'The Walking Dead' recap ('New Best Friends'); season 7, episode 10

This was posted on Monday, February 20, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Yet another British actor joins the "Walking Dead" world. This time, it's Pollyana McIntosh, who plays Jadis, the leader of yet another group of survivors, the landfill crew dubbed the Scavengers.

The Brits are now all over the place in disguise on the show: we already have Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Lennie James (Morgan), Lauren Cohan (Maggie) and Tom Payne (Jesus). And of course, David Morrissey (the Governor) is long gone.

Rick is seeking allies to help in the pending war against the Saviors. Father Gabriel  - of all people - helps lead him to the new crew.

While last week was flecked with unusual amounts of humor, this episode was tonally all over the place. I found the efforts at humor this episode flat. And even the reunion between Carol and Daryl lacked punch. But the junkyard scene had visual punch. Let's review:

Let's emphasize how much the Saviors are jerks: The writers really want to ensure we hate Negan's Saviors as much as possible before the war begins. We open with the Kingdom awaiting to give their weekly offering to the Saviors. Gavin and his crew roll up. He thinks the gifts are a bit light but then looks further and realizes it's just fine. But one of his men hates Richard, as noted in a previous episode. This time, the Savior wants Richard's gun. Instead, the two point their guns at each other. When Ezekiel forces Richard to hand the gun over, Richard insults the Savior. The Savior is about to hit Richard with the gun. Instead, Morgan uses his stick to knock the gun out of the Savior's hand. The Savior grabs the stick from Morgan, knees Richard, then whacks Morgan in the head. The Savior whacks him in the head. Then Benjamin takes the Savior down with his stick. Ezekiel shuts this down before it escalates. In the end, he cedes to Gavin. Richard loses his gun and Morgan loses his stick. Gavin warns Ezekiel that if this type of behavior continues, Richard may soon be dead. (Oddly, the Saviors appeared to leave without grabbing the weekly offering.)

Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Richard finds an ally in Daryl: Richard could sense Daryl is a fighter. He wants so badly to fight the Saviors. He brings Daryl into his little plan: kill a few of them on the road and make it look messy. Lead them to a cache of weapons, then to a loner female in a house near the Kingdom. Her death will be like Pearl Harbor to Ezekiel, a provocation that will incite him into war.

But that plan goes instantly awry: Daryl figures out quickly that Richard's plan features Carol as the foil. He does not like that a bit. "Nawwww!" as Daryl likes to say. So he tries to leave. But as the Saviors drive by, Daryl has to keep Richard from shooting at them. He fights Richard until they're past. Richard says there will be other opportunities but times are awastin'. Daryl is cool with them taking down the Saviors but this plan won't work for him. In one of his longest bits of dialogue on the show, he says he will kill Richard if Carol so much catches a cold or gets hit by lightning. Sure, they have never been a couple, but Daryl is deeply loyal to her.

Easter egg alert: If you are a "Smokey and the Bandit" fan, a truck featured in that movie is featured in the Richard/Daryl scene.

Jerry! Jerry!: Cooper Andrews showed up on "Talking Dead" to talk about his sidekick role to Ezekiel. Apparently, if you're chubby on "The Walking Dead," you're jovial even in the midst of horror. He's a bit like Negan's Fat Joey that way under much better circumstances. Or Hurley on "Lost."  "He can see the bright side of everything," Cooper says on "Talking Dead."

Captured: Rick, Michonne, Tara, Rosita and Aaron find themselves in the midst of a strange group of quiet, morose looking people dressed in black dubbed the Scavengers. They also discover that Gabriel has been kidnapped. It's quite an epic set, a huge dump with piles of stuff all over. McIntosh, who plays the leader, said on "Talking Dead" that they are a hive-like society, with piles of garbage set up in a particular way. The first thing Jadis says to Rick: "We own your lives. Want to buy them back?"

How did Gabriel get caught up with the Scavengers? Rick and Aaron a few episodes back had gone through the moat to grab dead Winslow's cache of weapons for Negan. The Scavengers were awaiting someone to take those weapons since they seemed unable or unwilling to do so. They followed Rick and Aaron back to Alexandria. They tried to find the weapons but instead, they wanted everything in the pantry - and Gabriel. Fortunately, Gabriel had time to write "boat" into his book he left behind.

Who's the savior now? Rick says the Saviors now own their lives. If the Scavengers kill Rick's crew, the Saviors will seek them out and either they die or become enslaved as well. Rick offers a third option: fight the Saviors and take them down. Jadis says no. The Scavengers start to fight Rick's group until Gabriel grabs a knife and threatens one of Jadis' key associates. He says the Saviors have the weapons and vehicles the Scavengers want. Gabriel is now Rick's greatest evangelist: "If you join us and we beat them together, you can have much of what's theirs. Fighting with us, you will be rewarded more than you can imagine!"

The Scavengers' philosophy from Jadis: "Since the change, we take but we don't bother. Things grow harder, we open cans, sometimes the insides are rotten. Times passed. Things are changing again. So maybe we change. Maybe. We need to know you're real with this and you're worth it."

What's with the weird language? As the dialogue above shows, Jadis speaks in an oddly truncated way and uses minimalistic hand signals. "Show Rick up-up-up?" apparently is code for pushing Rick into a pit to fight a walker adorned with spikes. It's a test. Can he hack it? Of course he can, although he sticks his hand into one of the spikes. Michonne provides him with a solution: knock some trash on top of the walker. That works.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Gino Crognale as Walker - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Let's make a deal: Jadis wants guns. "Then we'll fight your fight," she said. They negotiate awhile. Jadis agrees if she gets one third of whatever they win from the Saviors, plus half of what they had already taken. Rick now has two masters. He has to find stuff for Negan while tracking down weapons for the Scavengers. It's clear Tara will lead him back to her lady friends for said weapons. Make that three masters. He also needs to find some more food for the poor Alexandrians. While the Hilltop helps them out, I'm sure that can't cover everything. Why the Alexandrians haven't grown anything themselves is beyond me.

Why did Rick smile and show enough faith to find Gabriel? "Someone showed me enemies can become friends," Rick told Gabriel, referencing Gabriel of course.

Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes, Sabrina Gennarino as Tamiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

How did the Carol/Daryl reunion go? Daryl finds Carol at her nearby home. They bond. She explains why she feels she can't get wrapped up into killing more people or seeing more of her friends die. It has already stripped her down to near nothingness. She told Daryl she is just trying to hold on to what little humanity she has left by isolating herself. Then she asks how everyone is. After a way too long of a pause, he lies. "They came. We got them all. We made a deal like Ezekiel," he said. "Everyone is alright." She feeds him. She says Ezekiel is a good guy, something Daryl was skeptical of. But since Carol said so, he trusts her. They part with a long hug. But Daryl still wants to fight the Saviors. He does not want her to get drawn back into the mess. Morgan later said he was doing the same thing by not telling Daryl where she was. Daryl was okay with that. He is just angry Morgan is not actively trying to convince Ezekiel to join them in the forthcoming war. So Daryl leaves the sanctuary of the Kingdom to go to the Hilltop.

Even the tiger likes Daryl: Yes. Daryl is a good guy. How can we tell? Ezekiel's tiger is cool with him.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Why did Rick take the cat sculpture? He was replacing one that Michonne had lost at the prison after the Governor's attack.

Walker death count: Just two. The Kingdom's Diane places an arrow through the head of a walker who wore a dress that resembled one her sister wore. Then Rick had to take down Winslow, the spiked walker.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.