Regardless that that is The Strolling Useless’s remaining season, it doesn’t appear to be constructing as much as something notably spectacular. Certain, there’s very seemingly going to be a battle between Alexandria and the fake Stormtroopers of the fascist Commonwealth, however it’s clearly not going to tug on just like the sequence’ different wars. Possibly that’s a bummer for some, however I’m digging the present’s present development of merely being stable zombie leisure—and tonight’s half two premiere (of three) retains the streak alive.
“No Different Approach” concluded the Battle of Meridian, the place Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Elijah (Okea Eme-Akbari), and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) are nonetheless in battle with the Reapers who seized the settlement and murdered so lots of its inhabitants. The Reapers are being led by Daryl’s ex Leah (Lynn Collins), who took cost after murdering their insane commander Pope to guard her remaining comrades, however she’s additionally out to precise some revenge for the fallen. Maggie’s nonetheless in control of the Alexandrians, who’re combating to get Meridian’s meals shops to carry again to the ravenous folks in Alexandria, however she’s primarily useless set on avenging the Meridians the Reapers killed. Actually, I’d say Maggie is 60 % on the lookout for revenge and 40 % survival, whereas Leah is vice versa.
If it’s dawned on you that if the 2 sides simply known as a truce everybody on each side might stroll away and survive, congratulations, since you and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are the one ones desirous about that exact state of affairs. The episode begins with Leah firing that ridiculous multiple-bottle rocket launcher into the courtyard in hopes of killing Maggie and the remainder. Principally, she simply hits a zillion zombies who explode in showers of gore, in addition to inadvertently killing a Reaper whereas he was combating Maggie. (The truth that Leah murdered Pope to cease this precise state of affairs received a chuckle out of me.)
A lot of the remainder of the episode is made up of encounters between the Alexandrians and the remaining members of the Reapers. Daryl has an unpleasant, savage, and really spectacular knife combat with one and wins. Gabriel encounters the priest he noticed and spared in a number of episodes in the past; the priest pities Gabe for not listening to the voice of God and units his weapons down; Gabe, as per his normal process, kills the unarmed Reaper as a result of mercy, forgiveness, and belief don’t have any room in his present perception system.
One of the best combat, nonetheless, is between Brandon Carver (Alex Meraz) the Reaper, Leah’s second-in-command who wished to kill Daryl from the beginning for previously breaking her coronary heart, and Maggie, Negan, and the admittedly wounded however nonetheless scythe-wielding Elijah, who particularly blames Carver for the dying of his sister. And Carver simply beats the hell out of all of them. He doesn’t even make it look notably onerous. He simply trounces all of them soundly, and the beatings don’t cease till Negan manages to throw some sand in his face, distracting him lengthy sufficient for Elijah to stab the Reaper. Because the three are about to kill him, Daryl finds them and yells for them to cease, as a result of he’s found out a technique to get everybody out of Meridian alive.
And right here we come to the crux of the episode, which has been the crux of just about each Strolling Useless episode since Rick misplaced his thoughts after coming to Alexandria. Is it higher to homicide each single one that looks as if they could trigger you and your folks hurt, or as soon as prompted you hurt, or is there any cause to indicate mercy or have hope that somebody dangerous might change their methods? Is it higher to kill all dangerous guys, even when there are very clear advantages to not doing so? Nearly each foremost character on the sequence has wavered between the 2 sides at one level or one other (lots of them have bounced forwards and backwards a number of occasions, though, to be honest, Gabriel has persistently been on Crew Homicide for fairly some time).
This time, it’s Maggie, Elijah, and Gabriel on Crew Homicide, as they wish to kill Carver instantly (Gabriel doesn’t have any private beef with Carver, however he’s persistently been Crew Homicide for some time now). Daryl is on Crew Don’t Homicide, not as a result of he’s being merciful or something, however he thinks he can discuss Leah into exchanging Carver for his or her protected passage. (Negan abstains.) Maggie and Elijah fume, however Leah does agree to satisfy.
In fact, as soon as all people will get to the courtyard, Daryl’s plan instantly goes awry when Leah reveals she’s received a sniper skilled on them. Then Leah’s plan goes awry when Gabriel kills the sniper off-screen and has the rifle skilled on the Reapers. The result’s this: Leah and the 2 remaining Reapers forfeit their weapons and are allowed to go away Meridian, however Carver has to remain to reply for his crimes/murders. Leah, desperately making an attempt to guard as lots of her comrades as she will be able to—which, once more, is 2—accepts the deal and walks away.
Then, about 30 seconds later, Maggie grabs a gun, runs after the Reapers, shoots two of them within the again and kills them, however solely wounds Leah, who manages to flee. Then Maggie comes again and kills the motionless and unarmed Carver. Winner: Crew Homicide, by a landslide!
