Have you ever felt tense watching The Walking Dead more? Is the TV show ever really surprise you more? I’m sure it’s been a while since TWD made me feel like a character was in real danger or did something that made me wondering what was going to happen Next. Tonight’s episode, “Faith,” was a pretty blatant example of The Walking Deadcontinue not to do either.
You know what? I admit I was slightly taken aback by tonight’s episode when I realized that the “chain gang” working to clear the train tracks was stationed overnight in Alexandria. When the group was split into two, I thought one went to the chain gang, and the other in Alexandria. However, my big lesson was, “Well, at least they can free everyone early so they can keep fighting the Commonwealth.”
At the chain gang, Ezekiel and Negan and a few others (we see Magna, Princess and Annie also working there this time) track the movements of the guards on a makeshift map. It is almost immediately found, and the wArden hangs out at Negan to get a “leader” vibe. Negan finds it laughable, given how many of his supposed people hate him, but he doesn’t find it funny when the wArden says figure out what their plan is or say goodbye to his wife.
We’re clearly meant to believe that Negan will betray Ezekiel or someone for his wife’s sake, and the episode hammers that home into Ezekiel getting another chance to tell Negan how much he hates him. But the show has gone out of its way again and again to portray Negan as a changed man. It would be ridiculous for the show to suddenly give him a heel kick at this point. (Not that TWD didn’t even make its “heroic” characters do dastardly things without consequences, so a heel turn wouldn’t be surprising either, just obnoxious.)
Instead, Negan says he’s the ringleader or something – it’s off-screen – so the Commontroopers drag him to the Alexandria Windmill to face a firing squad. Negan looks so good with the situation that the foreman drags Annie to be executed with him. As Negan plays the “we both have families!” card with atrooper the fOreman foolishly said he wasn’t allowed to see his sick brother, Ezekiel stands in front of the firing squad guns and is followed by most of the other characters with names. Ezekiel gives an inspirational speech about doing the right thing or some shit, and the fOreman orders them all to be shot.
Here’s what sucks so badly about it: Last episode, Negan promised Ezekiel that he would do something to provide a “spark” that Ezekiel could use to get the other prisoners to defeat their captors. That’s exactly what happens, and even (most) guards lower their guns, but none of this was intended. Almost no component has ever been under the control of Negan or Ezekiel. The card was found by chance. The Foreman grabbed Negan because of his leader vibe. They couldn’t have known that Annie would suddenly have been added to the execution. Nor has anyone spoken to anyone about how to handle the situation. And the fact that the only guard was so sensitive to family conversations that he switched sides was pure luck. This is very lazy writing.
The FOreman grabs and holds Kelly hostage, only to be stabbed in the back by Daryl, because he and Connie snuck into Alexandria through the sewers, while Maggie and Carol snuck away elsewhere to look for the children who were taken away. In a very convenient coincidence, hishel is found alone, but all the other children are missing. A distraught Rosita feeds the dying foreman to a zombie when he refuses to say where they have been moved.
Meanwhile, back in the Commonwealth, Eugene has his trial. As you, me, and everyone on the show expected, it’s rigged and Eugene is doomed to be executed himself. But although it is a fatality, it engulfs a plot of screentime so Pam can pretend to cry, Yumiko can ask Mercer to testify against Pam, which he of course refuses to do, and Eugene can give a moving speech about how one person can change the world, a message that has absolutely no relevance to his essay. On his way to the electric chair (I think it’s a safe bet the Commonwealth has an electric chair) he is intercepted and freed by Mercer, who has decided yes he would like to help save the man whose his sister is in love, freeing the Commonwealth from Pam’s tyrannical rule and making it a better place. All those many times before he said he didn’t? It’s just more screen time, baby.
At least Mercer’s last line gives me hope that something interesting will happen next week: “Let’s do some shit.” Yes, please, Mercer. I wish you would do some shit. Even just a little shit! I beg you here. Because shit has been completely unfucked for what feels like forever.
Although the title of the episode is “Faith”, it should surely be interpreted as a message from the showmakers to themselves, as in “Let’s have faith, we tell a good story”. Maybe they have something they’re going to release in the last two episodes of the show that isn’t going to make everything that’s happened so far retroactively interesting, but could make what’s to come interesting. But believing this requires faith in The Walking Deadand that’s something I don’t have anymore.
- Aaron’s group randomly encounters Luke (Dan Fogler) and Jules (Alex Sgambati) who were last seen in the Season 10 finale, which aired in October 2020. Fortunately, they inform the others that Oceanside was conquered by the Commonwealth, and Aaron either realizes something has changed, or she had no intention of freeing the communities in the first place.
- Yet another Commontrooper patrol pulls up and nearly finds the group, so they use the “smear on yourself to walk safely among zombies” shtick to hide. Three things about it: 1) No one got blood on his face, which was very stupid since the Troopers were scanning lights in the crowd of zombies. 2) Why the hell did the Troopers believe that anyone alive would walk around with zombies? We have no indication that they know the guts thing or have ever encountered Whisperers. 3) This scene lasted so long that I thought I was going to lose my mind.
- What happened to cause the Commontroopers to separate hisisolated him from other children, tied him to a chair and placed him in armed custody?
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