Hey AMC, you want to talk about warning signs? How about the ratings for The Walking Dead so far this season, am I right?
Yeah, yeah…streaming services and relative numbers…I know. Just trying to lighten the mood a bit before things get dark. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Live Without Warning
The episode opens with Justin (the Savior dude who was mysteriously killed at the end of last episode) reanimating. He then shambles off with a bunch of other zombies by a sign that says ‘Final Warning,’ because if there’s one thing this show values, it’s subtlety.
Back in Alexandria, Rick picks a perfectly good tomato off the vine and leaves it on Carl’s grave. Then he goes inside to tell Michonne what an amazing wife and partner she is (agreed) and slyly suggest that maybe they should think about having a baby together in this world where terrible things are always happening to them every few months.
As if to prove what a bad idea this is, we see Maggie get accosted by a group of Saviors who believe she might be responsible for Justin’s disappearance. Things get even more heated when one of the Saviors steals a tomato from her cart and eats it in front of her. Thankfully (and improbably), the Savior woman with the neck tattoo manages to diffuse the situation. Of course, this is about the time undead Justin decides to show up and prove that he was murdered.
Word reaches Rick and Michonne in Alexandria that the Saviors are getting mad and antsy, completely ruining their perfect day with Judith.
Sympathy for the Devils
If you want to know what the Saviors’ makeshift work camp looks like, imagine an Allman Brothers concert without the music. As you might expect, fights are starting to break out and accusations of murder are flying (in that order).
Just when things look like they’re going to boil over, Sheriff Grimes rides into the fray on a horse and gets everyone to settle. After everyone trudges off to their respective corners, he asks Gabriel if Jadis/Anne might have been up to anything. Still under her post-coitus spell, Gabriel lies and says he was with her the entire evening (when we all know she was actually by herself on watch and scoping out that mystery helicopter).
Making matters worse, Justin’s mortal pre-zombie wound looked like an arrow to the chest…and we all know there’s a certain hunky redneck who likes to shoot a crossbow at everything. To Daryl’s credit, he staunchly denies killing Justin while also saying that maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea, especially since the Saviors killed so many of their people. Rick counters with his usual stupid argument that killing is bad (unless he’s doing it, of course).
Hints, Lies, Allegations Left Unsaid
Gabrielle asks Jadis/Anne if she’s hiding something. Jadis/Anne doesn’t say or do much to assuage his concern.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Cyndie find a house with a bunch of walkers in it and almost die. Daryl comes to help rescue them (which was cool and all), but there should have been a Savior crew that got to them first.
Sure enough, Bea has been knocked out and Arat is missing. No, I didn’t remember who they were, either. I totally had to look it up.
From here, we got a bunch of searching and handwringing about how things will be handled with regards to justice once Arat’s kidnappers and/or murderers have been found. In the meantime, Jadis/Anne heads back to the garbage heap and radios the dude in the chopper. He asks if she has an ‘A or a B.’ They cryptically go back in forth in their weird algebraic language for a bit until Jadis/Anne agrees to get him an A.
Unfortunately for her, Gabriel has heard everything and deduced that something nefarious is afoot. She admits that she had once traded people for supplies of the Scavengers–and was now going to do the same again since a few people suspected her (the former leader of a traitorous, murderous cult) might be a suspect in the Savior disappearances. She then offers Gabriel a chance to come with her. He says he needs to tell Rick and is promptly whacked across the head.
Leading by Example
Rick and Carol get accosted in the woods by Saviors, who are leaving/quitting the bridge project. Carol gets a knife pulled on her, then kicks the guys ass anyway. When he why she doesn’t just take him out, Carol says that every life matt…HAHAHAHA. Okay, seriously? Badass-Killing-Machine, Look-at-the-Flowers Carol is preaching about the sanctity of life. Wow.
Anyway, the Saviors walk off the bridge project.
The real conclusion of the episode, however, is when Daryl and Maggie discover Cyndie and some Oceansiders about to kill Arat for how she gleefully helped murder Cyndie’s brother. Arat tries to say that everyone has changed/gotten a second chance, but the Oceansiders point out that Maggie showed them the way by killing Gregory…which is kind of a BS argument. Gregory got his second chance and blew it. This was just straight revenge killing.
Nevertheless, Maggie and Daryl appear to agree with this line of thinking and walk away, allowing Arat to be killed and (presumably) heading to see Negan.
As I said before, the episode’s big conclusion is built on a foundation of crap. Look, I like a good Gregory execution as much as the next person, but he did get his slate wiped cleaned in the post-Negan world. Arat was being killed for revenge from the time before Negan got locked up. Whether you think that’s justified or not (there’s good arguments for either side), it’s a false equivalence.
That said, the mystery of who killed Justin (and why) along with the Jadis/Anne helicopter mystery finally giving us some answers made this episode slightly more palatable than last week. We all knew the conflict with the Saviors was going to boil over. Now that it’s finally happened, maybe things will start to get interesting again.
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