Last week I mentioned how the option of talking to Negan’s group was probably not a good idea, but if done could lead to what would essentially be an arms race with the balance going toward whoever had first strike capability. I’m beginning to think maybe Morgan’s approach, talking to the Saviors, would have been safer. But to be honest, whenever there’s been a fateful confrontation in the past, Rick as made the wrong move by being too passive, too sentimental. He let the Governor live when Merle argued for assassination and he let Daryl talk him out of storming the hospital to save Beth. Since then we’ve had Terminus and Alexandria with the former being handled as best as they could but still being overwhelmed, and the latter being a case of essentially threatening harmless children. The Hilltop situation is a delicate one, as no one really knows anything about Negan beyond the fact that they are bullies and are running a protection racket against a group that defends themselves with spears. As much as I love new agro-Rick, he really should have done more recon before committing to fight a war. With the Governor, they had the inside scoop. Merle knew he could be taken out, but Rick was too sentimental to pull the trigger and it cost many, many lives. With the hospital, his impulse was good. They didn’t want a real fight. Playing the aggressor may have ended up saving lives there too. Here, Rick is being arrogant. Rick thinks that because they’ve killed some shitty people in cold blood, that they are hard. That they are dangerous. They actually are dangerous, but they’re still guided by principles and sentiment. They want to be heroes. They want to be the “good guys with guns.” And while I think we can all agree that Negan’s crew are the bad guys, if we don’t hesitate at the idea of sneaking in and murdering them in their sleep, I think we’ve found a gray area in the morality of The Walking Dead that needs some exploration. Because we’re dealing with a work of fiction and already know that the Saviors are anything but, the creators of The Walking Dead have established a very interesting moral headspace that should force viewers to hesitate before we begin rooting for Rick and Company and celebrating what are clearly cold-blooded murders. Once the guns come out and the killing turns into something more acceptable — kill or be killed — we can more readily back our heroes’ play with fewer question marks. And lingering on those polaroids of dead walkers plastered above one of the Saviors’ beds is creepy, but not really enough to establish that these are people deserving of murder. One of the things that television and movies can do when approaching this sort of material is make it easy on us. They can show us bad guys being bad guys and then when they get their comeuppance we can celebrate, purging those hostile anti-social feelings in justified righteous violence. That’s not what’s really going on here. Well, it is on one level. But Gimple and the other writers are not giving viewers an easy out. Because we only see a couple of the Saviors being assholes, and we know that the group Daryl killed were going to kill at least one of them, we can make the intellectual leap to say that these are villains and ultimately this is going to be kill or be killed. However, we don’t see these people do anything really bad. It’s implied, but we don’t witness it. And witnessing is part of the process of catharsis. Instead, we get to watch our heroes take people by surprise and murder them without warning, slip inside the building and then murder people in their sleep. Pardon me if this is getting repetitive, but I really want to emphasize the fact that our heroes are murdering people now with no overt provocation. This is a contract killing in an attempt to co-opt the Saviors’ half of Hilltop’s rations. It’s arrogance and demonstrates a remarkable lack of foresight. And it’s part of the source material, too. What we’re seeing here is a tempering of the steel that is Rick. As soon as they saw that the Saviors’ headquarters was essentially one building, they should have started questioning the plan. This was clearly something different. It was smaller than Hilltop. It was extremely smaller in scale than Alexandria. Hell, nobody that the group has encountered has been holed up in an encampment as limited as this one. That should have been a red flag. And it’s a red flag that the comic avoided by taking the story in a different direction; by giving us smaller scale encounters before leading up to the first appearance of Negan. There were smaller scale losses and gains before Rick’s actions drew Negan out. It was a back-and-forth. Here, we’ve got something different. Here we are abandoning the escalation and diving right into the muck. Here we’ve got characters we’ve been rooting for as they do horrible things in a horrible world, doing the one thing that has separated them from bad guys. Pre-emptive murder. This is what the Governor did. This is what every bad guy we’ve seen so far has done. I suppose it’s a plus that Rick’s not hauling the bodies off to be cooked and eaten. But honestly, that’s not a step too far from where we’ve arrived. Did we really need to watch Glenn murder his first living human being in a manner that had nothing at all to do with self-defense? I don’t really think so. When Glenn becomes one of the killers, what does that mean thematically? He’s been our innocent; our hope for the future. And now he’s a killer, like the rest of them. I really can’t believe I’m saying this, but Morgan may have been right. Is his moralistic infection of Carol a good thing? Can she hold on to her humanity by finding some middle ground between Rick and Morgan? I sincerely hope that’s where we’re heading with her, but I have cause for concern, as discussed below. Meanwhile, back in the rest of the story, people keep having sex and emotional confrontations now that there aren’t zombies packing the streets trying to eat everyone. Abraham, after his near-death revelation last week, decides to dump Rosita in the douchiest way imaginable. I really want to like him, but every word that comes out of his mouth is so awful, that it’s very, very difficult. He’s always been a cliché in search of some depth, and his recent attraction to Sasha is nice, but really, girl you were right to put some space between you. Tara and Denise have a few nice moments that really seem to be building up to Tara dying sometime soon. I’m pretty sure that it’s a requirement of The Walking Dead that when you say you love someone, it means your contract is about to expire. I mean, they can’t keep hiding her pregnancy behind strategically placed drying dishes — although getting her out on the road for a two-week run is a positive note. Maybe there’s hope for romance in the apocalypse, after all. On that note, there’s Carol’s hook up with Tobin to consider… The people in charge of The Walking Dead are not subtle with the ways they plant suggestions that a character is going to die soon. Generally, when a character begins to become too sentimental, too pacifistic, they open themselves up for sacrifice. Given that Carol has been absent from the past two episodes, and when we finally see her here she is choosing to reinforce the more “social” Carol, wearing sweaters and making cookies, before lying awake troubled, making lists of everyone she’s killed, and then hooking up with Tobin the night before the big assault on Negan, the Powers that Be are doing everything they can to set up Carol as the next big dramatic death. Or is this a moment for her character to evolve into something even better? When she and Maggie are captured at the end of the episode, the audience is forced to consider the devastating possibility that we may be seeing the end of either one of them. But given that even The Walking Dead might have a hard time getting away with the gangland-style killing of a pregnant woman (especially after all the teasing they’ve done with her husband’s apparent death so far this season), I’m afraid that despite my hopes, my favorite character may not be much longer for this world. We’ll have to wait and see, but things don’t look bright. Especially after the whole “she shouldn’t be out here” speech to Rick and the fact that she stayed behind specifically to keep an eye on Maggie. The Walking Dead 6.12 "Not Tomorrow Yet"Paul's Rating4.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.