Brief biography: As way of introduction, my name is Renee Blackwell. I work in the field of engineering as a Plant Layout Designer. I am from the small and humble town of Jasper, Georgia located in the north Georgia mountains, not too far from where the movie Deliverance was filmed. Incidentally, I have never plucked a banjo. I’m married and have two grown sons.
Let’s dive in now, shall we?
Sculpt you … after.
Why did Rick feel a need to return to the Scavenger dump site? I don’t think it is because he wants to learn their monosyllabic language or how to create beautiful sculptures from refuse materials. I wondered if he wanted to revert to knuckle dragging or if he just liked bad hair. Jadis does appear to have a bit of a crush on him. Eh, maybe he thinks he needs their help again. They betrayed him once, and one of them beat up his girlfriend until she resembled hamburger meat so you have to question why he would ever return. He has a strong leg up on Negan right now. Maybe Rick knows just how temporary that can be after trying to convince Daryl to stick with the plan and also considering what happened with Ezekiel’s group.
Cowboy Rick lets Jadis and the Scavengers know that they can “join them or DIE.” You’ve got to admire his approach. It’s not like he’s confrontational or the least bit testosterone driven. It’s just a fact, they’ll join, or they’ll freaking die.
Rick is thinking beyond the battle now before the battle is even won. He is displaying a lot of confidence in his plan and to be fair, his plan is working, but he is also counting heavily on those chickens. I think he is now ready to embrace the idea that the living human race is now an endangered species and needs to be protected. Maybe he even has a fantastic tune playing in his head, who knows? “Come on, people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try and love one another, right now.”
Why was Jadis taking pictures of him and employing the efforts of a sketch artist? I think she was mocking him and mocking his photographic proof of the combined efforts to defeat Negan, something she never wanted to be a part of. The Scavengers don’t use many words anymore. I think they prefer hand gestures. They chose very humble surroundings and they think highly of no one. Grandiose speeches are looked down upon. They fought with Negan, not only, I think, to prove a point to Rick, but because Negan appeared stronger than Rick at the time.
Things I know, Things I don’t know, Things I am unaware of wholly.
Eugene to Dwight: “I’m well aware you’re the fifth-columner. Green duffle, red paint, worker’s guns.” Eugene is calling Dwight out on his betrayal of Negan, and being rather judgmental about it. It’s a bit ironic really, considering his own betrayal of Rick and his other long-term relations in the, um … Rick group. (Keeping up with the titles of all of these various colonies is a major pain in the rear indicator.)
I like Dwight’s expression during Eugene’s initial speech. His facial tone seems to mirror my own frustrations with Eugene’s speech patterns. Please repeat that with fewer words and in English please. I can just picture Eugene trying to blend with the Scavengers. Jadis would greatly enjoy his company, I’m sure.
Watching Eugene fight with his conscience is painful. It was like watching Carol after her ‘Oopsy, I killed innocent sick people and now I have to leave’ scenes. I loved Carol. I was incredibly disappointed in her actions, but I still loved her character. In the same respect, I love Eugene. He is one of the biggest cowards among them. So cowardly, that the lion from Oz is likely asking him for tips on how to get it across to people that he has no courage … none … zip zero nada. Yet, he is so darn smart. He vastly underestimates his abilities and often fails to realize how valuable a commodity he is to any group.
I suppose the vision of Negan crushing skulls with Lucille (the bat from hell, named for his ex-wife who must have been a REAL joy to be around …) has caused Eugene to drop all ideas that he could ever be courageous, dependable, or a true survivor. He has dropped all perception of his transformation from coward to survivor and returned to the simpering nature that he displayed in the beginning.
The Reverend and Eugene
It must be hard for Eugene to meet up with members from Alexandria. They are obviously still fond of him and he certainly does not get that kind of TLC from the Saviors. There is no real sense of comradery from the Saviors, no trust. Meetings between Alexandria members and Eugene must be hell for him.
