Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Walking Dead Season 8, Episode 6: The King, The Widow And Rick

This week on The Walking Dead we get one of the show's infamous filler episodes, as we finally get to see some characters who aren't Rick, and the writers begin setting up the mid-season finale. 

It also gave us the unwanted return of Jadis and the Garbage Pail Kids, a group that will surely go down in the history as the all time most despised characters on the entire show. Seriously, what coke-addled Hollywood mind thought this collection of Road Warrior rejects was a good idea?

Garbage Pail Kids aside, it wasn't a bad episode. It was miles above last week's dreadful "Department Head Meeting" debacle. There was some good stuff in the Hilltop scenes between Maggie, Jesus and Gregory. 

The King, The Widow And Rick is what I like to call a "Reminder Episode." One that focuses on the many, many other characters on the show, in an effort to remind us they still exist. And to give the restless actors something to do.

This episode also formally introduces us to Siddiq, a minor character from the comic who briefly appeared in the season premiere. Based on the amount of screen time he gets this week, the writers apparently have something big in mind for him.

I don't have a problem with bringing in more characters from the comic, but I have to wonder why the writers are doing it nowThere're already a good twenty or thirty other characters on the show who are criminally underserved and have absolutely nothing to do. At this point the last thing they need is a new guy to take even more screentime away from them.

Lastly, Negan's given both Ezekiel and Maggie cool nicknames in "The King" and "The Widow." Why doesn't Rick get one too? Why's he just "Rick?" Wouldn't it be better if they called him "The Sheriff" or something like that?


The Plot:
As the episode opens we see Rick, Maggie and Carol communicating with one another via letter. Rick tells them The Plan is working, as Negan and the Sanctuary are currently surrounded by a massive herd of walkers. He says they have snipers stationed around the place to pick off anyone who pokes their head outside. He says they're all to meet at the Sanctuary in two days to end the war with Negan. Of course on this show, two days could mean two seasons.

Sigh... we then cut to Jadis and the Garbage Pail Kids. For some reason, Jadis sits wearing nothing but an apron (!) while she sculpts a new cat out of wire. There's a knock at the junkyard gate, and when her guards open it, Rick saunters in. He tells Jadis the Sanctuary's on the ropes, and shows her the Polaroids he's taken of all the Saviors his people have killed. He tells her he needs her and she needs him, and asks her community to abandon Negan and join the others. Jadis says a simple "No," and Rick is escorted away.

At the Hilltop, Jesus hands out turnips to the captive Saviors, who're being held outside the gates. Maggie orders him to stop handing out food to their enemies, and is furious with him for creating this new problem. Gregory hangs around Maggie like Wormtongue, suggesting she kill the prisoners.

Over at the Kingdom, Carol knocks on Ezekiel's door, but he's still moping from his recent defeat and refuses to answer. She yells to him that they promised Rick they'd meet him.

In Alexandria, Michonne, who's apparently still on the show, gets antsy waiting for Rick to return. She decides to take a drive, "just to have a look around." Rosita goes with her, to remind us she's still on the series as well.

Tara tells Daryl she's glad he didn't kill Dwight when he had the chance, as his intel has been a big help to them. She says once the war's over though, she's going to kill Dwight for murdering Dr. Cloyd. Daryl suggests maybe the two of them could kill him together. Aw... they're bonding over murder!

Carol walks through the woods for some reason, and spots Henry (the late Benjamin's little brother) actually fighting two walkers! She quickly dispatches them and scolds him for being an idiot after she told him not to follow her. Not sure how she ran headlong into him if he's following her, but whatever. He says he wants revenge on the guys who killed his big brother, which apparently causes Carol to change her mind. She hands this ten year old her gun and tells him to follow her. Um... hey Carol, remember what happened the last time you befriended a kid? (cough Lizzy cough).

As Michonne and Rosita drive along, they hear what sounds like opera music in the distance. They stop to investigate, and find yet another Savior outpost (Jesus, how many are there?). This one contains just two Saviors, who are rigging up Project Fat Lady. It's a truck filled with dozens of gigantic speakers, to be used to draw the walker herd away from the Sanctuary and save everyone there. Amazingly, that's not the worst plan I've ever heard on this show.

Michonne and Rosita sneak into the outpost, intending to stop the Saviors. Unfortunately they're heard, and the Saviors start firing on them. Rosita dives for cover and loses her gun like an idiot. She rummages around in some boxes, but all she finds is a hot glue gun. Maybe she can use it to slightly burn the Saviors?

Savior Woman orders the Savior Man to take the truck to the Sanctuary while she stays and fights. She then attacks Michonne, who still hasn't fully recovered from her battle with the Saviors last season (which, in the series' timeline, probably happened a day or two ago). Savior Man runs toward the truck, but is cornered by Rosita, who's apparently found a rocket launcher. He laughs and says he knows she won't use it, but she blows him up real good before he can finish his sentence. I gotta admit, that was one of the most satisfying scenes on the show in months.

