Last we left The Walking Dead, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group were left surrounded by a new group of survivors who are a more obnoxious camp than the Saviors, Kingdom, Alexandria, and the Hilltop combined — but they are armed and have numbers.
They dwell in what appears to be a vast landfill and have a policy of being the laziest of all camps, waiting until other people do the hard work and then swoop in to steal it.
To break this episode up from becoming Mad Max Beyond Garbage Dome, we get a second story spliced in, as Daryl (Norman Reedus) works his way through the Kingdom’s “brass” until he is reunited with Carol (Melissa McBride). Awwww.
When Daryl Dixon is the most talkative character in an episode, you know it’s going to be a long one and this one was a chore to get through.
Indeed, Daryl mowed through the Kingdom as he had a few icy exchanges with Morgan (Lennie James), basically calling him a wuss for complying with the Saviors, which seems a bit harsh having known what all of the other communities are doing, and yet I think we can all agree that we are all pounding our heads on the table whenever we hear Morgan calmly find ways to go against Rick’s more proactive methods.
Then it was Richard’s (Karl Makinen) turn, whose initiative to revolt against the Saviors is endearing, especially after getting beat up during every tribute, but he has the most half-baked plans to carry them out.
He befriends Daryl to help him ambush one small party of Saviors to hopefully frame Carol as the ultimate cause of it and in turn, get her killed and sway Ezekiel (Khary Payton) to leading to a rebellion. This is clearly someone living in a world of make believe for too long.
It made sense for Daryl to track Ezekiel as he would eventually lead to Carol, but while their reunion warmed the heart, it was excruciating to see main characters withhold pertinent information from each other, knowing that it would help propel the story towards a resolution.
That’s what happened when Carol asked Daryl if the Saviors got to their group and if anyone got hurt. She said she’d be driven by revenge if that were the case, but that it would take what’s left of her humanity.
Rather than break her heart, he chose to lie to her to keep her in good spirits. This isn’t a case of chivalry as much as it was pure stupidity.
Now on to the Garbage Pail Kids and their “We take, we don’t bother” approach. It was just one example of the peculiar behavior they exhibited. For the first time in the series, The Walking Dead morphed into the cult subgenre show, as that’s what the Garbage community felt like.
Their leader, Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), looked like a stand-in for Milla Jovovich and talked in cryptic fashion, gave out hand signals that triggered the rest of the community to move in bird-like formations.
They dressed in dark clothes, showed zero personality and spoke in monosyllabic sentences like they were brainwashed. As if we needed another mass group of characters to thin out character development.
This situation with all of the camps is starting to reach a critical point where The Walking Dead painfully crawls to the obvious place it needs to get to, yet feels like it’s still hours and hours away.
It happened on Hershel’s farm, when they were in the prison, attacking the Governor, and now with the unifying rebellion of the communities against the Sanctuary.
So we wait, and wait and wait until the show moves to where it needs to, and hope that viewers aren’t bored getting there.
It’s not a surprise that they’re taking this approach, but the current showrunner, Scott Gimple must feel like that’s not as big of a flaw as I might think.
The truth is that this show is miles better when things are in motion instead of standing still, which is what happened the majority of the episode.
After being tossed into a garbage pit, Rick fought this insane looking zombie named Winslow, that looked like it walked off the set of Mad Max: Fury Road, armored like a porcupine of sharp objects protecting its head and body.
Despite the circumstances under which Rick was fighting this walker, the whole thing felt strangely out of place, like a 70’s science fiction homage, from the synth music, to a strangely poor green screen shot of the vast wasteland these Garbage Pail Kids are living in.
We’ve seen Rick be more resourceful than he was in this scene and needed to have Michonne (Danai Gurira) remind him that there were weapons all around him, because, hello, he’s in a garbage dump.
There were also plastic tubs all around which could have easily been used to guard against Winslow’s sharp protusions, and instead he stumbled about until Michonne shouted advice through a peephole.
Chomping at the Bit
A few questions…
1. These Garbage Pail Kids present all sorts of questions, but we’ll have to be at the mercy of what few interactions we’ll get with them.
Since they only act when they want to, I don’t know if we’ll get all of the answers to our questions regarding what they’re all about. They’re not from the comics so they are an original addition to the lore, but the verdict is still out on whether they’re a good one or truly a friendly one in the long run.
Last week, I thought they were an all-women camp but lots of long-haired men appeared when they moved to the landfill. This is a new wild card, even for those familiar with the comics who may be feeling like the show might be running too close to the comics that it’s becoming too predictable.
Another thing I want to know is how have they been able to avoid the Saviors for this long?
2. I’m all for putting Carol in an interesting space but isolated in a house all to herself, not wanting visitors and shooing away those who dare trespass on “her property”?
Is this really where the writers think Carol is best suited? Bad Ass Carol?
It doesn’t make sense for Daryl to withhold the deaths of Abraham and Glenn, especially when they need all the help they can get.Surely, he still feels responsible for them but this was a head scratcher and yeah, no one wants to push Carol over the edge, but isn’t that what she’s always telling the young people on the show?
Grow up, get tough and get hard. Eventually, she will learn about Glenn and Abraham, what then? Neutering Carol has not been a wise decision.
3. Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) explained to Rick that he was jumped and was forced to empty the pantry from the boathouse and drive to the landfill. But it seems like a lot of hoops to jump through to get this moment between Rick and Gabriel.
Sometimes these scenes feel more organic but this one especially felt forced, as if Rick’s smile needed to be explained.
He just found more people to sacrifice, to take the majority of bullets the Sanctuary has, before his team can clean up once the combat goes more hand-to-hand and close quarter. Of course he had a reason to smile.
There was a lot wrong with this episode, but seeing Daryl get a crossbow back in his hands felt like some order was restored.
The walker moments have been reduced to a handful, which means we’re ramping up for something big. All the focus has been on diplomacy and between the communities but it’s interesting to see how clearing the area of walkers can be a daily task one day and then the next episode appear to be some rare breed of wildlife.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) has one scene with Tara (Alanna Masterson) but has taken up the mantle that Carol once wore, which is all business, all the time. I wished Serratos’ performance was more subtle though. She’s still coming off too one-note, as if she’s screaming out loud when everyone else is quietly conversing.
Daryl and Shiva. Nuff said.
Next week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Hostiles and Calamities” airs Sunday at 9pm on AMC. Negan will no doubt be back spouting nursery rhymes and looking to break out Lucille and swing for the fences. Eugene learns of his new fate working for Negan and Dwight is also put into the spotlight.
I bet that we’ll see one camp almost say yes, but draw out their decision for another two weeks.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.