Well, as to be expected things are headed down a really rough road for our group. A big death occurred, but not the huge one I’m sure will happen before the season is over. We got a pretty limited view of the cast in that this one primarily surrounded a small portion of our heroes. Some of the pairings were predictable, others were unexpected. This was an average episode, but certainly not bad. The ending left me floor for a myriad of reasons.
The whole Darryl, Rosita, and Denise adventure was unexpected to say the least. Those are characters I never would have put together but this odd trio certainly led to some interesting insight into all these characters. Darryl’s distrust of the train tracks, though the shorter route was par for the course for his character. He’s a badass but he’s a realist too. The long way is the safe way. He’s sure of it. Obviously Darryl’s big heart gets in the way and he agrees to take the tracks to show Rosita and Denise that he trusts them. This turns out to be a poor choice that leads to a death but some of that could have been avoided if Denise hadn’t made them hang back longer than they should have.
Denise’s speech to Rosita was significant because it helped me see her in a different light. We’ve haven’t really got to know her outside of her relationship with Abraham. Denise was able to see that her identity and strength was from within herself, independent of Abraham and I think this was sort of the first time she realized that as well. I hope this is an opportunity to open up her character. She’s been on the show for a long time and has had very limited character development. It’s about time she deserved some significant things to do on this show.
I’ve heard many people say they were very upset about Denise’s death. While a death of a good character is always cause for sadness, it didn’t hit me as hard as it must have for other people. I appreciate what she brought to the show but she wasn’t built up quite enough for me to care to terribly much. At this point I just feel bad that Tara is going to return to the news that her girlfriend is gone. I can appreciate that Denise wanted to go on the run, to learn how to survive from Darryl and Rosita, but she was much too reckless and Darryl and Rosita were not supportive enough. If she wanted to kill her first walker, Darryl and Rosita should have been willing to help her, and she should have been smart in going about facilitating this, rather than put herself in a horrific and dangerous situation.
Abraham and Eugene are always a fun pairing. The two greatest wordsmiths on the show really got to show of their impressive vocabulary in this episode. This was Eugene’s attempt to prove his usefulness in more ways than one (in many ways mirroring what Denise was doing). Manufacturing ammunition is absolutely genius on Eugene’s part. This is his wheelhouse. This is what he is best at, killing walkers, not so much. He’s getting better and he has the confidence necessary to fight but he still needs a lot of work. Abraham can appreciate his attempts to prove he has “leveled up” he understands Eugene’s importance and knows losing him would be a big loss. Both guys are wrong in the exchange with the walker in the factory. They both let their ego’s get the best of them, but at the end of the day. I have to side with Abraham. What he did is probably what Rosita and Darryl should have done with Denise. Both Eugene and Denise want to prove that they are capable of surviving, but at a certain point it becomes less about proving what you can do and more about just being alive. Abraham did what was necessary. If it bruised Eugene’s ego, oh well. He should just be thankful he’s alive. If anything he proved he could face a walker. The Eugene of last season could barely raise a machete to one. He should have considered his bravery to actually initiate a fight with a walker as a win.
As much as Eugene made some egotistical choices, he totally redeemed himself with the bit heard round the world! Like Denise’s death I didn’t see that coming but it was…quite the moment, for lack of a better phrase. For a moment I even thought he was selling out Abraham but he was planning. Thinking ahead. That is his greatest asset to this group.
The return of Dwight was unfortunate for our group but I was excited to see him come back. The last time we saw him, was in an episode I did not enjoy but his return was great if only to signal what dangers are on the horizon. He certainly looks different, burned face and all and it appears that the group he was running from, is now the group he is working for. My guess is that his face is his punishment for betraying Negan. Seeing that Negan can burn his followers and maintain their loyalty is proof of how bad this guys is going to be.
The repeating days at the beginning of the episode seemed like they wanted to be more significant than they were. I loved seeing Morgan’s prison and I think its a fantastic idea. Options are always a great idea. What it really relayed to me was that Carol had changed. Normally she was bopping around Alexandria passing out cookies. Now she’s sitting on a porch swing taking drags from a cigarette. Clearly this did end up being significant but she left Alexandria. I can only assume someone or a group is going to go look for her in the next episode. If the previews of next week and history are any indication, that would be Darryl. She has been the conduit for exploring the idea of justifiable killing. Darryl admits he should have killed Dwight, and believes that even more after Denise dies. Carol just can’t justify it in her mind. I don’t think that leaving was close to the right way of dealing with this crisis of conscience.Even if she can’t kill (whatever her reason may be) she is still incredibly useful to this group.