The Walking Dead continues on its — slow — march to war in 'New Best Friends', but it would appear the story is starting to move forward. While some characters have begun questioning their beliefs, others have come full circle in this week's episode. Things heated up once more in another exchange between the Saviors and the Kingdom, Rick made some interesting — and slightly deviant — new best friends, and Daryl gave Carol the fresh start she so desperately wanted.
In spite of all that happened in this episode — or, as Michonne would put it, "because of all that's happened" — there were a few other things that failed to appear. Here are five moments that could have happened in The Walking Dead this week — but didn't.
Ezekiel Still Hasn't Come Around
Despite Richard's best efforts to convince the King that he should join Rick against Negan, Ezekiel is still reluctant. Things almost turned sideways in the Kingdom's exchange with the Saviors but, once more, the situation was defused before it escalated too much. In the last episode, Rick left Daryl behind in hope that he could somehow persuade Ezekiel to join the cause, but this week, we saw Daryl leave without any success.
Not even Richard's plan to attack some Saviors and set them on a path to war — which would eventually lead to Carol's cabin — fell through when Daryl discovered Carol would be collateral damage. Let's face it: Ezekiel isn't stupid. He sees that his deal with the Saviors is close to expiring, and yet he still hopes to find a solution that doesn't involve getting into war with Negan. Like he told Ben, "just because you know how to fight, doesn't mean you need to go out there looking for one". It's no surprise Ezekiel and Morgan got along so fast...
Daryl & Richard Didn't See Eye-To-Eye
This one took me by surprise. I mean, I get why Daryl couldn't go along with Richard's plan to entice the Saviors — especially considering Carol was smack in the middle of it — but, like Richard said, they have the same interests. Encouraging the Kingdom to help Alexandria and the Hilltop fight Negan is a clear priority, one that should take precedent before anything else. It was a darn good idea, Richard...
Richard has been planning for war behind Ezekiel's back for a while now, gathering supplies, weapons and cooking some molotov cocktails and, time and again his plans get frustrated. Judging how volatile Richard is at the moment, it's only a matter of time until he blows everything to hell and brings Ezekiel's deal with the Saviors to a violent end. I'm thinking that Savior Gavin is right about Richard being the first one to die. On the upside, Richard provided Daryl with a brand new crossbow — which he will, no doubt, put to good use soon enough.
Gabriel Didn't Disappoint
Father Gabriel joined The Walking Dead as a pretty unlikable antihero back in Season 5, but he's come a long way since then, taking charge of things and doing whatever he has to do for the safety of the group. Moreover, since he shot that Savior back at the outpost last season, Gabriel's become quite the bad ass. By leaving a note behind for Rick to find and even by putting a knife to Tamiel's throat, Gabriel's character arc is turning full circle.
From a cowardly and untrustworthy priest, Gabriel went on to grow some serious cojones. The fact that Rick stood by him — even when Rosita trashed the Father in last week's episode, saying he was the type to run off — just adds to the completion of Gabriel's journey on the show. Yes, I'm calling it: Father Gabriel is a very likely candidate to not make it out of Season 7. I hope I'm wrong, because Rick could use some of Gabriel's mojo when 'All Out War' begins.
Daryl Didn't Tell Carol About Glenn and Abe
The one thing I'd been hoping for since The Walking Dead returned was that Daryl would be the one to bring Carol back into the fold. After all, he never seemed fully convinced when Morgan told him Carol was "gone", as if he simply couldn't believe she would just voluntarily leave them behind. But when Daryl finally saw Carol again at the cabin, he finally realized that Carol was really out of commission — for good.
Not telling Carol the truth about Glenn's and Abraham's deaths was Daryl's way of giving her the clean slate that she wanted when she left Alexandria. Carol's journey has been bumpy and traumatic in many ways and, as someone who had been through her share of abuse, she became whatever she needed to be to survive. As much as it may upset some fans, Carol was never built for all the violence and killing she went through, and Daryl offered her the best gift a friend could ever give another: he accepted her for what she really was. I, for one, will always miss Terminus Carol, but I also know she deserves a happier life.
Morgan Still Has To "Wake The Hell Up"
Morgan is pivotal in Rick's quest to persuade Ezekiel to team up against Negan, but he's having a hard time seeing through the fog from the high moral ground where he stands. After crossing over to the dark side following the death of his wife and son, Morgan started "clearing" everything and everyone in his path... before he met that peaceful cheesemaker who taught Morgan all about the value of life. We get it, Morgan; you don't wish to fall through that dark hole again — but you should know that Negan is a whole other deal.
That "all life is precious" deal is pretty neat but, when push came to shove, Morgan did kill a man to save Carol's life. One can only wonder how differently Morgan might see things had he been in the line-up when Negan bashed Abe's and Glenn's heads in. Maybe that's what it'll take to make Morgan finally realize that, with Negan and the Saviors, the stakes are much higher than with the Walkers or the Wolves.
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Where the first half of this season was almost entirely comic book driven, this 'March to War' story arc is bringing a whole set of new elements into the mix. That junkyard community has some serious potential to actually tip the scales for Rick and the gang against Negan — since the Kingdom is still indecisive.
I understand the rumor mill has been going on and on about this new community being a background setting for the Whispers, and I'll admit the casting made sure that Jadis looked a hell of a lot like Alfa from the comics. Nevertheless, seeing Rick smiling with Michonne and the other survivors rause their hopes once again is more than enough reason to give the junkyard kids the benefit of the doubt.
Did you miss something in this The Walking Dead episode? Sound off in the comments.