(No Spoilers Necessarily Ahead) Beginning almost in a quiet ballet of sorts, the latest episode of the AMC hit series The Walking Dead is entering into the final episodes of its eight season, and undoubtedly the most traumatic and trying of the show’s incredible run. This season one of the graphic novel’s most dastardly villains was realized and introduced into the television narrative. It’s definitely proven the statement that it is “Negan’s World”. At the onset the bat-swinging tyrant and leader of the Saviors took out two of our most valuable players. Even as the credits rolled, audiences had to say good-bye to two of its most loved and favorite characters.
Since then, the horror of Negan and his savagery has been a constant threat, now after what felt like a very long winter, it looks like our heroes, lead by Rick Grimes are ready to fight! And so are we! The Walking Dead has thrived from its ability to create a viscerally dangerous reality, a zombie apocalypse where it isn’t only the infected that are out to devour each other. Those working to survive this uninhibatiable future have more to fear from other survivors among the pockets of humanity looking to edge out an existence.
After taking their time, recouping their loses and licking their wounds, Rick and the rest of his group surviving within the community of Alexandria have decided, the time has come to unite with the other members of the local settlements and bring the battle to Negan’s doorstep. None are more determined to take down this big bad than Rosita and Sasha, who witnessed Abraham’s demise first hand. The two women had shared separately — at different times — an intimate relationship with the fallen soldier. The began their mission to single-handedly take on the Saviors.
Rosita recruits Sasha with the understanding that she needs her expert marksmanship to perhaps sniper Negan from a distance. As the Saviors converge on the Hilltop, one of the other surviving communities, the two make haste on their plan. In the meantime, the Saviors converge on the Hilltop and take with them the doctor that has been treating Maggie who is pregnant. Perhaps one of the best moments was watching the still suffering Daryl who has escaped the clutches of the Saviors, is handed a plate of food by Maggie. Daryl still feeling guilty about inciting Negan and leading to the murder of her husband Glenn, shrinks ever slightly at her approach and consoling touch.
After all that these two characters have experienced, it was significantly poignant to see them still working on what makes them a family. Daryl finally confronted with having to face Maggie breaks down. It’s a moment much needed to be seen and experienced by Daryl. Maggie accepts Daryl’s apology and asks him to help them win! Meanwhile Rosita and Sasha find themselves a used car dealership and after creating a distraction are able to get themselves mobile and on the fast track to taking their shot at Negan!
“I fell in with him cause he saw I could handle my shit. I never looked back.” — Rosita discussing her feelings about Abraham with Sasha on The Walking Dead
Arriving at their destination, the two warriors stake out a location — a bird’s eye view — to pick off Negan. After spending some time together, the two finally open up about their feelings and realize the truth about their feelings, reestablishing their friendship in the process. Though Negan makes an appearance, Sasha is unable to get a clear shot. Immediately they decide to change their tactics — they may need to go inside of Negan’s stronghold,
Though the pair find Eugene, he immediately betrays them. Convinced that the groups still needs Rosita, Sasha tricks her and locks her outside of the gate, running in after Eugene. It isn’t long before more of Negan’s minions appear and run Rosita off. Finding some cover, she catches a glimpse of a familiar silhouette, Daryl has followed them back!
The Walking Dead is the most successful when it has its quitter moments and the characters have time to reflect on their situations. Given the high-intensity action is greatly appreciated and as the year’s pass, the danger becomes more calamitous, as an ardent viewer it’s a gift when the action matches a heartbeat — perhaps the impending climax will be well earned indeed especially after so bleak a season.
It’s been a very difficult season for the show; it’s optimism approach to surviving the wasteland that has become of the world was practically (if not literally) cut at the knees with the introduction of the Saviors, but the ugliness these characters represent – convinced that in their greed and oppression – are actually doing a service, instilling an order amidst the mad chaos, that perhaps is something that resonates with the sensibility of audiences right now.
There are only 2 more episodes left this season. This episode of The Walking Dead was followed with the premiere of Into The Badlands now in its Second Season.