Chaos reigns as Michonne and Daryl each try to deal with problems in Alexandria and the Hilltop.
Abraham has trouble on the road when their bus breaks down
Rick and the crew come across a priest, hiding out in his church. No one is safe, though. Not with someone watching the group.
When Rick is alone, after Carl and Michonne go scavenging, a group of dangerous men stumble onto the house.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 1: “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple
* For a review of the Season 6 finale, “Last Day on Earth” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Well” – click here
Our episode’s title comes from Dr. Jenner at the CDC, way back when Rick said he was thankful for all the man had done for them. To which the doc replied: “The day will come when you won‘t be.”
Today is that day.
We start on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his face spattered with blood. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) taunts him. But Rick replies: “I‘m gonna kill you.” The nastiness of Negan’s demeanour is so perfectly awful. He digs into Rick, already having taken his victim from the group. He takes the hatchet Rick arrived with and brings Rick into the RV with him nearby. Behind them, a pile of blood and gore.
Who was killed?
Inside the RV, Rick cowers like we’ve never seen him do before. Hiding in the shadows. And Negan tries to clue him into the new rule of things. He challenges Rick to take the axe and do him in. But you know it ain’t going down like that. He knocks Rick to the ground, dominating him. Proving a point. “Think about what happened, and think about what can still happen,” Negan all but cackles in the driver’s seat, taking Rick for a ride somewhere.
Then we flash throuh Rick’s mind, as he sees memories of everyone in their group. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Enid (Kately Nacon), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus) , Michonne (Danai Gurira) – while Negan throws his axe from the RV into a foggy road of walkers, beckoning Rick to go get it. Our trusty leader, the onetime Sheriff Grimes, manages to get on top of the RV, hatchet and all. Although as he stares into the distance either way you can see the hope starting to fade. For the first real time, he’s a broken man. “I bet you thought you were all gonna grow old together,” Negan pokes at him more from inside.
Now we’re back to the eenie meanie miney moe. Negan goes around the line. We watch Rick’s eyes. We see the terror in the eyes of every single person. The taunting of Negan and his bat land on: Abraham. He savagely beats the brains out of Abraham’s head, smashing him over and over. Everyone watches in sickly disgust, as nothing is left of the skull and brains. Nothing. “Look at my dirty girl,” Negan calls to them horrifically. He even taunts Rosita (Christian Serratos) with the bloody end of Lucille. Then Daryl breaks loose, punching Negan.
Will he get the bat, too? No. Even Dwight (Austin Ameli) rushes in to try putting an arrow in Daryl’s skull. Negan won’t allow that. Not right yet: “That‘s not how it works.” No, no, no. Another victim for Lucille comes next.
Glenn’s head is smashed in. The front caves. So suddenly. Everybody is brutalised by the sight of Glenn, his eye popping out, trying to speak to Maggie in his last moments. Negan goes on whacking away until there’s only blood and hair left on the end of Lucille. The group is left devastated.
Rick lies on top of the RV, remembering what’s happened. All to well. This is the worst and most wounded we’ve ever seen him.
In a crazy moment, Rick jumps from the RV, using the hanged man from the bridge as a grip. With zombies clawing at him, walkers of all kinds trying to rip him apart, Negan pops them all off and saves him. He urges Rick: “Think about what can still happen.” And Rick does. He sees the rest of his group smashed by Lucille, one by one.
Back in the RV, hatched in hand, Rick makes it to Negan. A real sick game, all around. The man with the bat continues his cerebral assault, in such a villainous, nonchalant way that it’s sickening how good Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the role. When they get back to the group, Negan has Rick kneeling in the middle of his remaining friends. The Saviors put guns to the back of their heads and the wretched Lucille-holding monster calls Carl (Chandler Riggs) to the centre. He wraps a belt around the boy’s arm, puts him to the ground next to dad. Negan proceeds to mark off a spot on Carl’s arm with a marker.
Rick has to cut an arm off his son. With his hatchet. Or else everyone dies.
