Well, it took a while, but The Walking Dead seems to be on the right track. In tonight’s episode, Iyou choo-choo-chooses collect his characters (well, most of them) for one, coherent plot which will lead directly to the final conflict with the Commonwealth. You could even say that the show is going full throttle towards the end. Did I mention a train was in this episode?
All that positivity aside, if you look at the individual scenes from “Outpost 22,” it’s kind of a mess. There’s a lot of dead weight (not a zombie pun, believe it or not), and very little of the episode has those aforementioned issues during its runtime. After everyone has been captured and shipped out of the Commonwealth Last week, Maggie, Rosita, and Gabriel—who are helpfully separated from everyone else on the bus and guarded only by a sleeping Commontrooper—easily manage to escape. They break up, but that’s okay, as they quickly reunite without significant incident. And Carol and Daryl show up too!
Anyone left on the convoy is either taken to a prison camp, like Ezekiel, Carrie, and Negan, or to the titular and mysterious Outpost 22. The prison camp scenes are mostly there to fill in; the “exiles” are told they can’t use names, some random characters we’ve never seen try to escape and get shot, porridge is served. But there’s an exception here, and that’s when Negan sits next to Ezekiel, and they talk.
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It seems absolutely impossible to me that the two characters have never shared a stage together, at least since Negan was imprisoned, but that’s how it plays out – and for my life, I don’t remember others. Either way, it turns out that Ezekiel deliberately avoided Negan in both the fiction and the show, as he’s still completely furious with everything he’s done to the Kingdom and its people. But Negan is so desperate to escape and save his wife Annie that he asks Ezekiel to lead a mass uprising of the prisoners inspired by “hope”, which he cannot do. Negan may, however, be the “spark” that ignites that hope, which will likely end up beating him savagely. Needless to say, this is saved for a later episode.
Meanwhile, Daryl, Carol, Maggie, Rosita, and Gabriel follow the train, find out that Connie has been put on it, and follow it some more. It takes time, but it poses an interesting dilemma: if they rescue Connie, the Commontroopers on board will be communicating by radio with Outpost 22, whose soldiers could harm the children and anyone else sent there. It’s a dilemma, which they solve simply by… attacking the train and saving her anyway. It’s stealthy at first, then it turns into a major shootout, but luckily, uh, none of the guards ever think to radio in. -screen, allowing Daryl to do a sick slide under a half-fallen tree and into the dude’s legs.
So yes, despite The Walking Deadinsisting otherwise, the whole train/Connie situation isn’t a real dilemma, and we know that because that night Rosita radios outpost 22 asking for directions saying she is a Commonwealth soldier who was on the train when he was attacked. I imagine all the guards there will helpfully forget to do anything in retaliation. There, by the way, is Alexandria, conquered by the Commonwealth, which means that when the five attack, they will have the advantage of the field. And once their people are free, they will take the fight to Pamela.
For a season that split its characters so severely, and for an overabundance of episodes where everyone seemed to be working against the grain, giving five main characters a very clear set of stakes – getting back to Alexandria, saving their people, then fuck Pam’s shit – is satisfying enough, though we’ll have to wait until the last three episodes for everything to happen. But “Outpost 22” had other charms! Maggie’s panic when she was forced to kill the little zombie boy, Gabriel praying with the dying Commontrooper instead of abruptly finishing the job himself, the Negan-Ezekiel scene – there were some good times there amid the plethora of busy people work.
That may be all we’ll get for the remaining three episodes: some clear conflict, some good moments, and some busier ones. work. It’s a shame for a series that was once bigger than professional football, but that’s no surprise. “The end of every story is important,” Carol told Maggie at one point. She is right, of course. But it is clear that “important” does not necessarily mean “exciting”.
- Seriously, I was shocked when Gabriel didn’t kill that guy who asked him to pray with him. That sums up most of my issues with The Walking Dead over the years, I think.
- Why did the Commontroopers put bags over everyone’s head when 1) they were already drugged and 2) could remove them themselves the minute they regained consciousness?
- Whoever was in charge of making it look like Maggie stabbed this kid in the head blew it up. It’s so clear under his neck.
- Between the motorbike and the jeep of the other weekCommontroopers can drive as well as Stormtroopers can shoot.
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