by Billie Doux
Honestly, I wasn't all that interested in the Hilltop before. I am now.
I'm so glad that Maggie isn't going to lie down and die now that Glenn is gone. She's going to keep caring about others and doing her best. She needs to stay near Dr. Carson in order to keep her baby, so she's going to stay near Dr. Carson, no matter what. Maggie will make it happen.
Thankfully, Sasha is okay, too. She already went off the deep end when Bob died, followed closely by her brother Tyreese. Not this time. It's lovely that Sasha is so determined to keep Maggie and her baby alive. It's like their dual experiences, losing a sibling at the same time and then losing their man at the same time, has bonded them together. The graveyard scene where they talked about the watch in Glenn's pocket and the cigar in Abraham's was dear. So was Enid putting the green balloons on the wrong grave.
Gregory. He's a crap leader and seriously, what a rollicking cowardly shithead. It's not that he's evil. It's... okay, stealing Glenn's watch off of his grave and trying to turn Maggie and Sasha over to the Saviors is pretty darned evil. (Funny how Jesus knew what Gregory would do, so he put them in a different closet.) I also hate the way Gregory gets names wrong, deliberately or not. It's a way of showing disrespect for other people. He also hinted that he was going to demand sex from Sasha, and was insulted when Maggie drew the correct conclusion.
While Gregory is awful, I like Jesus more with every episode. He's so kind -- he gave Maggie blue flowers -- and he deftly defended the Hilltop with his special ninja fighting skills. But as Sasha pointed out, he's also been somewhat aimless. There's sort of a weird dynamic between Jesus and Gregory, as if Gregory is aware that Jesus sees through him, that Jesus is more worthy of respect than Gregory could ever be. Or maybe I'm projecting, and Gregory thinks very highly of himself.
But how could he? When the Saviors rolled up, just like they did in Alexandria except with number two Simon in charge of the terrorizing, Gregory practically licked his feet. And he's such a terrible actor, a serious flaw when the stakes are life and death. (By that I mean Gregory is a terrible actor, not Xander Berkeley, who is awesome.) I bet Simon saw right through Gregory's professed ignorance of what happened to Negan's guys at the telecom facility outpost.
Maybe it was Gregory kneeling in front of Simon that did it for Jesus. Hilltop needs a strong leader, and Maggie certainly fits the bill. I totally loved her punching Gregory out and telling him to call her by her name, Maggie Rhee. It was just as cool as the way she drove that huge tractor over the walkers and that ridiculous blaring Gremlin. (Maggie said that she'd done that to a boy's car back in high school. Of course she did.)
Meanwhile, we had a cuteness factor on a show that is never, ever cute, as Carl followed Enid outside the gates and they took a road trip to the Hilltop together on, of all things, roller skates. Come on. How far away is the Hilltop? It isn't actually within skating distance, is it? Okay, I'll suspend belief because it was adorable, as was their first kiss. Or was it their second? Didn't they kiss when they were hiding in that hollow tree?
As it turned out, Carl wasn't that interested in following Enid, or visiting Maggie and Sasha or the graves. He had watched both executions without looking away because he wanted to remember them clearly when he kills Negan. He's even okay if they kill him for doing it. Although he might want to think for a moment what that would do to Rick. Fortunately, Sasha asked Jesus to find out where Negan lives, and Jesus and Carl ran into each other while hiding in the back of a Savior truck. Maybe Jesus can keep Carl from getting killed.
We got five minutes in Alexandria, as Rick and Carl acted tense with each other, Rick and Aaron went off to look for some sort of attractive swag for Negan, and Michonne went off alone to do... what? And they gave us some Richonne sugar when they said goodbye. Wow. There aren't that many Walking Dead episodes with a love scene, much less two. What a red letter episode.
-- This episode began with Maggie doing a Lost-like eye opening scene. It's certainly a new phase of life for her.
-- Carl and the dartboard. Laugh out loud. I can imagine it would be a good way to practice dealing with the depth perception problem. Could I suggest a new look for Carl? A ponytail and the Governor's black eye patch?
-- Gates. Fires. Beethoven. The Saviors certainly express their evil with style. I also liked the decal on the Gremlin that had an extended middle finger. No subtlety there.
-- Simon took the painting of the guy on the horse from Gregory's fancy study. No symbolism there.
-- Jesus gave Sasha the broken tail light necklace that Rosita made for Abraham. That could make for an awkward scene the next time Sasha and Rosita are together.
-- Loved that Jesus poured that expensive Scotch out on the ground, almost as if he cared about Gregory. Maybe he does.
-- On Talking Dead, Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, pointed out that the Saviors have no idea what Jesus is capable of doing, or they would have taken him out long ago.
-- Sasha had Abraham's cigar in her mouth as she was sharpening her knife. I think that fit with Maggie giving the pocket watch to Enid. Neither of them need a remembrance. No one is going to forget Glenn and Abraham.
Jesus: (re: Abraham) "I liked him. He was one of the only people I've ever met who could say things that could make me smile and wince at the same time."
Jesus: "Maggie and Sasha are staying. I'm staying. We're all gonna be one big happy dysfunctional family."
Maggie: "This is our home now so you'll learn to start to call me by my name. Not Marsha, not dear, not honey. Maggie. Maggie Rhee."
Rhee, not Greene. That was satisfying. Not that I believe that women should take their husband's name. It felt more like a tribute, a permanent way of making Glenn a part of herself going forward, forever.
Maggie: "We don't need anything to remember him by. We have us."
I wanted Maggie to keep that pocket watch for herself and her child, but she was making a point, like burning the photo so long ago.
A surprisingly enjoyable and satisfying episode. Three out of four red letters,
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.