So, what does Sheriff Grimes do? It’s all a psyche out. Rick has been broken, in front of everyone – The Saviors, his own people, his son. He’s torn every bit of Rick apart, his soul, his manhood, his power. What a vicious cycle. Because you know it’s a cycle. Broken as he is, Rick will be coming back. He will not let this rest, not forever. For now, sure. But not forever.
“Things have changed. Whatever you had going for you, that is over now,” says Negan to the crowd. He takes Daryl in the back of their van. Property of Negan. They’ve got a week to start getting supplies together for him. A new day. A new deal. Minus two strong people from their crew. People they’ll never get back, ever again. Literally left in Negan’s dust, the rest of the survivors struggle to figure out how to move on from there.
Maggie’s the first to get up. She wants to keep fighting, even if Rick is beaten to a pulp emotionally. He also understands how bad things are right now, she isn’t acting or thinking rationally. But sadly, Rick has also lost control. He has no more power. And Maggie, she’s in a depression spiral, unable to accept that they’ve just got to go back home, pick up the pieces. Now, they take their dead friends with them and do what they can for them.
In a vision, we see all the group, happy, healthy, a baby on Glenn’s lap. As if there weren’t enough tears shed. Negan’s voice rings in the ears of Rick as they load up the RV to leave. He thought they’d all be sitting around, as in the vision, that dreamy world. These days that vision is a far cry, and Rick is realising it. Around him he’s also watching the walkers die off. Everything is dying. Everyone and everything dies.
What a savage episode. Completely numbing. I expected Glenn’s death, but didn’t anticipate such a wildly effective execution. Love how the power dynamics are shifting. No longer is Rick the big, tough guy he was once. Although he’ll get back there it’s going to take a major event, or series of them.
Looking forward to the next episode “The Well” and what it’ll bring!
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 14: “Twice as Far”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Matthew Negrete
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Same Boat” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “East” – click here
With only two episodes after this left to Season 6, we’re all left wondering: when will Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) rear his terrifying head?
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and the rest of the gang are still holding on. After the tense episode last week, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride) are safe and sound. But how long are any of them safe, after massacring members of The Saviors in the past couple episodes?
In Alexandria, though, things are going on normally. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), everyone else goes about their business. Whereas Morgan (Lennie James) is doing cement work; he’s made a nice jail cell. When he and Rick talk again, the latter simply asks: “Why?” Morgan believes it’ll give them “some choices next time“, instead of flat out murder. But Rick doesn’t seem particularly interested. We watch the daily routine go on. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) watches the wall, Carol still holds her rosary beads. Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) are sleeping together. So, certain things change, others stay the same.
At least Daryl’s got his bike again. That’s one shining bit of light. He and Carol have a little chat together, and Daryl make it clear he’s not above killing, not anymore. This doesn’t sit well with the new woman Carol seems to be becoming.
Daryl: “What‘d they do to you?”
Carol: “To us? They didn‘t do anything.”
Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) knows of a possible apothecary near Alexandria. She wants to check things out, seeing as how there are drugs likely there. Denise asks Daryl and Rosita to check it out on a run. They don’t want her to go, but she says it’s happening; with or without them. On the way, Denise criticizes Daryl’s standard shifting techniques – a hilarious little scene between a couple characters we don’t really see interact. We also see the difference in those from Alexandria who still aren’t perfectly independent and those from Rick’s group/Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and his little crew. Yet Denise is a hard ass and wants to push her limits. On she goes with Daryl, as Rosita bucks their plan and heads down some railroad tracks.
Meanwhile, we get a bit of Abraham and Eugene together. The first time in a long while. “I‘ve changed, adapted,” says Eugene: “I‘m a survivor.” For his part, Abraham isn’t exactly sold on that fact yet. Soon enough, Eugene finds the perfect place to “manufacture bullets” – this brings us into a real life situation people might find themselves in after a zombie apocalypse. We know that after so long, to have any weaponry useful, survivors would have to find a way to do just that: make bullets, or die. Or y’know, something with a little less hyperbole. Still, people would need to discover a way to find or produce bullets, else they be left with sticks and sharpened blades and the like. Between all this, Eugene lets Abraham know his “services are no longer required” and tries to take the reins of his own life. Doesn’t fly too hot with Abe. Right after he saved Eugene from a zombie with molten metal on top of his skull; one of the creepiest walkers in a good long time.
Abraham: “That son is some damn fine genuine outside–the–box thinking”
Denise, Daryl and Rosita find the apothecary, and inside a pharmacy. The jackpot – tons of medication, pills, et cetera. Daryl decides they’ll “take it all” and they go about packing things up. Only the sound of walker comes nearby; Rosita and Daryl pass it off, but Denise is curious, perhaps too much so.
When Denise goes to investigate, she finds a zombie, emaciated on the floor with a cast on its leg; on the wall the word HUSH written over and over. In a sink sits a drowned baby, bloody water and all, with a cute little foot stuck out. This event really does Denise in, and though she tries putting up a tough front it obviously affects her deeply. The other two are gentle with her, but Rosita’s kind of raw. Daryl and Denise chat a bit and we glean she likely had a brother named Dennis. Something about him lingers with her.
I dig this episode because we get bits of the other characters, instead of constant focus on only Rick, Carol, the main survivor group. Denise is an interesting character who deserves more attention and recognition, which she gets here. Except often on this series, characters who get too much focus end up in a bad place, either dead or injured. She forbids Daryl and Rosita to help, instead stabbing a zombie when it nearly gets her. She wants to be bad ass, and does anything she can to prove it. Then she pukes a little.
Denise: “You wanna live, you take chances; that‘s how it works. That‘s what I did.”
Out of nowhere Denise takes a arrow through the back of her head. From the woods come a group of people who have Eugene hostage – the one who stole Daryl’s bike all those days ago, Dwight (Austin Amelio). He’s still got that crossbow, too. His face is a little worse for wear, but he’s alive. They’re looking to make a trade, or do something, as they’ve got Eugene in tow. Along the fringes of the forest is Abraham. Yet Dwight wants “whatever and whoever” they want from inside Alexandria.
Daryl: “I should‘ve killed you.”
Dwight: “Yeah, you probably should have.”
But Eugene pulls out a wild move, biting Dwight in the dick and balls; harder than hell. This allows Abraham a shot, as well as gives Daryl and Rosita a chance to grab some guns. A firefight ensues, and walkers emerge from out the forest.
The survivors walk away. Some of them. With Eugene injured, the remaining trio tries to pick him up and make off back home. Luckily Eugene’s not dead, but he’ll have a bit of an infection. “I apologize for doubting your skills,” Abraham says to him: “You know how to bite a dick.”
The episode finale sees Abraham admit his feelings for Sasha, deciding that even 30 years would be “too short.” At the same time, Carol and Daryl bury Denise near the wall; another death that has affected Daryl deeply, even while he tries not to show it. This episode has been all about the human relationships of Alexandria, as well as the routine of this life – threat, defend, threat, defend. Furthermore, Carol’s finally crumbling under it all and doesn’t want to have to kill for anyone, not anymore. And it seems she’s headed elsewhere. Will that same sentiment take Morgan away, too? The pacifists are coming out, most surprisingly in Carol. So is the choice stay and keep killing, or leave and take your chances? If so, that’s a tough one. For anyone.
Carol: “I can‘t love anyone because I can‘t kill for anyone. So I‘m going like I always should have. Don‘t come after me please.”
Only two episodes left. The next one is titled “East”, and brings us one step closer to the finale. And also towards the ultimate threat: Negan.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 12: “Not Tomorrow Yet”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman
This episode begins with Carol (Melissa McBride) in the civilized society of Hilltop, getting food ready, looking through what food they’ve already got on hand. In the woods, she keeps her killing game strong. When she sprays herself with blood – no worries, there’s a bunch of fresh shirts at home. She brings some cookies to Tobin (Jason Douglas) made from beet and acorn: “They‘re amazing,” he tells her after being coaxed into one.In pulls Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the others. When Carol asks what’s happening, Rick only tells her: “We‘re gonna have to fight.”
Out comes Morgan (Lennie James). He and Carol have a chat about what he did, re: the last Wolf. She’s obviously more concerned about what Rick said than anything. The time for baking cookies is over.
Rick holds an Alexandria town meeting. He lays out the problem with The Saviors, including their run-in with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Along with him is Jesus (Tom Payne). Rick talks about the deal, the food they’d receive. Nobody seems to object. Yet Morgan alone stands up and asks if Rick is “sure” whether or not they can beat this Negan and The Saviors. Democracy prevails, as Rick says it’s everyone’s choice. Aaron (Ross Marquand) says he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent another massacre in their town.
Carol sits alone with a book she keeps. Recorded with how many people she’s killed; she circles the number 18. We’re starting to see the other side of Carol we’ve not seen in a long time. One who is remorseful and pensive. Carol talks with Tobin who believes her strength comes from being a mother, taking care of others and capable of doing anything necessary; things he says “terrify” him. He cares for her, and they share a kiss.
Rick: “We kill them all”
Abraham and Rosita (Christian Serratos) argue, as he walks out on her. Harshly, he ends their relationship; clearly in love with Sasha. So sad Abraham handled it this way. Meanwhile, Tara (Alanna Masterson) says the three magic words to Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merrit Wever), and they’re simply afraid to lose each other with the upcoming journey and mission towards Negan.
At the same time, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl and Rick get a map drawn for them into Savior territory. The plan is set. Or is it?
With the group out on the road, little groups are splitting up to canvas the area. Rosita and Carol have a chat about the Wolf situation. But we know Rosita has other issues happening. Glenn and Heat (Corey Hawkins) talk about “killing someone“, getting more of the sense of how humanity changes the further people get into the zombie apocalypse.
Soon, Rick outlines what they’re about to do, and they agree to just have a look, check things out. If things look ripe for the taking, they go: “This is how we eat,” says Rick. To the side, Carol tells Rick that Maggie ought not be out there with them; at all. Probably a good point, Carol.
The plan involves bringing The Saviors the head of Gregory. They find a proper walker head, which Rick has to punch a good deal to make look appropriate. Then they’re off. We get a glimpse of The Saviors. Creepy, intimidating dudes. That is until Daryl slits one of their throats, and the operation really gets underway.
The savagery of this episode is incredible. Between the macabre Johny Depp-mold they used for one of the fake Gregory heads, to the sequence where Rick and the others bust into the territory of The Saviors – tons of knives to the head. Everything is gruesome, yet so much is offscreen horror. Brutal and vicious, but not in the sense of showing everything. Worst of all is seeing Glenn first put a knife through a guy’s head, the look on his face is devastating. But like the man he is, prevents Heath from having to do the same, and takes another one for the team.
Abraham and Sasha get ambushed by a man. They kill him, but not before he throws the switch to an alarm. Out on watch, Carol refuses to let Maggie go and help; is this a different side of Carol emerging? One dedicated to life?
Inside the complex a gun battle erupts. Rick and his crew fight for their lives. Blood and bone flies. People are shot, stabbed, beaten to death. Corpses litter the corridors, blood stains everything.
In Alexandria, Morgan is busy building what looks like a cage. Is he going to do what was done to him? Will he try putting Rick in there? Or is possibly for Negan, intended to be a better alternative to murder? We’ll see.
Once the smoke clears, Michonne wonders “which one was Negan” and Rick sort of shrugs. One last person a motorcycle clues the group into someone watching, talking on a radio. And they’ve got Carol. Maggie, too.
The next episode, “The Same Boat”, is bound to be exciting. There could be some trobles ahead. Some very terrifying troubles at that.