by Billie Doux
We've often seen ghosts hanging around in The Walking Dead: Lori, Beth, the Governor. "The Other Side" was about two ghosts in particular, although we never actually saw them in the ghostly flesh.
Even though the opener on the Hilltop was outwardly bucolic, the situation is becoming dire. The residents are secretly training with knives and secretly making spears, and digging secret tunnels to hide their secret Alexandrians. Jesus, Enid and Sasha are caring for the pregnant Maggie, while Daryl is silent because he is overwhelmed with guilt about Glenn.
The scene in the darkened cellar (Maggie and Daryl were in a dark place emotionally, a little symbolism alert) brought the situation to a head. Daryl was about to lose it and kill the Savior with the stocking cap, which would have alerted the other Saviors and caused deaths and was exactly how Daryl got Glenn killed. It was up to Maggie to get Daryl to understand that it wasn't his fault that Glenn died. Daryl is one of the good things in this world, like Glenn was. That was a lovely thing for Maggie to say.
This latest visit from the Saviors made it even clearer that Gregory has become a liability, as he actively sucked up to Simon without realizing how unimportant and dispensable Gregory himself is. (Simon is a hoot. Or he would be if the consequences of pissing him off weren't so extreme.) Simon did offer Gregory some sort of travel pass. I bet someone else ends up using it.
Gregory didn't give the Alexandrians away this time, but he will. He was threatening Jesus, and is no longer afraid of him. Bad, bad, bad. What can they do? Will Jesus actually have to kill Gregory in order to protect Maggie and hide the fact that the Hilltop is preparing for war?
While the Hilltop scenes were mostly about the unseen ghost of Glenn, the Sasha/Rosita segments featured the unseen ghost of Abraham. Rosita has been practically chomping at the bit to throw her life away for the entire season. The scenes with Rosita inside different cars trying to hotwire them and Sasha outside the cars felt like a visual clue that Rosita was suicidal, and Sasha was not. Sasha wanted to go the sniper route and take Negan out at a distance so that they would have a chance to survive, which I thought was an excellent plan, while Rosita was all about storming the castle.
And yet, in the end, Sasha stormed the castle alone and sacrificed herself for Rosita. I wonder if that was supposed to be the other way around and they changed it because Sonequa Martin-Green got another acting job and had to be written out?
Sasha was angry that Abraham didn't get the chance to go out fighting, so Sasha went out fighting. At least that was the plan. Since we didn't see what happened, I'm sure she's still alive and something awful is going to happen to her. It's way too much to hope that she took out Negan and the worst of his lieutenants. With the way things go on this show, she probably shot Dr. Carson and was promptly captured. And who did Rosita see waiting for her? The silhouette suggested that it might be either Jesus or Daryl, but it could have been a Savior.
I did really like the conversation scenes in their sniper nest, when Rosita told Sasha about her past using guys to teach her survival skills until she outgrew and surpassed them, and "bounced." And that Abraham wasn't one of them. Abraham figured out what he needed; he outgrew Rosita and "bounced." Quite adult of Rosita to figure that out and accept it.
Finally, I'm very disappointed in Eugene. Was turning down his chance at escape a return to his trademark cowardice? Or does Eugene have a taking-down-Negan plan? I hope it's the latter.
-- We learned a little about Jesus. He grew up in a group home and his reference to "boyfriends" was a big clue that he's gay. I wonder if they decided to establish that because Maggie, Enid and Sasha were living in his trailer?
-- Gotta love the wall decorations in Jesus' trailer: the Barrington House direction sign (symbolism alert) and the plastic lobster bib.
-- Sasha was wearing the brake light necklace that Rosita made for Abraham, and Rosita noticed. Awkward.
-- Another symbolism alert: Enid took a basket of two cantaloupes to the stockingcapped Saviors and he knocked the basket over. See the previous episode in which Benjamin of the Kingdom died for a cantaloupe. I thought for a moment that Enid was going to hover over the entrance to the cellar and tip the Savior off, but fortunately, no. Enid isn't stupid.
-- Loved the clever woodpile escape route.
Gregory: "You're a gin man, right?"
Simon: "I'm a man of shifting specifics of tastes in transition. I'm into tequila now. Anejo, reposado, sipping, mixing, un mundo de sabor. Gin seems like turpentine. It happened quickly with a gimlet the other night. I'm an unusual kind of creature."
Wow. Does Simon ever love his own cleverness.
Simon: "Hey, you like ice cream? We have ice cream. We have a lady that makes cardamom gelato, shit you not."
An illustration of the mindset of the Saviors. Simon just told Dr. Carson that he had to leave his home forever and work for a monster because his brother had died horribly, but hey, there's ice cream. And that was right before Simon presented Gregory with the crate full of aspirin that he was leaving in exchange for the Hilltop's only doctor. Simon knew that Dr. Carson had to be devastated and was simply rubbing the cruelty in, because that's what the Saviors do. Or maybe they do think that ice cream is more important than losing a brother and a home.
Maggie: "It wasn't your fault."
Daryl: "It was."
Maggie: "No. It wasn't. You're one of the good things in this world. That's what Glenn thought. And he would know, because he was one of the good things, too."
Rosita: "The sex was just for fun. When the world's over, everyone should be getting their rocks off."
I like character pieces, and this was a good one. Three out of four bottles of tequila, not gin,
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.