AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 15: “Worth”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick & Corey Reed
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Still Gotta Mean Something” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 8 finale, “Wrath” – click here
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally reads the letter Carl (Chandler Riggs) wrote to him before he died, writing about what growing up meant to him before, as well as after the fall of society. Carl wrote about “Friday night pizza … cartoons” and other memories of life before the post-zombie apocalypse. On top of that, the boy reminds his father there are regular people at the Sancutary, under control of the Saviors; people Rick wouldn’t want to see die. He urges his father to “find peace” with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Most of all, the kid wants those he left behind to find a way to be a society again, to be normal like it was before the walkers.
And like us, Michonne (Danai Gurira) is curious: what did Carl write to Negan?
“Growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe”
Together again, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) and Simon (Steven Ogg) are drinking, chatting about what’s going to happen from here on in re: the Saviors. Simon says the leader is now gone, so he’s taking over responsibilities for their group. Each man seems quite a deal more relaxed since beginning to believe Negan met his demise out on the road someplace.
In his little factory, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is amping up production on the bullet quote for Simon. He’s gotten comfortable with the whole deal he and Negan struck, so he’s kind of waltzing around with a bit of confidence, or perhaps hubris. Either way, I’m pretty keen on seeing Eugene get shot in the face soon, honestly. Meanwhile, poor Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is a “scared animal” amongst the bullet-making operation, and I hate to see him having to work alongside Eugene. It’s about the right time for Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) to show up, armed, taking Eugene by storm.
Big uh oh moment for Dwight (Austin Amelio) when he stumbles onto a still alive Negan. The leader, still wielding Lucille, is back to assert authority over the Sanctuary and his subjects. He heads up for a talk with Simon and the rest of his committee. Negan brings up the “psychotic shit” Simon did back before they were first taking the Sanctuary. Afterwards, he puts the man on his knees. But he forgives, and allows his old buddy to get back on his feet. They’ve got other plans now for Hilltop.
Together, Simon and Dwight talk about “current management,” including their attempts at changing things, none of which went well. The former wants to gather others for a mutiny. He pushes Dwight, trying to start a revolution from inside. Yet Dwight has been playing them all with his slippery allegiance to the survivors at Hilltop, and he doesn’t want any kind of Saviors settlement to be the new way of life.
The Oceanside crew run into Aaron (Ross Marquand), and he’s not doing well. He collapses in the woods near them, but the women opt not to help him. Shitty, though I do understand why they might feel that way. Still, this leaves Aaron out there alone in the rain, fighting off zombies from every direction. It gets worse when he loses his knife. The Oceanside women return later, surrounding him. He pleads that they understand the danger of the Saviors, how him and his friends are in the same situation. Maybe now this will bring these women together with the other survivors from the Hilltop and the Kingdom, and then they might make some progress against Negan.
Later on, Simon and some of the others begin a revolutionary mutiny against Negan. However, they don’t realise Dwight has remained on Negan’s side, as have the remaining Saviors. A bunch of the rebels are killed, leaving Simon left last for the leader. What do they do? Fist fight in the middle of the Sanctuary. While they rumble, Dwight sends Gregory off with written instructions re: the Saviors’ upcoming plans.
Following more fight, Negan strangles Simon to death on the floor in front of the other Saviors.
“To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”
But Dwight has big problems, too. See, Negan found someone on the road last episode, and it was Laura (Lindsley Register). She knows all about Dwight, his own rebel plans, the whole damn thing. This has left our man wholly vulnerable, as well as the fact those plans he sent with Gregory? Fake. This has essentially setup a trap for Rick and his people, unknowingly courtesy of Dwight. In addition, Negan’s not even gonna kill the guy, he’s got worse things in store.
Not only is Eugene on the other side, he’s been helping make bullets that have aided in the fight against his former friends. He’s caused so much shit, so much death. Rosita and Daryl both consider him a “coward and a traitor,” and they each grapple equally with murdering him rather than using him for their own purposes. Except Eugene distracts by throwing up on Rosita, then he makes a sneaky getaway back towards the Sanctuary, more determined than ever to be a force of evil against his once friends.
Across the walkie talkies, Michonne calls Negan about the letter Carl wrote to him. She reads it to him over the radio. Carl urged the man “forgiveness” is a way out, and that peace is – despite it all – possible. His letter pleads for him to “start over” somehow. Nevertheless, Negan is only concerned with killing Rick and everyone there. He’s very done with talking.
Great episode leading into the season finale next week, which will be aired back-to-back with Fear the Walking Dead‘s premiere. We’re going to see Morgan jump back in time! As for Season 8 here, I’m excited to see what the finale will bring, and I really do look forward to Season 9, because I’m hoping that the writers are going to bring fresh things. Or else the show is going to shamble harder on its already weary legs. I personally dig the series, but even I, a fan, can see how it falters often. When it’s good, it’s damn good. When it’s bad – well, y’know.
“Wrath” is our Season 8 finale. Stay tuned.