Next week’s season finale probably couldn’t come at a better time as the show runners’ creativity seems to be winding down following an amazing string of post mid-season premiere episodes.
East had its moments — Carol’s too brief cameo as a zero chill kill or be killed gunslinger (with concealed machine gun) — but it was another episode where the writers had the characters making some idiotic decisions to set up a now inevitably tragic season finale.
By the end of the episode the status of two of the show’s most beloved characters Carol and Daryl were completely up in the air. And Daryl’s fate definitely wasn’t looking too good. I’ll blame Rick for jinxing it by proclaiming life was good.
The focus this week was finding the Alexandria runaways. Carol’s out of the blue decision to resume her exile prompted Morgan to try and track her down. While I appreciate Tobin staying in his lane since he’s not some expert tracker, it seemed a little odd that he didn’t even offer some token gesture of wanting to go find her. Clearly, Tobin learned what Abraham just realized — Carol isn’t the only woman alive.
You’d think Rick would have learned his lesson with Denise’s death in letting all the Alexandria VIPs (save Sasha, Abraham, Maggie and Carl) go out at the same time. But Rick is nothing if not stubborn so he insisted on coming along with Morgan. They encountered the remnants of the Savior forces that made the fatal mistake of underestimating Carol and quickly got gunned down.
Either Negan is anti-Rick and keeps his best Saviors at home base or he’s got the most worthless band of thugs on his side. The Terminus crew was more intimidating. Still, it’s not like Carol didn’t pretty much take down Terminus single handedly so Negan’s B-squad definitely wasn’t going to be a big problem. Carol missed one guy who followed her into the fields, a trail Morgan and Rick eventually discovered. Carol’s treatment continues to be frustrating as one of the show’s top 5 characters earlier this season has become an emotional wreck despite having a firm understanding of the Walker World Rules — you either kill or you’re dead.
Initially, it appeared like Rick was going to completely shut down Morgan’s all life is precious spiel. Rick’s learned the hard way it doesn’t pay to take chances and search for the good in everyone. But Morgan still had an ace to drop as he relayed how the Wolf he spared twice ultimately rescued Denise’s life, which kept her alive to save Carl. Morgan conveniently left out that Denise wouldn’t have been in jeopardy if it wasn’t for the Wolf taking her hostage, but that definitely wouldn’t have worked with his narrative. Eventually Rick agrees to let Morgan search for Carol on his own so Rick can get back to Alexandria and brace for the clearly imminent Savior attack.
Prodigal son search No. 2 had Michonne, Glenn and Rosita attempting to stop Daryl from his Dwight manhunt. Glenn smartly summed up Daryl’s revenge quest as a bad idea, but Daryl wasn’t letting Dwight slide another day. I’m OK with Daryl being a hothead especially since he immediately regretted not killing Dwight in their first encounter. Rosita, needed something to lash out at after realizing Sasha is Abraham’s new flame, decided she’d roll with Daryl.
In a TWD trope that’s starting to get real old, Glenn and Michonne start heading back to the van, but stop to have a conversation about Daryl. Have that talk in the van on the drive home! In the long run, it didn’t make a huge difference since Dwight (presumably armed with a cup) and his men had them surrounded. Still, it doesn’t make the characters look smart because they stop to talk in the woods where killers are lurking.
I’m slightly more optimistic that Glenn will make it out of this intact based on the grief from earlier this season and killing him now seems pointless. Besides there’s the little matter of Maggie’s pregnancy. After having Enid cut her hair to prevent any potential fight liabilities, Maggie started having intense stomach cramps. Horrible thought: if Maggie’s baby is stillborn would it become a walker while she’s still carrying it?
Back in the woods, Daryl and Rosita spot a captured Glenn and Michonne, but it was a trap. Dwight pops up behind Daryl and appears to shoot him. Since the show has made some major departures from the comic, I’m wondering if Daryl might take up the comic Rick character trait and lose a hand? Hopefully Daryl’s subplot doesn’t get ignored next week on the season finale as that feels like the kind of tease the writers will let audiences speculate until next season.
East had to make up some ground from last week where an idiotic out of character moment got a logistically important character killed. Following it up with more questionable decisions was frustrating. Negan presumably surfaces next week just as Rick and company are their most vulnerable. I’d feel better about this showdown if both sides weren’t being written so incompetent and stupid. Hopefully the writers saved their best for the season finale.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10