AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 13: “Do Not Send Us Astray”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Angela Kang & Matthew Negrete
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Key” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Still Gotta Mean Something” – click here
Morgan (Lennie James) is continually having troubles with conscience and guilt. He keeps seeing dead Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith), hole in his neck, on the trail behind him. He’s kicking himself for not doing it before the kid. Poor man is closer to losing his mind than he’s ever been since way back when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) found him once upon a time. Either way, right now he, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and the rest of their crew at Hilltop are getting prepared for the arrival of the Saviors; for the coming fight.
Speaking of the lads, Simon (Steven Ogg) has to stop the Saviors to move a few “offending articles” from the road in front of Hilltop, so as not to blow out their tires. Over the radio, he gets a call from Maggie. He tries lots more of the same big talk, and she tells him about the 38 hostages she’s prepared to kill. The interim Negan says he couldn’t care less about hostages. Dwight (Austin Amelio) cautions that the real Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) wouldn’t approve.
Nevertheless, Daryl brings the thunder riding in on them with an assault rifle and his bike. He leads a few Saviors in towards the gate, then Maggie has her people start gunning them down. But Simon and the others return equal fire. Death everywhere.
Suddenly, the whole place dies down after Maggie gives her survivors the signal. Simon and the Saviors don’t see anybody left, emerging from their hiding spots. Only they find a ton of bullets raining down when they approach the main house. And when they retreat, Rick comes in with some of the others to cut them down. A bunch of the Saviors get free, though.
One of the things I still find compelling about The Walking Dead is the shifting meaning of right and wrong, as well as what it means to be with a community when you’re put up against impossible odds of having to choose loyalty or your life. Such as Dwight’s situation, and as Daryl brings up Merle, it makes me wonder how many times people can reinvent themselves in the post-apocalypse. And in the end, does it even really matter?
That brings to mind the eventuality of death, symbolised by zombies in general. They’re like a metaphor of how death comes for all of us. So, in a way, The Walking Dead is almost an allegory for the struggle of life in the face of death: many have to fight just for survival, and all while recognising there’s a futility, that death is coming for us regardless. Which makes me want a truly nihilist or pessimist character now, some villain who emerges with the sole purpose of villainy. Not for survival, for food, not even for power; for the sake of it.
As far as our surviving heroes go, Carol’s the closest I’ve got to someone who’s facing the absurdity of life in the post-zombie apocalypse lifestyle.
Sad to see Tobin (Jason Douglas) die after being wounded in the big fight. He passes away in the night unnoticed, allowing his zombified corpse time to reanimate, chomp down on an old friend, and surely start a bit of a ruckus under the cover of darkness. Yikes. Part of the Negan method.
Plus, we’ve seen this before, and in an open space it can cause big, big trouble – like taking out more people with medical experience/knowledge – before anybody even notices. And by the time people are aware of what’s going on, a near epidemic is on their hands at Hilltop.
Young Henry (Macsen Lintz) isn’t happy about being ignored, due to being just a kid, and that takes him out to see Gregory (Xander Berkeley). The two of them chat about the boy’s murdered brother. Henry wants to know who killed his brother, and he asks some of the Saviors. This is right about the time the walker outbreak’s gotten really out of control.
It’s total chaos. Rick has to help amputate a few limbs before the infection spreads Outside, Henry unlocks the Saviors’ cage, and orders them to give up who killed his brother. He says if nobody does, he’ll kill them all. They’re interrupted by walkers biting, so Henry starts firing, but Jared (Joshua Mikel) grabs his gun and lets the rest of his pals free. Jeeeeesus christ. What a mess.
Everyone’s figuring out that all the weapons the Saviors used in the fight were tainted, so that even just the barely wounded were infected, not only people who died in the night. As suspected. Simply another hurdle to have to jump in this horrorshow of a life they’ve all got to lead.
What about Henry? Nobody can find him in the aftermath.
This was a solid beginning and end episode, with a bit of fluff in the middle. I do really enjoy a lot of Maggie, especially when she and Rick are kicking ass together, and EVEN MORE when she is just sorting things out for Hilltop as the one who took over leadership there instead of former Sheriff Grimes always being the so-called leader (even though I love him to death).
Wonder what Negan’s up to with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). Hope we’ll find out in “Still Gotta Mean Something” next time.