The Walking Dead Season 8
|Episode Title||Time for After|
|Air Date||December 3, 2017|
This week, we were treated to an episode focused on Eugene. Don’t worry – it wasn’t half as bad as it sounds. Eugene’s dialogue still makes me want to floss my ear canals with razor wire, but “Time for After” actually provided his insufferable character with some decent development. Yeah, it was written like an autistic person’s parody of autism. But it’s a start.
Meanwhile, Michonne had a crisis of conscience about Daryl and Tara’s ludicrous plan to assault the Sanctuary for no good reason. And Semi-Nude Rick staged an escape from the captivity of the Trash People that was… kind of awesome, actually. Let’s get to it.
What’s Eugene up to in Time for After?
So, the mini-arc of the episode (which is really a major arc of the season that hasn’t been properly addressed until now) was Eugene finally coming to embrace his role as a Saviour. Took him a while to get there. And, frankly, even when he arrives, he’s still a loathsome, cowardly weasel. But this was significant, and it happened in three chunks, so let’s take a look at those:
- Eugene has figured out that Dwight has been giving sly handjobs to Team Rick. He told him such. There was a bit of back and forth with Dwight trying to convince Eugene (like the rat he is) to flee the Saviours’ sinking ship, and Eugene trying to convince Dwight that the Saviours really do, y’know, save It basically ends with Eugene saying he’ll keep his mouth shut as long as Dwight behaves.
- Eugene developed the fiendish master plan of strapping an iPod to a remote-controlled plane in the hopes of luring the zombies away with it. This would never work, but details. Dwight held him at gunpoint and tried to dissuade him from this plan. Eugene finally sprouted a single, solitary ******** and launched the plane anyway. Dwight shot it down.
- Later, when Daryl rammed a truck through the Sanctuary’s wall (more on this nonsense later), Eugene lost the plot a bit. He ran to Father Gabriel’s bedside and furiously berated him. I’m not your friend and I won’t help you. Blah, blah, blah. Then he scurried to Negan (refreshingly low-key this week) and tried to come up with a plan to save all his new besties. Dwight turned up and Eugene didn’t snitch on him, despite having every reason to after he sniped his science project.
So what did we learn?
It was a bit heavy-handed, dialogue-wise, but this was all surprisingly well done in “Time for After”. Eugene has finally acknowledged that he has a “biological imperative” to survive. Being a logical, pragmatic person, he sees the Saviours as his best chance of doing so. He has a utility in their ranks that he lacked in Rick’s. He’s still harbouring some guilt, of course. We see him chinning a bottle of wine and then puking it back up again. He’s not keen on the potential fate of his erstwhile “travelling companions.” But he has simply decided that he’s going to survive regardless. He isn’t likeable, but at least now he’s something resembling a character rather than a faintly offensive stereotype with a mullet stuck to it.
What’re Daryl and Tara planning in season 8?
Oh, lord. I’ve thought about it for a while, and I still couldn’t tell you what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. Or, for that matter, why anyone else is letting them. Rosita is firmly against the plan but doesn’t do anything about it. Morgan saunters into the scene literally out of nowhere and decides, presumably because he’s arbitrarily carrying a sniper rifle, that he’ll participate and provide covering fire. Michonne initially goes along for the ride, and then makes the last-minute decision to bail and leave them to it. But she doesn’t try to stop them, either.
This strikes me as something that needs to happen in order to facilitate the inevitable dissolution of Team Rick. But it doesn’t strike me as a thing that makes even the slightest bit of sense. Note to The Walking Dead’s writers: We aren’t going to care about the conflicts between our heroes if they’re built on this kind of idiocy. It’s too transparent. I like the idea of the “good guys” debating amongst themselves about what is or isn’t the “good” way of behaving. I just wish they were debating two defensible positions (like that argument about what to do with the prisoners last week) rather than whether they should stick to their best-laid plans or quite literally drive a truck straight through them.
Rick won’t be happy about this…
He certainly won’t. We even got a little teaser of his ire at the end of the episode, when he clambered into a watchtower overlooking the Sanctuary and saw all his hard work undone. There’s going to be hell to pay for this, let me tell you. Or perhaps there won’t. You never know with this show.
This was at the end, though. Rick spent most of the episode 7 occupied by Jadis and the Trash People. They’re still awful. Not just because they stripped Rick down, stuffed him in a container, took photos of him and tried to feed him to a zombie – although those were kind of dick moves – but because they’re sneaky weirdos and nothing they do makes any sense. Needless to say, Rick facilitated an escape. And he inexplicably still wants to work with Jadis and her dopey, scavenging acolytes. Why? They’re a betrayal waiting to happen! He even offered Jadis a fourth of the booty when they take the Sanctuary. (I think it says a lot about how pathetically stupid Jadis is that she tried to negotiate for half, even at gunpoint.)
Was this a good episode?
Gotta say – “Time for After” was alright. We got some solid development for Eugene and despite the silly writing of his character and Negan’s, the script was passable elsewhere. Several concurrent sub-plots were developed. There were no monologues, thank ****. There were no fancy-pants structural flourishes. By the standards of this season and the bizarre direction it has taken, “Time for After” was about as good as it gets.
Any stray observations from episode 7?
- Rick is in surprisingly poor shape in “Time for After”, given the circumstances. Bit doughy around the midsection. What? I’m just saying.
- Speaking of Rick, I really liked his escape sequence.
- So, is nobody going to ask Morgan what he’s been up to? I guess everyone’s sulking about his imminent departure for greener, slightly more intelligent pastures. I can’t fault his decision.
Keep watching The Walking Dead?
Sure, why not? We’re in it for the long haul now. Besides, it seems to be picking up a bit. See you next week.
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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.