The other shoe drops in Everybody Wins a Prize as the only way to truly secure passage to the next round is to avoid being a TWD redshirt. Put simply, if a character doesn’t have a name by this point don’t bother getting too attached.
First, let’s start off with a flashback to further flesh out this whole The Croat was a Savior all along (!) subplot. Dead City has done a much better job than Disney’s Secret Invasion where the new “flashback” material isn’t busy upending years of establish continuity. Negan is busy at The Sanctuary plotting when Simon (!) pops up to tell him there’s a problem with The Croat.
Simon was a remarkable bastard right-hand man. The Daryl if you will to Negan’s Rick Grimes. Time to check in on Negan’s Shane. Yeah, The Croat is crazy butchering a member of The Kingdom for some information. Negan is not thrilled, but it’s Simon who berates him for stepping over the line. In all the excitement over Simon returning, I forgot an even more important return — Lucille. Sadly, she doesn’t get put to any use this time, but it was nice seeing the ‘ol head cracker back.
Back the present day and Amaia can’t find Luther. Probably don’t want him to find you now at this point, Amaia. Not that Negan is stupid enough to stuff him in the janitor’s closet and hope no one comes around…Maggie looks like she’s been around Negan enough to know not to bother asking him about Luther to avoid having to sit through one of his lies.
The plan to get Herschel seems somewhat freeball-y with a lot of hopes instead of a true tactical course of action. They head underground to the sewers where they see some incapacitated walkers. Good thing there were no zombie mutant turtles crawling around too. That’s better than the surface, which is swarming with walkers.
In a fake out that seems way too obvious a fake-out, Maggie sees a dead teen tied to a chair in The Croat’s housing district. It’s not Herschel of course, otherwise this episode and season would be wrapped.
For some reason, Maggie goes through Negan’s bag and finds Luther’s balm. She seems disgusted, but again the entire reason she wanted Negan’s help to find Herschel was because she knew he’d do whatever it takes — Avengers style — to get the job done.
Negan heads off to lure The Croat out while Maggie leaves the others to find Herschel. That goes sideways when Maggie spots Ginny and catches up with her as she gets closer to Tomasso, Amaia and the rest of the gang preparing for whatever fight The Croat throws their way. They didn’t plan on The Croat blowing the doors at Madison Square Garden and a horde coming from all directions. Meanwhile, The Croat’s goons watching from the nosebleed seats. Geesh are luxury boxes still unaffordable even in a zombie apocalypse???
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Tomasso gets swallowed up by walkers as others get straight up mauled. Fighting against the backdrop of a UFC cage is a pretty cool visual though I do wonder if simply climbing in the cage and fighting wouldn’t be a better strategy? Showing her time hanging with Negan wasn’t in vain, Ginny goes into the cage prompting Maggie, Amaia and the Scavenger to join her and fight from inside.
Maggie decides they can’t fight there forever — though winnowing out more of the walkers in the relative security of the octagon doesn’t sound like a bad idea — and takes the turnbuckle pads to head back out against the walkers. Scavenger Woman would probably agree with me if she weren’t yoked up by the walkers and killed. Tomasso pulls the Glenn get out of death card and arrives back in time to save them. I’m beginning to think there really wasn’t a purpose worrying about the rest of this community.
Ginny isn’t much of a fighter and hasn’t been very helpful in pointing out escape routes. This whole vow of silence is really hurting Maggie and company right now.
Meanwhile, Negan is successful in luring The Croat out. He keeps some backup in Perlie and random likely Negan victim. Funny thing though. The Croat’s not mad at Negan and regrets not being there to help defend Sanctuary against the Three Communities. He blames Simon for the downfall of that Sanctuary, but tells Negan he’s made a new one they can run as brothers.
This was a nice twist as The Croat is so demented he welcomes being back with the man he remembers as his only peer in psychotic behavior. The Croat thought Negan came for Perlie and in an offer of good faith launches him off the balcony. Perlie manages to hang on and with an assist — fitting for MSG — manages to hobble away despite getting a grapple line through the leg.
Naturally when they get away from The Croat’s crew, Perlie pulls out a nail gun and tries to arrest him. I would have greatly preferred Luther, Scavenger Woman and Pigeon Lady to have made it as far as Perlie, who’s been a terrible character every episode. This is a terrible plan. Does Perlie expect Negan to help him hobble off the island?
With The Croat wiping out their forces, it’s time for Maggie, Tomasso, Amaia and Ginny to retreat and come up with a better plan. Whatever it is they’ll need to figure it out real soon.
Everybody Wins a Prize didn’t lack for action as The Croat has done an excellent job of standing out as a memorable villain even if Maggie’s big rescue efforts are starting to resemble her Hilltop Safety Plan success rate.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC