That was satisfying.
The episode was 99% Carol & Maggie, and that was just fine with me. There was a lot of talking this episode. But unlike the year spent on Herschel’s farm, this talking actually led to story & character developments. It also led to some fantastic killing in the second half of the episode.
First thing – thanks to theeWeeBabySeamus over on the main site for running a rivebrog during the episode. I usually have to drive-by the episode on Sunday nights due to various family commitments and/or nieces who for-some-reason can’t stand the sight of blood and POSSIBLY might have nightmares like last time. Babies.
So, Maggie & Carol got captured last episode and were taken back to another lair – a meat/rendering plant – to be used as trade bait. These Saviors, of course, had no plans to trade them, but played Rick & the gang along. Most of the episode was then just ‘ring psychology’ on all sides: the Saviors wanted information; Maggie & Carol wanted to get free. Both were buying time until one plan came to fruition.
When it came time for the deal to be made, the Saviors broke up from the group harangue of Maggie & Carol and set about planning to make the exchange (or, ambush Rick & the gang). Carol broke free, then found Maggie. Carol implored Maggie to leave; Maggie wanted to finish off the Saviors. ALL the Saviors. So they set a zombie booby-trap and used it to take down the smoking Savior – Molly, I think – and then Maggie turned her head into a Jackson Pollack painting.
Then they set out to kill the ringleader of this faction – Paula. They got her, but not before new Carol tries to give her a way out; black & white Carol is gone, and now there are shades of gray. This shade tried to help someone who was too stupid or jaded to know they were being offered help. This is what happens to those people:
When the Saviors reinforcements arrive, Maggie & Carol realize they have to finish them off, and so they lure them into a trap on the “kill floor”, and burn them alive. They know what they had to do, but they also have realized that this is not what they want to do anymore.
It seemed like Carol & Maggie switched places during the episode. Maggie is becoming the hardass, and Carol is losing her ability to kill on a whim. Oh, she can still do it – that mournful drag on the cigarette before torching the people in the kill room – but it seems like she’s looking for a way to get out of that business, and the surprise of her relationship with Tobin seems like foreshadowing of that fact. But Maggie was the one who wanted to “finish the job” and not Carol, who earlier in the show’s run was so willing to burn flu victims to purify the prison.
But, at the end of the episode, when both are in the arms of their men – Maggie with Glen; Carol with Daryl – they both admit they are done with killing. Maggie seems like she’s stopping because of the baby; Carol seems like she’s crossed a bridge. Some people & sites want to blame Morgan for this; I just think of it as a grizzled war vet who’s just decided they’ve had enough and wants to walk away. “Walking away” in the Walking Dead, however, usually means some kind of pointless death, so it’ll be a shame if this is how Carol goes out. In the comics, Carol [MAJOR COMICS SPOILER] kills herself over being the odd one out in a love triangle. That’s not happening here, but there’s still the option for the new Carol to go full-bonkers and go out in a blaze of glory.
Rick, however, had no problems. The second he no longer needed Pablo/Primo/Sin Cara and he started on that “I’m Negan” noise, Rick put him down like Old Yeller. One thing Paula did say was true: They (Rick’s group) aren’t the good guys. Carol may have just realized that Rick is the cure, but is he worse than the disease?
Negan death watch: I still think Glen is going to be the one. I think Carol’s going to have an “episode” and she’ll die as a result.
Negan Anticipation Level: Spartacus
No sign of the impending arrival this week, so I’m taking a tangent. The Saviors all noted how they “are all Negan”, and responded to queries about his location with “I am Negan”. I’m going to call it both a combination of Stockholm Syndrome and being part of a mafia crew. Invoking the name is supposed to bring fear to the opponent; saying his name shows you are a part of his crew, and that he protects you. Also, if Negan rules the apocalypse, saying his name shows fealty or reverence, and that doing so will prevent your own demise. Rick’s crew only knows Rick, so the name means nothing to them. Once he shows up, though, they’ll know who he is.