Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Walking Dead, Season 8, Episode 10: The Lost and the Plunderers

Image result for the walking dead season 8

Last week was Carl's big send off and this week, we look at the ripple effects of Carl's death.  Because Carl was such a major character, his death is going to impact people across the world. The story begins after the single shot that represents Carl taking his own life to avoid becoming a walker. Michonne and Rick are clearly lost.  As Rick stands over a rickety cross on top of Carl's grave,Michonne does her best to close the gates to stop the zombies from coming in. The effort proves futile as the zombies end up blocking the entrance.  Rick rethinks leaving a gun hanging from Carl's grave and decides to head back to his home and gather as many supplies as he can. It's Michonne however who almost loses it when she discovers Carl and Judith's hand prints in blue paint. There's isn't anytime to mourn and Michonne is quick to realise that and tamp down on her tears. Instead of breaking down, Michonne finds Rick and the two begin loading up supplies in their van but before they leave, Michonne notices the gazebo is on fire.  Michonne is determined to stop the gazebo from burning because she remembers that Carl used to like to sit on its roof.  Together, Rick and Michonne try to fight the blaze but it's futile because the walkers keeps trying to make them into snack food.  

On the road, a still mourning Rick is very much confused about exactly what it s that Carl wanted from him. Rick is concerned that Carl expects him to simply surrender to Negan and as we know, Rick Grimes just doesn't back down, even if he makes a promise to his dying son. All of Rick's doubts about what Carl may or may not have wanted quickly evaporate when he learns that not only did Carl write him a goodbye letter, he also wrote one to Negan.  Rick's focus suddenly becomes the garbage people, cause you ya know, your kid's last wish can't trump the safety of the garbage people and even more importantly, Rick sees the garbage people as belonging to him. At this point, Rick is clearly going to latch onto anything that will allow him not to deal with Carl's dying wish.

Now we're off to see the Saviours, who are having problems of their own.  Negan is somewhat pleased with the damage he managed to inflict on Alexandria; it's Simon who isn't pleased.  Simon seems to have particular resentment towards Rick for ruining the Saviours long run of oppressing different communities. Simon wants to get out of the Sanctuary and spend his time chasing Rick down.  Rather than allowing Simon to hunt down the Rick and crew, Negan assigns him the task of dealing with the triple crossing garbage people.  Why the hell is everyone so obsessed with what is going on with the garbage people? Simon chaffs under Negan's instruction to avoid going all scorched earth and to only kill one garbage person to let them know that the Saviours mean business. Simon is quick to point out that their usual mode of business doesn't seem to be working very well right now.

This is when Maggie' little gift from the Hilltop arrives.  Simon is not pleased to find that it's one of his men in the pine box and quickly realises that the people that Maggie is keeping captive are his people.  Simon immediately goes on a rant about what he is going to do to the Hilltop only to be cut off by a now clearly angry Negan. Negan is done with Simon challenging his position and makes it clear that Simon's job is to follow orders.

And now it's off to Oceanside for some unknown reason. In case you need a reminder, Oceanside is the community of women from who Rick and crew stole the guns to be able to go to war with the Saviours. Enid and Aaron (yes they pulled them out of the plotbox) have been captured and it's now up to Cyndie to decide whether or not they will be murdered.  Enid manages to talk Cyndie out of killing them by pontificating about how the real punishment isn't actually dying  but having to be the one to do the killing. Enid warns that by killing them, Cyndie well set off a cycle of violence and that eventually Rick will arrive and kill them all in revenge.  Cyndie thinks about it for a moment and decides to set Enid and Aaron free, warning the both of them never to return. I'm just gonna say it, at this point, why aren't Oceanside just shooting on sight given all of the trouble the Alexandrians have caused?  And right on cue, Aaron, despite explicitly being told to get the hell of there decides to stay behind to see if he can convince Oceanside to enter the war against the Saviours. Enid and Aaron have a teary goodbye and she makes him promise that they will see each other again.  Is anyone else confused about how it is that Aaron and Enid got so close?  Oh dear, Aaron better be careful, we all know about how The Walking Dead loves to canabalise its cast.

