SEASON 10; EPISODE 17
So the end is nigh. We’ve only got another season and a half of one of the most successful TV shows ever made left to enjoy (and moan about). It’s been an up and down decade or so and although the viewing figures continue to drop, there has been a slight upturn in terms of quality over the last couple of seasons. Which is kind of crazy when you consider this is the post Rick Grimes era - and a time when many wondered how the show would fare without him.
In truth, although we are still technically continuing series 10, the next little run of episodes will essentially act as a little mini series before we begin the final (and very long) final series which will commence in October. As the central antagonists of the series have already been despatched, it’s all about setting things up for the last hurrah and I think we are going to see a focus on character rather than action for the next few weeks.
With the Whisperers now out of the way, it’s only right that we are lumped with the next nasty post apocalyptic tribe. This time it’s a lovely little group called The Reapers, who seem to have it in for Maggie and have followed her across about three states to settle a score. We don’t really know very much about them at this point, other than the fact they wear military garb and are tooled up like GI Joe. Well, the one that they managed to corner was. Before he blew himself up that is. That dude managed to take out about four of them as well and the fact he chose to do himself in rather than give any information up indicates that his gang are going to be just as culty and extreme as any of the others we have encountered. It’s also possible that the armed militia that Eugene and Ezekiel and co encountered at the end of the last episode are part of this lot too. However I surely can’t be the only one that wishes the show would try something a little different at this point. We lurch from one conflict between our group and another, every season or two and it feels a bit stale at this point. I’m sure there will be some interesting stuff along the way but I would have liked to have seen the showrunners offer up something a bit surprising. Who knows, there is still enough time to do that but I am not hopeful.
The return of Maggie was the central focus of the episode. She’s been gone for nearly a couple of seasons now (it's a lot longer in terms of time in the show though) heading off with a woman named Georgie (yeah I’d kind of forgotten about her too) who turned up in a suit and who was trying to build some utopia somewhere. Well, that didn’t go according to plan and Georgie’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Maggie is accompanied by a couple of chums, one of who is dressed up like he’s attending Comic-Con or something. He’s clearly quite damaged having just lost his sister but Kelly is on hand to offer some comfort, what with her sister being missing and all. I mean, WE know that Connie is ok but poor Kelly has no clue.
Maggie’s return of course means that Negan’s mere existence is somewhat problematic. I was doubtful whether they could turn Negan into anything other than a murderous scumbag but they have actually been pretty successful on that front. The turnaround has been quite gradual but he’s know a rather valuable - if unpopular - member of the gang, although Judith seems to have something of a sweet spot for him. However, Maggie’s hatred of him is obvious and completely understandable. Little Judith wasn’t around when Neegs caved in lovely Glenn’s skull with a bat. But Maggie was. Daryl and Carol were too and although they still clearly loathe the guy, they seem to have accepted that he has reformed in some fundamental way. This fact is not going to mean much to Maggie though. The two exchanged a few awkward moments, although Maggie clearly has no intention of even talking to him. She still wants him dead and this story thread is going to be something that propels us through the next few episodes. At some point it’s going to come to a head and the residents of Alexandria are going to have to make a choice. Let Maggie dish out some payback (or justice depending on how you want to look at it) or intervene and maintain the peace. Carl’s dream was that even someone like Negan could come good and be a part of the community. Some Alexandrians will be keen to honour that, others might not be so bothered…