In this week's episode of 'Dumb and Dumber': oh sorry, The Walking Dead, we see Carol prepping her exit, Coral studying a Savior's gun with a barbwire wrapped baseball bat etched in the handle (foreshadowing much?), and Glenn and Maggie having a romantic shower. Glenn sees the bruises on Maggie's midsection from her assault by the Saviors and is truly touched. Abraham relieves Sasha at the guard tower and Sasha gives Abe a stogie in a cute romantic gesture. Cut to Rosita, who sees this and gives major stink-eye to the new couple. No, more like daggers!
Richonne is still going strong, based on the blissful scene of them sharing an apple in bed after what was surely a night of 'you know what'.
So all must be right in Alexandria, right? WRONG. Daryl is still majorly pissed about the Dwight situation, clutching the 'Dennis' key chain from the recently killed Denise. Unable to contain his guilt and rage for letting Dwight live, he makes the first of a series of incredibly stupid decisions (AGAIN) by our heroes. If you thought the actions of the crew last week were dumb, just keep reading!
Daryl takes his newly recovered chopper and forces his way out of the compound, roaring away on a mission to take out Dwight. So Daryl is gone, but he can handle himself, right? WRONG. Hey, let's send Michonne and Glenn and Rosita out to save him! Now four core members of the crew are out. Seems like a really good idea, right?
At the same time Tobin comes to Rick's house and shows him Carol's goodbye note. Rick is understandably upset. But since Rick banished Carol once before I'm sure Rick feels that Carol will be ok, right? WRONG. So let's send Rick and Morgan out to rescue someone who doesn't want to be rescued! For those keeping track that's SEVEN very important members of the crew now out and exposed to who knows what, rather than hunkering down in anticipation of a Saviors attack. Like I said, 'Dumb and Dumber'.
I get that the showrunners want to ramp up the tension for what is arguably the most anticipated season finale in the show's history, but the behavior of the characters in the last two episodes is so unlike anything they have done before. It smacks of outright manipulation of the audience. The writers seem to treat the characters like puzzle pieces, putting them in situations that defy logic and common sense just to ramp up the stakes and the tension. Now we have almost all of the really popular characters in mortal danger - and for what? Just for the sake of putting them in danger?
Next we see Carol on the road, fleeing in a car she took from A town. She is fired upon by a pickup truck coming from the opposite direction, and both vehicles stop. Carol leaves the car, and begs for her life as the men in the truck bring their weapons to bear.
The tears and hyperventilating from a previous ep are back, as Carol pleads with them to just walk away. The men size her up as weak, and let their guard down. Machine gun fire rips the men apart. Carol was hiding a Glock inside her sleeve and reluctantly killed the men to save herself. As conflicted as she is about the sanctity of human life, it is still her true nature to do whatever it takes to survive.
Morgan and Rick come upon the carnage wrought by Carol, but Carol is nowhere to be found. So they leave their car (really smart) and set off on foot in search of her, continuing their debate about passivity versus killing to survive. Let's just say that they agree to disagree.
Meanwhile the search for Daryl continues, which takes our heroes to the spot where Denise was killed. They set off on foot and eventually catch up to Daryl. Glenn gives an impassioned plea to Daryl to come back with them and sort it all out in the safety of the compound. Daryl refuses. So off he goes in search of Dwight, but now he has Rosita with him, who feels compelled out of guilt over Denise to help him. Now we have TWO sets of the crew separated. Isn't THAT a great idea?
Glenn and Michonne begin the trek back to the car and guess what happens? They are taken hostage by Dwight! I NEVER saw that coming.
Morgan and Rick walk up to a farmhouse and see a man in ARMOR like a knight of the roundtable fighting walkers. They try to get information about Carol from him but all he tells tells them is that he's looking for his horse. That was random! King Arthur gets away, and Morgan tells Rick to go back to A town, that he will search for Carol alone. So Rick obliges - another really bright idea. Let's leave Morgan alone to fend for himself!
Daryl and Rosita sneak through the woods and see the now captive Glenn and Michonne bound and gagged.
Time to make with the big rescue, right? WRONG AGAIN! Dwight comes up behind the master tracker Daryl (how exactly does that happen?) and Rosita and tells them to lay down their arms.
Daryl does not - in fact he turns toward Dwight. Dwight fires, apparently hitting Daryl in the shoulder. Blood fills the frame before a cut to black. The last words are Dwight saying, 'You'll be all right.' Was he talking to Daryl? Rosita? We'll find out next week. Daryl is at the very least wounded, which might bode well for the Negan confrontation next week. Negan probably won't beat a wounded man to death, but we shall see.
Oh, and one last manipulation for you kiddies out there. Back in A town Maggie collapses on the floor in severe pain - like 'baby in danger' pain. Isn't it convenient that the ONLY doctor was killed last week? And where is the only other doc located? The Hilltop! So now we know that Maggie will try and make it to the Hilltop for treatment and she will probably get captured too. Good times!
The episode was OK as far as it goes, but the increasingly stupid decisions the writers pawn off on the characters blunts the credibility of the show IMO. And isn't this supposed to be a show about the zombie apocalypse? A sea change has begun - it's less and less about batting walkers and more about clans fighting over the scraps. Soon it will be Game of Thrones with zombies - Geez!
One More Thing: Kudos for using the late great Johnny Cash's song 'It's All Over' in the opening montage. You can never go wrong by putting 'The Man in Black' in your episode. Very strong!