Warning: General spoilers ahead
I’m going to be honest here and say that last week’s episode won’t go down as one of my favorites. We were just on the heels of losing Carl, and it seemed more natural for the next episode to lead into the Hilltop and the rest of the group’s reaction to the kid’s death. Instead, we got Simon (Steven Ogg) going full-on Governor with the garbage people, and the only substantial scene IMO was at the very end with Negan (Jeffrey Dean-Morgan) learning Carl’s fate. The good news is this week’s “Dead Or Alive Or” is a much-improved installment and appears to get everything back on track after that minor speed bump.
While a good deal of the episode does feature the Hilltop and Team Family coming together in unity over the death of one of their own, the main focus is Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) in the aftermath of their escaping the Sanctuary in the mid-season finale. The synopsis for the episode states that “Father Gabriel’s faith is tested,” and that is no understatement. Father G was very ill before he left the Sanctuary, and his condition is only getting worse. They run into obstacle after obstacle, but with Gabe responding that “God is leading the way.” While the entire thing feels cliched at times, it also turns out to be one of the most compelling parts of the episode, and Seth Gilliam steals the show with his powerful performance. While I can’t reveal, of course, how everything turns out for Father G and Dr. Carson, I will say after you watch, you will most definitely have an epiphany and realize we all should have known. Myself included. It’s one of those cases where I should have seen it, but for some strange reason, did not.
While Father Gabriel highlights the majority of the hour, the MVP of the episode without a doubt is Dwight (Austin Amelio). And, if there’s an award for most annoying character, it would most certainly go to Tara (Alanna Masterson). I’m sorry, but I really wanted to jump through the computer screen and punch the bitch in the face when I screened the episode. I realize that Tara is still grieving over Denise, I get it. But, this time, she goes a little too far. Daryl tells Tara to take care of a walker that is getting too close to the group, and instead, she pushes the walker onto Dwight and nearly gets him eaten. WTH? What. The. Hell! Then, as the below promo depicts, she later pulls a gun on Dwight, even after he raises his hands in the air. On the flipside and in contrast, Dwight ultimately turns the other cheek and later commits a selfless act to save Team Family, even when some of them would like nothing more than to put a bullet in his brain. Is it even possible for one of our heroes to be hated more than a former Savior? After this episode, I most certainly think so.
Finally, we learn what Negan’s next move is going to be, and all I will say is it’s going to be brutal. If you’re a fan of the comics, you may already have an idea of what it is. And, does it involve Eugene (Josh McDermitt)? After all, a good deal of Negan’s tactical moves lately have been at the suggestion of Eugene. Well, the answer is both “yes” and “no.” It starts out as a relatively innocuous recommendation by Eugene, but then, it’s turned around in Negan’s twisted mind into something far more sinister. Regardless, brace yourselves, because you can count on the final 5 episodes of the season to be savage and gut-wrenching, as we head into the final chapter of All Out War.
Episode 8.11 of The Walking Dead is titled “Dead Or Alive Or” and airs tomorrow at 9/8c on AMC.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com