The Walking Dead: The Lost and the Plunderers

"You could have just let me save all of you. I mean, that's why I killed your friends in the first place."

I'm not feeling The Walking Dead these days. And this episode didn't help.

They gave us six labeled sections, which I don't remember them ever doing before: 1. Michonne, 2. Negan, 3. Enid, 4. Simon, 5. Jadis, and 6. Rick. But actually, I saw this episode mostly as pairs of characters: Rick and Michonne, Simon and Negan, Simon and Jadis, Rick and Negan.

As a post-apocalyptic leader in this 'verse, Jadis is weird and somewhat unique. She's made some terrible choices with alliances and went back on her word too many times, but in fact, her group simply got caught between two stronger groups in conflict, and now they've paid a terrible price.

We did get a rather fun garbage people backstory, along with Jadis' somewhat cartoonish painting of a blue cat. Before the apocalypse, Jadis would come to the dump for art materials. When the world ended, Jadis saw the dump as a canvas, and people as the paint. She created a whole little world for herself and her followers. They even had their own way of talking. Note that in the end, when Jadis was pleading for Rick and Michonne to take her with them, she was talking like a normal person for once. I felt bad for her, but I honestly don't blame Rick for refusing, considering her multiple betrayals and the trauma he just endured.

I liked Pollyanna McIntosh's performance in this episode, especially at the end. Dressed in white like a savage priestess and splashed with the blood of her followers, McIntosh made me believe that Jadis was ready to kill herself, or that she would let the walkers kill her. But it also wasn't a surprise that she destroyed what was left of her own people, and then ate applesauce. I am betting she'll wind up with Rick's group at some point, although I don't think he should ever trust her.

I don't think Simon intended to lose it and kill all of her people like that. He was tired of losing, and enraged at our guys for nearly destroying the Sanctuary. Not to mention upset about the fact that Maggie has 38 of Simon's guys as hostages. It's also clear to me now that Simon doesn't understand Negan at all. Simon actually suggested calling it quits with Rick and company, that the Saviors should "scrape the plates into the trash" and move on (an interesting metaphor considering what happened at the dump), but no. Even Maggie's coffin delivery didn't change Negan's mind. All it did was push Simon over the edge. (Loved the nail gun.)

Negan now believes that all he has to do is take out Rick, and everything will be "aces." He doesn't realize that he'd also have to kill all of Rick's allies, too: Michonne, Daryl, Carol, Maggie. I bet that's because Negan doesn't actually have friends; he has minions. Fear doesn't inspire genuine loyalty the way love does. Duh.

That brings me to the best part of the episode, which was Rick and Negan having a heart-to-heart on the walkie.

Rick called because of the letters that Carl left behind, one of which was addressed to Negan. Carl thought that Negan could be reasoned with, but now we know that's not possible. Negan isn't playing a part, keeping up a facade; he actually believes in what he's doing, that bringing communities under his thumb in such a brutal way is "saving" them. Negan was even upset about the possibility that his own people killed Carl, before saying definitively that Rick's actions caused Carl's death, and Rick failed Carl as a father.

The first segment of this episode told us that Michonne took Carl's message to heart. The last segment told us that Rick has not. Carl's dying wishes don't seem to matter to Rick and Negan. No one is ready to stop. The war will continue. You know, if the producers of this show were willing to kill off the lead character's child, you'd think it would mean something. Maybe it will by the time we get to the season finale.

What I wanted out of that scene was for Rick to mention what Simon did to the Scavengers to Negan, and Negan to turn on Simon. I thought that's where they were going, but no. Although Negan will certainly find out eventually. Simon's days are numbered, and I'm okay with that.

I'm not okay with the end of Alexandria, though. Michonne was determined to put out the fire engulfing the gazebo, simply because Carl had once sat on it, but she was unsuccessful. Symbolism, ho. There was actually a lot of metaphorical crap in this episode: Rick leaving his gun on Carl's grave, but then returning and taking it back; the blue hand prints that Carl and Judith left on the porch, followed by Jadis' spilled blue paint that Simon tromped through and took home to the Sanctuary with him, like visible guilt; Michonne unable to shut the gate that could no longer keep the walkers out. Alexandria's signpost promised vengeance to the plunderers, but the plunderers won. Alexandria is as dead as Carl is.

