Be warned! This review will cover aspects of the episode. Spoilers will lurk like groaning walkers…
Change and consequence were two of the main themes for this week’s episode. While Something They Need still had the lingering problem of being connective tissue propelling the story to the season finale next week, there was at least some chewy material on display here. Primarily Rick and the rest snatching weapons from the Oceanside crew. The plan was a little confusing – they sent Tara in to talk, but seemingly only as a distraction and went ahead with setting off charges and herding the residents without really giving her time to explain their side. And it’s hard not to shake the notion that Grimes and the gang acted rather like Negan here, even if it’s for a greater good. (All together now: “The greater good!”) While it’s true that Tanya and the elders of the community wouldn’t agree to hand over their cache and help in the fight, it seems unfair to leave the ladies without a real means to defend themselves. And it’s hardly showing the Alexandrians in a positive light. But that’s a solid moral question for the show – how far is too far? And when there’s a bigger foe to fight, what must be sacrificed. We just hope Rick doesn’t start showing up elsewhere with a barbed wire-strung hammer he calls “Flossie”.
And the Oceanside sequence (set up by yet another short cold open) is at least an effective action beat for the show, as the raiding party is rudely interrupted by a walker horde that, thanks to their barnacled faces, look like nothing so much as extras from a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie.
The other main story strand this week was poor old Sasha, whose mission to kill Negan has ended in a cell facing sexual assault from smarmy Saviour named David (Martinez) before Negan steps in, kills David with a knife wound to the neck (a moment right out of the comics) and leaves the lecherous bloke lying in Sasha’s cell with an offer: kill the rapidly zombiefying David and join the cause, or suffer the consequences. Sasha makes the seemingly surprising call to sign on, but it’s clear she’s only doing it to get close to the big bad. We also have a return visit with Eugene, who, unaware that his old friend has a plan, slips her a suicide pill instead of the weapon she was hoping for. It’s a little frustrating for the show to have skipped over Sasha’s causing chaos at the Sanctuary.
Elsewhere, the show briefly visits Hilltop, where Maggie is going all Percy Thrower (kids, ask your Wikipedia) in the gardens. Stepping outside to find a blueberry bush, she has some time with Gregory, who in typical style is both smug and threatening. But once Maggie saves the schmuck from a walker attack, it seems even he’s had a change of heart – even if we worry he’s off to chat with Simon at the Sanctuary. And so the chess pieces keep on moving…
Oh, and turns out it was Dwight’s silhouette at the end of the last episode, and he’s offering to help. Can anyone trust him? Probably not, but you know that they will.
There is one episode left for this season and we know that the fight against the Saviors won’t be wrapped up in one hour (or however long the season finale runs), so expect next week to offer little in the way of closure. Hopefully the creative team have learned the lesson of the last, fan-frustrating cliffhanger and will find something else to do. As for this week, it was good that the repetitive talking stopped and the action actually kicked in, and the positive upswing continued. Let’s see where it leads now…
So will Dwight help our heroes?
(Spoiler Alert for non-comic readers) In the comic books, he does end up turning against Negan, so for now we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Will this turn Oceanside against Rick and co.?
Waltzing in and taking their weapons won’t exactly have done a lot to help win them over, but from the looks of Cindy, the tide may be turning on helping in the war against the Saviours.
Can Sasha survive now?
As we mentioned last week, Sonequa Martin-Green is headed to Star Trek: Discovery, so the odds may not be in her favour. But don’t count her out yet.
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.