THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON EIGHT

Ep 13: “Do Not Send Us Astray”

Directed by: Jeffrey F. January
Written by: Angela Kang & Matthew Negrete
Original Air Date: March 25, 2018
Running Time: 43 minutes
Network: AMC

Last week, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was taken by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), so his absence this week leaves Simon (Steven Ogg) to take charge and move forward with his plan of completely disposing of the Hilltop. But the people of Hilltop, led by Maggie (Lauren Cohan), are ready for them. She warns Simon that if they attack, she will kill the Savior hostages they currently have, yet Simon basically disowns them, if only to allow Alden (Callan McAuliffe), one of the captured Saviors, to further defect to Maggie’s side (they are strongly pushing him as Maggie’s next love interest). Daryl (Norman Reedus) initiates the attack on the Saviors outside the gates and Hilltop presents a calculated attack. During the battle, Simon spots Tara (Alanna Masterson) and makes to kill her but Dwight (Austin Amelio) steps in and shoots her with an arrow to which Daryl witnesses.

One of the weakest storylines out of this second part of the season has been everyone’s distrust of Dwight. I had originally hoped they would keep Dwight’s Saviors double cross a secret, letting the audience guess who might be helping Rick and the others rather than immediately coming out and telling us. That would have allowed us to also be distrustful of Dwight because we would not have  physically seen him helping these guys for so long. At this point, I would say the audience trusts him and the fact that Daryl and Tara are going back and forth about disliking him is so incredibly weak. Add on to that the fact that we know Dwight shot Tara because Simon was about to kill her or infect her with zombie guts and you realize how painfully obvious everything is being written for no other reason than the writers of this season have no idea how to build any sort of mystery or tension. The fact that Dwight was responsible for Tara’s girlfriends death should hold so much more weight and yet, the writing is so poor this season, that is all feels hollow.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) eventually shows up and the Saviors take off. The following day is about burying those who died in the previous night’s battle and tending to the wounded, one of which is Tobin (Jason Douglas), whom Carol (Melissa McBride) had a relationship with in Alexandria. They address this fact and Carol tells him that what they had together was mostly fake. Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) discuss the previous days events (which were from last week’s episode where Rick and Negan faced off) and it seems they are inching the needle further towards knowing that Negan’s methods save people, as they believe the previous night’s battle would have gone much differently had Negan been there. Elsewhere, Morgan (Lennie James) is having visions of the deceased Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith), the Saviors lieutenant who little Henry (Macsen Lintz) killed. I assume these visions are out of some sort of guilt and are being used to lead to Morgan’s downfall, as subtly is out the window this season and everything eventually leads to something.

At night, the Saviors’ plan of infecting the Hilltop occupants comes to fruition, as several of the injured turn to zombies in the night, most notably Tobin. He ends up attacking Kurt (Nick Arapoglou), someone we’ve barely ever seen, and Dana (Peggy Sheffield), the acting Hilltop doctor who was being mean to Siddiq (Avi Nash) earlier in the episode for no reason other than to give her some screen time before she died. Another character, Wesley (Ilan Srulovicz), who has a small conversation with Maggie earlier in the night, also turns and all hell breaks loose in the Hilltop house, with Rick, Daryl, Carol, and Maggie eventually coming to the rescue. Right before all this happens, Henry continues his vengeful search for the person that killed his brother, this time grabbing an automatic rifle and heading to the cage where Gregory (Xander Berkeley) and the captured Saviors are. In trying to find the person responsible, he eventually goes into the cage and when the ruckus of the zombies in the Hilltop house distracts him, the captured Saviors, led by Jerry (Cooper Andrews), make a break for it. Alden and a few others stay behind.

The captured Saviors getting away was always a given as soon as it became a debate whether to keep them or kill them. My only hope is that Jerry, the Savior who has never shown signs of changing, will be the one to kill Jesus (Tom Payne), who was the person that argued in favor of keeping the captured Saviors alive and bringing them back to Hilltop. That would definitely make a statement and would make Jesus’ death somewhat full circle.

One of the only moments I found even partially well written this episode was a moment between Rick and Siddiq. The dynamic between these two has to be explored more, as Siddiq is a constant reminder of Rick’s loss of Carl, because saving Siddiq resulted in Carl’s death and to top it off, Rick was against saving Siddiq in the first place. Siddiq offers to help clean Rick’s wound and tries to reassure Rick with some words of consolation, but Rick doesn’t want to hear it. The tension between them, which is mostly organic and not derived from the script, would make for some really great moments to come. But I fear it will be overlooked. The title of the episode comes from the prayer that Siddiq tries to tell Rick about.

The internet is abuzz this week, addressing a glaring inconsistency of the series: the infecting of healthy people with zombie blood. Several times throughout the series, people have voluntarily covered themselves with zombie guts to blend in with and escape the zombies. It happened this season with Negan and Gabriel. But now we are being told that the Saviors can infect the citizens of Hilltop by the transmission of blood and guts. Gabriel has been sick since that aforementioned episode, so perhaps that was the writer’s fix to show that it can lead to sickness, but we’re then supposed to believe that every other time its been done in the series, the characters involved were just super lucky not to get sick. It is hard to cheer for the writers of a show that cannot even keep the facts of their show consistent.

Since Negan was out this week, next week’s episode will follow where he’s been. The preview for next week shows him held up in a shipping container at the dump by Jadis. My guess is that whatever happens will continue to push the needle towards redeeming Negan somehow. The ultimate arc of this story will likely lead to Rick having the chance to kill Negan and not taking it, due to Carl’s final wishes. And I’m sure the powers-that-be for the show want to milk Negan for everything that he’s worth, which means keeping him around. So if he’s going to have some sort of redemption in which we actually keep him around and don’t want to see him killed, he’s going to have to start heading that way.

CHARACTER APPEARANCES

NOTABLE DEATHS

TOBIN

Played by: Jason Douglas
Introduced:
Season 5, Episode 13 (from Alexandria)
Cause of Death:
Infected by Saviors’ weapons (Derek) / Turned
Posthumously killed by: Carol (knife)

 

KURT

Played by: Nick Arapoglou
Introduced:
Current Episode (Season 8, Episode 13) (from Kingdom)
Cause of Death:
Bitten by Zombie (Tobin)
Posthumously killed by: Michonne (sword)

 

DANA

Played by: Peggy Sheffield
Introduced:
Current Episode (Season 8, Episode 13) (from Kingdom)
Cause of Death:
Bitten by Zombie (Tobin)
Posthumously killed by: Daryl (knife)

 

KEVIN

Played by: Jason Burkey
Introduced: 
Season 7, Episode 2 (from Kingdom)
Cause of Death:
Shot by infected arrow from the Saviors / Turned
Posthumously killed by: Ezekiel (knife)

 

WESLEY

Played by: Ilan Srulovicz
Introduced: Season 6, Episode 11 (from Hilltop)
Cause of Death:
Infected by Saviors’ weapons / Turned
Posthumously killed by: Daryl (knife)

 

BRUCE

Played by: Ted Huckabee
Introduced: Season 5, Episode 14 (from Alexandria)
Cause of Death: Infected by Saviors’ weapons / Killed before turning

 

DEREK

Played by: Dan Johnson
Introduced: Season 8, Episode 11 (from the Saviors)
Cause of Death:
Shot by Carol during battle (Gun)

 

KATY

Played by: Katy O’Brian & Bethany Kasulas
Introduced: Season 8, Episode 2 (from the Saviors)
Cause of Death:
Shot by infected arrow from the Saviors / Turned
Posthumously killed by: Siddiq (knife)

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