East Plot Summary:
Carol (Melissa McBride) has left Alexandria because she no longer wants to kill. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), and Morgan (Lennie James) go out after her. Meanwhile, Daryl (Norman Reedus) heads out to find the Saviors that killed Denise (Merrit Wever). Sarita (Christian Serranos), Michonne (Danai Gurrira), and Glenn (Steve Yuen) chase after him.
That was bad.
I’m not just talking about the terrible, B-movie blood splatter that covers the screen at the end of the episode, but the entire episode itself.
First, let’s discuss the elephant in the room — is Daryl Dixon dead? He might be, but probably not.
The move to possibly kill off one of the longest running and most popular characters in series history is a bold one. And it would’ve been really shocking…IF YOU HADN’T ALREADY DONE IT THIS SEASON. (Sorry for the caps lock.) It’s kind of lame when you use a gimmick you’ve already employed this season, especially when it’s a gimmick that really pissed your fanbase off. Yes, the weeks of not revealing whether Glenn had died in order to further Rick’s puppy love for Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) or Carl (Chandler Riggs) pointlessly hanging out with Enid (Katelyn Nacon) really pissed a lot of people off. So sure, let’s do it again, right?
The whole thing seemed crowbarred in. If it had ended with Dwight and his buddy with guns drawn on Daryl and Rosita, and we fade to black — we’re all in. We’re ready. What’s going to happen? Instead we get this really poorly shot, blink and you miss it scene that recycles that aforementioned “Did this main character die?” gimmick. It seems like the series was either trying to make up for a lackluster penultimate episode, or they felt their show wasn’t getting enough buzz.
The big question is, why did we even need this scene? Did they really need to ramp us up for the finale that much? We’re all ready. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is finally going to debut as Negan — complete with leather jacket, and barbed wire baseball bat. How much more excited for this episode did we need to be?
Also, let’s talk about practicality for a moment. How in the world did Daryl, the ultimate tracker and hunter get caught so damn easily by Dwight? How does this dumb ass get the drop on Daryl every single time? The level of absurdity is almost nearing Wil E. Coyote/Road Runner status.
In fact, this entire episode was a head scratcher. Is everyone in Alexandria, that stupid and arrogant?
Why on earth would any of the leaders in town leave their city in the hands of the inexperienced and most expendable secondary characters? They’re all afraid of a Savior assault, so why would the best warriors recklessly head out to chase people down who don’t want to be reasoned with? Do you really feel that confident in Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam)? I don’t.
Let’s look back at this — they are all concerned about The Saviors, or someone else attacking them? So why does no one like Michonne think “Oh hey, I’ll stay behind, Glenn and Rosita can handle this?” Nope, just hop in the van and let’s roll.
Now this could be the Alexandrians showing their arrogance — this crew has defeated The Governor, crazy ex-cops, The Wolves, thousands of walkers; they’ve survived Terminus, the loss of Herschel’s farm, and they’ve already put a hurting on The Saviors. Or, maybe their humanity. They’re letting their emotions write checks their bodies will not be able to cash.
This works well to reinforce how dangerous Negan and The Saviors really are, and just how not prepared Rick and his crew are. However, it’s frustrating to watch. It just seems too forced, and too illogical. Why are so many people running after two of the most skilled killers in the group? If this were a child, a less than capable townsperson or even Maggie, I could see the mass hysteria. But Carol, and Daryl? They don’t need to send the best of the best to find them.
Overall, “East” was a pretty disappointing episode. Yes, there were some great moments with Carol wiping out those Saviors, and the exchange between Morgan and Rick. However, the rest was an exercise in frustration.
So, we move onto next week, for what should be a watershed moment in this series already rife with them.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10