This week’s Walking Dead finally circled back to Tara and Heath, who last season left on a
3-hour tour 2-week scavenging mission. Yes, believe it or not, it’s only been 2 weeks in show-time since they attacked the Saviors’ satellite base place, and Tara and Heath have been gone the whole time.
Another cool feature of the ep: there were no dudes! Heath was in it a little bit, and Eugene for like 2 seconds (with no lines), but otherwise it was all ladies. It’s really too damn bad it was so slow, because otherwise I loved the concept.
The episode opens with a young woman and a little girl walking on the beach. The little girl (Rachel) excitedly kills a zombie, then runs across the sand when she sees another body. The woman (Cyndie) stops her before she can stab it, because she realizes the person isn’t dead.
Cyndie drags Tara from the surf and leaves her behind some driftwood with food and water. Tara follows her back to their village and sneaks in under the fence. She’s attacked by a guard, but Tara knocks her down and doesn’t shoot her. Rachel is about to shoot Tara (again!) when Cyndie steps between them.
Cyndie’s grandmother is the community’s leader, and she and some of the other women imprison Tara in one of the trailers. Later, at dinner, they tell Tara that all of their men were killed, so they just up and left to this hideaway in the woods. Their policy is to kill any strangers on sight, but since she didn’t kill Beatrice (the guard) when she had the chance, they offer to let her stay.
Tara admits she was lying about the story she told them earlier, that she and Heath worked a fishing boat and had been wandering around ever since the apocalypse started. She tells them about Alexandria (a little, without naming it) and about attacking the Saviors. Tara believes that that stronghold was it, the Saviors are dead, but these women know better.
They offer to send Tara home, with a guide, and they’ll talk to the Alexandrians to see what’s up. The next day Tara’s walking through the woods with Beatrice and Cathy when she gets some squirrelly vibes. Reading the situation rightly, she figures out that they’re trying to kill her and runs. Once again Cyndie saves the day, but before she lets Tara go she makes her swear she won’t tell anyone about their community.
Oh, also, Beatrice tells her that the Saviors are who killed their men, all the men and boys over 10. The women were supposed to work for the Saviors, but one night they ran away to the woods. Now they stay hidden and refuse to let outsiders know about them. Hum.
Cyndie and Tara reach the bridge where Tara and Heath were separated. Tara makes it across, and on the other side she finds Heath’s broken glasses near some tire tracks. Maybe he made it out? We can hope.
Tara has a jaunty trip home and even picks up a nice souvenir for Denise. Then she gets to Alexandria and finds out what happened, and all the hope she had before is gone. Rosalita begs Tara to tell her if she found anything or anyone who could help them fight the Saviors, but Tara remembers her promise to Cyndie and tells her “there’s no one.”
“I never thought I’d be asking this, but where are all the men?”
Oh, Tara, I love you. Yes, this episode was almost entirely dude-free, and that was so refreshing. None of Rick’s dumb speeches or Negan’s endless monologuing. Just, ya know, moral quandaries that everyone must face in the post-apocalyptic hellscape that is The Walking Dead.
Speaking of hellscapes, I don’t understand the deal with the Saviors. Negan seems interested in breaking men and making them his pawns: Rick, Daryl, Dwight; but instead of trying to do that with this group, they killed all the men? Just…shot them? Aren’t the men valuable? Can’t they do work? I mean, obviously the women can too, but you’d think more bodies…more people to torture…
It doesn’t seem to jive with what we’ve seen of them up to this point. Yeah, they kill, but they don’t do it just for shits and giggles. Negan killed Abraham as vengeance for the satellite station, and he killed Glenn because Daryl broke the rules. To just line up all the men and boys and shoot them for no real reason doesn’t seem all that Negan-like to me. I guess we all needed one more reminder of how CRAAAAZY Negan is!
While I was very glad to (still) be away from Rick and Negan, the episode was…so slow. Like, really, really slow. It wasn’t entirely boring, because they peppered the script with Tara’s sarcasm, and I enjoyed the relationship between Tara and Cyndie, but at the same time, this felt like another sort of wasted hour. Not entirely wasted, because clearly this group is going to be important at some point, but for right now I was like, “Can we get back to the Kingdom or something? Maggie and Sasha again? Carl and Jesus’ road trip?”
I know that The Walking Dead is spending the first half of the season setting up the dominos that’re gonna fall later, but I think we all know that setting up is the most boring part of those cool falling dominos displays. I would have more patience for the show in general if they didn’t do this every season: build up a certain amount of story momentum and then ram it into a brick wall because lol SUSPENSE. In truth, I don’t have much trust for what they’re planning, or for how they choose to pace the season, and so far they’ve spent 6 weeks of this season, plus 6 months off, plus like 3 weeks of last season just to cover 2 weeks of show-time. Wowza.
This problem could be avoided if they’d just COMBINE EPISODES like they did last week. There was no reason for week before last’s Negan-fest to be one episode. Or even Carol and Morgan in the Kingdom! Those 2 episodes easily could’ve been combined, and then hey! We’d have more forward momentum!
But nah. Story momentum is for lame-os.
My question is, how does a show that suffers from so many windbag men get rid of all said windbags for an hour and still make a mess of it? I’ve seen worse, especially from this show, but c’mon. So much potential. Wasted.
Episode Grade: C? If there had been more dudes, it woulda been a D for Dull.
Images curtesy of AMC and holtzymannz.