Savior Woman then knocks Michonne down, runs for the truck and drives off. Michonne and Rosita (who's apparently out of rockets) can only stand and watch helplessly as their enemy gets away. Suddenly Daryl and Tara appear, driving a giant garbage truck for some reason. They plow into the speaker truck, completely demolishing it. Why they decided to follow Michonne and Rosita, and how the hell they found them is left to our imaginations.

For reasons, Michonne and Rosita tell Daryl they need to see the Sanctuary for themselves. Even though Rosita was actually there last year. Daryl agrees to take them, because the script says to.

Meanwhile, Carl hunts for the mysterious man he saw back in the season premiere. He tracks him down, and the man says his name's Siddiq, a character from the comic. Carl offers him some food & water, and apologizes for Rick shooting at him. 

Carl then asks Siddiq the Three Questions. He asks how many walkers he's killed, and Siddiq gives the incredibly specific figure of 237 (?). Carl asks how many people he's killed, and he says just one. When Carl asks why, Siddiq says he did it to put the man out of his misery after being bitten.

Carl then asks Siddiq why he's seemingly building walker traps in the woods. He say he does so to honor his mom, who thought that killing shambling corpses would somehow free their souls. Carl decides to bring Siddiq back to Alexandria. Along the way they run into some walkers, and Carl suggests they "free their souls." He quickly gets in over his head and is almost bitten several times before taking them out. Well, that was all... weird and pointless!

Back at the Hilltop, Jesus hears something being built inside the walls. He's afraid Maggie's building a gallows to hang his prisoners (which is probably what she should do). He's relieved though when he sees it's a small prison, and Maggie puts the Saviors in it for safekeeping. Gregory protests, saying they can't have people inside the Hilltop that they can't trust. She agrees, and has him tossed in the makeshift jail as well. Haw! Bet he didn't see that one coming!

At the Kingdom, Carol's back from her inexplicable jaunt in the woods (?). She finally barges into Ezekiel's throne room and tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself and start being a king to his people again. He whines and says he can't, so his redemption arc can be dragged out a couple more episodes and finish at the mid-season break.

Inside the Hilltop jail, Jared The Asshole Savior tries sawing through his ropes with a rock. A "friendly" Savior named Dillon knocks it out of his hand, saying he's not going to let Jared get them all killed. Gregory watches this exchange intently, no doubt planning to exploit this conflict to his advantage.

Elsewhere, Aaron gives Baby Gracie (who he took from a Sanctuary outpost a couple episodes back) to Maggie. Jesus thanks Maggie for showing mercy to the Saviors. She tells him she's only keeping them alive because she may need them as bargaining chips. And if not, she's gonna execute them. Harsh!

Aaron, still stinging from Eric's death, decides to drive out and kill all the Saviors or something. Enid sees him and asks to go with, because the show's desperately trying to give these two neglected characters something to do.

Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Tara pull up someplace near the Sanctuary and observe it through a rifle scope. Michonne takes a long look at the place, announces she's satisfied and says they can now leave. Daryl says they need to end this right now, and starts up the truck. I guess he's decided not to stick to The Plan.

Back at the Junkyard, we see that Jadis apparently didn't release Rick after she told him no. Instead she's placed him naked inside a hot box for some reason. 

• Jadis and the Garbage Pail Kids' weird-ass Mad Max patois seems to have been toned down quite a bit in this episode. This week they all just speak as few words as possible, 
instead of making up ridiculous terms like "The Up, Up, Up." 

They're still annoying as hell, but it's a slight improvement. Baby steps, I guess.

According to people who keep track of such things, at this point in the series the zombie apocalypse has only been going on for a little over six hundred days (despite the fact that the show's in its eight season). That's less than two years. As I've said last season, that's nowhere near enough time for the English language to mutate the way it has for the Garbage Pail Kids. No matter how isolated they are.

There's a fan theory floating around the interwebs that suggests Jadis and her people are actually from some unknown European country, and were visiting Virginia for some reason when the apocalypse started. They're now stranded with no way to get back home, and their bizarre speech patterns are the result of their attempts to learn English.

It's not the craziest idea I've ever heard, but... eh, I don't buy it. I think we can just chalk it up to poor writing. Or an over-eager studio executive, who approached the producers and said, "Hey, my kids loved that new Mad Max movie! Wouldn't it be cool if you added a group like that to the show? You don't have to do it or anything. It's not like I'm the one who decides if your series gets renewed or not. It's totally up to you!"

• OK, what the Holy F@ck was Jadis supposed to be wearing when we she first appears in this episode? It looks like she's wearing a red apron and... well, nothing else underneath.

Same goes for the woman (or man?) who walks in front of her.

Cheezus, writers, these characters are bizarre enough already! You don't need to try and make them even more odd.

