Is there a method to the madness of what Rick and Company are attempting? And really, is there any madness at all?
Because all they’re doing is methodically ticking off the list Dwight has provided in an attempt to cut off the lifeblood of The Saviors and stifle Negan’s sources of supply. Seems like a solid plan as it’s been calculated down step by step. And it seems to be going swimmingly thus far.
But even with the best laid plans comes uncertainty. There’s often a wrench that gets tossed in the machine. And this time that wrench gets thrown in the mix all the way from the very beginning of The Walking Dead – from season 1 no less – in the form of Morales. Yes, that Morales who decided to take off with his family down a path other than where Rick was headed.
And that path is revealed to be on the side of Negan and his flunkies. Nice way to mix things up.
Because the majority of the episode up to that point was nothing but a shoot’em up fest. But there were little tidbits interjected into the hour that broke the monotony beside the big Morales reveal:
- Morgan almost got himself offed. But that’s what happens when you play with guns. Fortunately he got off Scot-free. And isn’t it interesting how gung ho he’s become against The Saviors? He’s a one-man killing machine, in direct conflict to his previous “all life is precious” alter ego.
- There’s a tension between Tara and Jesus in the way things should be done, how The Saviors should be handled. And it’s palpable … and interesting.
- Carol and her oft displayed no nonsense attitude has its softer side. We’ve seen it before, especially where Daryl is concerned. (But that relationship stagnated long, long ago.) Now it’s been resurrected with Ezekiel’s king-play role. And you can see it working its way into Carol as she realizes the benefit. “Fake it ’til you make it” indeed.
The kicker of the episode for me, however, started with Rick being ambushed by that Savior while on his own. First the tussle which ended up going his way, then the revealing “Grace Be God” tattoo on the dead man’s chest, which leads to Rick’s discovery of the baby in its crib. The irony of the kid’s name (“Gracie” marked on the wall) doesn’t seem to be lost on him. Nor does the mirror right beside Gracie’s name. That was the culmination of the scene for me, with Rick gazing into that mirror, forcing him to question what he was ultimately doing. You could read it on his face.
And then? Morales. Boom. I kind of live for that stuff.
Because it just goes to show you this post-apocalyptic world we’ve been bipping and bopping along in isn’t so cut and dried on just the survival of the fittest or the smartest. There are lots of moral dilemmas tossed in to worry over and make you question if what you’re doing is all worth it.
I wondered going into this new season and the way it was playing out – from last week’s episode right into most of this week’s – when the real conflict was going to raise its head. All the calculated stuff, the march to Negan’s overthrow, kind of putters along knowingly and with a sense of order. It’s when the unexpected steps out of the shadows the fun really begins.
That’s the subtle madness that trips my trigger.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday at 9:00 PM on AMC.
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