This show is rapidly approaching a Game of Thrones level of characters, but not in a good way. We get that it’s building towards an epic showdown with the Saviors, but every week we get a new batch of “Who the hell are they?” We’ve got Fish People, Garbage People, Renaissance Faire People, a Jack-of-Many-Trades Jesus, and more—it’s almost like The Walking Dead took a look at what’s currently successful with television and movies (Marvel Universe, GoT, Mad Max, Hoarders?) and tried to mash it all up into one season.
Here’s to hoping it’s worth it and the showdown with Negan justifies the hours we’ve invested to get there.
From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week
Pritpaul Bains: Father Gabriel
I never thought he'd live to see the day, but goddamn, Father Gabriel is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. He's finally come around to understanding Rick's perspective, he's thinking on his feet, taking matters into his own hands, and acting to aid Alexandria rather than undermine it. Tamiel and her mysterious boots of mystery dared to mess with the new Gabriel, and she wound up with a knife at her throat. Now if only he could share some of that can-do attitude with Morgan…
Adam Wagner: Jacobim Mugatu
It may be a post-apocalyptic world, but at least “Derelicte” has become a hit! This Hoarder’s Paradise is literally a landfill. Don’t toss out the keyboard—then how are we going to make dank memes?
Joe Brosnan: Richard
Richard has been steadily raising his profile over the course of this season, and last night proved once again that he's one of the few people properly prepared to navigate the choppy waters ahead. Toeing the ever-shrinking line between standing down and fighting back, Richard knows precisely what his endgame is: killing the saviors. He's frustrated that the Kingdom won't commit to fighting alongside Rick, but he knows that the only way they'll join the fight is if the decision to do so comes directly from Ezekiel. So if the best way to do that is to brutally kill a few Saviors, then so be it.
From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.
JB: Apocalyptic Fashion
The following is a text I received right after the episode ended from a good friend of mine: “Those new garbage people from last night's episode were laughably stupid. Why on Earth did they make them talk like elves who recently learned the human tongue?”
From here on out, the only acceptable name for the new group will be Garbage People. I really wish I could figure out what the showrunners were thinking here. Do they really think so little of the show's fans that the only way they can introduce a new group to us is if they make them look drastically different than everyone else?
I also obviously have some questions for the group: Do you make everyone grow their hair out? If you have short hair, do you have to stay hidden inside your garbage home until your hair reaches shoulder length, and then you're allowed outside to build zombie armor? And most importantly, what were the odds that eveyrone in the Mad Max: Fury Road fan club all survived and found each other at the dump?
Seriously though, there are normal clothes literally in piles the size of small mountains. Why are you all wearing that shit?
Why are you such an idiot, Rosita? Your poor judgment already fucked Eugene over and got Olivia shot in the head. You really expect anyone to indulge your petulant, impotent bluster? After all you've wrought, you have the nerve to tell Tara to grow up? Why should anyone listen to a single damn word that comes out of your fool mouth?
He’s lost his gun, he’s a terrible shot with a bow, he lost Daryl’s favor by trying to sacrifice Carol, and he’s got some ‘splaining to do with the King. While Joe applauded him this week for his strategic efforts in getting Ezekiel to join Rick and fight, this episode brought him nothing but failure. I’ve no doubt he’s on the right side, but desperate is a dirty color for him—let’s just hope his “desperate measures” don’t go getting other people killed. (I’m looking at you, sympathetic kid with the stick that we’re growing to like…)
A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.
Even though we personally want to see Ezekiel unleash Shiva on The Saviors, it's hard to fault the man for wanting to keep his people safe. As it is right now, their deal with Negan isn't even that bad—especially compared to the fleecing Rick's group endures every few weeks. From Ezekiel's point of view, the situation that The Kingdom is currently in is certainly a sustainable one. At the same time, he's not oblivious either, as he encourages his followers to continue to learn how to fight. All in all, Ezekiel might very well be the best leader we've seen yet.
I love Jerry. Did you see how excited he was to bring Carol a cobbler? And how genuinely ecstatic he was when it was clear she liked it!? The dude is a bubbly, pun-spouting, sweetheart of a man, and I wish he were around more.
OK, so TV and life cliches all tell us that lying comes back to bite you in the ass, but Daryl did a genuinely brave, difficult thing here by lying to Carol about Abraham and Glenn. You can tell it kills him to lie to her, but he knows that she's precipitously close to one edge or another, so he trusts his instinct and tells Carol what she needs to hear. Honesty is a nice ideal, but in the moment, Daryl absolutely did the right thing.
- Props to the showrunners for not dragging out Carol and Daryl finding out about each other another five episodes. (PB)
- Valentine’s Day may have been last week, but TWD doesn’t need a Hallmark holiday for a romantic candle-lit dinner. (AW)
- Which was the more touching reunion this episode: Daryl and Carol, or Daryl and a crossbow? It's close. (PB)
- Dear god, Carol. Use a bookmark, you animal. (JB)
- Jesus is gonna be pissed when he finds out about Rick's self-induced stigmata. (AW)
- I half expected Andy Dwyer to pop out of that garbage pit. Or at the very least Burt Maclin. (JB)
- Daryl’s voice is rapidly approaching Bale’s Batman. (AW)
- Between the Kingdom being a genuine Renaissance Faire brought to life and the Scavengers (and Winslow) clearly having escaped from the Mad Max universe, TWD is going full nerdcore this episode. (PB)
- Now who's ready for the exact same episode in two weeks with the fish ladies?! (JB)
- Obvious Star Wars parallels to the trash compactor scene and the rancor monster aside, WHATTTT THE FUCK IS THE FUCKING MOUTH OF SAURON DOING IN MY WALKING DEAD? (PB)
- Jadis is totally Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element. Literally all the nerd streams are crossing in this episode. (PB)
- Or Milla Jovovich as Katinka Ingabogovinana from Zoolander. Garbage People = Derelicte, confirmed! (AW)
- It was nice to get a break from Negan this week, but alas, it looks to be short-lived if the preview for next week's episode is any indication. (PB)
- I’ve wanted to pet a tiger my entire life. Even just a video of me petting a CGI tiger would do. (AW)
Zombie Kill of the Week
RIP Winslow, genuine walker badass.