Recap | The Walking Dead S8E8 | “How It’s Gotta Be”

December 11, 2017 (Last updated: February 22, 2021)
Jonathon Wilson 3
TV, TV Recaps
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The Walking Dead Season 8

Season 8
Episode No. 8
Episode Title “How It’s Gotta Be”
Air Date December 10, 2017

What happened?

More flashbacks than you can wave a severed zombie arm at. Of course, this week’s episode, “How It’s Gotta Be,” was the mid-season finale. So The Walking Dead was pulling out all the stops. Flashbacks. Slow-motion close-ups of the characters’ faces while emotional music plays. A needlessly convoluted narrative structure. And the imminent death of a major character. If you’re playing The Walking Dead bingo, you’d only need a motivational speech for a full house.

Anyway. So much happened this episode that I could barely keep track of it. Luckily, very little of it made sense. Most of it probably won’t matter. I’ll try and hit the highlights and then I can knock off for lunch.

So, the Saviours have escaped?

Yep. As we learned right at the end of last week’s episode, either thanks to Daryl and Tara’s dumbass plan or Eugene’s badly-written autist super-brain, Negan and the Saviours have somehow escaped the Sanctuary. Nobody explains how. Not only have they escaped, but they’ve somehow organised multiple elaborate sting operations against all our far-flung heroes. How? I have no idea. Didn’t they need bullets? Didn’t Team Rick take out all their outposts and people? Nothing about this show makes any sense.

What are the Saviours up to now then?

Negan and a small army descend on Alexandria and start lobbing grenades inside. This is after a rousing speech in which Carl offered to sacrifice himself for the greater good and Negan made some characteristically vague proclamations. Thankfully he didn’t mention his dick.

Speaking of Carl, he engineered an escape plan, which was to have everyone bundle into the sewers and… stay there, I guess? More on Carl soon. In the meantime, let’s check in with King Ezekiel.

Isn’t he dead yet?

Captured, currently. The episode initially finds him sulking, which by my reckoning means he’d been sat leaning against his throne for several days. Then again, Maggie has been pregnant for two seasons now and she doesn’t even have a bump, so what do I know?

Carol made a very brief appearance here, helping the citizens of the Kingdom get to safety after Ezekiel found his stones and made a daring rescue. Morgan also appeared, again just strolling into the episode out of nowhere, but all he did was sort of listen at the fence while Ezekiel got smacked around.

Speaking of Maggie…

Oh, yeah, so this was really dumb. She, Jesus and some other Hilltop redshirts that we’ve never met got waylaid on the road thanks to a giant tree blocking the path. Of course this was an ambush orchestrated by Simon and some other Saviours. Why were they driving in the middle of the night? Shh. Don’t worry about that.

After some speechifying, Simon shoots Neil – not Neil, you f****r! I loved Neil! – and then inexplicably lets everyone return to Hilltop. This is under the nebulous pretence of continuing to produce food for the Saviours, I think, but it wasn’t entirely clear. Like me, Maggie was super pissed off about Neil. (Who the f**k is Neil?) So when she got home she executed one of the prisoners and made some weird allusions to a “last stand” that we’ll probably be disappointed by after the mid-season break.

What about Rick?

Rick and Jadis make their way back to Alexandria at some point. Everyone had already left. (They’re all in the sewers directly underneath – it’s like Anne Frank in reverse.) Jadis… bottles it, I think? Where the hell did she go?

Either way, Rick gets in a fight with Negan. Like an actual, proper fistfight. It’s fairly even, and then Rick grabs his signature gun and gets knocked out of a window. And then he just runs away! What a p***y, man. He talks all that s**t, and then when he gets the upper hand his arse drops out and he gives it legs. Negan even stood in the window to have a look. He’s carrying a baseball bat, Rick. Shoot him!

So, nobody actually died in How It’s Gotta Be?

Well, Neil died, didn’t he? R.I.P. Neil.

But no, none of the major characters did. Luckily we got a cliffhanger! See, when Rick ventures into the sewers – oh, Michonne finds him in the street and shows him where everyone else is hiding – he finds Carl and his new buddy, Siddiq. When did Carl pick up Siddiq? Not to worry – Carl’s been bitten! Except we didn’t see it happen and so it means absolutely nothing to us!

What does this mean? Carl’s going to die, I guess? It wouldn’t surprise me at this point if the show just invented some elaborate reason to have him survive. I suppose we’ll find out after the break. Can’t wait.

Anything else?

Oh, Eugene helped Father Gabriel and the Sanctuary doctor escape, thus undermining all of the character development he received last week and rendering at least one episode of the season utterly pointless. That happened too.

This wasn’t a midseason finale, then?

It was utterly abysmal.

Any stray observations?

  • Where is Jesus getting his hair straightened?
  • It is hilarious how quickly Judith is aging in relation to everyone else (especially Maggie’s nipper).
  • I cannot believe how bad this was.

Should we keep watching The Walking Dead?

Now we’ve hit the mid-season break, I’m very firmly of the belief that this is one of the worst shows on television. It’s horrendously written, littered with contrivance, dumb, shallow and nonsensical. Do yourself a favour and never watch it again.

I’m sure you’ll all completely ignore me, so I’ll see you when this f*****g catastrophe returns. Here’s to hoping it improves.

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