There’s no way to reclaim Alexandria until the herd calms down. The choices are limited; either they settle in for a long wait or they leave Alexandria and come back to clear the walkers with replenished resources. Why the writers needed forty minutes to make this happen boggles the mind. Viewers already knew what needed to happen for the characters to live to see the second half of the season. Why waste thirty-five minutes of screen time drawing out the inevitable?
I’ll save you some time. Here’s the big whopping plot in one sentence: They prepare to leave town.
Duh? There’s no way to reclaim Alexandria until the herd calms down. The choices are limited; either they settle in for a long wait or they leave Alexandria and come back to clear the walkers with replenished resources. Why the writers needed forty minutes to make this happen boggles the mind. Viewers already knew what needed to happen for the characters to live to see the second half of the season. Why waste thirty-five minutes of screen time drawing out the inevitable?
Not only is this episode a gigantic waste of time, they also kill off someone vital to the show’s continuing plot. Deanna is yet another victim of the convenient death scheme. Something we all saw coming each time she got closer and closer to realizing Rick isn’t the man she should leave in charge of her people. Her people. Not his. Rick cannot and will not see the Alexandria natives as part of his crew. Something he’s called out on in the episode during a deathbed conversation with Deanna—who is only dying because she saved his life. Six seasons of them killing off Rick’s naysayers and I’m to the point where I’d rather see the man himself written off the show than someone who simply questioned why he’s such a poor leader. It’s boring. Predictable. A surefire way to turn fans completely against the character when we should still root for him, questionable morals and all. I wouldn’t loathe Rick as he’s written for the show nearly as much if the writers would just stop killing anyone who stands up to him for the sake of their own moral code.
Women get dealt poor hands on this show all the time. Carol is still plagued by this unreasonable story line pitting her against Morgan. Not only that, she also suffers a random concussion which makes her physically inferior to Morgan. If the writers hadn’t made her trip and fall for no other reason than to give her the concussion, the fight would’ve gone in Carol’s favor. They realized too late that pitting the two against each other was a mistake. Both are essential characters. If they didn’t cripple Carol, Morgan—who is now the conscious for the show since they’ve laden Glenn with Baby Daddy Syndrome—would be dead alongside Dale and Hershel, the other poor unfortunate souls to carry the title of Captain Moral Integrity. So instead of a fair fight, we get a one-sided, poorly motivated fight which ends with Carol cold-cocked by Morgan, Morgan knocked out by the prisoner, and poor Denise used as a meatshield so the prisoner can escape past Tara, Rosita, and Eugene.
Then there’s Michonne. Most of Deanna’s deathbed moments were spent highlighting the fact that the writer’s haven’t given Michonne a reason to fight for Alexandria, its people, or even Rick’s people. Aside from being present to wield a sword, Michonne has no motivation. No purpose outside killing. It shouldn’t take this long for them to realize they’ve forgotten to write essential human needs into a main character.
Everyone in Alexandria is hiding. Or so we assume. At no point are Deanna’s people accounted for. The only townsfolk we see outside of Rick’s main group are the one’s shoehorned into the plot. Denise is present to give the prisoner a way to freedom. Jessie is present because Rick wants to do bedroom things with her and she has his daughter in her house. She’s also the mother to two boys capable of screwing everything up with very little effort—because it’s easier for the show to place blame on the impulsive actions of children instead of writing feasibly flawed adults. Ron’s big moment comes when he locks Carl in the garage and tries to kill him, drawing attention from nearby walkers who then overrun the house. Sam’s part in everything is, well, not very well thought out.
One surefire way to grind my gears is to mishandle mental diseases in a show. Sam has PTSD. The entire Morgan episode was to essentially demonstrate how the show would depict PTSD in characters from here on out. Cool. We’re talking about an actual issue which plagues thousands of people. And then they mess up. Jessie says the words no PTSD influcted person should hear, “Just pretend . . . .” No. Don’t. Stop. All they did is hand a child’s character the exact opposite coping mechanism from what he should be using. Escapism isn’t the cure to PTSD. It’s a death sentence. If the writers really wanted to explore the nuances of PTSD and how it affects the survivors, they should have put more time into Sam’s scenes. Instead, like so much in this episode, they cram it in and use it as a catalyst for more things which don’t make sense. Why would a frightened child, even with PTSD, speak when surrounded by things he knows want to kill them? Sam is mentally ill, not a moron.
The big whopping plan to escape is a callback to season one’s “Guts,” where Glenn and Rick covered themselves in walker goo and went to fetch a truck in order to escape Atlanta. Yawn. We’ve seen this before. It’s not even amusing to watch Father Gabriel’s reaction. Gabriel is another character wedged into the plot, but I’m not even sure why at this point. Everything out of his mouth is something which should be shown on screen, not told via dialog.
We get a couple short scenes with Glenn and Enid. Neither of which are vital to the plot. Maggie is likewise a throwaway bit in the episode—she crawls up a ladder to escape the herd and that’s where she stays through the episode’s end.
Then there’s the big post-credit scene. Yet more wasted time and money. Fans know Negan is coming. Matter of fact, if the episode with Daryl’s abduction had been written better, they wouldn’t have needed the post-credit scene to properly introduce Negan’s good squad. Instead they create a reason to put Daryl on screen in the guise of bringing Negan’s crew onto the stage for the second half of the season.
I’m fed up with the current showrunner. He’s run what was once decent television into the ground by leading fans by the nose to the story conclusions he thinks are entertaining. It’s dull. Trite. Nothing exciting happens for eight episodes. Why is AMC wasting money to make this guy’s vision come to life? Their numbers are down, despite self-created hype. Sure, the mid-season finale did a little better, but the viewer numbers aren’t enough to make up for what they lost from episodes 602 through 607. When TWD comes back on February 14th, will we suffer through more of the same? I hope not.
There’s too much talent in this cast to continue with poor storytelling. Something’s gotta give, AMC. Give your fans and your actors the showrunner they deserve, not the one who tells you pretty lies but cannot deliver the quality episodes you want.