The Walking Dead Recap: The Other Side
By Emily Offshack (@CanadianEmily)
The Walking Dead Recap: The Other Side
Three short but poignant conversations were the highlights of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. We spent an hour with some of the show’s most frustrating characters, while they barely inched the plot forward. Maggie, Daryl and Jesus created meaningful personal connections, while Rosita, Sasha and Gregory continued to ruin everything. Yes, Rosita and Sasha had a nice moment talking about knots and things, but I’m not sure it makes up for how reckless they are being. There was also a moment when Eugene made me crumple up my face in disbelief, but we’ll save that gem for later.
Without dialogue, the episode begins by showing us what everyone has been up to at The Hilltop. Maggie is preparing the community by conducting weapons training (knife throwing), making lists of things they need (scrap metal, batteries, new generator, emergency exit, horses, weapons), receiving an ultrasound to make sure mini-Glenn is healthy, and, in general, being awesome and bringing everyone together. Sasha is preparing in her own way by sharpening her knife and finishing her map of The Sanctuary, which Jesus helps her with for no other reason than he doesn’t like to see good people killed. On the map, Sasha underlines “walkers” 50 times, because this is a known method for making them weak. Enid knows what Sasha is doing, but for now, she doesn’t tell Maggie. Poor Daryl is sitting in the dark by himself and won’t make eye contact with Maggie when she puts a hand on his shoulder; his guilt over Glenn’s death is crushing him. Gregory, meanwhile, is drinking while he watches Maggie slowly gaining control of The Hilltop by being a kind, intelligent and strong person. He knows he can’t compete with that. Rosita arrives with her proposition for Sasha, and we’re back to where we left off a couple episodes ago.
Listen to Jesus
Any heading I write sounds weird if I include “Jesus,” but Jesus of The Walking Dead is smart and has ninja skills, so here we go. Carry on.
Jesus apologizes to Maggie for taking over her trailer as they sit down to have the first emotional conversation of the episode. He hasn’t known the people from Alexandria very long, but he already feels comfortable having a heartfelt talk with Maggie. Now that Maggie and Sasha are at The Hilltop, he says he finally feels like he is a part of it. He tells her about his previous life in a group home and his struggle to get close to neighbours, friends and—yes—boyfriends! Maggie’s reaction to Jesus’s story is the sweetest advice anyone could give, which is to try getting close to someone even if it doesn’t last. This is a simple way of saying that despite Glenn’s death, she doesn’t regret a second of their time together. Cue the leaking eyes. I hope Jesus finds someone soon, but in the meantime, he and Maggie would make a pretty awesome pair to lead The Hilltop.
After their personal discussion, Maggie and Jesus talk about items that they would like to get before the fight, like riot gear—and we think of Glenn at the prison. Sasha is listening to this conversation, but she’s mostly waiting for them to leave so she can enter the trailer in private. She takes bullets from a hollowed-out book, including one particularly large and pointy one (excuse my lack of knowledge of bullets). Jesus and Enid catch her in the act, but they don’t seem to be mad, just worried. Jesus proceeds to say everything intelligent to Sasha: don’t go, we need you, you need more people for what you’re doing, I’ll go with you. She refuses the advice or help, and Jesus leaves her with, “It’s a long life, and then it isn’t.” He asks her to at least tell Maggie what she’s doing, which, of course, she won’t. Enid, however, will, but for some reason she gives Sasha a ten minute head start.
Dr. Carsons are rare but not extinct
But wait—the Saviors are coming! A guard is ringing a bell and shouting at everyone to let them know about the incoming evil. Sasha doesn’t even get ten minutes to pack, and she rushes out with Rosita through an underground exit. Enid tells Daryl to get Maggie and hide; the Saviors, after all, are on the hunt for Daryl and believe Maggie is dead.
Simon heads into Gregory’s mansion to have a chat, which begins with a productive discussion about alcohol preferences. Eventually, Simon says, “You have a certain someone,” and we worry about Daryl. Enid tries to distract one of the Saviors by offering a basket full of melons, but he won’t take it. He takes her knife instead. It’s presumably this same Savior who then ventures into the storage compartment where Daryl and Maggie are hiding behind baskets of tasty, postapocalyptic produce. Daryl stands there, wielding a knife, still unable to look at Maggie.
Turns out Negan isn’t as dumb as he seemed when he killed off Dr Carson. Negan knew that there was another Dr Carson, the brother of the dead one, available at The Hilltop. For now, it’s not Daryl that he wants. Simon tries to make the kidnapping humourous, at least. He bribes the doctor with a promise of cardamom gelato and gives Gregory a crate of Aspirin for their medical needs. Gregory makes a pathetic and self-serving attempt to talk Simon out of it. He warns Simon that if their doctor is taken away, his people might turn against him and appoint a new leader who may not be as cooperative. Simon seems to realize that this situation is imminent, and he tells Gregory to find him if that scenario unfolds. He leaves Gregory with a piece of paper that supposedly contains a location to find him. It’s doubtful that it’s the location of The Sanctuary, so what does the paper say? And will Gregory actually go to Simon if Maggie gains control of The Hilltop? I’m not sure Gregory is the type of person Negan would want at The Sanctuary. He’s easily controlled, yes, but he’s also not very useful.
