The first 90 minute episode of the season had a lot to live up to. There were mixed reviews surrounding the episode as some viewers felt that there wasn’t enough action considering the special running time extention. I however, feel that they made use of the time very well, and there were several revelations that are going to lead into bigger subplots, and huge character explorations. My hopes of the episode begining right from where we took off on the premiere were dashed as soon as the opener showed Rick and Michonne lay in bed after making the return to Alexandria. This opening scene was completely silent and so much is to be taken from this overt soundless scene. It shows right away the kind of apprehension and grief that lays heavy amongst Rick and the rest of the crew. Michonne shows that despite her ties into the Grimes family unit, she still continues to be the lone soldier we first saw her has. I’m especially pleased that even though she has fallen into the ‘mother-role’ this hasn’t softened her lone wolf type persona. She is a force to be reckoned with to be sure.
Negans entrance was absolutely brilliant and I’m falling in love with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (JDM) as Negan more and more each week. With his rhythmical dialogue and teasing tongue, he certainly is unlike any other villain we have come across so far. It’s as if he’s injected a new lease of life into the show, which 7 seasons down the line, is definately needed. Despite how weak Rick is looking and acting on the outside, I feel he opened the gate to Negan with such aggression and drive that it shows he still has that certain thirst about him. I don’t doubt for one second that Rick is not as weak as he looks.
To see Daryl arrive with Negan was certaintly a shock. After so much plot seperation I would never have guessed that Daryl would be back on Alexandria turf this early on (the time space between the present episode and the premiere is 3 days) It is in this moment that one of the most important parts of the episode happens. Blink and you miss it – quite literally. It is highly speculated that Daryl can be seen communicating with Rick in Morse Code. This is a huge long shot but for several reasons it is completely plausible.
Firstly, the poster seen in Rick and Michonnes house. Kirkman has said himself that little is used without reason when it comes to the production of the show, so why would this week be the week that we are shown Ricks ENORMOUS artwork of Morsecode? Secondly, Morse Code is a form of communication that drug dealers have been known to use in order to carry out covert deal operations. We know that Daryls brother was a big drug man himself, and it wouldnt be unusual for someone of Daryls background to have been taught Morse for survivalist reasons. Finally –
take a look for yourself it’s quite clear that Daryl seems to be blinking rather obviously, and in Ricks reaction something of recognition can be seen. Another example of ANDREW LINCOLN BEING A NUMBER 1 ACTOR MAY I ADD!!! Whilst I am no avid Morse Code user (although I definately want to learn it now) it has been guessed that what he was saying was the word ‘East’ which could be so that Rick knows in which direction The Sanctuary is.
Negan continues to wreak havoc during the walkaround with Rick and we see different examples of how dick-ish the saviours are. Before, I discuss them, I want to briefly discuss HOW incredible it was to have Rick carry Lucille around for him. The biggest mindfuck of them all. It’s truly incredible how a single prop can have such a magnified symbolistic meaning. Negan is allowing Rick to feel what it’s like to be the big dog once more, whilst also reminding him of the bludgening that occured in the premiere AS WELL as giving Rick the oppurtunity to bash Negans head in at any given moment which Negan knows, Rick knows and we know can’t and won’t happen (just yet.)
Carl acts like the biggest spoilt teenager of them all and the look on Ricks face says everything. Could you actually imagine the fear of the telling off you’d get if you had all your dads arsenal ransacked because of you as a teenager LOL I would literally rather Lucille myself in the head. I mean, as Rosita pointed out, they came with the notion that they were going to take the guns anyway, but it became even better for Negan because he could use it to make an example out of Carls foolery. The scene in which we saw Enid being disgustingly harrassed by some saviour perve was a definate set-up for an awesome Carl revenge kill in the future. It’s courtesy in TWD (and most shows) that the perv will get the cruel death they deserve and this little inkling definately gave that away. A moment I will look forward to. It was a welcome thought distraction from my heart breaking as Enid demanded the balloons back that her and Glenn used to tell Maggie they were alive. BRB crying.