Eugene is left to watch over an infected Gabriel who is suffering from the results of the escape from the trailer with Negan. The Reverend requests that Eugene help him get Doctor Carson out of the Savior compound so that Hilltop, mainly Maggie, can benefit from his expertise. It’s still difficult to fathom that Maggie is still pregnant with Glen’s child. It’s easy to forget that the months that have passed for us in this season have only been a matter of weeks for her. The addition of baby Grace from the Savior compound does not help matters either. Look, Maggie had her baby. Nope … nope … no she did not. She is still impregnated.
Gabriel’s request that Eugene somehow deliver the doctor into Maggie’s outstretched arms is met with the reply that the compound is surrounded by walkers and escape is not possible without “putting to use the same flawed technique of innards” which landed the reverend in his current condition of agony. I am glad that someone is finally bringing up the idea that covering yourself with blood and intestines from the walkers is a bad decision and is only to be employed under the most dire of circumstances. The disease is highly infectious and immunity is at zero percent so far. It only takes a bite, a scratch, or blood seeping into a minor cut to be infected. This tactic is used multiple, as in multiple, times in the sister show and that just irks me. So if you ever ask yourself, why don’t they utilize this remarkable idea more often in escape plans, this is your shining example. Gabriel is now infected. Ta-da!
Gabriel wants Eugene to “do the right thing,” but Eugene persists that he is only looking out for himself. It is Gabriel’s hope that Eugene will recognize the right thing to do when the time comes and will act on his discovery.
Afterwards, Eugene is approached by one of the women in the compound with a bottle of wine meant as payment for repairs on a boom box. He has not repaired it yet because he has been distracted by the battle and their current predicament of being surrounded by walkers. He asks her if she noticed that they are trapped and her reply is that she was already trapped. She reminds Eugene that there had been a plan to rid themselves of Negan by poisoning him but that he had declined to be part of it and Eugene replies with another pained expression. There are a lot of painful expressions from him in this episode.
Daryl and the Truck
Darryl has crafted a plan to ram a large truck into the side of the Savior compound creating an entrance for the walkers to flood inside. He discusses the idea with Michonne, Tara, Rosita, and Morgan and they all seem to be on board with it, but then Rosita questions why they aren’t sticking with Rick’s plan to wait it out. Rick is trying to bring the Scavengers in to secure Negan’s surrender and Rosita has faith that he can make it happen. When it is clear that Daryl plans to move forward with his idea, Rosita extracts herself from the small group but not without first reminding Michonne that it is sometimes better to wait, no matter how hard that might be, rather than to risk foiling a plan. It is difficult to fathom how they can see that the compound is surrounded, snipers in place, the group inside is running out of food and water, and not see that Rick’s plan is working without need of further action, but then again, Daryl is known for dancing to his own tunes.
Eugene and the bat wielding bully
Now we have a meeting between Eugene and Negan. Negan states that if things don’t get fixed soon a lot of people are going to die. Well, okay, everyone but Negan. He’s simply too good at surviving to ever meet an end. He claims to be really great at pooling and organizing strengths. The crazy part about this scene is that even Negan is trying to convince Eugene that he is strong, that his mind makes him strong, but poor Eugene is convinced that he needs a fierce human shield in order to survive. He’s so convinced of this, that he is even willing to kiss the hand that may someday burn the flesh from his face. Negan was only expecting a handshake from him though. Of course that’s all he wanted as he employed the proper handshake technique of both parties standing while you offer your hand with a palm to the side. Wait, actually, Eugene was in a seated position with Negan hunched over him offering his hand, palm down. I guess Eugene just got confused. Eugene is left to come up with a plan to extract the Saviors from their current situation and save them all.
Eugene searches out the coffin that Sasha died in so that he can collect her iPod. He flashes to Sasha’s dead walker face and his face contorts yet again. Strange how he was willing to help her die, but declined any effort to help with Negan’s disposal.
