Beware of Spoilers! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched tonight’s episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
After the foreboding note on which last week’s episode (“Knots Untie“) ended, the opening of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead is comically chipper. Carol appears to be in a good mood, and she’s smiling for the first time in forever. We see her picking and roasting acorns, selecting a pretty blue sweater to wear, and baking and distributing cookies to the people of Alexandria, while a sprightly, chipper tune plays on the soundtrack. She’s even allowed herself the luxury of developing a relationship with the widower Tobin, despite his reservations about beets. The mood doesn’t last, of course. Rick and co. return from their trip to Hilltop, and he informs her they’re going to have to fight. She’s by no means surprised, having long grown used to impermanence. As evidence, we see she’s saved her last cookie for Sam’s grave.
While “Not Tomorrow Yet” soon shifts its focus to the doubts, fears, guilt, and violence of all the survivors, its best bits deal with Carol. We see how the events of the last few months, and Morgan’s actions in particular, have affected her. She continues to be haunted by the many lives she’s had to take, but she’s better able to process and deal with them than ever before. From keeping a kill-count journal that she updates before going to bed, to telling Rosita – who’s outraged that Morgan isn’t joining them on their mission to slaughter Negan’s men — that the pacifist simply “doesn’t want to kill.” It’s obvious she’s talking about herself when she says this, and when she tells a pregnant Maggie — whom she’s horrified to learn has joined them on the mission — that she’s “supposed to be someone else.”
Not that the rest of the team isn’t hesitant to strike preemptively, to kill human beings they’ve not yet met in cold blood. Glenn is almost too traumatized to act, but finds a way to do so, and assists Heath with his task. Showing once again that it’s often The Walking Dead‘s quietest moments in which it forces viewers to ask if there can be any heroes in a world that’s turned to barbarism. The answer here is suggested by Tobin when he tells Carol that she’s a mom to most of the people in Alexandria not because of the cookies or the smiles but because she takes care of “the scary stuff.”
In the romance department, “Not Tomorrow Yet” has Tara finally telling Denise she loves her (Denise replies she’ll tell her when she gets back — never a good sign), Carol sharing a kiss with Tobin (sorry, #caryl shippers), and Abraham telling Rosita that he’s leaving after the mission because when he met her he thought she was the last woman on Earth but — since he’s found Sasha — she’s not. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Abraham and Sasha are going to start picking out curtains together, so they’ve shot to the top of my list of folks I’m worried won’t survive this season. Others in my top five — Glenn (naturally), Sasha, and Morgan. Yes, Morgan. He’s in tears by the end of this episode, welding what the show wants us to assume is a weapon to kill Negan and his men. But if he does take another human life, can he live with himself? Or will the show relieve him of that burden, reasoning that his journey is complete? I can’t wait to find out.
— The ill-timed appearance of Eugene’s “Virginia is for lovers” t-shirt is everything this week.
— Rick casually smashing the nose of the head designed to look like Gergory’s isn’t as funny as his soaked-in-blood “What?” moment last week, but it’ll do.
— Speaking of Rick, I love how when the group marches out of the camper, armed to the teeth for their mission, he comes swaggering, carrying a little axe. Yup, he is one cocky coyote.
— Sure Carol and Maggie are captured by the Saviors, but at least Daryl’s reunited with his bike. Gotta rejoice in the little victories.
— This week’s firefight is so intense that at one point blood is splashed on the camera lens. That’s some Rambo-level shit right there.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Image Credit: AMC