Dr Carson is loaded into the Savior’s truck like any other commodity, and off they go. Maggie is left without a doctor to see her through her pregnancy, but I have faith that she’ll do just fine without one. It’s not ideal, but if she doesn’t throw herself into the frontline of the fight, hopefully there won’t be any emergencies, and they might even have Dr Carson back before the little one arrives. Of course, it’s The Walking Dead, so something bad is probably going to happen with the pregnancy or delivery. I’m sure being at war could send you into early labor.
Daryl is always one of the good ones
Back in their hiding spot, Maggie and Daryl are waiting for the Savior to leave, and as he does, Daryl nearly jumps out to stab him from behind. His rage is difficult to contain, but Maggie stops him. When they are finally alone, Maggie asks him why he hasn’t spoken a single word to her. Here come Daryl’s tears, and here come my tears and your tears and dead Glenn’s tears. Daryl chokes out the words, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Maggie reassures him that Glenn’s death is not his fault, but he disagrees by nodding and crying the guiltiest tears that have ever been shed. Maggie has funnelled her grief into planning the war, making it possible for her to console others. She reassures Daryl that he must be a good person because that’s what Glenn believed, and Glenn was a good person, too. She says she wants to kill all of the Saviors, too, but they need to win—not just act recklessly (meanwhile, Sasha and Rosita are already on their way to The Sanctuary). Maggie asks Daryl to help her win, and they hug, and anyone tuning into AMC is now dehydrated from losing too much water through their eyes.
Hopefully this conversation—the second relevant one of the episode—will reign in Daryl’s rage and guilt and convert him back into someone who can be counted on to shoot an arrow through Negan’s face at precisely the correct moment. So many people deserve to be the person who gets to take a shot at Negan, but Sasha is determined it’s going to be her.
Rosita and Sasha and the Chief Engineer
A good chunk of the episode was Rosita and Sasha bickering with each other. After they leave The Hilltop, they need a car and spend a lot of time looking for one. Rosita notices the necklace that Sasha is wearing, one of Abraham’s, and points it out: “Like it? I made it.” Ouch. So Sasha tucks it into her shirt. Weird. If I were to go on a suicide mission with someone, I don’t think I’d pick someone who I despised or who despised me. These two are not getting along at all, and for good reason, so why are they doing this together? Sasha wants to try to shoot Negan from one of the surrounding buildings, and Rosita insists they need to go into the compound to make sure he’s dead; she seems to argue for the sake of arguing. They manage to work together for a few minutes to set a car on fire, creating a distraction for the walkers, which allows them to hotwire another car and be on their way.
Somehow, they end up in one of the surrounding buildings, despite Rosita’s earlier protests. Through the sniper rifle, they can see Eugene, who is ordering around other people, apparently getting them to make some modifications to his metal-coated walkers. Rosita thinks he must be “playing some angle.” You’d hope.
The last important conversation was between these two rivals, Rosita and Sasha. Knowing that you’re probably about to die must make it easier to connect with someone you dislike. Sasha tries hard the entire episode—heck, the entire season—to get Rosita to like her, or at least not hate her. She watches Rosita make some fancy knots and asks if she’ll teach her. Rosita implies that there’s no point since they’ll be dead soon, but she sighs and agrees. Sasha later uses an abundance of compliments to try to connect: “We got lucky having you with us. You know how to do everything.” This is enough for Rosita to break, and she opens up about how she used all the men she met after the apocalypse. They would want to protect her, and she hated that she needed to be protected, so she picked up everything they knew about bombs, mechanics, knots and more. She’d learn whatever they could offer and then move on, until Abraham. He appreciated that she could handle herself, and she never looked back. Sasha and Rosita talk about how Abraham would have wanted to go out fighting, but Negan took that away. They agree to have each other’s backs, and now they’re besties. For me, this scene seemed very contrived, though in the moments before you might die, I can understand how emotions might change.
Dr. Carson, version 2.0, arrives at The Sanctuary. This draws Negan outside, but he’s hugging Eugene, then the doctor, and Sasha can’t get a clear shot. Shortly after, they hear Eugene’s announcement that the surrounding buildings are going to be searched, so that’s the end of their vacation, and they’re forced to attempt to get inside The Sanctuary. The search of the buildings was also contrived, unless Eugene noticed they were there and was trying to get them to go away. That’s exactly what he tries to do when they approach him at the fence while he’s alone. Rosita and Sasha offer to help Eugene escape, and he just starts crying, refuses their help, and runs back inside. I maintain that Eugene operates on a moment-to-moment basis where his own safety is the ultimate priority. This is how he has operated at least since he met Abraham, and though Abraham might have started to get Eugene to change, he’s gone now.
Rosita and Sasha have run out of time. They cut the perimeter fence, and while Rosita is keeping watch, Sasha gets inside the fence and locks Rosita out. Now Sasha, who seemed to agree that this was at least a two-person mission, is on her own with nothing other than descriptions of the inside of The Sanctuary. And some bullets. She’s doomed, and someone is watching Rosita. At the very least, this means things should be moving at lightning speed until the end of the season.
What I want to see next week: Eugene not being lame.