The Walking Dead Season 8
|Episode Title||“The King, the Widow, and Rick”|
|Air Date||November 26, 2017|
This week, in a rare episode that at least had some cohesion, we followed Ezekiel, Maggie and Rick. And Carol and Carl, I guess. Oh, and Michonne and Rosita, who’re apparently still a part of this show. But titling the episode, “Almost Everyone, and Rick” would have probably been a bit on the nose.
Anyway, some stuff happened. It was mostly stuff we’ve seen before. A lot of characters explained things we already knew. Several concurrent plotlines were incrementally developed. Very little happened that was exciting or important or interesting or funny. But I didn’t hate this episode, and it had some decent stuff. Let’s break it down.
What’s Rick up to this week in The Walking Dead?
Rick is, unsurprisingly at this point, working on his speeches. If there’s anything I really do like about this season, it’s that people are starting to see through Rick’s verbose bollocks. Today’s audience: Jadis and the Scavengers. The topic: Join us in the fight against Negan or we’ll come back and **** you up. Blah, blah, blah. How intense.
Jadis responds by stripping Rick off and shoving him in a shipping container that had a “This Will Be Paid Off Later” label stuck to it.
After his useless Shakespearean babbling got most of his kingly retinue smoked in “Some Guy”, Ezekiel has been slumped by his throne complaining. He’s a bad leader. A fraud; “a fiction”. His arrogance got his people killed. All true, by the way. But Carol tries to perk him up regardless. This is the best scene in the episode – best written, best acted. She tells him to fake it until he makes it, basically, which until this point has been his entire philosophy anyway. He says he can’t anymore. What a baby.
Speaking of babies, one of the Kingdom’s kids has latched onto Carol, as all kids in this show must. Melissa McBride was great here. The show rarely asks her to juggle being a badass guerrilla assassin with her natural mothering instinct these days, but she can still play that internal conflict when she needs to.
What’s going on with Maggie?
She’s making some executive decisions at Hilltop, including corralling the Saviour prisoners into an ad-hoc paddock and chucking Gregory in there for good measure. The snivelling weasel had a meltdown when he learned the news, which is always a laugh. It was especially satisfying as the episode even gave Gregory a little moment where he thought Maggie was heeding his advice. No such luck, Greg. In the cage you go.
The continuing debate about what to do with the prisoners is still the show’s most compelling moral quandary, mostly because both arguments are logical and relatable – two concepts that have had only fleeting relationships with this season. Jesus is leading Team Mercy. You get the sense he’d be happy if they let the prisoners roam around and sing campfire songs together. This strikes me as spectacularly naïve, but whatever. Advocating for better treatment of captives isn’t an inherently terrible idea.
Maggie’s having none of it, though. She’s firmly Team Execution, which I don’t mind. She makes it clear she’s keeping the prisoners around for leverage, and if they don’t prove useful they’re all getting killed. Not exactly a nice position, but it makes sense after losing her entire family, her husband, and most of her friends. More people should think like Maggie. Maybe it would create some actual drama.
Did you mention Michonne and Rosita in episode 6?
I did. This show really needs to balance its characters better. Episodes like this, which devote time to a number of people and subplots without leaving anything feeling short-changed, certainly help. I’m sure we’ll learn nothing from this and have to endure three back-to-back gunfights or half an episode watching nude Rick pick his nose.
Anyway, Michonne and Rosita decide to “take a look” at the Sanctuary, for some reason. But on the way there they’re waylaid by “the fat lady”, which is a truck with speakers strapped to it designed to lure the walkers away. Good idea! The truck only has, like, two guards though. Bad idea! This results in an action sequence which involves Michonne doing sword stuff and Rosita wasting a rocket-propelled grenade on a lone man. Remember when Daryl did that to a group in season 6? Way cooler.
Oh, yeah, Daryl. He showed up with Tara for a last-minute interception as one of the guards got away with the truck. Things seem to be going rather well for Team Rick these days. Their ability to T-bone escaping vehicles is extraordinary. I sure hope this “war” doesn’t lose any dramatic tension as a result of all these contrivances!
Carl tracked down the errant Muslim man from the premiere, whose name is Siddiq. A six-episode gap is far too large for a subplot like this, but fine, I’ll deal with it. Siddiq is played by Avi Nash, who seems a decent actor. His shtick seems to be “freeing the souls” of the walkers by killing them. Carl joined in and almost got himself killed – because of course he did. Kid’s an idiot. He also decided to invite Siddiq back to Alexandria, despite Rick scaring him off previously. They should arrive back by episode 12, roughly.
Did you like episode 6?
It was okay. I didn’t hate it, but it was the very definition of a time-killing filler episode in which nothing of import happened and everyone just kind of spun their wheels in the muck for an hour. It’s difficult to get worked up one way or the other.
Any stray observations?
- Whenever anyone addresses Jesus by name I think they’ve stood in dog ****. I can’t believe they actually called him Jesus.
- I wish my girlfriend looked as good as Maggie does when she was pregnant.
- This show has so many characters, factions and compounds that they’re impossible to balance. Some of them need killing off soon.
Keep watching The Walking Dead Season 8?
If you’ve watched this far, you’re obviously going to keep watching regardless of what I say. The show’s still dumb and badly-written, of course. But at least with episodes like this you get the sense of a broader plan; of a goal being worked towards. The goal might not make any sense, but it’s something to look forward to complaining about.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.