Well, so much happened in tonight’s episode that I’d have to agree with Chris Hardwick who opined this is one of the best outings of the entire series. Some of those plot points were foregone conclusions from the final shots of episode 8; others were not. Some of these moments elicited laughter, with one of those also inspiring dread for we know there will be tragic repercussions, while another literally gave me chills.
Obviously, spoilers will follow below, so go watch it if you haven’t already.
“Faith without works is dead”
Enid sees this in the church she and Glenn are searching for weapons and ammo. More on Glenn in a bit.
Usually, I’m not a fan of stories which state their themes outright, but I’m willing to give this episode a pass largely because of how this theme gets dramatized.
There are some flat out brutal and brutally awesome scenes. Take your pick, whether it’s:
- Sam’s inevitable freak-out amidst the zombie parade (the actor who played Sam is excellent, really selling the child’s complete shutdown), which happens much later than expected and is preceded by some rather horrific looking zombie faces (I think I even saw what could almost pass for a zombie clown, but that’s probably just my childhood fear rearing its ugly head) and a voiceover of Carol’s cookie-monster threat.
- Or, Jessie giving up everything as she watches a scrum of walkers tear into her youngest child—giving up everything except for her grip on Carl’s forearm, requiring Rick to hack off Jessie’s hand with a hatchet.
- Or, Ron finally getting his revenge, shooting out Carl’s right eye before he gets shish-kabobbed by Michonne.
- Or, Daryl finally using Chekhov’s RPG launcher not once (though if that had been the only time, it still would have been worth it), but twice, blowing Negan’s road gang to smithereens and, after emptying some of the fuel truck into the pond in the middle of Alexandria, starting a bonfire into which many of the walkers are lured, giving Rick and company a fighting chance.
- Or, how by the end of the episode, everyone—and I mean everyone—steps up in a major way. For two examples, when Rosita, Tara, Carol, and Morgan are about to abandon their hideout, Rosita tells Eugene that he doesn’t have to go out with them, our Tennessee Tophat responds, “No one gets to clock out today, and, hell, this is a story people are going to tell.” Then there’s Denise who spends most of the episode held hostage by the Wolf whom Morgan wouldn’t kill. He’s leading her to a ladder to get over the wall, saves her as she’s about to get attacked, gets a hunk bitten out of his forearm, then gets shot by Carol from a balcony. After that, Denise is able to get to the infirmary where, with all of fifteen seconds to spare, she Nurse-Jackies the situation, ordering those who’d been holed up in there to do various things in preparation for Carl’s arrival. Completely gone is any anxiety she had about practicing medicine after Porch-Dick was killed.
But what gave me chills is the moment those Alexandrias who’d been watching Rick, Michonne, Heath, Aaron, and Spencer hack away at walkers outside the infirmary rush out of the safety of their homes, weapons in hand, and join the fight.
Deus Ex Abraham/Sasha
For the second time, Glenn looks as good as dead, though this moment is not as big a fake-out as the previous one. Last we saw Maggie, she was trapped atop a shaky riser. Walkers are all around the base. Glenn draws the mob away, firing shot after shot and getting backed up against the gate, so Enid can climb up like a ninja and help Maggie to safety.
As the walkers close in on Glenn, cue the scene from the trailers in which Maggie screams for Glenn who appears seconds from getting ripped apart, when Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham arrive. The latter two mow down the walkers surrounding Glenn.
While some people I know have been speculating that Daryl is going to get the death comic-Glenn suffered, I’m thinking TV-Glenn is going to get up close and personal with Lucille. My reasoning is this: after Daryl blew up Negan’s goons, we know Negan is going to be coming with an even greater show of force than he would otherwise. He’ll want to balance the scales, and if he bashes in Daryl’s skull, it won’t have the same in-universe impact (no pun intended) as choosing someone at random.
Furthermore, from our perspective, if TV-Glenn gets taken out like comic-Glenn, then that will serve (possibly) to justify the two fake-outs. More importantly than this, Glenn’s murder will be the impetus for his advice to Enid in the church to become the foundational narration for Alexandrians as they begin to re-build, which they will need when the Saviors roll into town.
So, what’s Glenn’s advice? It’s in response to a callback. Enid asks him to explain how we can lose people even after they’re gone. Glenn says those we’ve lost helped to form our identities, and as long as we hold onto who we are, those loved ones live on in us. Enid seems to be getting it, but all I could hear is a man delivering his own eulogy.