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The Walking Dead – “East”

This episode was better than last weeks, yet at times I found it frustrating. Everyone knows The Saviours are coming, with Alexandria on DEFCON 1. Yet in this episode we see nearly every major soldier in Rick’s Army go AWOL. First Daryl leaves in a huff, with Michonne, Glenn and Rosita trailing after. Then we have Carol running off, followed by Rick and Morgan to try and bring her back. Seriously?

Of course, this leads to four of Rick’s best getting caught by The Saviours. Now, I do find this particularly frustrating. Especially since after beating the $%&@ out of The Saviours for several episodes, twice now Dwight and Co have managed to get the jump on our best fighters.

HOWEVER, I think there are some ways to justify these state of affairs.

Firstly, in previous episodes, The Saviours were unaware of Rick’s Army and Alexandria. So it was easy for them to get taken by surprise given how badass Rick and Co are. Yet now The Saviours know about them. For all we know, Dwight’s group are the best Negan has to offer. Not even a manky wanger can stop this guy! So Negan’s best getting Rick’s best so easily makes The Saviours all the more of a threat.

“Is leaving your family really the best way to deal with trauma? We do not always think straight when emotions are involved.”

Secondly, Carol has become inconsolable recently (mostly due to Morgan getting under her skin I think) and finds she cannot carry-on being a part of this family. In an interview on The Talking Dead, Melissa McBride suggested Carol cannot trust herself to keep killing to protect the people she loves. She knows she is going to have to keep doing it, she knows she will do it if necessary, but it is eating her up inside. In short, she knows her trepidation is a threat to everyone elses’ safety, so she feels the best thing to do is go for the greater good.

Is leaving your family really the best way to deal with this though? I would think confronting it head on and talking with your family would be a better way. Still, those thoughts and feelings are quite realistic I feel. We do not always think straight when emotions are involved. So Carol believes she is doing the right thing, but I do not think she is capable of thinking objectively given all that has happened to her; the weight is just too much to bear right now.

Daryl is also being very brash and irrational. Yet consider where he has come from. He was on the ‘let us help people’ bandwagon until Dwight &$@! him over, stealing his bike and crossbow. Next, poor Denise gets a bolt to the eye from his own crossbow after Dwight tried to take a shot at him (but Denise got in the way – and Dwight is a bad shot…at least not with a gun). As we have seen throughout this series, decisions have consequences – both good and bad. Daryl was made a fool by Dwight on more than one occasion, and Daryl feels guilty for Denise’s death. In short, Daryl is angry (Hulk-angry) and not thinking straight. He just wants Dwight dead. I do not think it will happen this season, but the anger both Dwight and Daryl feel for each other is going to lead to some great moments.

“Maybe Dwight is just a really, really horrible shot.”

Unless Daryl is dead. I do not think he is. He got shot in the shoulder. Although the excessive blood was a bit unnecessary I think, cool, but unnecessary. Maybe Dwight wanted to kill him but is just a really, really horrible shot (maybe his eye got damaged after being burnt). More likely, Dwight has orders to bring these people back to Negan. Also, Dwight has been trying to kill Daryl for a couple of episodes now.

Addendum: Rick’s group are also incredibly cocky about now. Granted, entirely justifiable, but this arrogance is leading them to make some bad choices. So much so, it is going to take Negan to knock them down a peg or two, which I think is exactly what is going to happen but I am not sure how far this show is going to go – THAT makes me tense.

I think these caveats are justifiable, but I should not have to fill in the gaps like this just to justify otherwise stupid behaviour this late in the season.

Other highlights of this episode include the scenes between Rick and Morgan. It was good to see these two have this particular conversation about how things are not so clean-cut as Rick would like them to be. Both Rick and Morgan have been key characters from the first episode, with each going in radically different directions, both falling into despair and coming back into the light.

Of course, let us not forget how badass Carol is even when she is emotionally unstable. She can still take care of herself, but she really wanted those guys to just walk away. She gave them every opportunity, but once they started threatening Alexandria she knew what she had to do. So she took out 4 out of 5 guys. 80% Carol, B for effort! You can do better next time though. Not sure how her story is going to turn out or even if it will be resolved this season.

Finally, there was Enid again everybody! Remember her?

FINAL VERDICT

We all know the proverbial $%&@ is about to hit the fan, but we are not quite sure how bad things are going to go down. Part of me is feeling let down by The Saviours given how easily they have been getting their asses kicked by Rick’s Army. Yet since The Saviours know about Rick and Alexandria, they seem to have upped their game. I also think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is going to bring some serious gravitas (i.e., ballsy Mcballsyness) to Negan which was lacking with The Governor (no offense to David Morrissey who was great in the role) and other baddies we have seen before. This episode had some more frustrating moments given how high the stakes are. I think you can justify it, but there are better ways to tell the story this late in the game. Next week will be 90 minutes of insanity, but it will be faithfully directed by none other than Greg Nicotero.

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