The Walking Dead S8E07: Time for After
Rick’s jaunt with the Scavengers continues this week as he tries to replace the numbers lost when the Kingdom was almost completely wiped out. It seems the show-runners are dead set on including this group in the long run, but for me they’re little more than a source of plot-holes and poor world-building. More on that in a bit. Despite my anger at their mere presence, scenes with Rick handling and being handled by the Scavengers book ended an episode largely focused on Eugene.
Last we left the man with the mullet he had discovered that Dwight was the mole inside the Saviors ranks. As has been the pattern with this show recently, I expected to get 2-3 episodes of unrelated stories or filler before we finally got to see what Eugene decided to do about this newly acquired information. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait that long. Right away, Eugene is contemplating his next move. As he himself described within the last couple of episodes, he doesn’t make a move until he has enough information. He goes directly to Dwight to get that information, and to deliver an ultimatum; if Dwight stops his betrayal and does nothing to risk the lives of anyone within the compound, Eugene will not turn him over to Negan. This is an interesting play from a suddenly very interesting character.
I think most audiences would agree that Eugene is fully bought-in to Negan and the Saviors. Between his stance against Rick at Alexandria with Sasha in the casket, and his rage-filled monologue given to Gabriel this episode, it’s hard to argue against it. But something still feels off to me. If he’s so in the tank for Negan, why not turn Dwight in? Especially after Dwight destroyed his audio-enabled airplane to lead the walkers away. If Rick & Co. are nothing more than “former traveling companions” as he describes them to Dwight, why does he have to drink himself to sleep every night now? I think one of two things are happening for Eugene; Either his guilt over betraying his friends will overtake him and he will die making a choice to help them, or he’s actually still playing the part and looking for his own opportunity to cross Negan and win the war for Rick. If it were the latter, I would think he would take on Dwight as a companion rather than threaten him. So because something still feels off, I think Eugene will ultimately die some horrible death while defending the alliance against Negan.
Elsewhere on this episode, Daryl and Tara decide to take matters into their own hands and ram the Sanctuary with a truck rather than wait another day with the walkers surrounding it and allow the plan to play out. While this is risky, and it goes against both Rosita and Michonne’s advice, it also strikes me as a plot inconsistency in the show that is perhaps built in to up the action. In the timeline, it would’ve been a mere 2-3 days prior to this that the plan was enacted to perfection. Aside from the Kingdom losing most of their fighters (who killed at least double as many Saviors beforehand), the plan is working to perfection. Rosita and Michonne both make this argument to Daryl and Tara, and the response is basically “we have to make something happen”. If that’s how they feel then this is a discussion, and screen-time, that should’ve taken place before the plan was enacted. Nothing of merit has occurred to go rogue and make such a drastic change in plans. And for that matter, how could Rosita and Michonne just let them do this? They are the voice for the plan that everyone agreed on, and they just walk away. At best it doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of the plot, and at worst it’s an illogical device to insert action into the show.
Let’s return now to Rick and his dealings with the Scavengers. The opening scene featured Rick, in his underway, being photo’d and painted by the Scavengers. Fine. It’s weird, but it makes sense for this weird group. Finally to close the episode we return to Rick as he’s made to fight a very familiar helmet-wearing walker. This time the walker is on a stick-leash, and Rick is tied up with a guard behind him. Despite that he still turns the tables and manages to get Jadis pinned down, facing the dismembered head of the walker he was just fighting. As if that’s not asking enough suspension of disbelief from the audience, the entire Scavengers then lower their weapons at Jadis’ command rather than killing Rick with a clean shot…. THEN Jadis agrees to ally with Rick for ¼ of the spoils. Rick negotiates this deal as he stands unarmed in front of Jadis, surrounded by armed Scavengers. If it sounds silly, that’s because it is. There are moments when I think I’m being too hard on the continued inclusion of this group. Then scenes like this happen, and I feel completely vindicated.
My Rating: C+
I’m overly harsh in this review because I think the inclusion of the Scavengers and the decision from Daryl and Tara are particularly weak point of the show. However, I did enjoy the work done with Eugene and the environment inside the Sanctuary in this episode. A couple scenes focused solely on Eugene’s mixed feelings of rage and despair were excellent. There is a ton under the surface with him, and the way he meanders through everything ahead of him has me excited for how his side of this battle will play out. I did begin to get annoyed at his obsessive need to overly describe detail around him, but that’s who the character is even if it is overdone.