Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Walking Dead! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “The Other Side”, we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
For the better part of this season, The Walking Dead has given us episodes that run just a little too long. So the most unusual thing about “The Other Side” is that it’s just a bit too short. It ends abruptly, but its ending doesn’t feel so much like a cliffhanger as it does an editing mistake. Fortunately, that’s the only thing that’s really wrong about this week’s episode. In most other respects, it does what The Walking Dead does best–focus on characters trying to make some kind of connection with each other.
Primarily, the focus this week is on Rosita and Sasha, who finally undertake their mission to assassinate Negan. Along the way, they wind up sharing more with each other than they probably did with Abraham, the man whose murder set them on his path. “The Other Side” doesn’t make it easy for either woman. From Rosita recognizing Sasha’s necklace as one she herself made for their late lover to Sasha’s last-minute decision to lock herself in the Sanctuary after Eugene refuses to go with them, it’s filled with heart-wrenching moments that never feel forced, but that instead expand on what we already know about these ladies.
Maggie too gets a chance to shine for the first time in many weeks. It turns out that Daryl is still overwhelmed with guilt over Glenn’s death, to the point where he can’t even look Maggie in the eye. Eating his dinner outside like a wounded animal, then breaking into tears when he finally shares his feelings with her, he packs a lot of emotion into just a few scenes. But each of those scenes says as much about Maggie as it does about Daryl, especially when she begs him not to kill any of the Saviors after they arrive at Hilltop, and pleads with him to help her win. She’s smart enough to play the long game, and strong enough to compartmentalize her grief for the sake of both her friends and her unborn child.
If only Gregory exhibited a fraction of her wisdom. Here he kowtows once more to Simon (the least likable of the Saviors; and that’s saying something), though he does plead with him not to take Hilltop’s medical doctor to replace the one Negan murdered a couple of weeks back. Kudos to the show for not going the easy route and making Gregory entirely unsympathetic. After Simon refuses to leave him his community’s only physician, there’s a brief moment where a solitary Gregory winces in torment at the thought that his people have been more or less sentenced to death. (Yes, it’s possible he’s thinking only of himself, but he could just as well be thinking of Maggie’s baby.) Of course he comes off as a rat bastard once again when he threatens to turn Jesus over to the Saviors, as he sips his tequila, apparently trying to adopt Simon’s attitude. Whatever side of the fence Gregory ultimately winds up on, methinks he won’t have that much longer before he meets his end. And when he does, Maggie’s more than ready to lead his people.
As frustratingly inconclusive as this episode’s end is, I’m more frustrated at the thought that Negan will be back again next season. Unless the reports of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s return are a gigantic ruse on the part of the actor and the show’s producers, I’m dreading that some of our favorite characters will die in vain within the next few weeks.
— So does Sasha really think she stands a chance of killing Negan all by herself or does she just have a death wish and want more than anything to join Abraham? Discuss.
— “It’s a long life, and then it isn’t.”
— Thanks to The Walking Dead for finally having the courage to admit on screen that Jesus is gay.
— As awful as Simon is (and, man, do I hate everything about this guy, including his all-too-obvious joke of a name), the scumbag who corrects Enid’s grammar and then dumps her veggies on the ground before stealing her knife, well, he’s begging for it too.
— “You’re one of the good things in this world. That’s what Glenn thought. Because he was one of the good things too.”
— Good to see Eugene still has his grimly gunk. Now if he can just clue us all in on what he’s planning. Unless, God forbid, he really has gone full Negan.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).