Daryl just isn’t happy, however he’s capable of observe down the wounded Leah to pointedly let her escape. If The Strolling Useless had extra episodes in it, it might be an absolute lock that Leah would return to make Maggie and the others pay for what they did to her folks. I suppose she nonetheless may, however given the multitude of storytelling potentialities of the Commonwealth, the present may not have room for extra Leah. If she does come again for revenge, the query is that this: did Maggie’s murders be sure that Leah would search revenge, or did Daryl’s mercy?
The reply is each, which is The Strolling Useless’s drawback in a homicidal nutshell. The episode is titled “No Different Approach” however it clearly exhibits there are two methods—there have at all times been two methods—to attempt to survive in its bleak zombie apocalypse. However neither of them issues as a result of the results are virtually at all times going to be the identical; whichever alternative you decide, persons are going to die. Present mercy? They’ll come again and attempt to kill you. Kill them? Somebody related to them will arrive and attempt to kill you.
It’s irritating as a result of this implies it doesn’t matter no matter characters making this ostensibly essential choice select to do. Certain, there are sometimes penalties, like Maggie returning to Alden (whom she needed to go away wounded in an deserted church partially one) and discovering he’s turn into a zombie throughout her mission for vengeance plus meals. However many characters, like Gabriel, by no means have any introspection or progress. Even when somebody experiences one thing that leads them to go away Crew Homicide and be a part of Crew Not Homicide, inevitably somebody from Crew Not Homicide will switches sides as nicely, all so the present can proceed asking which “approach” is best with out ever offering a solution.
So I’ll give full kudos to The Strolling Useless for not solely admitting the ethical irrelevance of the present, however pointedly embracing it in “No Different Approach.” As a result of within the episode’s remaining moments, a troop of Commonwealth troopers arrives at Alexandria. The Alexandrians are able to defend their residence, however Eugene runs in entrance of the Commontroopers, explaining they arrive in peace. Then the smarmy deputy governor Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton) deal with the settlement, providing to assist Alexandria rebuild and/or permit its inhabitants to relocate to the ice cream-filled fascist paradise that’s the Commonwealth.
Bounce to 6 months later: another Commonwealth military approaches Alexandria, however way more grimly. Maggie tells its commander, “It doesn’t need to be this fashion.” The commander takes off his helmet. It’s Daryl, who replies, “Yeah, it does.”
Initially, that’s a hell of a tease, and I assume The Strolling Useless goes to leap again in time to construct as much as this second reasonably than go away us guessing about what occurred. However second, having Maggie and Daryl pull an ethical switcheroo through the timejump is a enjoyable admission that the present actually isn’t desirous about exploring which “approach” is likely to be higher past floor degree.
“I simply take into consideration decisions,” Daryl says to Gabriel over the campfire. “Do they even matter?” They don’t, however it’s The Strolling Useless’s remaining season. Why begin now?
- The secondary storyline doesn’t actually have a plot, per se, however it’s fairly nice. Judith (Cailey Fleming) and Aaron’s daughter Gracie (Anabelle Holloway) are nonetheless trapped in a basement with zombies pounding on the door. Nevertheless, the rain has flooded the basement a lot that the 2 women are pressured to face on objects to maintain above the waterline. However when the zombies break by way of the door, instantly the complete room turns into a deathtrap stuffed with underwater zombies that can not be seen. Judith, unsurprisingly, kicks some ass till Aaron (Ross Marquand) arrives to utterly destroy some walkers, in slo-mo, utilizing his mace hand.
- Nonetheless, the basement is chock stuffed with zombies after he rescues the women, and the subsequent scene is of Aaron scooting his approach alongside a ceiling duct, zombies simply barely unable pull him into the lethal water. As foolish because it was, it was additionally extremely tense, and intensely entertaining. For all of TWD’s faults, the truth that it may well nonetheless discover methods to make zombies scary in any case these years is a real achievement.
- The zombies slowly rising out of the water was splendidly unnerving, if a bit odd. (Had been the zombies making an attempt to look eerie?)
- A couple of of the fights in Meridian happen in a precollege classroom, which is type of nice.
- “Nicely, ding ding” completely must be the worst line of dialogue Negan has ever mentioned, sure?
- I almost forgot! Negan has a post-fight second with Maggie as she’s burying Alden. At first, he brandishes his knife as if he’s going to assault her, because the present has had him do umpteen occasions earlier than, however then he makes probably the most affordable arguments anybody on TWD has ever made. Though Maggie promised she wouldn’t kill him, her homicide of the Reapers after their peace treaty exhibits Negan won’t ever be protected round her, and he leaves. Whether or not this implies Jeffrey Dean Morgan is really executed with the sequence is unknown, however Negan is one hundred pc appropriate in his evaluation.
- Within the flash-forward, I absolutely suspect that Daryl is secretly a double agent for Alexandria, and that is all a part of some ruse. However possibly not. Who is aware of with this goofy-ass present?
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