The Walking Dead: Go Getters
Last week’s extra long episode focused on Negan grinding Rick under his boot for roughly ninety minutes less commercials. “Go Getters” does the same thing with a Negan surrogate (a henchman named Simon) and Hilltop leader, Gregory. Gregory is a sniveling coward. In theory, he’s a weak-willed leader that stands in stark contrast to our hero, Rick. But at the end of the day, the result is still the same.
We’re supposed to revile Gregory. The script goes out of its way to make sure we all know what an ass he is. He can’t remember anyone’s name, but still insists on calling people by the wrong names anyway. He’s lecherous and most damning of all he’s willing to exile Maggie and Sasha or hand them over to Negan’s men in order to save his own skin. In short, the writers have used all kinds of shorthand to let us know Gregory is a creep.
But let’s be real here for a minute. Let’s look at things from his point of view. Not long ago, Maggie took half of the Hilltop’s supplies in exchange for killing all the Saviors. Turns out, all she actually accomplished was stirring up a hornet’s nest. The Saviors have been revealed to be nearly all-powerful and if they suspected that the Hilltop was providing sanctuary to one of their enemies, there would surely be dire consequences for Gregory’s people. So there’s an argument to be made for turning Maggie and Sasha away.
As evidence of the threat posed by the Saviors, look no further than the elaborate prank they pulled on the Hilltop. In the middle of the night, they somehow opened the community’s gates with no one noticing. (Why have giant walls if you don’t post guards? Don’t ask.) Then they wheeled in am AMC Gremlin which they secured so that it could not be accessed from the outside. They even put on some kind of decorative lock that looked like a hand flipping the middle finger. And then they started blaring loud music from the car to draw in zombies from outside the gates.
How long does it take to do something like that? And why? Simon later said that his intent was to have his men kill off the zombies after they had entered the gates to remind the Hilltop community that they were under the protection of the Saviors. But there’s no evidence of that. None of his men were seen around the car or the gate. Which begs the question, how long was that music blaring before Maggie, Sasha and Jesus sprung into action? It was loud enough to attract attention from zombies outside the gates but not loud enough to wake the humans sleeping nearby? This whole scheme is far-fetched even by the low standards of The Walking Dead.
The point of the scene was to let Maggie save the day. Despite still suffering from Mysterious TV Disease Syndrome, Maggie climbed to her rooftop and started shouting orders. (She had to climb to her rooftop because for some reason she was locked in her house. I was never clear whether or not that was part of the trap. If there was an explanation, I missed it.) Then she ended up crushing the truck under the wheels of a giant tractor that was conveniently nearby with the keys and everything.
“Go Getters” hits us over the head repeatedly with two messages. One, Gregory is a terrible leader who needs to be replaced and two, this Maggie girl has moxie. She should would make a great leader. I wonder if there will be an opening any time soon?
With the focus on Sasha and Maggie, the episode deals more directly with the deaths of Glenn and Abraham than any episode since the premiere. What’s surprising is how little they are missed. Maybe that’s a function of the show’s narrative structure. By now, we’re used to characters disappearing for several episodes at a time. Just last season, The Walking Dead spend weeks teasing us with Glenn’s fake death. The real thing doesn’t feel all that different.
In an effort to raise the emotional stakes, there’s some business surrounding Glenn’s watch which was given to him by Maggie’s father. For long time viewers, this should represent everything Maggie has lost. But there’s no real emotional weight attached to the watch. It all feels empty and unearned. This is a common problem on the show.
“Go Getters” spends a lot of time dealing with the supposedly tight bond between Maggie and Sasha. I had to remind myself that the two of them did spend some time together on the interminable road to Terminus several seasons ago. But other than that, I have never gotten the impression that these two characters even talked to each other. I guess they are supposed to be united in grief, but Sasha’s relationship with Abraham was never really established either.
Similarly, the episode includes a B-story in which annoying teen Enid makes her way to the Hilltop to pay her respects to Glenn and check on Maggie. Late last season, an effort was made to form a connection between Glenn and Maggie and Enid, but it didn’t really take. So seeing Enid, who we know little about and care even less, risk life and limb to be reunited with Maggie probably wasn’t as moving as it was intended to be.
(Tangent: Something dawned on me watching this episode. I recently mentioned that in the comics Glenn and Maggie adopted Sophia after Carol’s death. Since Sophia isn’t around on the TV show, the writers have struggled to find stories for its fan favorite couple. I have been wondering what Enid’s purpose on the show was and I now realize she is a stand-in for Sophia. In the comics, Sophia and Carl were friends. But they were younger, so they didn’t go through the awkward teen romance thing.)
Sophia Enid that he is done rescuing her before she leaves Alexandria. But then he ends up rescuing her all the same. He runs over a zombie with a car which begs the question “Why make the dangerous journey from Alexandria to the hilltop on foot?” On “The Walking Dead”, vehicles and gasoline appear to be plentiful. Heck, you can use them as bait in an elaborate zombie trap if you want to. Eventually, they end up roller-skating hand-in-hand to the Hilltop. Awww. That would be cute in a coming of age movie, but I can’t think of a less safe way to travel in the zombie apocalypse.
The episode ends with a few notes of hope. Jesus backs Maggie and Sophia and tells him he’s not calling the shots at the Hilltop anymore. Maggie sends Jesus back with Negan’s men to find out where he lives so they can kill him. Nothing can go wrong with that plan, right? In the truck, Jesus discovers Carl who apparently had a similar idea. It’s not much, but some momentum is better than nothing.