It's now time to check in with the garbage people.  Even though Simon is on strict orders on how to deal with Jadis and her people, he immediately turns into the school bully with no oversight.  The garbage people try to argue that they need their weapons in case something happens and Simon says that if and when the Saviours feel that the garbage people need to be armed, that they will return the guns.  Simon makes it clear that not only does he want all of the garbage people's weapons, he wants a personal apology from Jadis for siding with Rick against the Saviours. A wary Jadis orders her people to hand over the weapons but of course that's not enough for Simon who has an axe to burn. Simon demands an apology but when the one Jadis proffers doesn't meet his expectations, Simon shoots her top two people. An enraged Jadis pushes Simon to the ground, hitting him repeatedly as she declares her remorse.  It turns out this is just the reaction that Simon wanted and he orders his men to shoot all of Jadis's people.

When Simon returns to the Sanctuary, he hands over the guns he collected but does not mention the slaughter he presided over. Clearly, this is something that's going to come back to haunt Simon later down the road. Simon's recounting of his garbage adventure is interrupted when another Saviour tells Negan that Rick is trying to reach him on the walkie.

It's time to skip around the timeline.  Rick and Michonne arrive at garbage central only to quickly find themselves surrounded by walkers.  Rick and Michonne are forced to climb the garbage heap and that is where they find Jadis, now dressed all in white. With all of her people dead, Jadis no longer has time for pretend and she drops her broken way of speaking, as she explains that their home used to be a garbage heap - someplace she used to come before to find canvasses for her artwork and that together as a community they turned it into a home.  Jadis is clearly deeply in pain but at this point, Rick simply doesn't care and declares that he is tired of Jadis's games. Michonne and Rick make their escape from the garbage heap and Jadis tries to follow only to be rebuffed by Rick. Rick cuts off Jadis's escape by firing a gun over her head, drawing the zombies to Jadis. Jadis is forced to escape into an alley.

Alone once again, Jadis manages to make enough noise to draw her zombie compatriots towards a machine that acts like a giant wood chipper.  The zombies fall into the machine and end up like a disgusting congealed mass of meat. Jadis is clearly saddened that its come to this but she's a survivor. The last we see of Jadis, is her sitting down alone eating a can of apple sauce.

Once Rick and Michonne are back on the road, Rick justifies leaving Jadis at the mercy of the walkers, claiming that he didn't want Jadis dead, he simply didn't want to deal with her anymore. And right on cue, Michonne points out that what Rick did today is exactly what Carl warned him about. Rick decides to stop the vehicle for a moment of self reflection which quickly turns into Rick reading the note Carl wrote for Negan and once again forgetting all about his death bed promise. Carl's letter to Negan is all about making peace and of course, Rick just cannot have that and so instead, he uses the walkie to call Negan.

Rick is quick to inform Negan of Carl's death and for a moment, Negan wonders if Carl is dead because of the actions of the Saviours. Rick is clearly offended by Negan's question and quickly informs him of how Carl died, adding that though Carl wanted peace, he still intends to kill Negan. A pissing contest quickly ensues, with Negan talking about his plans for Carl and blaming Rick for being an absentee parent. Negan suggests that if Rick had just allowed himself to be conquered that Carl would still be alive today and warns Rick that he's still got more to lose. For Rick's part, he simply affirms repeatedly that there can be no peace and that he is going to see Negan dead no matter what.

It's been a really long time since Rick was a sympathetic character.  It makes sense that he would change over the span of years, living on survival mode but what he has morphed into is something unrecognisable to even his own child.  The Rick of season one would have done whatever he had to to honour Carl's last wish but this version or Rick is busy making excuses - feigning a lack of understanding all so that he can kill Negan. At this point, this war isn't even about the Alexandrians who have died but about Rick's single minded desire to win - to have and exercise power. Rick has always been very slow at self examination and I suppose this case is no different but if you can't pause after your child dies, then when can you pause?

Negan was truly concerned and saddened to hear about the death of Carl.  We've seen on the show a few interactions between Negan and Carl and their twisted relationships but I don't feel as though though the show sold it as well as the comics.  Negan's concern seemed almost misplaced making it hard to understand where his mourning really originated from. 

Then we have the garbage people.  I must admit to being annoyed with them from the very beginning and to learn that everything about them was a form of performance art, makes them that much more annoying to be perfectly honest.  I suppose everyone had to carve out a world for themselves and their performance at the end of the day really wasn't that different than the Kingdoms but I still found them to be irritating.  Jadis's downfall marks yet one more female leader on The Walking Dead to fail due to incompetence. Even Oceanside's failure to just kill the Alexandrians already is a symptom of how The Walking Dead fails its female leaders.  Yes, Jadis was caught in the middle between two immovable objects but she certainly didn't play her hand well at all.  I simply cannot imagine for one moment the writers doing this to a male leader.