Early on, during tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, I saw Rick smiling and I thought to myself, “Oh, shit…”
See, it’s a general rule that, whenever Rick’s happy, something terrible is about to happen. Rick is not allowed to be happy. Remember what happened when he was happy about being reunited with his wife, son, and best friend Shane? Remember what happened when he thought he could make a new life as a pig farmer? Nothing good is allowed to happen to Rick.
So, when it briefly appeared that Rick might be dead towards the end of the episode, I thought he very well might be. I have to admit that I was kind of excited about the idea. Who would step up to take Rick’s place? (Daryl.) Who would Michonne love without Rick around? (Daryl.) Who would Carl look up to if Rick was dead? (Daryl’s the obvious answer but knowing Carl, he’d probably run off and ask Negan to adopt him.) And I have to admit that, as a reviewer, I was looking forward to not only writing about the impact of Rick’s death but also seeing all the extra hits that my post would get. I’ll admit it, I’m not that innocent.
Of course, then Rick suddenly emerged from hiding and started killing walkers. He even got to do a badass slow motion weapon toss to Michonne. Eventually, if The Walking Dead is to have any integrity, Rick and every other major character, no matter how popular or important, is going to have to die. But tonight was not that night.
(Of course, next week’s
season finale episode is called “Bury Me Here,” so it sounds like someone will be leaving us…)
Tonight’s episode was almost totally devoted to Rick and Michonne and, after all the darkness of the past few episodes, it was nice to see them actually enjoying themselves. As much as I dread seeing Rick smile, I kind of enjoy it too. Since Rick tends to carry the weight of the world on his soldiers, it was nice to see that he actually can get some sort of pleasure out of his violent existence. The fighting, smiling, and lustful Rick that we saw tonight was a nice change from the neutered and whiny Rick who we had to deal with during the first half of the season. This is the Rick that we want to see!
(On twitter, I suggested that another reason why Rick was so happy was because, for once, he didn’t have to deal with one-eyed Carl standing in the background and making him feel guilty. Some people apparently did not appreciate my theory, which leads me to wonder when we all suddenly decided that we liked Carl again.)
Tonight, Rick and Michonne were not the only people looking for guns. Rosita also went searching but could only find one cap gun and a walker with a double chin. Father Gabriel, of course, used this as an excuse to lecture her about hate and violence but you know what? Shut up, Father Gabriel. How and why are you even still alive at this point? I don’t blame Rosita for being mad and I don’t blame her for wanting to take action. And if Rosita’s plan to kill Negan is running the risk of ruining Rick’s plans — well, that’s probably a good thing. Rick’s plans never work. Ask Herschel how well Rick’s plans work. Ask Glenn. Ask Abraham.
(Checking on twitter, I see that I’m kind of alone as far as my sympathy for Rosita is concerned. It’s interesting how the people who are continually upset when Daryl doesn’t automatically kill everyone that he meets are apparently the same people upset about Rosita having “an attitude.” Whatever, people.)
Anyway, this was a pretty good episode. As much as I may bitch about Rick as a leader, I was happy to see him actually get a chance to enjoy himself without the world automatically ending. Michonne, who has been underused lately, finally got a chance to remind the viewers of what a badass she truly is. The moment when she thought Rick was dead was a moment of great acting from Danai Gurira.
As for next week’s episode, it’s getting close to the season finale! Who will live? Who will die? (Eugene, probably. And, hopefully, sanctimonious Father Gabriel.) We’ll find out next week!
(CORRECTION: Due to my notoriously short attention span, an earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that next week was the season finale. I apologize for the error. — LMB)