By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Sunday, February 28, 2016
That ever tired "Walking Dead" theme just keeps coming back. Can people truly live on and raise children in this supposed hellscape?
The focal point this hour revolves around Abraham. Disappointingly, we don't learn that much about him except he believes by the end that it's okay to keep going and maybe have a kid with Rosita. Michael Cudlutz does a lot of "acting" this hour but doesn't give us viewers much to chew on. That's not his fault. That's the writers feeding us crumbs.
The whole baby-making topic comes up multiple times and we even get to see an ultrasound of Rick and Glenn's kid at the end. It all feels so cliched and cloy.
Otherwise, Jesus remains the most intriguing new character. He's hard to read in a good way. He seems reasonable and nice but is also an escape artist who has an unhealthy habit of sneaking up on people. He has had guns pointed at him numerous times by virtually everyone.
Yet he is still alive.
Jesus somehow convinces the Alexandria crew that he is trustworthy. How? He says he lives in a settlement similar to Alexandria that has a lot more food, something Alexandria is lacking. He has already cased Alexandria after his escape and knows they are well stocked with fire-arms and artillery. But provisions are thin. He even comes up with an estimate of population: 54. Which is close. How did he do that? His knowledge would make me a little scared and even more suspicious.
Instead, he offers a trade. He said he'll take Alexandria representatives to his home and show them that it's okay, that they won't eat them or take them hostage or what not. After what Rick's group has been through, this is a serious leap of faith.
"Your world is about to get a whole lot bigger," Jesus promises.
But it does get the key crew members - Abraham, Rick, Daryl, Maggie and Glenn - out of Alexandria and propels the plot line forward - and toward Nagen.
They take the RV with plenty of gasoline. (Yes, they always have plenty of that! How? I have no idea!)
As Rick and Michonne hold hands (awww...), they come across a fresh car accident. Jesus recognizes the vehicle. They save four of Jesus' crew and that helps Jesus convince the guards at the Hilltop to let Rick's crew in with their weapons.
Jesus admits the Hilltop ran out of ammo months earlier.
They see some passable walls, a plantation and FEMA trailers, plus lots of farming going on. For some reason, we never see the livestock but presumably they're there, too.
Oddly, the citizens of the Hilltop are not at all curious about these newcomers. They are treated without any fanfare or curiosity. There is just one leader of note: Gregory, a clean freak who looks like a plantation owner circa 1853.
As a personality, Gregory is about as exciting as pasteurized cheese food. He is no Governor. He isn't even as interesting as Deanna, the former leader of Alexandria or the cop who led Grady Hospital. He likes a particular old painting and he's a clean freak. Yawn...
Anyway, Rick delegates negotiations to Maggie. Gregory says the Alexandrians could work for food, that maybe Maggie could stay there and provide "services." He is so nonthreatening, his efforts at hitting on her fall flat.
In fact, the whole scene just falls flat. Why is she negotiating by herself? And why aren't Jesus and Rick in there?
Anyway, Gregory thinks Alexandria's ammo is not worth trading for. The initial negotiations go nowhere.
Hearing the news, Jesus begs Rick and his crew to be patient, that he'll work things out. Rick agrees.
Then conveniently, some Hilltop residents return with some bad news: a trade with Negan's group had gone awry, that they were accused of not providing enough. Negan kidnapped Craig. Craig's brother says he has to make things right and he stabs the leader Gregory.
Gregory falls. Rick and his crew jump into action because they can't help themselves. It's more instinct than any loyalty to Gregory because so far, Gregory hasn't really earned this defense based on his lame negotiating style.
Rick is almost choked by the man who stabbed the leader. But Rick kills him by shanking him in the neck. At least this gets Rick all bloody and dirty again.
Jesus tells them more about Negan, that he met up with them soon after the apocalypse began and killed one of their teens with his bare hands. Like a Mafia Don, he said he wouldn't attack them if they give his Saviors half of everything. So for the past three years, they've been at peace with this deal until the moment Rick & the crew just happened to arrive. Coincidence much?
Later, Maggie is back negotiating with Gregory, who survived the stabbing. This time, she claims leverage. Gregory needs ammo. He needs protection in case the Saviors ask for even more.
Maggie says they can take down Negan and in exchange, Alexandria gets half of everything instead. Wait. How does Gregory know this would be any better a deal than the one he has with Negan?
But he says yes despite skepticism that Rick's group can actually take Negan down.
I don't read the graphic novels but heard Negan is perhaps even more evil than the Governor. Certainly, he's more violent.
And certainly, the rest of the season will lead to this massive confrontation. So far this season, we haven't had a Lori or Hershel or Beth type death from Rick's side. We're way overdue!