The Walking Dead: The Other Side
Well, at least we got that out of the way. Ever since The Walking Dead arbitrarily created the Sasha-Abraham-Rosita love triangle, the show set itself on a path towards an episode in which the two women work through their feelings. It all feels less urgent since the meat in the Abraham sandwich got his brains splattered all over Negan’s bat in the season premiere (which feels like a lifetime ago) and the truth is this story arc was never that interesting to begin with. But at least the show’s writers have played it out and we can theoretically all move on to not caring about Enid.
Much of this week’s episode takes place in the Hilltop community. We haven’t seen much of the Hilltoppers this season, but every time we do the same things seem to be happening over and over again. Simon, the most Neganesque of Negan’s surrogates, starts dicking around with Gregory. Gregory is too cowardly and stupid to realize that the arrangement he has made with Simon is untenable in the long run. This plays out symbolically with a silly bit of business involving booze.
On a previous episode, Simon confiscated crates of gin. Remembering this, Gregory offers Simon his favorite drink. But Simon says he is fickle and he’s given up gin for tequila. Hey, who doesn’t want to throw in their lot with a guy who can’t even stick to one drink for more than a couple of weeks? Gregory is so desperate to kiss up to Simon that he too switches to tequila. A smart man would start hoarding tequila in order to win favor with Simon the next time he visits (assuming Simon doesn’t switch drinks again that is). But Gregory seems to think that sipping tequila when Simon is away will score him points. What does it matter? Even money says Gregory is a goner sometime in the next couple of episodes.
The arrival of the Saviors sends Maggie and Daryl into hiding. When one of the goons starts snooping around the basement where they are hiding, Daryl prepares to kill him. Putting the ethical question of taking a life aside for a moment, this is a terrible idea. If Daryl is discovered at the Hilltop, their will be bloody consequences for all involved. The Saviors are going to notice if one of their men goes missing. Killing one of the Saviors would bring death and destruction to the entire community.
The point of the entire interlude is to give Maggie and Daryl a scene together. That’s a fine idea, but something that probably should have happened a lot closer to Daryle’s return from the Savior compound. Daryl – understandably – feels a great deal of guilt over getting Maggie’s husband killed. Negan may have wielded the bat, but Daryl provoked the attack through a stupid and pointless act of defiance. They hug it out, but I think Maggie let Daryl off easy considering he almost did something stupid and pointless that would have resulted in a lot of their friends getting killed.
Meanwhile, Sasha decides to accompany Rosita on her suicide run on the Savior compound. Ever since Abraham died, Rosita has been hellbent on killing Negan. I suppose I buy her desire for revenge, but before he died Abraham did Rosita wrong. So, maybe he’s not worth getting killed over? Then again, the writers love going to the well of the character with nothing to live for trying to get themselves killed by any means other than actually taking their own life. They did the same thing with Sasha a few seasons ago after her brother died.
Sasha knows this is a bad idea, but she’s not going to let Rosita go it alone. Is she motivated by guilt over stealing Rosita’s man? She shouldn’t be. She didn’t do anything the encourage Abraham’s affections and they barely established a relationship at all before he died. But Sasha still sees fir to wear a necklace Abraham gave her on the road trip with his ex. Ooops. When Rosita sees it, she points out that she actually made the trinket.
It turns out that Rosita is a woman of hidden talents. For example, she teaches Sasha to tie knots. In case the audience missed the point of how useful she is, Sasha point blanks tells Rosita how lucky the community is to have her because she knows how to do everything – something which the audience has only gotten hints of in the last few episodes. Rosita explains that she has been sleeping her way through the apocalypse learning useful skills from one boyfriend after another. The Walking Dead has funny ideas about what constitutes a strong female character.
The girls have camped out in the perfect sniper’s nest conveniently left unguarded by the Saviors right next to their compound. When Negan walks out into the open, they can’t get a clean shot. Their opportunity is brief as Negan quickly disappears from view. During his visit, the girls see Eugene giving orders and being rather chummy with the man they are there to kill. Using a stolen walkie talkie, they overhear Eugene ordering the Saviors to search the surrounding buildings for more zombies he can add to the perimeter – despite the fact that the metal-covered zombies are completely immobile and therefore not a threat to anyone. The only way these zombies could hurt you would be if you put a body part in their mouths.
Since the Saviors are going to be doing sweeps of the surround area, Sasha and Rosita decide to leave their sniper’s nest. The sensible thing would be to camp out at a safe distance and then come back for another shot. A sniper has to be patient and you’re not going to find a better set up. All they have to do is wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself and it will be like taking candy from a baby. But that’s not what they do. Instead, they decide to try to rescue Eugene who freaks out and tells them he doesn’t wish to be rescued.
We’re obviously supposed to take this as confirmation that Eugene has switched sides. But I suspect he is really just trying to gain Negan’s trust so he can take him down from the inside. Since the writers are working so hard to convince us that Eugene has become Negan’s toadie, I’m inclined to believe the opposite is true. Of course if Eugene were really plotting against the Saviors, he could have just said as much to Rosita and Sasha, but that’s not how The Walking Dead operates.
When their impromptu rescue attempt fails, Rosita and Sasha decide to pull a Butch and Sundance and go out in a blaze of glory. But Sasha pulls a fast one. Since Rosita is so skilled at tying knots and things, Sasha closes the gate and tells her she has to get back to the community to help the others. Then she goes off on the suicide run all by herself for no apparent reason. For all she knows, Rosita is just going to find another way to enter the gate and get herself killed. That was Rosita’s plan all along. But fortunately for her, a Daryl (or possibly Dwight)-shaped shadow shows up to prevent Rosita from doing just that.