THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON EIGHT
Episode 14: “Still Gotta Mean Something”
Review by: Christopher Haskell
April 2, 2018
Last week, after an attack on Hilltop by the Simon (Steven Ogg) led Saviors, the Saviors that were being held captive at Hilltop were inadvertently let go by young Henry (Macsen Lintz), who was searching for the man who killed his brother. Some of the POWs stayed behind, but the ones that didn’t, escaped. Morgan (Lennie James) sets off to find them with Carol (Melissa McBride), after Ezekiel (Khary Payton) calls Carol a coward for not going to look for the missing Henry. Morgan is still seeing ghosts, this time seeing images of a dead Henry. Also chasing the escaped Saviors is Rick (Andrew Lincoln) despite Michonne (Danai Gurira) trying to convince him to stay and read the letter that his deceased son Carl (Chandler Riggs) wrote for him. Rick talks to Alden (Callan McAuliffe) who gives him a clue as to where the missing Saviors may be and asks Rick to spare as many Saviors as possible, stating that they simply made the wrong choice and haven’t come to terms with the error of their ways. Meanwhile, Tara (Alanna Masterson) confirms our suspicions that Dwight (Austin Amelio) shot her with an arrow last week to save her life, despite Daryl (Norman Reedus) still choosing not to believe it.
On the trail of the escaped Saviors, Morgan and Carol split paths when Carol finds Henry’s killing stick in a walker. Hoping he may still be alive, she sets off to find him with Morgan refusing to go and vowing to kill all of the escaped Saviors because that is what he is meant to do: “watch people die.” Rick runs into Morgan on the way but they are ambushed by the escaped Saviors and tied up in the bar that Alden suggested they would be at. With a walker hoard headed towards the bar, Rick tries to convince the remaining escaped Saviors to cut them loose and come back to Hilltop with him, giving them his word that they will be given a second chance. The title is a reference to Rick’s line to the Saviors when giving them his word: “There’s not a lot that means much these days, but a man’s word, that’s gotta mean something, right?” Rick pulled this move earlier in the season with the same result. When the walkers get into the bar, the Saviors on the fence let Rick and Morgan go. They help each other for a little while but then Rick and Morgan finish the job and kill the remaining Saviors, including Jared (Joshua Mikel), who was the ring leader of this particular group of Saviors. Morgan holds him while walkers devour him. Meanwhile, Carol finds Henry trapped behind the roots of a tree with walkers trying to get him and she is able to save him. She and Ezekiel reconcile when she returns to Hilltop. Rick returns to read Carl’s letter while Morgan informs Henry that his brother’s murder has been killed.
Tangentially, the rest of the episode takes place in the dump where Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) holds Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hostage. As suspected, this episode pushes the needle further in getting us to like Negan as he vows to set things right in regards to Simon having the Scavengers wiped out, with Jadis surviving by faking her death. Armed with a flare, Jadis threatens to set Lucille on fire but when she leaves and returns, Negan has the flare aimed at some of Jadis’ personal pictures and a gun aimed at her. Negan reveals that his barbed wire bat is named after his wife, Lucille, who got him through tough times and is the only thing left of her, just like the photos are the only thing left of Jadis’ previous life. A squabble over the flare sends it into a puddle just as a helicopter takes off over the dump. Jadis tries to light another flare but the helicopter takes off. Distraught, Jadis lets Negan go. Negan offers to take her with him but she refuses. Negan takes a car back to the Sanctuary but runs into a familiar face on the way back and offers him a ride. My guess is that it’s Gregory (Xander Berkeley), who was not present with the escaped Saviors from Hilltop. Negan shows up at the Sanctuary, but tells the Saviors at the gate to keep his arrival a secret, as he has some surprises in store, I’m sure for Simon, whose fate will likely not end well.
The episode ends with Daryl and Rosita (Christian Serratos) spying on Eugene (Josh McDermitt), who is making bullets. Earlier in the episode, in a meeting with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), it is revealed that the Hilltop cannot survive another attack, with the lack of ammunition that they have. They figure the Saviors may have the same problem, but Rosita points out, that they have a bullet maker in Eugene. Now, with the evidence in front of them, Rosita says that they shouldn’t destroy the machines but the bullet maker.
Overall, the episode went as suspected, with Jadis letting Negan go. I am excited to see how Negan deals with the Simon situation. The fact that Negan still does not know that Dwight is a traitor and could push him even further into the second-in-command role is definitely a positive as it ultimately leaves Negan exposed. As much as I enjoy Jeffrey Dean Morgan in his role, I do believe he needs to meet his maker for all the bad things he’s done. I’m curious what the whole helicopter element has to do with the plot. We knew it was coming when the helipad was mentioned earlier this season, but why Jadis needed to signal it with a flare, who was flying it, and where it was headed, all has yet to be explained. Rick and Morgan killing all the escaped Saviors was extremely satisfying and even though Rick will likely change due to his son’s wishes for them to start giving people a chance, I am in the camp of killing these guys before they come back and kill you, which in most cases, is what ends up happening. Yes, Alden is proof that they can change and perhaps he has a bigger role to play in proving that, but this seems to be the debate keeping the season running and will ultimately lead to whether or not to kill Negan when the time comes. As far as killing people, I do believe it’s time for Eugene to go and I hope his storyline is concluded one way or the other by the end of the season.
April 1, 2018
Michael E. Satrazemis
“The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard
Played by: Joshua Mikel
Introduced: Season 7, Episode 2 (from the Saviors)
Cause of Death: Trapped by Morgan Jones and devoured by walkers
Played by: Mark Ashworth
Introduced: Current Episode (Season 8, Episode 14) (from the Saviors)
Cause of Death: Devoured by walkers