by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8, Episode 10.
After the non-stop action of the first half of the season and the drama of Carl’s death in the previous episode, I suppose that it was only natural to have a slower episode at about this point. And it was slow. It seemed like very little happened this episode, other than the demise of the Heapsters. In a strange way, the lack of storyline progression was almost jarring after seeing how the previous episodes this season sped through plot development. Yet while not as exciting as other episodes, this one laid some groundwork for the future.
The biggest part of this ‘laying groundwork’ was with the changes we saw in Jadis. She began the episode as her usual smarmy self, but evolved (Or perhaps ‘regressed’ would be a more appropriate word?) to a different person by the end of the episode. When Simon confronted her, she was arrogant and smug, yet surprisingly she surrendered her people’s weapons. Yet still, she wouldn’t apologize in the way Simon wanted. It might have worked out okay for the Heapsters, except that Simon was at the end of his own rope and just looking for an excuse to lay waste to somebody. Leaving Jadis to live while he killed the rest of her people was a horrible agony for her, yet in the end I believe it will be a mistake. While it seemed to Rick that Jadis was broken, we could see that she was not; Simon’s cruelty only made her more determined. As she sat there and watched the undead shells of her former people destroy themselves on the trash compactor, her face displayed a range of emotions. Certainly there was sadness, but also a rising determination. We haven’t seen the last of Jadis, and I’m sure she’s going to do everything in her power to make Negan’s life miserable. She’s changing inside, just as she did when the zombie apocalypse first happened. She’s ditched her garbage garb for a plain white nightgown, and her speech is returning to more ‘normal’ patterns. But this is only a reset for Jadis. Simon hinted that there might be something more to the garbage dump, and whatever’s going on with that location, Jadis knows what it is. For all we know, she’s sitting on top of a nuclear missile silo and is about to blow the Saviors to Kingdom Come. Jadis has just become a wildcard, and possibly a very dangerous one.
For that reason, I believe that Rick was incredibly stupid not to take Jadis with him when he left. Sure, she’s untrustworthy, but she could be a valuable resource, and it was only the previous night that Rick had promised Carl on his deathbed that he would find a better way and make peace. Abandoning Jadis when she was begging for help was not a good start.
Of course, Rick got his own callous behavior thrown back at him when he spoke to Negan. Negan unjustly accused Rick of being responsible for Carl’s death, yet his words definitely hit home. Rick is too out of it at the moment to think logically, so he didn’t understand how Negan was trying to play him, and only reacted with his basic emotions. I can’t even count how many times we’ve heard, ‘I’m going to kill you!’ come out of Rick’s mouth, and it was incredibly disappointing to hear it again this episode. It was as if all of the progress that was made in the previous episode with Carl’s dream and dying request had been thrown away. I’m really hoping that this is a temporary aberration and that the plot will actually continue to move forward and not be mired in this stalemate.
Speaking of the plot moving forward, for me, the most exciting part of the episode was in seeing the seeds of discontent in the Saviors’ organization. We know that Gavin is dead (Negan is obviously just realizing now that there’s a problem) and of course Dwight has betrayed Negan. Simon is now pushing back, and is obviously unhappy with Negan’s direction. This was all summed up in 2 lines during last night’s show:
Negan: Saving people… it is hard, but it works damn well.
Simon: Not lately.
Negan still has his original vision. He is smart enough to understand that he can’t just kill everyone, because then he has no one to work for him. There is no one to grow food or gather resources on his behalf. He needs to bring people back into the fold if he wants his organization to work. In contrast, Simon is a bully. He wants everyone to do everything he says, and if they don’t, then kill them all. He doesn’t think ahead, and doesn’t anticipate how the Saviors will be in trouble if they don’t keep these other communities working for them. His suggestion to range further afield was laughable. If it was viable to go further afield, wouldn’t Negan’s people have done that already? This is why Simon is only second in command: he has valuable skills, but thinking and planning aren’t among them.
And Simon is not thinking now. He’s angry with the situation in which the Saviors have been placed, and unhappy that Negan doesn’t seem to want the vengeance that he feels is necessary. Simon not only disobeyed Negan with regards to the Heapsters, but then he lied about it afterward. You know that this is going to come out, and sooner rather than later. I suspect that when it does, Simon will rebel against Negan and attempt to take over the Saviors for himself. When that happens, Eugene will likely run for cover and Regina will take sides with one of them… but her loyalties are unclear. It would be a great plot twist if Negan was the one who had to take off running and ended up working with Rick to deal with Simon. That would be a compelling storyline leading to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. I can only hope that the show follows in this kind of direction.
I hate to even bring up the Oceansiders, but it was part of last night’s episode. Not surprisingly, they were angry with Aaron and Enid for killing Natania, but then Cyndie just let them go. It was a disappointing ending to a disappointing storyline. The only mildly interesting part was Enid’s comment that Natania ‘forced’ Enid to kill her. I guess Enid is saying that Natania was going to kill Aaron no matter what, and so that Enid had no choice, but is she also implying that Natania was trying to sabotage any attempt at peace or alliance? Certainly that’s entirely possible. The Oceansiders have demonstrated on every single occasion that they only want to be left alone, yet the people on Team Rick can’t seem to do that. I’m over these people and do not find them compelling. I’m hoping that this gets put to rest, but given that Aaron is staying behind to talk to them, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Oceansiders.
As a side note, I enjoyed seeing Negan’s opinions of Carl in this episode. When Negan said that if he had a son, he’d want him to be like Carl, he apparently wasn’t kidding. Realizing that Carl had played him and gotten the people of Alexandria to safety, Negan was impressed, not angry. And he was genuinely distressed when he learned of Carl’s death, particularly with the thought that his grenades might have been the cause. When he learned that Carl had been bitten, he went after Rick, blaming him because Negan was emotionally wounded by Carl’s death too. It makes me realize again how much the storyline will suffer from Carl’s loss, because he could have been the bridge between the two sides. I can only hope that the writers of the show will bring Rick back from his madness once again, allowing him to work toward Carl’s vision of the future.
For those who play the Walking Dead: No Man’s Land mobile game, this episode’s season mission is Rick and Michonne in Alexandria, searching for supplies and sadly remembering Carl.
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