The episode opened with a whole foods commercial, and a reminder that ‘Martha Stewart Surviving’ was still a thing, in Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) Next World Alexandria. This was a Carol (Melissa McBride) episode, of course; and with all the focus on her kill skill, since the prison, a reminder that she takes her domestic
cover duties just as seriously – not doling out cookies covered in Walker spray, and all – still seemed necessary. Putting one cookie down, in kid Cookie Monster’s honor, was a bit of symbolic icing.
With Rick’s Hilltop expedition bringing word that the oven mitts were coming off, however, cookies seemed like so much hair knots & Bonsai trees. As good an obscure Bushido reference as any, for Morgan (Lennie James) to enter on; but Carol still wasn’t having any discussion over his pet Wolf.
Morgan didn’t have much luck pitching diplomacy at Rick’s general call to arms, either – since losing Aaron (Ross Marquand) to the Hawks pretty much amounts to a loss for the Doves – so the Next World also comes with a New World Order.
The genius of the show has been its slow-boiled-frog approach to Rick’s Roadies, since the Governor forced them back on the road. Having gotten to know these people affords fans a bias, regarding their actions, which would’ve otherwise triggered red flags, out of context. To come in on the note Rick was laying down – and the others were accepting – would likely invoke shades of Nuremberg rallying – Rick’s rhetoric being not all that dissimilar to the Governor’s. I’m guessing thoughts along those lines came to Morgan, as the situation was spelled out.
Calling down smite gets easy, when you know Jesus (Tom Payne) is on your side; but those marching orders got the Death Watch countdown going for a number of characters. This is always a bad time for fans of highlighted characters; but always good for some eleventh hour character development.
Besides Carol, a handful of other characters got to make a case for being missed, in the event of winning the Watch; but Carol’s was still the most interesting, this round. A bonding moment with Tobin (Jason Douglas) allowed for a reconciliation between Killer Carol, and Cookie Carol. To Tobin, a mother’s instincts amount to both; but since being a mother Grizzly don’t make you any less fuzzy-wuzzy, Carol got some nookie (for all those cookies) to go out on. Throw in a (surprisingly light) people kill count, to reflect upon, and Carol may have just spent a lot of time building bridges, this episode. High ones. The kind you wouldn’t want to fall off of.
On the other hand, last ep candidate highlight, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), took the pre-battle prep to decide on settling accounts with Rosita (Christian Serratos), by way of the Old Yeller method; so he remains on the Watch list, by way of reverse methods.
On the third hand (of Vishnu), Tara & Denise (Alanna Masterson, Merritt Wever) did go into that pessimistically optimistic goodbye thing – outdoing Glenn & Maggie (Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan) in the same category. Getting a good word from both a priest and Jesus had to have helped Tara through, later on – but not her place in the Death Watch runnings.
Honorable mentions go out to Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), who was intent on receiving Rick Roadie redemption, by getting his hands dirty; and Heath (Corey Hawkins), for his bonding with Glenn, over the prospects of them both upgrading to Rick’s people killing club circle.
Back at square one, however, Carol took it upon herself to see Maggie (who insisted on coming along out of a sense of personal responsibility for their situation – a head shaker decision for Rick’s crew, but a convenient one for the show) live to be a more traditional kind of mother. Tying herself to another, playing defense, would be Carol not playing to her strengths – the kind of handicap that could win the wrong race. Of course, nothing says emotional target like ‘baby on board’ – but the showrunners are likely going to stretch on revealing the Watch results; so back to the matter at hand.
The only thing that heightens apprehension on a thriller, more than a well thought out plan going into action, is when that plan starts going according to plan. Even if the Saviors left a first impression of having been way too comfortable with their top dog status, this was a case of the ‘wrong people’ messing with the ‘wrong people’ (figure which is which at your keyboards & water coolers). The ep did make it clear, however, which group needed no sympathy, once the killing started.
While it’s true, that the first kill is the hardest (in this case: worst sleep assault ever, I’m guessing), it’s also true that the second is much easier – and Heath owed Glenn one, on that score (at the time). What should’ve been reassurance – that they were slaying monsters, not committing murder – however, may have been missed for the chilling foreshadow that it was (at least, to anyone familiar with the kind of trauma depicted in those Savior pics… and the source material).
I’ve been privy to a lot of great plans going smooth, until they didn’t, and it would be easy to pick apart where the Bridge Too Far was, for Rick’s raid. Going lax on the one-to-the-head-to-keep-’em-dead rule stood out, along with staying clear of the surrounding roads, once the alarm goes out; but there were just as many things done right – even after the noise got brung.
It was impossible not to default to cheerleader mode, once the shooting started; but somehow, the biggest payoff to the action was Father Gabriel getting to convert scripture into action hero dialogue. Sermonizing Priests with guns: an almost stereotypically cool combination; so Gabe wins most improved former non-combatant, this season (a category I had set up after Carol’s prison transformation).
Before anyone could say that the night’s action was almost too easy, however (I really expected someone to say it), the question of which side was messing with the ‘wrong people’ was left hanging at a terminal height. Given the vantage point the Saviors had, at that moment, I wonder if Jesus had left himself being sized up for a cross. There was also the question of what Morgan was working on, back at Alexandria; but given that this was also left hanging, I guess I have to assume that it will matter.
This far out from the end of the season, it’s still up in the air as to what the ultimate (initial) price will be, for Rick having started this war (as I’m not sure if the previous Savior encounter warrants anything more than near-skirmish status); but the die has been cast, and a number of characters primed to send a message – both to Rick & to fans.
For a Carol heavy episode, much of the weight – action & character wise – was shared among those assembled; making it one of the most evenly rewarding episodes of the season (if not series). Not a bad way to get the countdown clock started.
It’s not every season that the finale gets such a lengthy, and potently suspenseful, lead-in; and this season of TWD may go out with the most impactful finale, yet. ‘Not Tomorrow Yet’ did an excellent job of keeping the specter of that end alive; but the showrunners may have some nail biting of their own to do, over prospective fan reaction regarding for which character tomorrow never comes.
“Let not your heart be troubled.”
Leave your thoughts on this review below, in the comments section. For more The Walking Dead reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our The Walking Dead Page, subscribe to us by Email, follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, or “like” us on Facebook.