AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 8: “How It’s Gotta Be”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by David Leslie Johnson & Angela Kang
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Time for After” – click here
* For a recap & review of the mid-season premiere, “Honor” – click here
We see Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and he’s very worried about what’s going on, out of his control. He’s just arrived at the Sanctuary. Along with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her people. Immediately they’re besieged by the Saviors inside. Soon, Carol (Melissa McBride) arrives to pick Rick up and scoot off.
Simultaneously, we see a conversation from before between Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs), talking about what the future will be under Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), that they have to be “finding some way forward” instead of trying to “kill them all.” But dad’s not settling for what his son believes. They just can’t, not after all that’s happened. After all the murder.
And while Rick is looking worried, even scared, there’s Negan – laughing and laughing. Because him and the Saviors managed to get free.
Back in Alexandria, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) look ahead to the next part of their plan, and he’s completely unaware that it’s all gone to shit. Carl is busy writing a letter to this father, he looks worried about his own things, but what exactly is HE planning? He reads the reminder that Enid (Katelyn Nacon) brought with her: just survive somehow.
Speaking of Enid, she and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are together doing their part. He’s trying to stay strong, not wanting his man to have died for nothing. When night falls, they see somebody lurking nearby. When Aaron gets knocked over, Enid pops a shot off. Turns out these are the women who Tara ran into a while back. Now, grandma’s dead. Shit.
So Carl is out opening up a sewer grate when Michonne stumbles onto him in the dark. He’s helping his friend from the road. That is, until Negan arrives on their doorstep. “You lose, it‘s over,” he shouts from a megaphone. He is prepared to begin killing. Only three minutes. Over at the Kingdom, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is getting his nerve back, just as Saviors infiltrate the whole place, too.
On the road, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Jesus (Tom Payne) are also totally clueless about the situation, believing they’re still on top. Then they come across a tree in the road. Maggie knows it’s a trap: “It‘s them.” Behind them they see lights, several vehicles pulling up. One hauls in front of them, the rest around back. Surrounded. They’ve got Jerry (Cooper Andrews), which isn’t a good sign for Carol or Rick, is it? Simon’s (Steven Ogg) running that end of the show.
Caril is likewise running the show at Alexandria in lieu of his dad’s presence. Wonder if he can manage to not get himself and the others killed, because they’re prepared to follow his lead.
“Well, here we are. I didn‘t want it to come to this, much rather would‘ve been at home tonight. But you folks wanted to order off the menu, and look at that! Now you have to eat shit.”
Everything is worse than before. Things are fucked. Instead of just a certain percentage being given over to Negan and his Saviors, everything goes to them now. Only enough to survive. Not only that, the Saviors have no home now; not a safe one, anyway. Which means everybody’s got new bunk mates.
Negan: “Scorched earth, you dick.”
Carl tends to the loud mouthed, Lucille-wielding man outside their gates. They exchange a bit of talk,and I’ve got to give it to the kid, he’s at least standing out there, trying his best. Negan pokes at old wounds, Lori’s death. The boy wants to work things out, however, there must be “apologies” and “punishment.” So, Carl offers himself up to die.
Just a distraction. Only this sets into motion one hell of an assault, as the Saviors pop off some incendiary grenades, blowing up part of the wall, some cars, a couple buildings. Elsewhere, Simon is explaining things going forward to Maggie, Jesus, the rest. He also tells them that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) was the key to getting free from the Sanctuary and all those walkers. On top of that, there needs to be a kill. One of their people in the backseat gets shot in the face.
While Eugene struggles with his decisions, his morality, poor Carl is in the middle of the streets after getting near blown to bits. Although his people are fighting back against the Saviors and Negan. He nearly gets blown up a second time, as well. On the road, Dwight (Austin Amelio) purposefully leads his caravan of Saviors into the line of fire, while Daryl, Michonne, Tara, and Rosita lay down fire, killing a bunch of them; as does Dwight. He nearly gets killed when he’s found out, but manages to stay alive.
Eugene lets Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) go, despite his condition, arranging a vehicle for him and the doc, so that Maggie’s child can be delivered properly when the time comes. At the Kingdom, Ezekiel gets serious, lighting up an explosion to get his people out of the grip of the Saviors. Carol shows up to lend a hand while a bunch of people escape. The King has his own plans. He locks himself in there. Yet these guys won’t kill him, they need His Majesty alive.
At Hilltop, Maggie takes one of the Saviors from the cage. She has stand outside, then shoots him dead. Eye for an eye. “We aren‘t even but that was a start,” she tells everybody. They’ve got to prepare for a last stand. Can’t forget about Morgan (Lennie James), either. He’s still got his rifle, still watching at the Kingdom.
But this little part of the world, it’s on fire. Gunshots, explosions, fire everywhere.
Rick finally makes it back home. At the house, he doesn’t find Carl. Just Negan, kicking his ass, disarming him. Soon they’re toe to toe, trading punches. Each man has the upper hand, back and forth. Rick gets away after he’s tossed through the window, and Michonne gets into town as everything falls apart, running into him shortly after. They make it into the sewer, where most everybody is alive, hiding, including little Judith, and Carl.
Except Rick’s son didn’t exactly make it through unscathed. He’s got a bite mark on his chest. In fact, he’s had it for longer, before all this from back when he helped save his buddy on the road. Nevertheless, this is it for him. There’s no way back from that. And now, the series has changed in a big way. Rick is about to lose his son. No telling what sort of person he’ll become after this loss.
The people who dislike the show can say what they will, personally I’m still in love with it. Even with the occasional shitty episodes, it’s overall enjoyable to me. Particularly with this last reveal, a huge one. It means that nobody is safe. Just because The Walking Dead doesn’t kill people off all the time in the main cast doesn’t mean it can’t happen, as proved by this mid-season finale.
Let’s wait it out, sweat it out, until a couple months time are up, and we can see how Rick, Michonne, and the rest deal with their newest tragedy.