This episode was not plot heavy - we had lots and lots and lots of killing Saviours which I’m not going to recap because it basically involved everyone charging around being big damn heroes, especially Morgan who has levelled up to infinite-bullet badass and is just leaving corpses by the dozen in their wake
Oh we also have a lot of dull artsy montages which feel like pure filler. Seriously we open with 2 minutes of this and close with 2 minutes more just watching people’s faces. I don’t even recognise some of these people.
We have some tactics with Aaron leading his group with the tactic of shooting Saviours pinned in a courtyard who are then relatively helpless when their dead raise as zombies. Of course, a few grenades would have made this way easier. Eric - remember him? Because I didn’t even recognise him (or Aaron for that matter. Walking Dead if you want us to recognise characters as main characters they need some screen time or they blur with the extras) - gets shot so I think we can expect his death in the not too distance future
Carol, Ezekiel and co are going for another compound but need to kill a scout first so they’re not warned - they fail so they know they’re coming. Ezekiel continues regardless. The main issue here is Ezekiel with his melodramatic delivery, his constant smiles and his epic speeches is just damn inspiring. He makes it clear to Carol, dropping his act for a split second, “fake it until you make it.” And Ezekiel is inspiring and I’m sure people would follow his dramatic, theatrical self into hell - but they may be following him to their death. Confidence alone doesn’t win battles
The main battle this episode is a moral one - and whether all Saviours should be massacred or not. Remember Rick said that only Negan had to die. Equally Rick convinced Morgan that slaughter is a-ok. We have several images back and forth on this one. At one point Maggie and Jesus find a surrendered prisoner - Maggie calls for murder (partially driven by revenge because of Denise -and Glenn and Abraham) while Jesus insists that it says more about them that they’re going to kill an unarmed prisoner. Said prisoner then kidnaps Jesus and holds a gun to his head - showing the cost of this kind of trust. Of course grabbing Jesus when he’s a kung fu master isn’t exactly a good plan and the guy ends up defeated - but still tied up despite Maggie’s disgust. Later there’s a whole team who surrender - Jesus says not to shoot them unless they shoot first though as Diane (she has an apparent automatic bow, able to fire 2 arrows in as many seconds) points out, if they shoot first then some of them dies… there’s this constant reminder that being merciful is dangerous. Equally from Jesus there’s a reminder of what it makes them if they’re literally willing to massacre a crowd of surrendering unarmed people.
Especially when we consider how many people have been actively coerced by the Saviours.
To drive that home, while Rick is searching for guns, he ends up brutally killing a man - and then finding the small baby he was guarding. The implication is - and the scene shows - a blood stained Rick standing other an innocent baby. That even the Saviours are parents, are people.
Then we get a blast from the past - Morales, from way back in season 1. He’s a Saviour now and he holds Rick hostage and says he’s called the others. I’m not sure which “others” there are given how many Saviour outposts have been massacred. Darryl’s running around the same building so I suspect rescue will be forthcoming.
The action was fairly simplistic but we’re driving home the message of morality here. I think this bodes for the Saviours not lasting much longer - and the conflict is going to be what to do with the Saviour survivors.