The Walking Dead Recap: Our New Best Friends Live in a Trash Heap
By Emily Offshack (@CanadianEmily)
SPOILERS AHEAD! You have been warned.
In a very short amount of time, Rick Grimes has gone from having all hope sucked out of him to giggling with joy when confronted by a mopey, hostile group of junkyard-living survivors. He can’t wipe the smile off his face. It’s good because hope is needed to survive, but it’s also a little weird. He has decided to assume that if a group is not the Saviors, they are allies until proven otherwise. It might be risky, but any plan to defeat Negan is innately risky. The mopey faces are more reassuring than Negan’s big, handsome smile.
Before we get too far into the encounter with this new group, let’s talk about what really mattered this episode: the Daryl and Carol reunion we’ve been waiting for. It all started with Richard…
Control the weather
If Carol gets hit by lightning, Daryl will kill you, Richard. Poor Richard is so desperate to fight the Saviors that he concocts a plan to use Carol as bait: lead the Saviors to Carol, they will treat her with the same dignity they do everyone else, and Ezekiel will finally agree to join the war because they have hurt someone he cares about. Great plan if you’re willing to sacrifice Carol for the greater good. Bad plan if you think Daryl is going to be your partner in crime. It doesn’t matter if you can make Molotov cocktails in your weird secret trailer, Richard. Daryl will beat you until you realize that Carol is off limits.
Richard’s plan likely would have worked. Ezekiel is still watching out for Carol; he brought Jerry and some others out to her cabin to clear walkers and deliver cobbler. (When jolly Jerry gives you cobbler, you take it.) Regardless of Carol, Ezekiel might be realizing the current deal with the Saviors has a limited lifespan. The tension between the Saviors and the Kingdom continue to escalate during supply deliveries. Richard has been told more than once that he will be the first to go if the Saviors decide to eliminate someone. It’s no wonder that he’s spending his free time developing plans to help defeat them, but he needs one that doesn’t require sacrificing someone who doesn’t want to be involved.
Don’t go breaking my heart
The look on Carol’s face when she sees Daryl at her door, when she’s explaining to him that she feels she has almost completely lost herself, when she’s begging him to tell her if the Saviors hurt any of their people—it’s completely heartbreaking. There are so many tears. In that moment, Daryl has to decide whether to tell her the truth and recruit her to fight or lie and allow her to continue her self rediscovery. He chooses to lie and doesn’t tell her about the disturbing demise of Glenn and Abraham. It’s the sweetest lie one could give to another in the apocalypse. Daryl doesn’t want to force Carol into more gruesomeness when her self identity is so fragile. So they have some soup by candlelight. A rare nice evening.
Will Carol learn the truth before the war begins? Will she be mad at Daryl for lying? Will Richard really give up his plan to use her as bait? The only thing we can assume is that Carol isn’t going to live alone in the cabin for the rest of the series. On the one hand, a fight isn’t truly a fight without an amazing, unexpected move from Carol. On the other hand, it would be unfortunate if one last fight left her cowering in a corner for the rest of her life. Odds are, the events that are really bothering her psyche are the ones involving children: losing Sophia, killing Lizzie, losing Sam. Maybe Carol will ultimately decide that being able to save people she loves is worth losing bits of herself. Where are all the postapocalyptic therapists?
We’re sad because we live in a trash heap
It’s not a bad plan when you think about it. When the zombie apocalypse hits, you have a choice of places to live: a fancy abandoned house, a tent in the woods, a secure prison, or a less desirable landfill. Who would think to go to the latter? The Scavengers have tailored at least part of their living facilities to better accommodate their purposes. Still, if I lived there, I would have a permanently sad expression, too.
Rick is a smile in a sea of sadness. When questioned about his gleefulness by Gabriel, he says he has learned (from Gabriel) that enemies can become allies. He says this after the Scavengers’ leader, Jadis, throws him into a junkyard pit with Winslow, the metal-spike-covered walker. After Rick’s “success” defeating the walker—after a hole in his hand, one in his leg, and advice from Michonne to pull the wall down—Jadis decides they are worthy of negotiating a deal. For a minute, Rick and Jadis are new government leaders working out a trade deal. They come to an agreement: in exchange for mass quantities of guns, the Scavengers will fight with them against the Saviors if they also get a third of that loot and keep most of what they stole from Alexandria. Rick is satisfied with this.
There are many strange things about the Scavengers. Their direct, simplistic language (“Your words now.” “Show Rick up up up.”). Their choice of living space. Their choice of clothes. Their zombie pit. Their circle formation. The really bad green screen that fills in the rest of the landfill at the top of the mountain. It will be interesting to see how their interactions with other groups will proceed.
Some fans think that there was a plane on that bad green screen. I noticed something flying but didn’t assume it was mechanical. Looking at it closer, though, it does appear to be too far away to be a bird. Interesting development. But wouldn’t they hear a plane in the silence of the apocalypse? Maybe just a mistake or a really big bird, like Big Bird.
The heat gets to you
Gabriel has become smarter and braver, due in part to the fact that he lost his clerical collar and now wears a tank top. It gave him freedom to hold his captor at knifepoint until the brief skirmish between the Scavengers and Alexandrians subsided.
Through a lengthy exchange with Rick, we find out the sequence of events that led to Rick locating Gabriel. Rick and Aaron navigate Lake Walker to gather supplies that are given to the Saviors. The Scavengers had been waiting for someone to recover those supplies for them, and they follow them back to Alexandria to figure out how to retrieve them. The supplies are given away before the Scavengers make their move. Gabriel gets caught by the intruder with big boots, who forces him to pack up everything in storage and take it to the junkyard to replace the missing supplies from Lake Walker. Gabriel leaves a note saying “BOAT” for Rick to find him. It ended up not being the end destination, but close enough. Now, Rick and Gabriel might as well be besties. Gabriel thanks Rick for rescuing him, and respect flows both ways.
Respect doesn’t flow between Rosita and Tara. They have a spat that seems insignificant. Rosita wants to start the search for the guns they promised to deliver. Tara tells her to go along with the group and deliver much needed food to Alexandria. Rick mentions that Tara has been out searching further than anyone, so she can at least tell them where not to go to look for guns. Of course, we know that Tara knows of a group who has a very large arsenal of guns. Will Rosita go out on her own and run into them? It’s safe to say we’ll see that group again, and it looks like that might be sooner than later.
Also, Rick gives Michonne a wire trash cat statue. How sweet.
Eye of the tiger
Daryl and Shiva are instant friends. Daryl knows how lonely it gets sleeping in a cage, so he befriends the tiger. Shiva, in exchange, acts like a kitten. Now I can’t help but picture Daryl riding into battle on a tiger, crossbow slung across his back. One swipe across Negan’s face and Shiva throws him down while Daryl finishes him off. Who needs other weapons?
There was a focus on weapons in this episode. Richard reveals his ability to make Molotov cocktails. Daryl obtains a crossbow again. Richard starts using a longbow after the Saviors declare that he can no longer show up to supply drops with a gun. Morgan loses his staff to the Saviors, even after politely asking for it back. The Scavengers demand guns and Rick promises to deliver them. Are weapons really the key to defeating Negan? Or is it numbers? Or is it something more tricky, subtle and personal that will take down only Negan, as Morgan would prefer, instead of the entire Savior community? We’ll see what works as the battle unfolds.
What I want to see next week: Negan. Who knew I’d miss the bad guys?