Last night on The Walking Dead: Search for the Fish People, the showrunners finally caught the viewers up with the inevitable. Tara flipped on the Fish People, Sasha's idiotic plan yielded predictable results, and Dwight made a (surprise?) appearance in Alexandria.
Also—rejoice, all ye put-upon viewers hate-watching due to sheer obstinance! The season finale is nigh, and odds are good it'll be about as satisfying as most of the rest of this season has been so far. In most other shows, Rick's crew would've come together a couple of episodes ago, last night would have been about everyone arriving for the final showdown, culminating in a 90-minute battle of ups and downs between the Saviors and Alexandria, et al. But TWD, in all its infinite wisdom, is eschewing convention.
Anyone want to lay odds on whether we even get to see the beginning of this fight next week? We're about 70% convinced the finale is going to end with everyone assembling and staring at each other before the show peaces out for another year. If last season proved anything, it's that TWD is not at all adverse to anti-climactic finales.
From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week.
Joe Brosnan: Negan
I know what you’re thinking: Joe, how could Negan be this week’s riser? Rick got a crap-ton of guns, Eugene ignored Negan’s dictatorship and supplied Sasha with means for suicide, and it looks like Dwight has finally had enough of Negan's shit and is teaming up with the enemies. And I’d say you’re right, obviously.
But Negan also let it slip to Sasha that he’s heard mumblings of Rick’s revolution, and that alone helps Negan skyrocket up these rankings. There won’t be any surprise attack, thus proving that while Negan might be known for his badass leather jacket, the most important part of his costume is his plot armor.
Adam Wagner: Rick
This week on How Rick Got His Guns Back, Mr. Grimes successfully infiltrated Fish Town, told them what was up, and took all their shit. For the first time all season, Rick looks like the confident leader he’d been for most of the six seasons before (save for that time he went straight nutso). Now all he has to do is hope Discount Milla Jovovich and the Garbage People (band name!) don’t turn on him after he delivers the guns. Viva la revolución!
Pritpaul Bains: Tara
In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Tara finally found she had what it took to break her promise to the Fish People and arm up her own crew. I can respect the indecision to a point, but it was getting pretty clear a few episodes ago that this was something she had to do, and it took longer than needed for her to get there. Nevertheless, her earlier travels basically save Alexandria's ass here, and she managed to get the job done without anyone getting killed. In this apocalypse, that's a pretty big win.
From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.
Great plan, girl. Way to think this through. (Suffice it to say, all of this applies to Rosita too, but she's not the one sitting in a Sanctuary prison right now.) If charging in blindly and getting captured in about two minutes flat was your plan, well, then… good job, I guess. What's next? Hope randomly that Negan will be the one to off you and that in the process, you'll be lucky enough to be close enough to him and additionally acquire some kind of shitty makeshift weapon beforehand that you can use to then somehow best him in hand-to-hand combat before the rest of his men get involved? Why do so few characters on this show understand how to play a long game? So many Alexandrians are driven not by logic, but by emotion and obstinate ideology. Small wonder they've suffered the losses they have, to date. Sure, Sasha may have some “beachball-sized lady nuts with heat comin' off of them,” but a dose of common sense would serve her much better.
AW: Fish Queen
What once seemed like a strong, confident leader of the Fish People showed her debilitating fear and stubbornness in this week’s episode. Sure, she’s got a good thing going out of the far-reaching eyes of the Saviors—but what happens when Negan’s gang does discover them? They’ve already been found once. Plus, Rick doesn’t even necessarily require them to join the fight. He just needs their guns.
Even after most of the Fish People sensed the gravity of the situation and understood the need to help, Natania just sulked in her room like a child. Well, not even a child, because Rachel is a little badass—shit yeah!
Carl is my faller this week for one reason, and one reason only. When he appeared on screen, I immediately realized I had forgotten about him. It feels like we haven’t seen Carl since he privately toured the Sanctuary, and we’ve been just fine without him. I guess this is better than unnecessary Carl filler, but I hope we get more of him next season because a child growing up in a zombie apocalypse is 100% more interesting than a brooding army brat in search for one bullet.
