I give this episode a 40 on Robin's Scale.
I hated this episode. The 'key' that is missing here I think is to get back to good sensible writing that supports canon. This episode jumps the shark with Fonzie from Happy Days.
Don't get me wrong, if the 'key' represents the secret technology sauce required to get humanity on track, then that is the injection this show needs. Why bury the 'key' in a bath of horrible dialog, poor thought out entrance of new characters (as far as how they came into the picture) and put it's value at the price of non spoken word vinyl records?.
There was bad everything here (except shooting angles and special effects): this includes:
- Bad story writing;
- Poor directional dialog;
- Poor choices of blocking;
- Dialog that didn't make any sense. (See: The Bad). I think Jaddis and the trash people are more tolerable then Georgie, Midge and Hilda.
- Characters showing up for shock value but no sense with regard to canon.
- Contradictory lines given to Simon to the Saviors.
Simon is so impatient with how fast the action has been moving this season, that he goes inside of one speech from saying he doesn't know where Negan is, to stating Rick and company had done something to Negan and from continuing to enact Negan's scare tactic plan to demanding out an out annihilation. Huh? No one questions his statements? (See The Bad).
I will let the dialog speak for itself in the Good and Bad below...
* Worst dialog award goes to Georgie, Midge and Hilda: 'I know "trust" probably sounds like a made-up word now, like libberschticky. Or klompf. Or moisture.'
Summary with comments
* Negan greets Dwight with beers and tests.
* The Saviors load up their weapons with Walker guts for bacteriological warfare.
* Simon and Dwight ride alone and Simon persuades Dwight to plot their own path.
* Rick plots with his crew at Hilltop and sets up lookout points to ambush Negan and the Saviors.
* Negan rides by himself and gets sideswiped by Rick.
* Maggie finds a note with crates that appears in front of Hilltop asking for Vinyl records in exchange for a key and there was a meeting place disclosed to discuss the offer. (I guess the revival of Vinyl has pushed into the writers room for the TWD and the apocalypse. No spoken word, so William Shatner is off the table as a bargaining chip.)
* Maggie sets off with Michonne and Enid with Rosita as back up to check out the offer (against all common sense. Suspense for me immediately killed as to whether their lives were in danger.)
They meet a weird vehicle at a cross roads. (True to the point of no threat). A well dressed woman named Georgie and her crew of two offer a 'Key' to their future in exchange for Vinyl records. (SEE the bad). Rosita sneaks up from the rear and disarms Hilda and Midge with Enid. Georgie has no weapons and they spot four crates of food in the van that Hilltop needs. Maggie orders to bring them back to Hilltop. (I believe Timothy Leary offered Cheech Marin a 'key' as well in Nice Dreams:)
I am thinking this way because these people seem to be oblvious to the war the Hilltop is involved in. Now they are expecting Maggie and her crew to stop preparing their defenses to find all available vinyl at Hilltop? This is like Jaddis painting cats in Junkyards. What's next? Someone offering to read people's palms for hot wheels cars?
* Negan and Rick duke it out in abandoned building full of walkers; where Negan (while fleeing Rick) offers Rick 25% tribute that the Hilltop could give to the Saviors to be back in good graces. Rick tries to kill Negan the whole time and gets a hold of Lucille. Rick tells Negan the Saviors are over and will never trust them after what they did the trash people. Negan looks surprised (as he realizes Simon has gone rogue) and Rick starts bashing Lucille into bits and somehow Negan finds him and they fight again.
* Back at the Hilltop, Enid meets with Maggie and Michonne and tries to convince them to take the food. Michonne refuses telling her that Carl saved Siddiq and now they have a Dr and with this group they now have a friend.
* Georgie agrees to give them part of the food since she sees they are starving (wouldn't they have assessed that when they originally left the sign for records?). And give them the key, which is a book on how to build, wind and water mills and grain silos and encourages them to build up their community (how about joining in on the out and out warfare that's going on now?) Is Georgie's group that oblivious or lucky for not running into Negan where all they need is Vinyl and not food stores?
*Simon and Dwight find Negan's car abandoned and rather than try and find them, agree to tell folks he's lost and Dwight sets it on fire and they head back to the other Saviors.
* Simon convinces the Saviors to go on without Negan and annihilate the Hilltop folks.
* Negan escapes Rick's wrath only to be captured by Jaddis who is driving him somewhere and she knocks him out with her weapon.
* Jaddis captures Negan. Does she see Rick is there too?
*The special effects were great.
* Rick tells Negan that the Saviors annihilated the trash people. We got to see Negan's reaction and see parts of his world collapse with that exchange.
* Dialog that makes no sense " 'I know "trust" probably sounds like a made-up word now, like libberschticky. Or klompf. Or moisture.'' This was stupid dialog.
* So a well dressed woman named Georgie offers plans for building a civilization for vinyl records during an all out war between the Hilltop with the Saviors? There's a few plot holes here. Let's assume if they just need vinyl that Georgie and her crew are with a much bigger group that is so well civilized to only care for Vinyl. If that is the case, why give Maggie plans instead of helping her group out with the Saviors with weapons or a defense force? They gotta know the Saviors are out there and that they are threat to the Hilltop (and of course themselves.) Unless they know somehow that Hilltop will be okay (because they are secretly surrounding the entire area waiting to assist). Either that or they are just an oblivious little group of weirdos trying to amass the world's biggest vinyl collection; rambling in their van across the countryside. Perhaps they live in a record dump like the garbage people? Are we supposed to doubt whether the key has real plans? What if it didn't? Then this whole thing becomes even more silly with Georgie just being a crazy trying to swap a book of made up gibberish used to horns-waggle the last of humanity out of it's precious vinyl record resources. So obviously the book is for real. If we were supposed to feel suspense wondering about that aspect, then there is epic failure at conveying that.
* Michonne tells Enid that Carl wants them to fight the Saviors to bring about a better outcome. Really? Carl's note to Rick was to stop fighting. Contradiction with Canon.
* Simon during the same speech tells the Savior's
'We don't know if (Negan)'s "gone" gone. He could very well be back'...'Our plan Negan's plan was to go on to Hilltop and put the fear of God in these people so that, finally, once and for all, they get with the program. But after what just happened;
(Why isn't someone saying: What happened? You just said you don't know what happened?),
what they did to Negan;
(Why isn't someone saying: You don't know what they did to Negan),
that tells me that what we need from them is beyond them.... It's time we come to accept that...And once we do, it'll become crystal clear there's only one thing left for us to do. We must expunge them. We must redact them! They are a mistake that we shall now erase. We are moving on.'
(Why isn't someone saying: 'What happened to Negan? You just said we don't know if he's gone gone?'. 'Why aren't we enacting the plan of scaring these people rather than out an out killing them?)
Instead everyone blindly follows Simon. I thought this was very tropic, stupidly simplistic writing I have seen in shows that have far less production values than the Walking Dead. We have sunk to new lows in my opinion.
*Will Laura show up to the Sanctuary and out Dwight for his double cross?
*Where is Jaddis taking Negan? If it's to the Hilltop, then why didn't Jaddis wait for Rick to come out of the building? She was obviously watching what was going on?
* Where are the Hilltop folks who were with Rick? Are they now going to attack the Saviors? Did anyone go with Rick? He was going to hit the horn of his car when he spotted Negan's car. That implies someone was out there with him from Hilltop.