By the way, Jadis is parading around naked (except for her apron) when Rick knocks on the gate. But when she meets with him later in the center of the junkyard, she's dressed head to toe in her weird black Road Warrior costume. 

So why'd she get dressed? Did she do it when she saw Rick had come to call? Last season she implied she wanted to jump his bones, so did she get herself all gussied up for him? Or is this a case of her not wanting to look naked and vulnerable in front of an adversary?

• An observation: At the Hilltop, we see Maggie absentmindedly playing with Glenn's watch. Which was actually her father Hershel's watch, before he gave it to Glenn.

• Gregory's still calling Maggie "Margaret," which I assume is part of some psychological power play on his part.

• I have a feeling the writers realize that Jesus' sudden concern over the welfare of the Savior prisoners is a stupid idea, and the audience is firmly on Maggie's side. So in a last ditch attempt to sway us, this week they have the weaselly Gregory petition for their execution. After all, if a slimebag like him thinks they should be killed, then it must be a bad idea, right? Right?

• Hey, look! It's Michonne and Rosita! They're actually still on the show! Wow, it's been a long time since we've seen either of them. Why, it's almost like Michonne's been away for months while filming a certain superhero film for a major movie studio! And it's as if Rosita's been away recovering from a real-life pregnancy! But neither of those things could have possibly happened, right?

• The best part of the episode— heck, of the entire season so far— was hands down the scene between Rosita and Savior Man. Especially the part where he said she didn't have the guts to kill him, and she pulled the trigger before he could finish his sentence. I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing her blow him to smithereens like she did.

• What the hell were Daryl and Tara doing tooling around the wasteland in a giant garbage truck? Were they on their way to the Sanctuary to "end the war?" Or did they see Michonne and Rosita leave and decide to follow them to provide backup? Your guess is as good as mine.

• After Michonne runs into Daryl and Tara, she says she needs to see the Sanctuary with her own eyes. Rosita chimes in and says she'd like to get a look at it too. Um... wasn't Rosita IN the Sanctuary last season? She and Sasha went on a covert suicide mission to try and assassinate Negan. They got all the way to the Sanctuary's perimeter fence, and Sasha went on in and locked Rosita out, forcing her to retreat back to Alexandria.

So why's she suddenly acting like she's never even seen the place before before? 

Hey writers, there's a site called Wikipedia that lists episode summaries of every TV show ever. You should check it out sometime!

• As I predicted, the Middle Eastern guy Carl encountered back in Mercy turned out to be Siddiq.

He's a character from the comic who first appeared in The Walking Dead #127 back in 2014. This was the issue that contained the infamous "time jump," in which the storyline suddenly leaped ahead two to three years.

In the comic, Siddiq was originally from the Oceanside community (!), and somehow ended up in Alexandria. At one point he had a secret relationship with Rosita, who at the time was dating Eugene (!!!). Yeah, sometime's the comics verrrrry different from the show.

Siddiq's always been kind of a second tier character in the comic. That's why I'm a bit puzzled as to why the show seems to be devoting so much time to his intro. I guess they must have some big plans for the TV version of him.

I just hope the producers do a better job with Siddiq than they did with Heath. I was happy to see Heath finally appear on the show a couple seasons ago, as he was a major character in the comic, and one of my favorites. And then he inexplicably disappeared for about a year, then returned for one episode and was seemingly killed off. Why the hell did they bother introducing the character if they were going to instantly neglect him? Feh!

• Apparently walkers are distracted by fluttering plastic bags caught in trees. Man, they'd lovvvvvve my neighborhood then!

• Aaron brings Baby Gracie to the Hilltop, for reasons. At one point we see Maggie holding Gracie in her arms. Gosh, I'll bet she hopes her own baby will be just as cute, when she finally gives birth to it sometime in Season 12.

• At the end of the episode, we see that Jadis has imprisoned Rick in a hot box in the junkyard. Wha...? At the beginning of the episode, she turns down his offer, and it looks for all the world like her guards escort him back to the gate. Either the director deliberately staged that scene in a vague way to mislead us, or he really doesn't know how to block out a shot.

When Rick was first parlaying with Jadis, he told her "My people know I'm here." Do they? Because none of the several dozen characters in this episode act like they have the slightest idea where he went, nor do they care, as they all took the opportunity to go off on their own little jaunts this week. 

I have this image of Rick sweltering in the hot box, thinking, "Yep, any minute now, my people'll knock down those gates, kill Jadis and rescue me. Annnnnny minute now. Yep."

1 comment:

  1. Don't know if you watch The Talking Dead but it was announced that Morgan will be crossing over to Fear The Walking Dead. Admittedly I became disinterested in FTWD midway through this season so I don't know what lead to this or how it affects Morgan's story arc on TWD. However Lenny James seemed less than enthusiastic about the shift.


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