With some meaty fallout from a character’s death, the best Negan and Rick interaction yet and the trashing (ha-ha) of one of the dumbest factions in Walking Dead history, The Lost and the Plunderers was a pretty great episode.
This episode took a much better approach to creative storytelling. And for a change the non-liner approach worked — really well. The layout was somewhat similar to reading a chapter of Game of Thrones with shifting character perspectives.
First up was Michonne as she and Rick gathered the last bit of supplies to leave the bombed, burned down and depleted Alexandria. Losing this was big. The prison was always a makeshift temporary hideout, but Alexandria was like home with actual houses and modern conveniences. This represented Rick’s biggest failure as a leader, but could it really have been avoided?
I appreciated Rick’s sentimentality in leaving Carl’s gun with him, but a lack of guns is what led to a lot of problems in the first place. While Rick learned a valuable lesson, Michonne almost made the same mistake as Carl. In trying to honor a dead loved one by extinguishing his hangout, Michonne almost got killed.
Michonne is stunned that among Carl’s letters is one addressed to Negan. Rick can’t process that though as he wants to chat with Jadis again. I want to chalk Rick’s faith in these Junker losers up to grief over losing his son, but Rick has constantly acted like they will be the ones to turn the tide. Only trouble is they’re not gamechangers. They’re more likely to turn on Rick or run away from a fight than help him. Naturally, Rick and Michonne stumble into another Junker trap because Rick is stupid.
Negan doesn’t care about the Junker’s loyalties. The Junkers agreed to team with The Saviors and he does not take broken promises well. He sends Simon off to remind them of their alliance with the edict to make an example of one of them. Simon has some other thoughts — namely winning the war and saving other communities. With his inner circle rapidly dwindling, Negan is going to need his top minions to back all of his plays. Simon is increasingly looking like he doesn’t want to follow the leader. In his eyes, soon the Saviors are gonna start playing by Simon Says rules.
Simon does try and play by Negan’s commands, but he triggers into fill-on Trevor mode when Jadis continues playing coy. Her silly speech pattern is maddening enough and Simon loses it when Jadis punches him. He gets a little over enthusiastic with the example and has his crew kill all the Junkers besides Jadis. Maybe he misunderstood Negan’s meaning of an example? But more importantly Simon did all us viewers a favor by eliminating the most idiotic tribe/group/faction in the series of the show. No more would be Yoda-speech from the Junkers.
Catching up with Enid and Aaron, they’re still captive at Oceanside. This plot was slow and didn’t do a whole lot besides show that Enid is fed up with taking crap from folks. She completely called out Cyndie and her crew for not joining the fight. Killing her grandmother and showing no remorse was an interesting angle, but it least she let Enid and Aaron go. For some strange reason, Aaron is going to stay behind to get the guns, Oceanside’s help or both.
I don’t understand the need for this play. The show needs to provide some sort of Saviors head count because it seems like the odds are about even now. These random gun run excursions seem unnecessary when the gang should be rallying for another big assault on The Sanctuary. There’s no reason a rerun of the first plan couldn’t work again.
Jadis gets a chapter as she’s atop a junk heap as Rick and Michonne try to battle through her former pals. Jadis has ditched her funky speech pattern and is now upset that their new world is destroyed. Rick rightfully called her out. All Jadis had to do was stay loyal to Rick and none of this would have happened. In The Walking Dead there’s always a ton of what if moments, but Rick was 100% correct here — Jadis’ Junkers are dead because of her.
Rick isn’t interested in saving Jadis — he’d been burned too many times before and she didn’t have a small army or guns to help cloud his better judgment any more. With no help from Rick and Michonne, Jadis had to get creative in staying alive. Enter one trash compactor and a definitive contender for goriest death scene in the series’ history. Will this motivate Jadis to join Rick for good this time and become a meaningful character? For the first time, her character is actually intriguing. That’s a big win.
Fittingly, Rick gets the final chapter. Michonne politely chews him out for abandoning Jadis even daring to invoke the dreaded C word. Rick decides now is the time to read Carl’s letter to Negan and give his rival a chat.
What follows is one of Negan’s best moments. He’s stunned to learn of Carl’s death and genuinely seems sad about it. But when Rick tells him Carl’s dream that he and Negan having a truce won’t ever come to pass, Negan hands him a tall glass of pure truth. It was Rick’s fault that Carl died doing something stupid. Rick wasn’t around — was that during the 80th attempt to partner with the Junkers? — and Carl got bit as a result.
Negan doesn’t even seem that motivated about the war and more about explaining why Rick needed a Negan to save his people. Because Rick never could. This was a fantastic exchange and I loved this back and forth between Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. They really made Rick and Negan’s interaction feel more personal and meaningful than any other exchange.
Conclusion: The Lost and the Plunderers kept providing weight to Carl’s death while getting rid of the wildcard faction and foreshadowing a Saviors split.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC