The episode ends with barely any narrative progress from where it started…and the log rolling scene was terrible.
This episode of The Walking Dead is called ‘The Bridge’ because all the communities are working on a bridge together. Yes, there is a greater metaphor at work here. No, it doesn’t matter at all.
Strangers in the Night
The episode opens and closes with Rick Grimes speaking to a jailed Negan in his extra raspy sincere voice about how awesome things are going with him. Predictably, Negan replies by smugly assuring Rick that things will eventually not be awesome. He also asks if Rick is doing all this for Carl, which was a pretty dick move if you ask me.
The time before this meeting took place constituted fairly difficult day. At first, though, things looked pretty good. Jerry and Nabila have become a cute couple while Ezekiel, Carol, and little Henry have formed a formidably adorable family…although considering Carol’s track record with kids, I’d feel a bit more comfortable if Ezekiel handled the disciplinary stuff.
Meanwhile, Siddiq is doing great as the doctor for the bridge crew–primarily due to the fact that he’s exceptionally intelligent/competent and he hasn’t had anything major to deal with. He also has Enid there to assist him while he learns the ropes. Later, Rick tells Saddiq to head back to Alexandria because a plot-drive flu bug demands he leave Enid alone to handle a major medical crisis later in the episode.
Trouble continues to creep in when Eugene (wearing a ridiculous hat) tells Rick that a bunch of Saviors had straight up walked off the bridge job and Alexandria was running low on food. Rick wasn’t sure how to handle the Savior thing yet, but he had faith that Michonne could strike a deal with Maggie to get some extra grub.
Crime and Punishment
Turns out Maggie was not in a deal-making mood. For starters, the Saviors hadn’t forked over the dead corn/ethanol they were supposed to (despite their protests to the contrary). Because of this, Maggie explained that the Hilltop needed to conserve all the fuel they could to harvest crops for themselves. Also, they couldn’t fix the ancient plow they got last episode because the blacksmith was currently in jail for attempting to assassinate her.
Speaking of that, Tammy wants to see her husband. Jesus tries to explain why that’s not possible, but Tammy isn’t hearing it. After some coaxing from Jesus and Michonne, Maggie finally lets her see Earl. Later, Maggie visits him alone and has a heart to heart with him about how what he did was wrong, but he’s redeemable. Gregory, on the other hand, was not.
We all agree the Gregory was the worst, right?
Good. Then someone please explain that to Michonne, who threw some serious shade at Maggie for deciding he should be executed after CONSTANTLY BETRAYING THEM AND PUTTING COUNTLESS PEOPLE’S LIVES IN DANGER TO PROTECT HIMSELF. Like, I get what Michonne disagrees with on principle–Maggie acting as sole judge and executioner–but Gregory’s awfulness should be something we can all come together and agree upon.
Back on the bridge project, one of the Saviors is being an a-----e about water rations, which earns him a bo staff from Henry…which makes him retaliate…which makes Daryl retaliate…which gets everyone riled up.
By the time Rick shows up to calm everyone down and give one of his ‘Can’t We All Get Along’ speeches, Daryl (rightfully) points out his utopian ideals might not be possible to attain with people who were more than eager to kill everyone just last season.
Later, a series of diversionary alarms/explosions meant to steer a herd of walkers away from the lumber team fails when a Savior doesn’t do his part. This leads to one of the stupidest action sequences in the show’s history, which is really saying something. It starts off cool enough–Aaron gets his arm caught under a log, forcing Daryl to take out two knives and start hacking down walkers like a total badass. Then Rick & Co. show up en masse and heavily armed, which should’ve taken care of things. But as everyone hacked away at the walker herd, Rick looks at the rope holding together a bundle of logs and, rather than cut it with a knife (which he had), shoots it from at least twenty yards away with a rifle. This somehow pops the string and sends the logs rolling, which somehow manage to completely miss Rick’s calvary while crushing all the walkers in a CGI-sequence so bad the SyFy Channel would blush.
Armed and Cantankerous
After saving Aaron, they take him and his horribly mangled arm to Enid, who decides right then and there that she needs to amputate, which she does while reading the instructions out of a medical book. This pretty much means that Aaron is dead soon since there’s no way AMC will pay for the CGI to show him having one arm all the time.
The whole siren debacle–and Aaron’s injury–caused Daryl to lose it on the Savior who failed to raise the alarm (who swears it wasn’t his fault). After a confrontation with Rick, the Savior walks off the job and gets attacked/killed by someone he knows, but the audience doesn’t get to see.
The Bird and the Frogs
As if this episode weren’t weird/bad enough, Jadis/Anne starts flirting with Gabriel. At first he gets nervous and shies away. Later when they’re alone, however, he smooth talks her by describing the frog mating calls all around them before kissing her. Then she starts to unbuckle his belt while most of us screamed in a combination of shock and disgust.
Later, Jadis sees the helicopter she’d been waiting for. I have no idea what that has to do with anything. It’d be nice if they explain what the deal is with the helicopter, but I’m not holding my breath.
At the beginning of the episode, there are trust issues with the Saviors and Maggie’s leadership style is clashing with Rick’s group. At the end of the episode, there are trust issues with the Saviors, Maggie’s leadership style is clashing with Rick’s group, and Aaron lost an arm.
I know that seems like an oversimplification of the plot, but did we really go anywhere much past that? Yes, some Saviors are disappearing, but we saw this time it was likely due to someone from their own ranks…and we already knew an inevitable betrayal was going to happen from them.
Add in the stupid long rolling scene and the pointless Rick/Negan rasp-off, and the show feels like it’s right back to its downward slide from last year. Let’s hope next week proves me wrong.