Be warned! This review will cover aspects of the episode. Spoilers will lurk like groaning walkers…
Here’s something we never thought we’d say about a current episode of The Walking Dead: one of the best sequences involved Negan. It’s an Easter miracle! Still Gotta Mean Something, leaned heavily into the various meanings of its title, and worked more often than it didn’t, despite a few of the usual frustrating clichés the show has a tendency to stumble into, like a walker falling into a pond.
The emotional fallout of the Saviors’ attack on Hilltop continued, with the narrative slowing down a gear early on as various characters dealt with their feelings. We had Carol and Ezekiel talking about, going to look for Henry, whom Morgan (who eventually joins Carol on her quest) seems convinced has suffered a horrible fate, mostly because he’s still seeing dead people. Rick, still grieving for his son, ignores the advice that Carl was trying to impart and heads off on a hunt for the former prisoner Saviors who escaped in the wake of the attack.
But let’s tackle Negan and Jadis. It was a good episode for both Pollyanna McIntosh and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who were able to show off different sides of their characters. The “real” Jadis, stripped of her theatricality and dramatic costume, is a haunted, devastated woman, and with Negan as her prisoner, she also proved to be somehow merciful despite everything that had happened to her Scavenger clan. Morgan got to show Negan’s human side, explaining the origin of Lucille the bat’s name (it’s his late wife) and actually managing to come across as likeable instead of insufferably smug and arrogant. We could argue it’s a huge mistake to let a ruthless killer just leave, but it’s at least understandable given what transpired between them.
Far less explicable is Rick’s misjudged mission (aided to some degree by Morgan) to hunt down the Saviors who had fled during the attack. Surely it represents a huge waste of resources and time to track down the group, and it leads to Rick once again being captured. And so much (at least until the end) for any new attitude – he and Morgan slaughter the lot when the equally dumb Saviors ignore warnings about an incoming zombie herd.
Carol, meanwhile, also completes her mission, which was to find Henry. We’re not quite convinced he’s worth it, but he’s just a boy and we know that Carol has a lot of guilty feelings when it comes to kids. Otherwise, we briefly checked in with Maggie, who sent Darryl and Rosita to find Eugene’s bullet factory; their mission was left for next week to tackle.
Still Gotta Mean Something did a lot right, even as it made some big missteps. The episode looked great, though we could have done without the sort of sledgehammer-subtle imagery that is Rick looking at himself in a cracked mirror. The action with the herd breaching the Saviors’ hideout was mostly brought to life, with some effective shots. Two episodes remain of the season, so we’ll see how the show manages to switch gears back to its usual finale form.
Highlight: Negan and Jadis’ heart-to-heart
Lowlight: Rick’s stupidity somehow goes unpunished again.
Kill of the week: Jared the Savior, who becomes a walker snack as Morgan watches.
Quote of the week: “What the shit?” Negan, summing up all of our thoughts about the helicopter (see below.)
Zombie of the week: Jadis’ cart zombie. Creepy…
MVP: Nobody sheds tears like Carol.
The big question: A couple this week: who does Negan pick up in his car at the end? Current ‘net speculation points to this person), but it could be one of a number of characters. Also: what was up with the helicopter? It appeared that Jadis knew it was coming…
Read this season’s previous reviews below…
[The Walking Dead Season 8, Episode 2: The Damned
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC in the States and Mondays at 9pm on Fox.