Back to Daryl and the Truck
Daryl and Michonne are seated in the truck. Michonne states that she had to come out to see that things were working and that it appeared that it was working so far. She reiterates that maybe this idea of Daryl’s should not be deployed due to the risk of screwing everything up. She said that it wasn’t worth it to her, but Daryl says “It is for me.” Michonne says she can’t do it and Daryl is abandoned by yet another comrade. Daryl can’t stop, he is driven to see it through. Why? Maybe because of the time he spent trapped in the compound under Negan’s thumb, the memory of how his friends died with the help of Negan’s bat, and maybe even memories of being raised by an abusive and controlling father. He depended on Rick at one time, but that faith was shaken to the core. Now he appears to believe in only himself and for whatever reason, is determined to see it through.
Eugene and the iPod
Eugene created a sound system with an iPod and a glider. Brilliant design, by the way, but along comes Dwight with the intention to stop him. Eugene makes Dwight aware that he’s trying to save lives here. Dwight points out that the outcome also destroys life because Negan will kill Rick and his former group of friends. Eugene informs him that they were former traveling companions, nothing more. I just noticed that Dwight sounds a lot like Rick when he speaks. The tone, the cadence to his voice, his mannerisms are all similar as he tries to convince Eugene not to use the glider. Eugene does deploy it and Dwight cannot bring himself to shoot him in order to stop the action. Instead, he shoots down the glider and we are left with yet another pained expression from Eugene.
Daryl drives the truck towards the compound, applies a cinder block to the gas pedal, and jumps out just before the truck plows into the building. Afterwards, the walkers flood inside forcing the workers up the stairs under a volley of gunfire. Eugene rushes back inside to witness it all going down. His face crumbles with frustration at the turn of events. All of his ideas have been thwarted again and again. He begins to break.
Eugene denies Gabriel
Eugene confronts the Reverend and he is in a terrible snit. Eugene tells the reverend that he will survive because it is a biological imperative and it is all he knows how to do. I wonder if he realizes that he just had an epiphany. He professes to need someone like Negan, yet now he states that survival is all he knows how to do. Hmmm … Will he realize this in time to “do the right thing?”
Eugene kisses Negan’s butt again
Eugene ensures Negan that he can provide him with replacement ammo for the guns. The walkers have taken over the lower level of the compound. Eugene professes to have a topper … he can repair the intercom system. (Crickets chirp) Can he indeed repair the intercom system and make something magical happen? If so, why didn’t he do that instead of creating the iPod with wings? This reminds me of all of the empty promises that he made to Abraham.
Afterwards, Eugene begins to struggle mightily with his inner demons. He sweats, he cries, he swallows some kind of concoction from a shot glass. It’s all pretty dramatic. He vomits into the sink, so if what he had in the shot glass was deadly, he may be free of it now. I guess he’s right, all he knows how to do is survive.
Time for after, Rick.
Rick is forced through a battle with yet another spiked Scavenger walker. He manages to defeat it once again and forces a gun from Jadis’s grip. He has several guns trained on him as he holds their leader’s face to the ground near the twisted off head of the walker. They have a clear shot of him and it’s not clear why they don’t take it, maybe because she hasn’t authorized it? She raises her hand in the air and then makes a fist, signaling them to stand down. She agrees to join Rick and the final stage of the plan is made apparent. They plan to travel back to the Savior compound and force Negan’s surrender. Then Rick plans to kill Negan himself. He and Jadis have a humorous exchange of words over portion distribution once the chore of defeating Negan is complete. Despite what happened to my girl Michonne, I like Jadis at this point.
Rick returns to the Savior compound and finds that he is unable to communicate with the snipers via two-way radio. There are no walkers outside of the building, and the place appears to be deserted. We are left to wait and see what has occurred after Daryl’s brilliant plan has unfolded.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday at 9:00 PM on AMC.
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