As we near the series finale, this episode delivers an exciting build-up to the battle against our favourite villain since the Governor: Negan. The episode begins with Sasha preparing for battle, and all seems to be well within the Hilltop. Maggie’s unborn child looks healthy despite the stressful situations she’s been through this season; there’s plenty of fresh food available unlike the Kingdom and with the sun shining, for the first time in a while, there’s a chance of hope in the group.
It’s satisfying to see Sasha take up a leadership role and although Jesus’ mapped drawing doesn’t look promising, Sasha devises a plan to sneak into Negan’s compound. We also get another look at Daryl, now clearly an outcast, especially with him sitting outside brooding.
Meanwhile, the Hilltop leader, Gregory, doesn’t seem to be taking his people’s decision to fight very well. By this point, it seems he’ll either betray the others or die trying as he has an express distaste for confrontation. But his scheming away is quickly shoved aside as Rosita appears to Sasha, pleading ominously: “I need your help.”
Are they finally going to do it? Are they going to go after Negan?
After an anagnorisis from Jesus, Sasha is caught stealing bullets. Unfortunately, there’s another drawn out scene when they discuss Sasha getting involved and why she should stay to protect Maggie. It’s tedious that Maggie, one of the most formidable women of the show, has very quickly become nothing more than a future mother and a liability to cause future conflict. For some reason, Enid emotionally blackmails Sasha by telling her she has ten minutes before she tells Maggie about their plans. Enid seems to be intent on ruining every scene she’s in, where did she come from again? However, it looks like Sasha and Rosita are finally going to set off after Negan.
Or so we thought. At the worst possible time, the Saviours are spotted driving towards the Hilltop and the team quickly hide away underground as the Saviours enter through the main gates.
Negan’s right-hand man, Simon, strolls over to talk with Gregory. From the way that Gregory previously dropped to his knees last time and revealed their hiding place, we know that Gregory cannot be trusted not to betray Daryl and Maggie, which may cost him his life.
Luckily, Sasha and Rosita manage to slip away and head off to finish what they started all along: heading off towards Negan to get revenge. In a series of long shots and an overly dramatic sheet of music, the setup of this episode was really strong and encased every action with suspense. The two women even share a bonding moment as they expertly take down some walkers, but the awkwardness of their shared ex still shines through.
Back at the Hilltop, Simon makes the intention of his visit plain: he wants to take Dr Carson, Maggie’s doctor. Remember when Negan threw the last one into a furnace? Alive? Even Gregory stands up for his people for the first time; he hints that he might soon be overthrown by somebody less cooperative than himself.
Concurrently, while Maggie and Daryl hide underground, they narrowly escape being found by one of the Saviours. There’s a brilliant emotional scene between the two afterwards, one of the best of this half of the season, as Daryl breaks down and apologizes. He blames himself for Glenn’s tragic end, and the two share a moment. Hopefully it means we’re one step closer to getting the good old Daryl back.
Sasha and Rosita working together is incredible. While there’s still shared tension, it’s refreshing to see some girl-power! They break into a car park, take down some walkers and steal a car.
They have an adorable bonding scene when Rosita teaches Sasha how to tie knots, and they spy on Eugene, who appears to be ordering the Saviours about. Is he building up some kind of walker army? At last, they confront each other about Abraham, and come to terms with his death. That’s when Negan steps out from the compound, but Sasha can’t get a clean shot through the rifle. So they need to change their plans.
Later that night, they go to rescue Eugene but it appears like he doesn’t want to be saved. Maybe he’s finally found his purpose as one of Negan’s henchman, but I’m not convinced and neither is Sasha, who leaps over the fence leaving Rosita behind and locked outside the compound. Sasha has gone full rogue and storms into the base herself, leaving Rosita with a chance to live, and denying her from achieving her death wish.
Or so we think. Until Rosita looks up and sees a figure with a crossbow emerge from the darkness. Looks like Daryl caught up to them quickly, and it looks like they’ll be going for Negan after all.
What a way to end the episode!
While this wasn’t the dramatic attempt to kill Negan that we’ve been hoping for, it’s certainly an improvement, and now some of the team are right on the edge of the compound and ready to infiltrate. If the next episode begins directly after this one, it’s going to be set up brilliantly! Although this episode was undoubtedly another filler, it was gripping and finally caused me to care about Rosita, a character who up until now only had a death wish and seemed the personification of an angry, jealous girlfriend. With only two episodes left, the finale for this season is looking just as promising as the previous one but hopefully we won’t be left with as much of a brutal cliff-hanger.
The Walking Dead returns tomorrow with ‘Something They Need’.
Image Credit: AMC