The Oceanside segment seemed to be jammed sideways into this episode. I'd actually forgotten that Enid killed Natania; it seems so long ago. It feels pointless, since it's obvious that eventually, Oceanside will be forced to ally with the Hilltop. Which is why Aaron decided to stay behind while Enid, who could have gone into a career in diplomacy if not for the apocalypse, headed back to the Hilltop.

Aaron and Enid are a sad, interesting pair. I kept thinking that Aaron had lost his boyfriend and so had Enid, except that she doesn't know it yet. She will soon.


— Chandler Riggs is out of the cast, but the credits weren't changed. His usual spot is just empty, like what they did with Steven Yeun's credit card when Glenn went under the dumpster.

— Along with Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis), I thought Steven Ogg (Simon) did an excellent job in this episode. I particularly liked Ogg's facial contortions during their confrontation scene, especially when Simon was yelling, "Bullshit!"

— What was that tantalizing bit about a helipad and solar panels at the dump? Is there a helicopter? A living area we haven't seen yet?

— Negan still doesn't know what happened at the Kingdom, or that Gavin is dead.

— Rick's car door walker shield was pretty cool.

— Things I could certainly have done without: 1. the walker at the gate with the face coming off, and 2. Jadis turning her people into red sludge. Geez, people. Did they have to do that?

— Did Jeffrey Dean Morgan get a haircut?

Two out of four pieces of improvised armor,

Billie Doux is sad to report that she is falling out of love with The Walking Dead.


Anonymous said...

No, please, not the Garbage Pail Survivors. Please spare these dynamic characters who have impacted the plot so deeply. The pain, the pain of it all.

It was a wise move of the showrunners to wipe out the garbage people. That scene gave further depth to two characters who have been pretty much villains so far; we saw Simon's frustration and rage, and Jadis got some pathos and sympathy. So she was just part of a kooky, pretentious art collective? That makes sense. There wouldn't be much reason for Walkers to congregate near a dump.

I did enjoy this episode more than last week, mostly because things actually happened...kind of. I was half expecting them to drag out Simon's frustration for the next five weeks until he did something, so I like that his response was so immediate. No such luck with the ocean people, though. We just got more moralizing speeches on killing and the future and survival, which we get every week. Breaking Bad didn't have a half measures speech every other episode; they had it once, allowed it to impact the character, and they trusted the audience to remember.

I'm a big fan of Simon. He's scary, fun and charismatic and I'm hoping we see more depths to him. I'm not sure if he planned to massacre everyone from the outset, or if his anger got the better of him, but it certainly seemed like he was trying to provoke Jadis. I like that he was smart and curious enough to recognize that something was going on with the dump (solar panels, helipad) and that got me interested in what the dump used to be. I also like that he disagreed with Negan openly; he's oddly more honest than Negan. Simon knows he's a bully and a bloodthirsty sadist, whereas Negan lies to himself. Negan talks about saving people, while Simon seems very aware of what 'save' means. It means 'subjugate'.

For that entire walkie-talkie conversation, I was thinking of all the times Negan killed needlessly. Even if he thought he had to kill someone straight-off to maintain control of a community, he didn't have to do it the way he did: with sadistic glee, taunting everyone. Nor did he need to keep moving the goalposts and frequently humiliate everyone, including his own people. If he cared about saving people, he wouldn't have organized everything to benefit him more than the community he lords over. Nor do I think his love of killing defenseless people is any kind of act.

Billie Doux said...

Loved your comment, Anonymous. It was better than my review. :)

yodudeyo100 said...

I haven't watched the last two episodes? Do you guys think I should?

Billie Doux said...

yodudeyo100, I don't know what to tell you. I'm unhappy with what they're doing, but I'm still watching. Continuing into season nine will depend on where they go from here, I suppose.