You could make a lot of bad jokes about The Walking Dead season 8 episode 7, and it’s unfortunately hokey name. Time For After? How about time for a change of pace, time to stop messing the audience around, time for literally anything else…
Most of all, though, it’s time for questions, as episode 7 unearthed yet another series of queries about the show, and not all of them are the kind of questions you’d hope to be asking this far into the season. As always, major spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead season 8 as we run down the biggest questions I had after watching episode 7, Time For After.
1. What is the matter with Eugene?
“Ergo, I need the giggle juice” might just be the best line even spoken in The Walking Dead, but its surface level hilarity is in fact the byproduct of a rather troubling time for a certain character. Eugene is a goshdarn mess right now. He keeps teetering between the possibility of doing the right thing or the rational thing, agonising over the tension between the selflessness preached by Gabriel or the selfishness epitomized by Negan. He’s found himself confronted with such an ethical pickle (pun intended), that he’s even taken to alcohol for comfort, though he can’t seem to stomach much of it.
All in all, I’m wondering whether this is the beginning of the end of Eugene. He finishes this episode settled firmly in camp Negan, angrily berating a sickly Gabriel for even tempting him with notions of goodness. The character is at a critical juncture and, to paraphrase Harvey Dent, he’s either going to die a hero, or live long enough to see himself become a villain.
2. Is Eugene going to tattle on Dwight?
Speaking of Eugene, he is now this close to telling Negan that Dwight’s the mole amongst his ranks, and only stopped short of dishing the dirt this episode because Dwight burst in at just the right moment. But Eugene is a man of survival above all, and I have no doubt that he will tattle on Dwight if it means getting Negan’s ire off his back.
The ultimate question here is whether Dwight has any chance of surviving this season at all. Eugene’s onto him, Daryl wants him dead, zombies are around every corner of Sanctuary... right now, the character’s chances in The Walking Dead are zero to one.
3. How did Morgan end up becoming a lookout?
It wouldn’t be a season 8 episode without one moment in which the audience goes ‘hang on, how did they end up there?’, and Morgan was the character for the job this time around. Last we saw him was in episode 3, as he stumbles away in a fit of confusion after fighting Jesus. In other words, things didn’t look good for him, yet here he, four episodes later, randomly showing up as a sniper lookout on Sanctuary without any explanation as to how or why he’s there.
It sure is convenient for the story though, as now Morgan has crossed paths with two other revenge-seeking renegades - Daryl and Tara - and is more than happy to help them in their quest to wipe out Sanctuary for good. Well, isn’t that handy. It’s almost as if the showrunners plopped him in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to progress the story. Sigh.
4. Does anyone care about Rick?
Despite having gone missing for at least a couple of hours, not a single person thought to ask ‘Hey, what’s happened to Rick?’ at any point in this the episode. Not even Michonne. In fact, while he was stuck having to stand in his undies for Jadis, his “comrades” were too busy going over his head and botching his entire plan to even consider that he might need a spot of help with The Heapsters.
I know AMC want to show that Rick’s leadership is under strain this season, especially as the group splinters over ethical decisions of war and peace, but it’s almost laughable how quickly he’s been sidelined by his friends since getting captured. I hope he gives Daryl, Tara, and the rest of his team a stern talking to once all this is over.
5. Is Daryl going to regret what he did?
Oh sure, Daryl. Like you really believed that no innocent people would get hurt after you rammed a lorry into Sanctuary, letting all the Walkers in to feast on those trapped inside. Well I got news for you, buddy. It sure as hell looked like some of the workers became zombie food after you blasted open Sanctuary’s front doors, and you’ve now made Rick look like a fool after he promised Jadis that he had Negan surrounded.
Daryl’s been on a reckless rampage since his tussle with Rick in episode 5, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his recent behaviour comes right back to bite him in the keister. But could these consequences entail the possibility of the character kicking the dust? Daryl fans sure won’t be happy if that’s the plan...
6. Why did Jadis change her mind?
At the beginning of the episode, Jadis seemed pretty adamant that she was going to kill Rick, but not before she captured his profile for, uh, sculpturing purposes. Yet, only thirty minutes later, she’s bargaining with Rick for another deal, and is even happy to help fight Negan for only 25% of the war booty.
Was Rick’s half-naked tussle really all it took for her to reconsider the arrangement and jump the fence? Or is she up to another one of her sneaky tricks? Perhaps she just really wants to sculpt Rick, *ahem*, au naturale. Either way, this U-turn felt like a clunky character development for someone who’s always shown themselves to be steely and stubborn.
7. Where did everybody go?
The last scene involves Rick, now fully clothed and back to work, looking out towards Sanctuary in horror, as his carefully placed horde of undead are nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but no one’s responding on the radio comms. He’s naturally taken aback by this revelation, but even I’m a little confused as to what’s going on here, and I know more than he does.
The zombies are now inside Sanctuary, yes, but where did Daryl, Tara, and Morgan run off to? And what about Michonne and Rosita? The snipers were having a good old natter only moments ago, so why is nobody answering Rick’s call now? The mid-season finale has some serious explaining to do.