In last night's episode of The Walking Dead, we were granted a few characterization moments in an attempt by showrunners to make a wildly unpopular character making stupid choices a little more human, and to make a wildly popular character making stupid choices a little less ... well ... stupid. Daryl's apology and confession to Maggie provided an elegant window into his tortured mindset this season, while Rosita's heart-to-hearts with Sasha helped slightly redee— who are we kidding, she's still Rosita. Meanwhile, Eugene's true colors began to show, tequila stock is up in the apocalypse, and the Hilltop is undergoing an unspoken coup d'etat.
From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week.
Joe Brosnan: Maggie
Move over, Robert Baratheon—we’ve got a new usurper in town! Maggie’s grassroots movement to connect with the people of the Hilltop and help prepare them for the future is starting to take hold. She also finally confronted Daryl and forgave him for getting Glenn killed. She also stopped Daryl from unnecessarily killing that lurking Savior who was creeping through the basement pantry. In an episode slim with smart characters, Maggie is the clear choice.
Pritpaul Bains: Eugene
What possible logic compels Rosita and Sasha to try and pull Eugene out of the Saviors' camp in the first place, when they can see that he's playing their game to this point? First off, both of them arrived at the Sanctuary intent on what they seem to acknowledge was a suicide mission. Breaking Eugene out as a part of that makes ... what sort of sense, exactly? Secondly, even if they got away, all they've succeeded in doing was placing a big target on Eugene's back that would lead Negan right back to the group, who's hardly ready for battle at this stage. All parts of their plan are self-serving and idiotic. Literally none of it makes any sense. Hopefully the Saviors will grant us some blessed relief from their collective idiocy shortly.
Anyway, this was supposed to be about Eugene—wasn't it? I'm still not convinced that Eugene is fully Negan, despite what the writers may want us to think after last night. The man is smart enough to play a long game and to know that the position in which he can be the most useful and gain the most power is by gaining the trust of, and control over, some of the Saviors.
Adam Wagner: Doctor Carson
In an episode with hardly anything good to speak of, the Good Doctor got taken by Negan—which seems inherently bad. But, according to Simon, the Saviors have ice cream. Cardamom gelato to be exact. And take it from a kid living in what is essentially Hipsterville (Williamsburg)—even I’ve never had cardamom gelato.
From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.
And grimacing faces
Gritting his teeth; getting on people’s cases
Black leather vests embroidered with wings
These are a few of Daryl’s favorite things
Punching Negan when there was no real reason
Wearing leather, regardless of season
Creeping on Beth while she gets drunk and sings
These are a few of Daryl’s favorite things
When walkers bite
When Lucille stings
When he’s feeling mad
He simply forgets about context and logic
And then he acts bad
Seriously, Daryl? In what world would killing that Savior help your situation? Use your damn head for once. I’m over him.
For getting ethered into oblivion by Simon. “Gin seems like turpentine.” It's a mixing drink, Simon. Not a sipping drink.
A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.
Let me qualify this: it makes no sense at all that Sasha's willing to sacrifice herself by locking Rosita out of her own damn suicide mission. It's incredibly frustrating (and absolute nonsense) that both characters look at each other and tell the other “Alexandria is going to need you,” when it's quite clear that Alexandria in fact needs NEITHER of them and would probably be better off ACTIVELY WITHOUT Rosita, at the very least.
But this section isn't about stupidity, oh no. This is about humanity and nobility, and if nothing else, Sasha's intended sacrifice displays those traits (even if they're frustratingly rooted in complete inaccuracy and entirely misguided, and also deprived viewers of finally seeing the last of Rosita on their television screens).
Daryl has been broken this entire season, and we all know why. Now, anytime he’s around Maggie, he can’t even bring himself to look at her. He’s been carrying a lot of guilt around for a long time. The fact that he hasn’t gone all murderbeard and crazy is a testament to how strong he is as a character. ‘Cause everybody cries. And everybody hurts ... sometimes
JB: Doctor Who?
Oh right, I guess I remember that Doc had a brother in Negan’s camp. Though to be honest, I don’t really care. Losing a doctor hurts the Hilltop, and especially Maggie. But props to the doc for not raising a stink when he was ordered to go. Pragmatism is an unfortunate scarcity in TWD, but it’s revitalizing to see someone who still has it.
- GIVE ME THE GODDAMN FISH WOMEN. (JB)
- With only two episodes left, I’m getting dangerously suspicious that we’re not going to get any kind of war/battle this season. (AW)
- How not a soul in the Hilltop has picked up on the fact that Gregory is a serious liability by now, I'll never know. (PB)
- I don’t blame Sasha. If I were stuck with Rosita, I’d also rather take my chances with the Saviors. (JB)
- Did I spy MORE CANTALOUPE in Enid's basket this week, or were they just gourds? You be the judge! (PB)
- It’s a good thing the world is dead and cell phones and Twitter don’t exist in TWD—I wouldn’t want to be the one to show that anti-abbreviator today’s current language landscape. (AW)
- Cardamom gelato? No wonder Eugene loves being a Savior. (PB)
- It’s in your head. It’s in your head. It’s in your head. FILLER! (AW)
- I really do love Eugene not wanting to leave Negan. He has no reason to bail on his sweet gig. (JB)
- Simon pulling a video game move, leaving behind all those painkillers in place of an actual doctor. (PB)
- Throwing knives? Really? (JB)
My man Gregory with the thousand-yard stare of a man slowly but inevitably losing control of everything he's ever known. (PB)
Zombie Kill of the Week
Time for a little reverse action...