This was posted by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on Sunday, March 26, 2017
In a story Friday about the health care bill failure, the New York Times delved into the concept of "loss aversion."
As the Times wrote, loss aversion is "one of the most robust findings in behavioral science. As numerous studies have shown, the pain of losing something you already have is much greater than the pleasure of having gained it in the first place."
For Natania, the leader of Oceanside, she was willing to lose her own life for the safety of the group she created. She did not want to lose it to fight the Saviors. I can't blame her. Sadly, Rick's group comes off looking like bullies - humane bullies because they kept insisting they didn't want to kill anyone - but still bullies.
They basically forced Oceanside's hand to get them to play ball.
Overall, this was a decent lead up to the season finale with elements of intrigue that will play out next week. I give it a solid B/B-plus. We learn Negan has a saving grace: he isn't big on rape culture. But Dwight is at the end of his rope with Negan. Sasha's ploy to get a weapon from Eugene backfires. One downside: Tara is a terrible motivational speaker.
So let's get on with the recap:
Is the plan to take Oceanside's guns a viable one?
It's certainly fraught with issues. But Rick's crew has the element of surprise. Tara points a gun at Natania, the leader. With her ally Cyndie there as well, Tara valiantly tries to convince Natania that joining them would be a good idea. Natania is not buying it. Tara's negotiating clock runs out. Rick's group creates bombs to scare the villagers. They corral them into one place by the armory. Cyndie manages to secure a gun on Tara, who reveals her gun is unloaded, that she had no intention to kill anyone. But Natania's gun is very much loaded and she goes to Rick's group, a gun at Tara's head. She is very willing to kill Tara but holds off. She is no Negan. She simply wants nothing to do with this. The Saviors took too much from them. She is willing to (but not in any rush necessarily) kill Tara and get killed.
But no way the writers are going to let bloodshed happen at Oceanside, right?
Right. Sniper Michonne sees walkers (drawn by the bombs) coming at them. That allows Cyndie to knock her grandma out and free Tara. Then they kill off several dozen walkers.
Does this display of machismo win over Natania?
Nope. While Beatrice respects their handiwork and shakes Rick's hand, Natania walks away, telling Rick to take the guns but Oceanside is not offering any manpower.
Is Tara still guilty over breaking her promise to Cyndie about not coming back?
Not so much now that they got the guns and nobody died. Plus, Cyndie - who wants to fight but can't because of her grandma - tells her they are doing the right thing by going after the Saviors.
And see? Rick's commandeering isn't so bad.
They promise to bring the guns back when they're done. Uh huh. Probably with no ammo. Gee, thanks.
Why is Sasha still alive?
In Negan's world, it would seem to make sense to just kill Sasha immediately. She's an invader who must be stopped? But he's curious about her intentions and thinks he can use his powers of persuasion to change her over to his side, as he did with many others, including Eugene.
So he just ties her up and sticks her in a prison room.
Is David just a skeeze ball?
Of course! He wants to rape Sasha after she requests water. And when she head butts him, he gets kind of excited. He likes it rough! Then Negan shows up and surprise! Negan isn't a fan of random violent rapes. He'd rather force women into situations where they have to give him sex to stay alive. No different, right? Instead, he just knifes David on the spot through the neck. "I do not accept your apology," Negan says with his usual flair for the dramatic.
Does Negan really have that many people he can afford to just kill off?
Loss of life does not seem to bug Negan all that much. He must have a rather larger army of sycophants at his disposal to kill so casually. And the way he speaks of David, he wasn't much of a fan.
What sort of Faustian deal does Negan offer Sasha?
He's impressed with Sasha. "You've got beach ball sized lady nuts to go in all kamikaze like that!" She calls Rick "your bitch" to ensure Negan thinks this is truly a woman gone rogue and not part of some bigger plan to take him down.
He hands her a knife. She can "join the cause" and save her own hide. "You thought this was the end. This could be the beginning... You can help me run this place one day!" Or she can try to kill him and die tryin'.
Third option is suicide. She could slit her wrists or allow "rapey Davie" to become a zombie and kill her.
So what does she end up picking?
I would have predicted suicide. But no! She decides for a moment to kill "rapey zombie Davie" and relent - on the surface. Of course, Negan doesn't allow her to keep the knife. She will have to gain his trust. Eugene tries to convince her to join Negan's crew. It isn't so bad! She isn't convinced. She tells Eugene that she needs some weapon to kill herself, anything, because she knows Negan will use her to kill their friends. Eugene buys into what is a ruse. But he provides her a killing weapon that is of no help to her: a poison pill he didn't end up giving Negan's girls. She looks understandably disappointed.
What does Negan know and how will he use that information?
Negan knows through Simon that something is afoot, courtesy of turncoat Gregory at the Hilltop. He has plans the next day to do something. What? We don't know. But bloodshed is guaranteed for the season six finale.
Is Gregory really trying to reconcile with Maggie?
Not really. He is trying to glean some information from her about what's going on. He notices her friends are all gone. He's suspicious. He is also curious why she's still around usurping his power. He even goes outside the walls when she wants to take a blueberry bush out. While there, he is momentarily tempted to knife her but he has squirrel-sized man balls (as opposed to those Sasha carries.).
Do we have to see more of Gregory being wimpy?
Naturally. A walker arrives out of the woods. Maggie says she'll take it out. He says she's pregnant and he's a man. He has to do it. He approaches. He stops. He wimps out. He lets Maggie do it. Then another walker comes out and he is frightened out of his gourd, probably peeing himself while the walker tries to eat him. Maggie has to save him. It's all so sad and pathetic except...
What is Gregory's next move?
He feels it's time to tell Negan about what little he knows so he grabs the note Simon left him and gets a chauffeur to ride over to the Saviors' compound. The fact Gregory is still alive ready to gum up the works is annoying in and of itself. Unlike Gabriel, redemption is unlikely. Next week may be Gregory's last.
Who decides to go against Negan?
Not Eugene! It's ... Dwight. Dwight decides on a whim to join Rosita last week. He truly lost Sherry, who may or may not be alive (or perhaps she's hanging with Heath?). He saw his gambit with the doctor go south when the doctor was frightfully fried in front of him. Rosita sticks him in Alexandria's makeshift prison cell. When Rick's crew returns back to Alexandria from Oceanside, Rosita shows them Dwight. He said he's ready to help. Of course, Rick is skeptical. He asks Dwight to go on his knees. Then... scene.
Will Rick kill Dwight in next week's episode?
Why would he? He needs Dwight's intel. He just wants Dwight to sweat a bit. Dwight is pretty desperate to do this. He probably knows he won't survive this war in any way, shape or form. But he wants Negan to go down, too.