t at the meeting–and one of them is a known a-----e.
Sure enough, Rick heads over to Spencer’s house and finds the missing guns. We also learn from Gabriel that Maggie is still alive, which we (hopefully) already knew.
When Rick comes back out, we see Enid (who apparently escaped the closet Carl locked her in at the end of Season 6) being sexually harassed by one of Negan’s goons.
Seriously. We get it. They’re really bad people.
By this point, Rick has also been forced by Negan to hold Lucille (phallic symbolism alert), which makes Michonne understandably pissed off when she returns. She’s even more shocked/enraged when Rick insists that she give Negan her rifle and the deer she accidentally shot, too.
Blast from the Past
As the Saviors prepare to leave, Rick asks if Daryl can stay. Negan says no at first, but then decides to give Daryl a chance to plead his case. Daryl refuses to speak and puts his head down, instead.
Yep, that dramatic scene we had last week of him refusing to break under Negan’s heel just got completely flushed down the drain.
Spencer and Rosita return with Daryl’s bike, which Dwight takes. He also gives back Rosita’s hat and acts like a creep again.
Negan smiles, makes a very NSFW metaphor about how Rick was just treated, and rides off with his bounty of guns, pills, and mattresses. Spencer yells at Rick for putting them all in this position. Rick threatens to break Spencer’s jaw. If you ask me, these two deserve each other.
Later, Michonne confronts Rick about his missing testicles. He responds by giving the “bombshell” revelation that Judith is actually Shane’s daughter (which I think we all assumed). He then reveals that he’ll do anything to keep her alive, which includes bending the knee to Negan. Michonne isn’t happy about it, but she seems to understand his reasoning.
Later, she follows a smoke plume and finds everyone’s mattresses burned like University of Virginia just won a national championship.
The episode ends with Rosita asking Eugene to make her a bullet to use in her “unregistered” gun.
Is it Good?
Seriously? We needed an hour and a half for that?
Actually, the episode was barely longer than a normal length one thanks to more commercial breaks than I’ve ever seen during one of the show’s broadcasts. But even with the constant interruptions, the story itself still felt like 90 minutes.
I get that the show’s writers want to establish Negan and his Alexandrian goons as really bad people, but they don’t need to beat us over the head with it. Aside from Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s scenery chewing, this episode was redundant at best. Add in the aforementioned plot holes and it was almost painful to watch.
At least it looks like we’ll be heading to the Hilltop next week to see what Maggie and Sasha are up to. Hopefully they haven’t made highly detailed lists of everything for The Saviors to check while the town is being pillaged.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!