‘The Walking Dead’ recap (‘The King, The Widow and Rick’): season 8, episode 6

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Posted Sunday, November 26, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

“I can’t be what they need – so please just leave me alone!” – King Ezekiel to Carol, bereft after the near total annihilation of his troops and the loss of Shiva

This is one of those episodes nobody will really remember in a few weeks because it’s basically multiple threads nudging the story incrementally forward. No deaths of note. No speeches of consequence. Lots of sadness. A bit boring. Jadis threw in a couple of funny lines but that’s about it.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

On the bright side, it seems like Rick’s group is by and large winning this war. Most of the Saviors are now trapped inside the Sanctuary with hundreds of walkers keeping them there. Thanks to Dwight’s intel, they took down all the Savior outposts. The Hilltop is foolishly holding a few prisoners of war. Negan has yet to reveal his next move but surrender is definitely not on the menu.

After splitting with Daryl, Rick sticks with whatever plan he has laid out and walks to the Scavengers’ home to see if they could join him – despite having screwed him over once before. He’s by himself, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yet in his usual arrogant mind, he thinks he can verbally convince Jadis to switch sides again.

She mocks him, noting that she had already shot him. He – twice – protests that she merely “grazed” him. He tries his best to prove with they have Negan in a bad spot and it would make sense for her to work with him. And in a move Donald Trump would be proud of, he also said if they don’t join him, he will destroy them. That’s a deft move, Rick!

And he fails – badly. They imprison him. “Talks too much,” Jadis said dismissively. True that.

In the meantime, there are four other parallel story lines going on involving 1) the Kingdom 2) the Hilltop, 3) Michonne and Rosita and 4) wherever Carl is.

The Kingdom

Henry, the younger brother of the late Benjamin, wants to help in the war since virtually all able-bodied adults with any desire to fight were wiped out by the Saviors. He looks about 10 years old. Carol tells him no. (She told Henry that kids who wander in the woods don’t come back as themselves – referencing her daughter Sophia, who was played by Madison Lintz, seasons one and two. Henry is Alpharetta’s own Macsen Lintz, her younger brother. This was a bit of an inside joke reference.)

RELATED: A 2017 interview with Madison Lintz, Macsen’s older sister

But he leaves the premises and tries to fight off two walkers all by himself with a stick – like Morgan, who is now MIA. Carol is resistant to him fighting but she eventually changes her mind and hands him a gun. She returns to the Kingdom and despite Jerry’s protests, walks into the theater to talk to a deeply depressed King Ezekiel. He doesn’t want to lead anyone. She tries to change his mind.

She said the Kingdom survivors need him. He said Carol should take over.

“It has to be you,” Carol said. “You inspired them to build this place, to believe in something. You have to help them grieve, to move on. You owe them that. Henry needs you. Those people need King Ezekiel. If you can’t be the King, do what you do best and play the part.”

She said she understands his pain, that she often has to play a part too just to create a facade of normality in this crazy world.

Her efforts are no more effective than Rick’s pleas to get Jadis to work with him. King Ezekiel: “I can’t.”

The Hilltop

Jesus is overseeing the Savior prisoners of war. Keeping them alive is clearly a bad idea, but he’s sticking to his principles: they must live because they have surrendered. He even gives them extra turnips from the basement. Yum!

Maggie is on his side – for now. And after spending some quality time with sniveling Gregory telling her to just kill them all, she decides to build a pen for the Saviors to live in. Amusingly, she sticks Gregory there, too. Jared, the truly bad Savior who shot Benjamin – tries to make an aggressive move while in the pen and Maggie whacks him in the head – twice.

Ultimately, she might (just might) use the POWs as a bargaining chip down the road. But will Negan even care?

Jared will cause trouble again inevitably. “Keep it together and this place is going to be ours,” he says to a more mild-mannered Savior, who was lucky enough to get a few lines this episode.

Enid and a mourning Aaron leave the Hilltop in hopes to “win,” whatever that means in this world. “Grab your stuff and some food,” Aaron said. “We might be gone for awhile.”

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Carl

Carl is still out in the woods by himself. He defies his dad and picks up a loner survivor Saddiq who seems harmless enough. The guy tells Carl he has killed a whopping 237 walkers and a human. But when they do have a chance to kill a few more walking dead, they do so clumsily. Still, Carl feels an obligation toward the dude. He wonders why Carl is even taking him in. “Sometimes kids have to find their own way to show their parents the way,” explains Carl, a line that doesn’t really sound like something a kid would say but sounds Hallmark-level profound.

The dude will probably be helpful to Rick’s crew in some way down the road and prove Carl right.

Michonne and Rosita leave Alexandria

During the Alexandria attack last season, Rosita had been shot and Michonne was brutally beat up. Only a few days, maybe a couple of weeks max, have elapsed since that day. But recovery is super fast on this show. Both seem reasonably okay already, well enough to leave and drive out to the Sanctuary. It helps that we haven’t really seen much of them in months so to us viewers, it feels like a much longer recovery time.

On the way, they hear loud music at an outpost and go in to check. Two Saviors are inside, prepping to draw walkers away from the Sanctuary with a truck packed with speakers.

But Michonne accidentally kicks what looks like a small ball and reveals her presence. The two Saviors start shooting. Michonne tries to fend off the female Savior and struggles to keep it together. (At least they show she’s not 100 percent.) Rosita finds some sort of crazy weapon and shoots the male Savior. And he more or less evaporates. What the heck is that weapon? Stolen from “Men in Black”? (I was later told that it’s a rocket-propelled grenade. I’m no weapons expert.)

Anyway, the female Savior tries to drive away in the speaker truck. And in a classic TV/movie move, as she’s driving away, Daryl and Tara show up conveniently in a garbage truck to side-swipe the Savior’s getaway vehicle. She’s dead.

Soon, the fearsome foursome are in the garbage truck and arrive outside the Sanctuary. Daryl, probably with weapons collected from that outpost, is ready to go on. His words: “Let’s end this.”

That line is indicative of what many viewers are feeling season eight. Ratings have been steadily dropping since season five. We still have two more episodes before the mid-season break and eight more after that. This was won’t end quickly, no matter what Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Tara do.

Grade: C-plus

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