Monday, November 21, 2016

The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode Five: Go Getters

It seems that The Walking Dead has decided to divide the action into what is happening to the various communities.  This week, it's time to see how the Hilltop is faring since Rick's big confrontation with Negan.  It begins by immediately letting us know that not only is Maggie alive, she's still pregnant. This is a pretty big reveal and I for one am really glad that the writers didn't drag out the reveal with Maggie the way they did with Glenn last season.  I don't think the fans could have withstood it.

In Alexandria, Rick is preparing to head out and gather supplies given that the Saviours will be back. This doesn't impress Carl, who refuses to accept the status quo.  It's hard to remember that Carl was there when Abraham and Glenn were killed because objections to his father come off as teenage angst. Carl runs into Enid, who is planning to head off to the Hilltop to find Maggie because there's been no word on how she is doing.  Carl is adamant that this time, he's not going to save Enid.

At the Hilltop, now that Maggie is on her feet, she must deal with Gregory, who is unimpressed that the people of Alexandria didn't take out the Saviours.  I really think that The Walking Dead missed a moment here because part of the reason that their deal failed is because Gregory didn't tell them how large of a force they were up against.  Even as desperate as the Alexandrians were, I'm pretty sure even at his most arrogant, Rick would not have attacked the Saviours.  Instead, what we got was Gregory asserting the failure of the Alexandrians and demanding that both Sasha and Maggie leave, though he couldn't remember their names.  Jesus tries to intervene by pointing out that it's late and too dangerous to travel at night and so Gregory gives them until the morning to leave.  Sasha is not pleased with this and she cannot understand why it is that Jesus allows Gregory to lead the Hilltop. Maggie is content to leave things alone for now and suggests a good night sleep.

Enid runs into trouble on the road and is saved by Carl running over a zombie.  The two teens make their way on foot to The Hilltop, pausing when Carl comes across a backpack containing rollerskates of all things. As they skate down the empty road it's a direct contradiction to all of the ugliness that has happened so far - a moment of normalcy among all of the death and the violence. 

That night at The Hilltop, Maggie and Sasha awake to hear music blaring, fires burning, the gate open and zombies lumbering in.  Maggie and Sasha immediately take action though this is the last thing Maggie should be doing given that she almost lost her child.  Maggie manages to use some farm equipment to crush the car where the music is coming from, as Sasha and Jesus work together to close the gate and deal with the zombies.  They are efficient and brave as expected.  

The next morning, Sasha, Maggie and Jesus meet with Gregory.  Sasha asks for Maggie to be allowed to stay and offers to forage for things to pay Maggie's way.  Gregory agrees to take this under advisement if he gets some time alone with Sasha, clearly implying that he wants sex in trade. Maggie and Sasha are having none of that and cowardly Gregory is quick to deny that he was asking for sex.  The conversation however gets cut short when the Saviours arrive looking for supplies. Gregory instructs Jesus to hide Sasha and Maggie in a closet so that their community can hold onto plausible deniability. 

This week, thankfully, Negan is absent but in his stead he's sent Simon as his surrogate.  In conversation we learn that The Saviours are the ones who set the fire last night and opened the gate. They were however surprised that they didn't have to jump in and save The Hilltop. Gregory explains that the people of the Hilltop have learned from watching the Saviours and thus were able to save themselves but they did get the message that the Saviours are in charge.  Gregory is as submissive as can be as Simon throws his weight around.  When Simon pushes, asking if there's anything that he should know, Gregory decides to give up Maggie and Sasha, who he believes are hidden in the closet in his office. It turns out that Jesus hid them in Gregory's bedroom, so all Gregory manages to accomplish is leading Simon to his good stash of booze.  Giving up his booze is not enough to save Gregory from having to kneel at Simon's feet.

Enid and Carl have arrived outside of the gates and Enid realises for the first time that Carl didn't leave Alexandria to find her but to find a way to track Negan and kill him.  Enid begs Carl to stay at the Hilltop with her but Carl will not be swayed from his plan.  

Now that the Saviours have taken everything they want, they are all gathered outside of the gate, so Jesus decides it's time to make Maggie and Sasha aware that it's safe now.  Gregory is pissed that his plan to sell out Sasha and Maggie didn't work.  After seeing how cowardly Gregory behaved and the fact that this didn't guarantee the Hilltop safety, Jesus decides that no matter what Gregory says that both Maggie and Sasha are staying.  Maggie backs that up with a hard punch before removing Hershel's watch from Gregory.  Maggie may not be back in 100% fighting shape but she's not going to bow to Gregory.  Clearly what we are seeing is Maggie vying for control of The Hilltop.

Maggie and Gregory both leave, thus leaving Sasha alone with Jesus.  Sasha decides to send Jesus on a mission to find out exactly where Negan is.  Jesus agrees to do so even though he has to promise not to let Maggie know what he finds out.  Clearly, Sasha has her own plan to confront Negan which very well might mean the end of Sasha.

With the trucks all loaded up, the Saviours pull out and head for home completely unaware that they are not one but two stowaways. That's right, Jesus and Carl are both along for the ride. 

In Alexandria, Maggie is reunited with Enid.  Maggie says that she's not okay right now but that she will be and the two sit down for dinner.  When Sasha arrives, she joins Maggie and Enid, and they say a prayer before eating.  Maggie gives Enid, Hershel's watch, confidant that she doesn't need anything to remember Glenn by because he will always be with her. It's a small light in a dark tunnel because while they cannot see a way to be free right now, they know that they will survive and that they have a future. 

This episode was very necessary after all of the doom and gloom of the first four episodes. I consider Go Getters to be a sort of pallet cleanser before we are offered the main meal. It's clear that yet another showdown between Negan and Rick is coming and that the writers are simply getting the characters into position to allow this to happen.  The only question is how long will the set up take?