Another hugely satisfying scene on the walk-through was the one and only Papa G popping up out of nowhere and scaring the living day out of Negan. His character is becoming extremely dynamic and I really enjoy the quirk that Seth Gilliam brings to the role. The Maggie line was a throw off as my brain tried to tick fast enough to keep up with both the TV show plot, and whatever it is that Rick is plotting in regards to Maggie. I obviously didn’t actually think she was dead but the shock statement certainly did throw me off for a second, similar to how it threw Negan off. This also in a way makes Negan more relatable to the audience as we are shown things from the same perspective as him. My guess is that there are a good number of guns buried in those graves which was preplanned by Rick and Father Gabriel as well as Olivia. I guess that the reason Rick was so angry/startled when he initially found out about the two missing handguns was because he had pre-meditated the list and inventory so that he would be able to have the arsenal cleared out like that without causing a scene. The missing guns is an added inconvience when he already has a stash buried out back.
The moment in which Rick confronts Spencer about the guns was magnificent. Here we saw him adapt certain Negan characteristics himself and it was a hell of a reminder that Rick is still badass Rick. Theres a longstanding theory that Rick takes on traits of all of his enemies across the seasons, and this was a perfect example of how he may use Negan as an influence to protect his own. Either way, Spencers a fucking dick and needs sorting out regardless. ONE MAJOR FLAW – RICK DAMMIT HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO HEAR YOUR DELICIOUS THREATS WHEN YOUR STOOD 30 FOOT AWAY WITH YOUR BACK TURNED – oh he did ok.
Outside the walls, we see both Michonne and Rosita carry out their own personal journeys. Rosita is finally getting the plot she deserves. She is an incredible character who has jumped from strength to strength and tonight she showed exactly what she is capable of in terms of combat, and I’m hoping she will finally get some real good action and drama. This will open a huge storyline for her whether she makes it to the end of the season or not. I’m just glad that the writers are actually dedicating some solo screentime to her and letting her be as incred as she actually is. In terms of Michonne, pretty much every scene she was in had some form of symbolism or foreshadow. It was Michonne who also found the burning mattresses. Yes mattresses, it was hard to see through all of that dodgy CGI but I guess its unethical to burn highly flamable objects in the middle of a Georgian summer, even to TWD standards. As aforementioned how she took off on her own at dawn, to how she took out the deer which backshadowed to the fateful scene with Carl and the deer, to this screencap below.
I think it portrays both characters as the respective items shown in front of them. Michonne is obviously the beautiful, strong, intelligent deer who is caught in the cross fire (I’m unsure if this is simply a tie to Carl, a reminder that nothing is safe anymore or a foreshadow to the future) and Rick is seen as empty and destroyed as the chair in front of him. Another potential foreshadow that we may find is that we were first introduced to Maggie after Carl was shot in the first deer scene. Maggie soon swept in on her horse to save the day. Could this be an indication that Maggie is due any moment to come through on her white horse and save everybody once again?
And now to reflect on perhaps the saddest moment of the episode and/or ever. Ricks..acknowledgement..that..Judith…isn’t……his………*CRIES FOREVER*
Hearing the name Shane was like somebody throwing an ice cold bucket of water over me. Like HELLO REMEMBER SHANE REMEMBER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE NEGAN AND THE PRISON AND ALEXANDRIA AND TERMINUS. It seems like so much has changed since life on Hershels farm. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been 5 months since the fall of the prison. I’m so relieved that finally the writers are actually acknowledging past characters instead of depending entirely on future plotlines. It was a humbling acknowledgement despite the negative connotations and point of conversation. To have the confirmation of Judiths heritage is really really fucking sad though like for Rick to admit it, to Michonne and himself showed just how desperate things have become. It also now makes sense why Rick told Carl to name her. Because he’s her only real blood relative 😦
If your still with me thanks for reading my extra long thoughts on this extra long episode. I can’t wait to see what kinda state Maggie is in next week and lets hear it for the LAYDEEEEZ who are all plotting their revenge! Enid, Rosita, Michonne, you are all wonderwomen!
*all images belong to AMC*