Go Getters was mercifully quick to put us at ease this week about Maggie and her baby’s condition and apparently decided against milking the melodrama too much with that not-too-dramatic graveside scene. Maggie and Sasha are slowly recovering from losing their loves ones and sticking together at the Hilltop.

While TWD skimped on the tearjerker this week, they definitely upped the ante in the douchebaggery department. Is it possible that Gregory is even more despicable than Negan? Sure, Negan’s an unhinged, ruthless, homicidal psychopath, but Gregory has all the charm of a decaying walker and even smaller balls.

It’s no surprise that Doughebag Gregory wants Maggie and Sasha to leave, but jeez, could he be more obnoxious? Look, I’m a good guy. You can stay the night. Uh, riiight. How on earth did Sasha manage to hold back and not clock this dick in the jaw? I guess they needed to put that off to get some payoff later in the episode.

Meanwhile, back in Alexandria, Rick is sticking to his newfound low-key attitude, while Michonne is not so sure this is the way to go. Luckily, she’s much more level-headed than Carl, who seems to be reverting back to his younger self this season, because damn he’s being a stupid brat. Enid’s not being much smarter, either, but at least her motive is looking out for Maggie, whereas Grimes junior seems to think he can take on Negan by himself. Seriously, wtf?

Back at the Hilltop colony (why are we not just calling it Hilltop, btw? Is this a comic book thing?), Jesus is not really trying hard enough to make his case with Gregory, but he’s being his charming self. He not only gives Sasha Abraham’s necklace (the one Rosita made for him), but also manages to nail the perfect description for our dearly departed redhead: “he was one of the few people I ever met who would say things that could make you smile and wince at the same time“. Spot on.

Maggie and Sasha get ready to spend the night when Beethoven Sibelius* is blasted all over Hilltop; the gate is open, walkers are swarming in, and, incredibly, not one person is running outside to hold them back. Luckily Sasha and Jesus are there to save the day while Maggie single-handedly mows down half the walkers AND the musical car on a tractor. Farmer’s daughter indeed!

The next day, Negan’s right hand man Simon and his henchmen show up to teach Gregory the lesson he apparently didn’t learn the previous night. Is it possible that Simon’s toothy grin is even creepier than Negan’s? I propose that it is. Also, is it a requirement that the boss’s right hand be as cartoonish as Negan? Because if Gregory’s feigned surprise at the news of Negan’s outpost massacre make him the worst liar on TWD, then Simon’s schtick makes him the most ridiculously hammy character we’ve seen so far on this show.

He does have one redeeming quality, however (he’s a gin man), and the whole scene was worth it just for Jesus’s obvious enjoyment at watching his cowardly leader’s perfomance – and of course for seeing the douchebag kneel (and not even before the real Negan!) and then be patted on the head, as yet another obedient puppy in the service of Negan.

As Enid makes her way to the Hilltop, Carl, not discouraged by his lack of depth perception, decides to go for a ride. Have we ever even seen him drive before? Do they have Driver’s Ed in Alexandria? I guess running over walkers is easier than hitting the dartboard, even with just one eye.

Ah, no matter. Off they go towards the Hilltop together, and for a minute it’s unclear whether they’re on a quest or a date, especially when their journey to find Maggie turns into fun on rollerskates. RollerSKATES. Which somehow magically appear in a backpack by the side of the road that no one had come across or bothered to check before now. Even if I buy that, what are the odds anyone would have been carrying TWO pairs of a shoe that became obsolete years before its updated version went out of fashion sometime in the last decade? Is roller derby a thing in the zombie apocalypse?

As Simon and his men load up their half of Hilltop’s goods onto their trucks, and just in case we didn’t realize how much of a douchebag Gregory really is, he thanks Maggie and Sasha for saving his entire colony by first attempting to betray them, then promptly kicking them out once again (and reneging his bullshit offer of rhubarb preserves when they stand up to him), and finally trying to hit on Sasha, which, EW. What follows is what we’ve all been waiting for: Maggie lands a fantastic punch to Gregory’s jaw, and Jesus not only finds the balls to override his moronic decisions but also implies what we’re all waiting for: a change of regime, with Maggie at the helm. I, for one, am totally down with that.

So is Sasha, judging by her knowing smile. But of course she’s not content to just sit idly by and wait to see Maggie’s pregnancy through without taking action against Negan. Girl power all the way, people! With Maggie (and Enid) safely inside the gates of the Hilltop, Sasha asks Jesus for a favor: find out where Negan lives. Carl, meanwhile, has the same idea, but has no time for planning ahead. Sure, because his dad’s decision to wipe out a number of Negan’s men worked out so well in the recent past. At least Jesus seems a bit more level headed, so it’s a good thing they find each other in the back of that truck.

Random thoughts:

– We’ve already established that Gregory is a complete asshole, but is he too stupid to keep not only Maggie and Rick’s names straight, but even remember his people’s names and faces?

– What’s with Negan’s obsession with Beethoven? This is the second time we’ve heard a Beethoven symphony in two weeks (the first one being Negan’s whistling outside the gates of Alexandria). Is the sociopathic leader of the Saviors a classical music buff? We already know they have access to pop music, or they’d have used Für Elise to torture Daryl. And how is this a better choice of music to attract walkers than, say, that awful cd Aidan and Nicholas blasted in their van when they went scavenging? Someone please explain the significance here.

– As much as i appreciate Jesus’ ninja skills, how are a few high kicks supposed to neutralize walkers? We know a simple blow to the head isn’t enough to keep them down for too long. Hell, minutes before the attack on Hilltop, Carl ran over a walker and that didn’t really seem to slow him down. We’ve been through 6 years of this shit already. I guess I’m just annoyed because that whole sequence was very lackluster compared to previous walker massacres we’ve witnessed on the show.

– Even when Negan is away, service continues to be the central theme in the Saviors’ scare tactics: I create a problem for you, then I provide you a service by making it go away. I have to admit, it’s definitely effective.

– Carl and Enid discussing what happened with Negan was actually the first time anyone’s really talked about the events of that fateful night since the season premiere. Is there some significance to giving that piece of dialogue to those two characters, other than to show the effect Glenn’s mentorship had on Enid and Carl’s decision to disobay his father?

– Two things drove me absolutely nuts this week.

One, Enid had one of the most ridiculous lines in the entire episode: Carl knew where she was headed, magically appeared out of nowhere to save her from a walker, and followed her to the Hilltop. What more evidence did she need to come to the conclusion that Carl had a plan in mind? “You weren’t going for a ride“. Uh, no shit, Sherlock. When did Carl ever go for a ride before?

Two, did things have to come to THIS for someone to ask Jesus to find out where Negan lives? Shouldn’t this have been job #1 back when Maggie and Rick made their deal with Gregory? Even if they didn’t know the outpost was only one of the Saviors’ locations, how the hell has no one thought to look for Negan’s place before now?

– The entire episode read like a tribute to Glenn, which would have verged on sappy had it not been handled right. Thanks to the various subtle reminders instead of drawn-out eulogies, it was perfectly balanced between remembering the fan favorite for the lovely guy that he was, and focusing on his legacy amonst the living: Hershel’s watch, Enid’s green balloons, her quoting him about doing things for the ones you love, and – perhaps the most powerful of all – Maggie introducing herself to Douchebag Gregory as Maggie Rhee.

Although not a lot happened this week, I thought it was a solid episode, and definitely a step in the right direction as far as slowly moving the pieces of the chessboard goes before the big mid-season finale. Hopefully next week won’t disappoint, either!


edit: I seem to have gotten my composers mixed up, but the argument still stands: what’s with the classical music obsession?

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