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The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 11 ‘Dead or Alive’ Review

You know what I used to enjoy? Sunday evenings. A time to unwind, decompress, and get my mind right for the week ahead. Now, however, they are marred by an increasingly terrible season of a show I once considered one of my favorites…along with prank calls from my editors reminding me that my soul is forfeit if I don’t write a review.

But all hyperbole aside, this show really can’t get much worse, can it?


Daryl and a bunch of tertiary characters continue their trek through the woods from Alexandria to the Hilltop. One of the people in the group is Dwight, who killed Denise…who was Tara’s girlfriend. Understandably, Tara has a problem with his presence, which she demonstrates by throwing him in front of a walker.

Later on, Dwight suggest a brilliant plan to head through the swamp because Negan is scared of quicksand or something. Daryl agrees. Dwight also reveals that he knows they’re going to kill him when this is all over.

When Tara asks Dwight to help her clear some walkers by casually tossing a knife at him, we can all see what’s coming. Tara gets him out in the woods alone, Dwight tries to apologize, and she pulls a gun on him. To the show’s credit, they don’t make Tara have some sort of contrived moment of forgiveness. Unfortunately, she also manages to miss him from point blank range.

Dwight runs and Tara gives chase. After catching up to him, the pair are forced to hide when a group of Saviors stroll by. Dwight saves Tara (and his own skin) by pretending to join up with them while not revealing Tara’s presence.

When Tara reveals what happened to Daryl, he does what all of us have wanted to do for a while and screams at her. Rosita, on the other hand, shows some sympathy. After all, she had to watch Abraham die…who was kind of a dick to her at the end, but still…

Jesus Take the Wheel

Fair warning: This part of the episode is so stupid it hurts.

Gabriel and Dr. Carson (doctor from the sanctuary) are in a pickle. Not only has their car stalled out, but Gabriel’s weird zombie gut infection is making him go blind. It also makes us occasionally have to see things from the view point of Gabriel’s infected/diminishing eyesight, which is a bit like watching the show with a View-Master afflicted with syphilis.

Jesus also keeps trying to convince Dr. Carson that despite their bad circumstances, a higher power truly is looking out for them. As if on cue, every one of Gabriel’s proclamations of faith are followed by a miraculous act.

  • When they hear it bell, it leads them to a house.
  • When they get to the house, they find that the zombified occupant had a boatload of antibiotics that Gabriel desperately needs.
  • When Gabriel knocks over some random random piece of pottery inside the house, it reveals the keys to another car.

When they head out later on foot, Carson gets snagged by a bear trap. Fortunately, Gabriel is able to do half blind what Tara couldn’t do with perfect vision and shoot a target (in this case a walker) dead.

Unfortunately, those pesky Saviors find them, kill Carson, and take Gabriel back to the Sanctuary.

Hilltop Blues

Back at the Hilltop, Maggie continues the world’s longest pregnancy while also trying to manage a community saddled with the added burden of a large prison population. As if that weren’t bad enough, the prisoners (including an especially whiney Gregory) think they should be given some freedom for good behavior. There’s also some stuff about Morgan and Henry (and child bo staff murderer from last week) being all weird and moody, but it’s honestly not worth even getting into.

When Daryl’s survivor group shows up, they tell everyone about Carl being dead. Enid cries for a while before stress eating a turtle off screen.

Later, Siddiq reveals to Maggie that he’s a doctor, which likely means he’ll be the one delivering her baby when it’s born sometime in the next five years.

Mullet Malice

Back at The Sanctuary, Negan once again implies that he suspect Eugene of treachery. He follows that up by declaring that he was giving Eugene his own outpost to make bullets in. The place would apparently come equipped with all types of post-apocalyptic comforts, but all Eugene cares about is if it will have wine.

Later, Eugene is incredibly rude to the gorgeous redhead assigned to be his “assistant.” Things get even more awkward when Gabriel is brought in and told to help out with the bullet making despite being almost completely blind.

Later, Negan reveals a new master plan to defeat The Saviors enemies–using zombie guts to infect everyone…at least that’s what I think he is planning. I was starting to zone out a bit by this point in the show.

The Verdict

Stupid character moments/decisions combined with little to no plot advancement help make this yet another clunker of an episode. It’s bad enough that we abandoned what little momentum we had from last week–caring about those narratives was already a struggle. But between Tara’s disastrously executed revenge plot and Gabriel’s ridiculous swings of good and bad luck, it’s getting harder and harder to care about what happens to these characters.

Maybe next week will be a little more interesting by virtue of Negan’s zombie flu plan, but it’s far more likely we’ll see Maggie’s pregnancy start to show before that happens.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 11 ‘Dead or Alive’ Review
Is it good?
Stupid character moments/decisions combined with little to no plot advancement help make this yet another clunker of an episode
Uh...the part with Negan yelling at Eugene was kind of cathartic I guess.
Garbriel's story is supposed to be tragic, but instead ends up being ridiculously contrived.
It's getting harder and harder to care about these characters as they continue to make stupid decisions.

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