Previously on The Walking Dead, “Bury Me Here”
If only we could get 13 or so of these episodes a season. Were stupid moves made? Of course, but we finally got some sorely missed screen time for characters greatly affected by the events coming off the season premiere. Rosita gives actual words to what she’s feeling instead of stomping around and biting everyone’s heads off; Daryl can no longer avoid Maggie; and Eugene may not be playing along to get along after all.
Through an opening montage we see Sasha and Maggie working to get Hilltop prepared for what’s to come, and Maggie settling into the role of the (yet-to-be-appointed) leader that community deserves. It sheds some light on why Sasha was so quick to agree to Rosita’s plan to go after Negan together. Sasha thinks Maggie is safe in a place she’s needed.
Jesus sees through the lie that Rosita is there to train their people, and he and Enid warn Sasha that it’s a bad idea; at the very least, the plan needs work. Simon’s arrival to pick up Hilltop’s Dr. Carson – since their own Dr. Carson (his brother) met the inside of the furnace – cuts off negotiations, and Sasha and Rosita beat a hasty exit to avoid being seen.
Hiding in a storage cellar, Daryl is literally forced to look Maggie in the face and apologizes for getting Glenn killed. She insists it’s not his fault even though it kinda, sorta is. Norman Reedus isn’t asked to deliver on material like this too often, but he was effective here. It’s always nice when characters who go back to the first two seasons are allowed to have scenes that remind us of their bond. We don’t get enough of it since the show insists on breaking apart the group and visiting each set every 2-3 episodes.
The meat of the episode was Sasha and Rosita’s journey to Negan’s compound. It’s tense and adversarial. Rosita is all for sneaking in and making the kill, even if it means certain death whether they succeed or fail. Sasha prefers to take a shot from a nearby building, which gives them a better chance of surviving and living to try again should they fail. Tensions aren’t improved when Rosita notices Sasha wearing the necklace she made for Abraham. (In all fairness to Sasha and Abraham, he didn’t give it to her.)
The two are finally able to lay it all out while they wait for Negan to step outside his sanctuary. Rosita is finally given a backstory; a woman smart enough to pick up survival skills from men she knew, men too stupid to see that she was surpassing them in their areas of expertise. Abraham was the first man who truly saw her for the capable woman she is, and she didn’t realize they’d grown apart until he was already gone. While Sasha is hurt that Abraham died pointlessly and unable to fight (though “suck my nuts” is a bit of a jab), Rosita is heartbroken she never got to tell him that she was happy he was happy, even if it was with someone else. At the very least, Abraham was able to get his shit together before he died, and that’s not something most people achieve. And Sasha admits that she was very happy with Abraham.
This last confession informs her decision to go in after Negan alone, locking Rosita out of the compound. She’d worked through her shit and found happiness; Rosita hasn’t. Sasha’s okay with this being her time, if it truly is.
I’d said on the podcast for “Hostiles and Calamities” that it’s more interesting if Eugene isn’t faking. He’s found a position of authority with the Saviors, and a measure of respect. When Rosita and Sasha see him giving orders, Rosita assumes he’s doing what he needs to do to survive – much like lied to make himself valuable and worthy of protection with them. But when they can’t get a clean shot at Negan from the outside, they decide to go in and, in the process, they attempt to free Eugene. He refuses to go. For the first time in three seasons, Eugene is finally interesting.
Before Rosita can get away clean (while gunfire from inside signals that Sasha is kicking up a row), she’s spotted by someone whose silhouette looks a lot like Daryl’s, but it’s probably Dwight.
Meanwhile, Gregory continues to be the absolute worst doing the utmost with the damn least. He sees how people are following Maggie and knows his days as Hilltop’s leader are numbered. He pulls Simon aside and plants seeds that he may need some help securing his position in the community since it would be a shame if they fell under new leadership not willing to cooperate with the Saviors. This won’t end well for Gregory; it rarely does for characters like him, and it’s going to be a joy watching him get what he’s got coming.
So, what were the stupid moves? Succeed or fail, Sasha and Rosita both acknowledge that going through with their plan means definite retaliation from the Saviors. To do this (somewhat) secretly before the communities are ready to protect themselves – especially Alexandria – is extremely selfish. And since we know Sasha isn’t going to kill Negan, she’ll most likely get caught and cool her heels in Daryl’s old cell. That’s just one more liability their outnumbered and outgunned friends don’t need.
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