SERIES 8: EPISODE 10
Dare I say it? That was a much better episode. After complaining the director’s flourishes were staid and samey, this episode had a rather different feel. I could argue there was little point to the “title cards” but it would be futile to complain about a small detail in an episode that was a vast improvement on the last.
This week we followed Rick, Michonne, Negan, Simon, Jadis, and Aaron and Enid. I will admit, I had forgotten all about Aaron and Enid. I had also forgotten Enid’s name when it came to write this review. This only highlights how diluted the “core characters” have become, and how little time we spend with any one character (this makes me think of how little I felt when we lost Carl last week). I actually forgot the name of a character that has been in this series for about three seasons. Nevertheless, we revisit Aaron and Enid shortly after they killed Cindy’s mother. Cindy chooses not to kill them then and there, and Aaron tells Enid he needs to stay, and for Enid to report back to Maggie.
Michonne is still woefully underused and even her portion of the episode felt more about Rick and Carl but they needed to reflect on the loss of Carl, so I understand the purpose of her scenes in that context.
The conversation between Negan and Simon about how they should handle Jadis was rather interesting. It did more to define Negan’s outlook on leadership and community than any of the smirk-fuelled monologues he has been delivering over the last one and half seasons. It was curious to see him spar a little with a subordinate who feels like they challenge him a little. In fact, Simon feels he can ignore Negan’s direct orders. Until this point we did not know where Simon stood on Negan as a leader – or even if he considered questioning Negan or challenging him at all. And this scene proved Negan is not the most ruthless amongst the Saviours, and he will only kill where he feels it is necessary and part of a bigger plan. While he has said this before, it was expressed far more convincingly in last night’s episode than it ever has been before. I imagine Negan will uncover exactly how Simon “dealt” with the “trash people” and that could have some interesting repercussions.
I never ever, ever, ever, thought I would write “there was a good scene with Jadis”. But here we are. In fact, there were a few good scenes with Jadis, perhaps the best scenes of the episode. Who didn’t enjoy her mask slipping long enough for her to fearlessly punch Simon? It also reminded us that she has “built” something as much as Rick or Negan have, and she feels the same desire to protect that community. The look on her face when the Saviours opened fire on the “trash people” was actually a little affecting and I am genuinely surprised that, in a few short scenes, “The Walking Dead” made me care a little about one of my least favourite characters. She even went some way to explaining the odd affectation to their speech. Art-y types, eh? It explains a lot. And watching her mince those zombies was rather fun too.
I don’t know what to make of the phone call between Negan and Rick. It is difficult to dispute that Negan was being rather reasonable. Though who is “reasonable” after they lose their child? I took the time to read some other reviews of this episode, and it seems not everyone enjoyed this episode as much as I did but if the writers and directors of this series can produce a few more episodes like this one, I may start tentatively looking forward to Monday nights again.