A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.
Sure, Negan’s the bad guy. Sure, Negan has done some awful things. But this episode saw Negan as the mercy-giving, deal-offering, rape-thwarting Hershel’s Hero. We may not be renaming this section anytime soon, but you can’t deny that Professor Leans showed some humanity this week.
He made it clear that there’s no rape in the Sanctuary. Although forcing women to be your “wife” might be a little “rape-y” in itself. And he did tell Sasha she had “beach ball-sized lady nuts.” Alright, maybe he’s still a douche.
In his own little misguided way, Eugene is doing what he thinks is best, and quite honestly, it's hard to fault him for his choices. He made the smart decision to band with the Saviors in order to save his own hide, and in doing so has put himself in position to actually be more useful to Alexandria embedded in the Saviors' camp than he probably ever could have been otherwise. Should the tide start to turn against the Saviors, it's not hard to imagine Eugene intervening in a way to support his friends in a way the Saviors might not see coming.
That being said, Eugene handled Sasha's request for a means of suicide as best he could, given his circumstances. He doesn't endanger his own standing, but he doesn't ignore what he sees as an entreaty from a friend, either. He doesn't give Sasha what she wants, but he does give her what she may need before all is said and done.
Cindy—the granddaughter of the Fish Queen—was justified in every one of her actions. When she sees Tara holding her grandmother at gunpoint, she’s rightfully angry—Tara’s only alive because of her after all. So when Tara accidentally presents Cindy an opening to disarm her, she takes it. And later on, when it’s clear Rick’s group has the complete upper hand, Cindy is smart enough to meet and their demands. All in all, I really enjoyed seeing Oceanside again, especially as they teamed up with Rick’s group to kill the zombie herd. These are the most impressive fighters that the group has come across yet, and it’s a shame they won’t be taking up arms against Negan.
- Well … that was a conveniently easy takeover of the Fish People. (PB)
- I think Dwight was just too fed up being Assistant to the Regional Manager. (JB)
- Not gonna lie—I was actually happy to see Dwighty-boy's iron-pressed face on my TV again. (PB)
- Didn’t Eugene thwart Negan’s Wife Club’s fake suicide plan to kill Negan? Why would Sasha’s plan be any different? (AW)
- Oh hey, Aaron's husband decided to show up again! Oh no … that means he's going to die soon, isn't he? (PB)
- I hope that dude’s only IMDb credit is “Rape-y Davey.” (AW)
- I'll give Negan this—he's a hell of a charmer when he wants to be. I'm not sure I'd have turned down that sales pitch he gave Sasha in her cell. (PB)
- Between the attacks from both Sasha and Carl, Negan seems weirdly okay with outsiders coming in and killing his people. (JB)
- Mirror, mirror on my desk, who’s more vile than all the rest? (AW)
- Gregory's long, slow emasculation at the hands of Maggie is both painful and incredibly satisfying to watch. Just how, exactly, is it that this spineless, lily-livered moron was unquestioningly put in charge of entire community? (PB)
- Are the Saviors located in Virginia? Just how much distance is between these groups? (AW)
- For a group of people that were very recently without guns, Rick’s group sure had no qualms unloading a ton of ammo into those swamp zombies. (JB)
- The gang sure overlooked the discovery of Sasha's kamikaze mission and capture rather quickly. (PB)
- I know we’re setting up to a battle royale with Negan, but my finale wish is that Gregory kicks it. He’s by far the vilest character on the show. Maggie should have let him get eaten. (JB)
- Although I doubt we get to see any form of battle next week, the short clip of Shiva out with Ezekiel on the trailer for next week’s finale has me hoping… (AW)
Zombie Kill of the Week
Barnacled walkers. Sure, those kills were pretty uncreative, but that makeup? Killer.
Next week: the finale arrives! Will we finally get to see the culmination of Rick's recruiting, or will viewers be left in the lurch again like last season? More importantly, will we finally get to see Shiva eat someone?