Not that it’s hard over last week, but the lack of Negan (yay!) combined with the return of Maggie and Sasha, plus the show’s sudden ability to juggle more than one storyline per ep, made this episode a definite improvement.
Whooo boy. The episode opens in Alexandria, where Rick and Aaron are leaving to go scavenge for Negan and co. Rick is trying to convince Carl to go with him, but he refuses. He’s practicing his aim by playing darts and missing badly (poor kid), and generally being a surly teenage because Rick is (literally and figuratively) bowing to Negan.
Rick gives up and says goodbye to Michonne, who plants one hell of a kiss on him. Woohoo! Already better than the rest of the season put together!
Carl stops practicing darts long enough to notice Enid outside climbing the wall. She tells him she’s going to Hilltop, but Carl is skeptical. He reminds her it’s a long way, but she tells him she’ll be fine. She jumps over the wall and is gone, leaving Carl to pout after her with his perfectly coifed hair.
Meanwhile at Hilltop, Maggie wakes up to be told that her baby is fine. The doctor does an ultrasound so she can hear the heartbeat, and he tells her she needs to stay there until the baby’s born just in case. She leaves the clinic to find Sasha, who has buried Glenn and Abraham. They take a moment at their graves, and Maggie leaves the pocket watch on Glenn’s.
Jesus shows up to put some flowers down for them, and then here comes Gregory. He’s a total asshole, as per usual. Tells Maggie (who he stills calls Marsha) and Sasha that they can’t stay. They need “plausible deniability” for when the Saviors come back. Jesus is pissed, and he says he’ll try to convince Gregory to change his mind, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be much he can do.
Enid is riding her bike down the road when a Walker shows up. She acts like she doesn’t know what to do? Just kinda stands there and looks panicked? Even though we know she has a knife, and she used to live outside Alexandria, so I dunno. Weird moment.
Luckily a car zooms up and makes road pâté out of the Walker, and then Carl rolls down the window. Of course he came to rescue her.
Back at Hilltop it’s nighttime (they really ARE far away), and Maggie and Sasha are awakened by loud music. Outside the gates are open, bonfires are lit, and there’s a car blasting some sick Finnish classical beats. Maggie helps Sasha get out the trailer’s roof, and then signals to Jesus to go help her fight the Walkers pouring in.
Maggie, meanwhile, finds a tractor and goes all Monster Truck Rally on the car. Jesus does his spinny kung fu stuff and Sasha gets stabby, and they manage to repel the invasion.
The next day the Saviors show up at Hilltop, and Gregory tells Jesus to hide the ladies in the closet. Luckily no Negan, just his guy Simon. Simon does the stupid Saviors fake bonhomie thing, and Gregory grovels. It looks like he’s going to betray Sasha and Maggie, but instead he finds bottles of fancy Scotch in the closet, which he reluctantly turns over to Simon.
The Saviors leave to collect their stuff, and Gregory flips out at Jesus when he shows him that Maggie and Sasha are hiding in the bedroom closet instead of the hall closet. He and Jesus have it out, and basically Jesus tells him that while Gregory will remain the figurehead, Jesus is the dude calling the shots now.
Gregory approaches the women, calling Maggie “dear,” and she punches him in the face. Then she tells him that since she lives there now, he will call her by her name. Not Marsha. Not dear. Not honey. Maggie. Maggie Rhee.
Carl and Enid, meanwhile, find a pair of roller skates and adorably skate down the road holding hands. I’m not kidding.
When they get to Hilltop, it’s clear that Carl’s plan is to sneak aboard one of the trucks. Enid tries to talk him out of it. She even kisses him! All to no avail. She gets into Hilltop, and when Maggie gets back from punching Gregory she finds her at Abraham and Glenn’s graves.
Later, Enid is making supper for them when Sasha shows up. She’s obviously surprised to see Enid, and when asked, Enid says sure, she came alone. Of course she did. How silly. The three women share a wonderful moment of solidarity, and Maggie gives Enid Glenn’s pocket watch. Which I thought was a little weird. She didn’t wanna save it for the baby?
Anyway. Earlier Sasha asked Jesus to find out where Negan lives, so Jesus jumps into Negan’s truck. He’s pouring out the fancy Scotch when Carl pops up from behind a box.
Tune in next week for “Carl and Jesus Go on a Road Trip.”
I liked this episode so much. Except of course the scenes with the Saviors, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
First of all, just having Maggie and Sasha back was fantastic. They’re two of my favs, and to know that Maggie’s baby is going to be okay was a huge relief. Also it was good to see Maggie say goodbye to Glenn, at least a little, and of course her punching the asshole Gregory was the catharsis we needed. At least SOMEbody got punched in the face.
About Gregory. Okay, yeah, asshole. Coward. Sycophant. But, at the same time, you can sort of understand why he wouldn’t want Maggie and Sasha to stay at Hilltop. Knowing what happened to Glenn and Abraham, I’m not sure my reaction would be much different. Of course I’d like to think my basic human decency would overcome my cowardice and I’d figure out a way to help them, but his initial reaction was understandable. The problems come when he was ready to give them up to Simon, and kept on acting like a total butthead.
The Saviors popped up in the middle of this episode like a goddamn bad penny, making Gregory kneel and act like a trained lapdog. I don’t like Gregory, but I hate the Saviors, and I hate these constant scenes of them waving their penises around. I think we get it by now: they’re in charge, and everyone bows to them. Except, interestingly enough, Good King Ezekiel.
In other news, my smol bb son Carl is all grown up and kissing girls. I wish he’d left his hat behind to sneak into Savior land, because it’s not exactly stealthy, but hopefully with Jesus’ help he won’t get in too much trouble. Rick and Michonne are gonna be piiiiiiiiissssssed.
It’s kind of amazing to me how literally everyone except Rick is ready to defy Negan. Rick is apparently cowed, entirely, but Michonne, Carl, Sasha, Maggie, et. al., are working out ways to strike back. I understand Rick’s position, but at the same time…it seems very ooc. If, like in the comics, he was secretly plotting against Negan, okay, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe he is? And they just haven’t shown us? At this point that feels like honeypotting.
I guess next week is more Negan. So. Goodie.
Episode Grade: a strong B. Some points deducted for the Savior bullshit, but overall I really liked it.