The Walking Dead season 8 turned off the war engine for episode 6, which took a break from all the fighting to devolve into the sluggish soap opera that fans will be more than familiar with, setting up different scenarios and character arcs as it prepares to eventually bring things to a head by the mid-season finale.
It has its moments, mind you, some of which posited a number of interesting (and frustrating) questions for the upcoming final two episodes before the mid-season break. Big spoilers for episode 6 below, as I look into seven of the biggest questions I had after watching The King, The Widow, and Rick.
1. How did the lookouts at Sanctuary not spot Negan and Gabriel?
In his letter to Alexandria, Hilltop and The Kingdom, Rick said that lookouts were surrounding Sanctuary around the clock, keeping an eye on every door with sniper rifles to see if anyone comes in or out. He mentions that the orders are shoot to kill at the slightest notice of activity, but that creates a curious plot hole relating to the events of last episode.
Back in The Big Friendly U, Negan and Gabriel make a loud and proud escape from the RV back into the compound, smashing and shooting their way through the horde to get inside the big front doors. Surely Rick’s lookouts would have spotted that? Then why did we see no indication of their presence back during that breakout scene? Either this inconsistency has been forgotten about by The Walking Dead, or AMC has something ready to reveal about the matter in a future episode. Considering the show’s previous history with narrative coherence, I’m not too confident we’ll ever get a decent explanation.
2. Did Rick really think he could win over Jadis?
After being coldly betrayed and “grazed” by Jadis in the season 7 finale, Rick casually saunters back into Heapster HQ this episode, looking to negotiate a deal once more. Naturally, it doesn’t go well, and our man ends up naked and alone, imprisoned in a rusty old shipping container, with only a few breathing holes for comfort. He must have known that was going to happen, though, right?
Jadis has proven herself time and time again to be a selfish and draconian cult leader, so Rick can’t have genuinely presumed she’d changed her mind about his offer since their last meeting? Either he’s an idiot who’s just got himself trapped, or he’s got something bigger planned. The fact that he was so blasé about the whole prisoner thing implies that it’s the latter, and I reckon a rescue mission is already on the way...
3. Are Daryl and Tara going to kill Dwight?
The seeds of civil war are continuing to be sown by the showrunners in season 8, as Tara and Daryl go over Rick’s head and ride out for their own revenge western, seeking to kill Dwight and as many Saviours as they can along the way. Are they really going to go through with it, though? Dwight’s a murderous scumbag, sure, but he’s proved that he’s starting to turn a new leaf by risking his life to operate as a mole amongst Negan’s ranks. Do they really intend to repay that war-winning bravery with his execution?
To be fair, both Daryl and Tara have good reason to, seeing how Dwight betrayed, imprisoned, and humiliated the former, and skewered the love interest of the latter with an arrow to a head. But we know what folk like Rick and Jesus would have to say about that kind of mentality, and it’s unclear whether Tara and Daryl even have the gall to pull off such a cold-blooded kill. If they do, it could upend everything we thought we knew about the moral fortitude of these two individuals.
4. Are we really going to have *another* kid & Carol pairing?
First there was Sophia. Then there was Lizzie and Mika. And let’s not forget Sam (ugh). Now, we have little ol’ Henry, who (surprise!) wants to help Carol fight, despite her repeat attempts to push him away. At this point, Carol is basically the unwilling venus fly trap for the annoying children of the apocalypse. For some reason, they always gravitate towards her, pestering both herself and the viewer for a couple of episodes, before meeting some horrendous fate that’s meant to be seen as tragic, but is usually met with a collective sigh of relief from an exasperated audience.
We get it, AMC. Carol’s steely individualism is constantly in conflict with her maternal instincts. We don’t need another one of these unlikely partnerships for you to spell that out to us, and the show certainly doesn’t need another annoying kid on the scene. Please, for our sake, don’t drag this one out.
5. Can Carl’s new friend be trusted?
The survivor from the season 8 premiere makes a surprise return this episode, as Carl tracks him down in the hopes of recruiting another community member to Alexandria, but is Siddiq really who he says he is? I believed him when he answered Carl’s questions, and he seems to be one of the good guys (even if he is a little jumpy), but you can’t trust anyone in the apocalypse these days, and Rick wasn’t out of his mind when he fired warning shots at the guy back in episode 1 to scare him off.
We know he likes killing walkers to “set them free”, but what about humans? AMC wouldn’t introduce a character like this without a good reason for it, too, and it remains to be seen what that reason looks like right now.
6. Is this the beginning of a Carol & Ezekiel romance?
Other than sounding like the lyrics to a boy band song, “You made me feel real” is also Ezekiel’s answer to Carol after she questions why he kept visiting her back in season 7. That seriously cheesy line was the endearing high point in a tender moment shared between the two, as they expressed their admiration for one another with heartfelt honesty. It’s been teased by both the actors and the showrunners before, but could this finally be the beginning of a blossoming romance?
Hang on, if they do hook up, would that legally make Carol Queen of The Kingdom? What would their couple name be? The royal family? Carzekiel? Ezekarol? Maybe not that last one… it sounds like indigestion medicine. And what will Carol’s former lover, Tobin, make of this development? He’s been known to have a bit of a temper, so this happy couple could eventually spell bad news for the harmonious peace within The Kingdom’s walls...
7. Where are Aaron and Enid going?
At the end of episode 6, Aaron and Enid take off to an undisclosed location, leaving behind Maggie, Jesus, and a Hilltop full of cooped up Saviours. But where are they headed? And for what reason? Aaron tells Enid to bring food, as they could be gone for a while, so this probably isn’t a breezy excursion, but something much more serious.
Neither of them appear to let Maggie know, either, which suggests she would disapprove if she knew the details. Are they off to assassinate Negan? Will they bump into Daryl and Tara along the way? Is Aaron in the right frame of mind, seeing as he lost Eric only a few hours ago? This isn’t going to end well, is it?