It’s a larger world for Rick and the Get-Along Gang as their newest acquaintance, Jesus, leads them to another colony called Hilltop to set up trade between the two settlements.
A few years ago, The Walking Dead could best be summed up by “Teaser, boring scene, character moment, boring scene, ZOMBIE ATTACK, boring scene, character moment, end.” This episode, unfortunately, is a return to that era of dead undead storytelling. Not a lot happens, it’s a lot of talk, and none of it is that interesting. A gratuitous zombie scene is thrown into the first half to remind you that this is a show about dead people walking, but even it is silly when you think about it as not a single person who needed saving seems to be able to use their brain when zombies come shambling by. How many zombies were in that building anyway? Four?
The episode’s prospects do not get any better when the gang gets to Hilltop as we are privy to some intense trade negotiations that are about as exciting as listening to trade negotiations.
Things only get interesting towards the end when the specter of Negan shows its ugly face and Rick and his Magical Friends have to go into action and make a promise to Hilltop that they’re going to stop this guy and kill him dead.
You can smell the river of sewage about to flow downhill and inundate them all.
I would stop short calling this a bad episode, but it’s definitely one of (if not the) weakest of this strong season of episodes. In a way, an episode like this was unavoidable as it is putting pieces on the board for future use, but I can’t help but think it could have been done better… more interesting. In the wake of the recent crop of episodes, this one not only suffers from its own machinations, but also from the inevitable comparisons it’s going to draw.
Still, there’s a growing sense of dread that I am both enjoying and also getting a little sick by. The grim reaper is hanging around, buzzards are circling, and an undertaker is starting to chisel a name onto a tombstone. Someone is about to take a dirt nap and, for the first time in a long time with this series, I actually don’t have a single person I want to see die (short of Morgan who is just the worst).