Be warned! This review will cover aspects of the episode. Spoilers will lurk like groaning walkers…
Waiting, waiting, waiting… It’s (almost) all about the pause before the next stage of the conflict between the various scattered communities and the Saviours this week, though The Other Side never quite finds a satisfying balance between the frustrations of seeing characters sit around and talk about what they’re going to do and what actually happens. It’s a Hilltop-heavy episode, which means the Alexandrian crew sits this one out. We do at least catch up with Maggie, Darryl and Sasha, and Rosita arrives to remind us that she and Sasha are planning to take Negan out via a scavenged sniper rifle and a convenient building near the Saviour compound that would provide the right line of sight.
Initially, we’re treated to a dialogue-free montage of various Hilltop dwellers preparing to fight under the suspicious gaze of Gregory, who as usual is more about paperwork and his next drink than being much use to anyone. It’s a decent, quiet start to the episode, though it might be more effective if it didn’t feel like just another long segment of people practicing with weapons. Also this week, we get a hefty serving of backstory both from Tom Payne’s Jesus (he grew up in a group home) and Rosita, who despite telling Sasha several times that she doesn’t want to bond with her, ends up explaining where she got her various skills from.
The smaller emotional moments work well enough, even if there’s the feel of the writers spoon-feeding it out to us before more potential deaths as we approach the season finale in a couple of weeks. At least we learn a little more about Rosita, and Christian Serratos has a good handle on keeping her the Rosita we know while peeling back the layers a little and revealing more vulnerability. She’s not the only on feeling vulnerable this week as Darryl, who, after a dangerous game of hide and seek as he and Maggie attempt to evade Saviours visiting Hilltop to take doctor Carson (after his brother was burned alive by Negan a few weeks ago), confesses he feels guilt for Glenn’s death and receives a comforting word from Maggie in a Good Will Hunting-style “it’s not your fault” talk.
As for the Saviours, it’s business as usual as Simon (still sounding for all the world like he’s reciting Deadwood fan fiction, but at least has some fun with it) threatens Gregory, takes the doc and lords it about everyone. Plus we get a quick peek into the compound to see Eugene at work helping to fortify the place with his metal-coated walkers. Given the chance to escape by Sasha and Rosita, he’s terrified and seems to want to stay. That won’t win him brownie points with any of his old friends.
Yet again, we’re faced with an episode that, despite its few interesting moments, could probably have been compacted down and spread over other instalments. Several scenes feel repetitive, and there’s only so much time the show can take watching people figure out their next step before it actually has to show them doing something. Sasha and Rosita’s mission provided a little of that, and allowed for some brief walker action.
The logic of the Saviours’ treatment of their various “suppliers” seems weird still, but then, very little of their action ever have that much thought behind them. At least they left behind the biggest stash of aspirin most of the survivors will have seen in their lives.
And the creative team’s tactic of splitting the sprawling cast up into different episodes so characters’ storylines can enjoy a little more focus can pay dividends – it’s just that this one feels more like filler aside from a couple of killer moments (literally, in the case of the Saviour taking a bullet to the noggin).
Who is that silhouetted at the end?
It could be Dwight, but our guess is still Darryl, who we know noticed Sasha and Rosita were gone. Would he have had enough time to get there?
Will Eugene rat on his friends?
Unkikely, and since Sasha is going in anyway, it’s probably going to be a moot point anyway.
Can Sasha succeed in her mission?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has said he’ll be back for Season 8 and that he’s in it for “the long haul.” That doesn’t preclude him being killed off, but it sounds like he’ll be around for a while yet. And Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) has that lead role on Star Trek: Discovery…
She could juggle both we suppose, but that’s some awfully foreboding maths.
Read this season’s previous reviews below…
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC in the States and Mondays at 9pm on Fox.