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TV Review: The Walking Dead 8.14 “Still Gotta Mean Something”
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The Walking Dead episode 8.14 review

The Walking Dead
Episode 8.14 “Still Gotta Mean Something”
Directed by Michael Satrazemis
Written by Eddie Guzelian
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Christian Serratos, Tom Payne, Khary Payton, Austin Amelio, Alanna Masterson, Katelyn Nacon, Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, April 1, 2018

Warning – SPOILERS for AMC’s The Walking Dead…

On last week’s The Walking Dead episode, 8.13 “Do Not Send Us Astray,” Negan may have gone missing (currently taken captive by Jadis), but his plan to wound the Hilltoppers with infected weapons worked like a charm. As the Hilltop residents slept after the Simon-led Savior assault, the wounded died of their injuries and turned, killing several of their own people. During the chaos, young Henry confronted the Savior POWs demanding to know which one of them murdered his brother and in the process inadvertently set all the captives free. Some fled, while others, like Alden, stayed to pledge allegiance to the Hilltop and protect the gates, but the next morning, Henry is nowhere to be found.

This week, we finally get back to Negan and Jadis, as well as to what happened to those Saviors who escaped captivity. Plus, Carol and Morgan go out to look for Henry, while Rick once again avoids reading Carl’s letter to him – he has other plans in mind.

The episode begins with a flashback of the day that Simon and his group of Saviors ended up gunning down all of the Scavengers. We see that their leader Jadis survived by playing dead during the massacre, where one of the Saviors finds her body, spits on it, and says “You shouldn’t have played lady, it’s not your game.” Afterwards, we see her in her trailer, packing a suitcase and writing in her journal, with Negan’s barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille next to her bed. She then goes to her captive, Negan, who’s tied up and chained. “What the shit?!” he asks of her, because he still has no idea what happened there or why she’s doing this to him. As we know with Jadis, she’s a woman of few words.

Back at Hilltop, Tara is now one day post-injury and she never turned. She feels that Dwight shot her with a clean arrow to save her, but Daryl isn’t convinced. Tara says if he kills Dwight, it’s all on him; it’s not for her.

Inside, Michonne is reading her letter from Carl. This is when she learns that Rick hasn’t read his yet. Michonne understands because when she lost her own child, she felt she had to keep moving on. But it was Andrea who brought her “back” and helped her, and she wants to do that for Rick. But he says he “can’t.” While it might be too painful for him to read his son’s last words to him, chances are he “can’t” because Carl had wanted him to take a different path — one of peace. But Rick has something else in mind — war and retribution — which is likely why he’s avoiding that letter. He goes to Alden to find out where the escapees could have gone. Alden tells him of a bar not far from there that they had scouted as a possible outpost, and asks that Rick not kill any more of them than he has too. But it’s clear that Rick is off for revenge.

Nearby, King Ezekiel wants to go out to look for Henry, but Carol plans to stay behind. She thinks he’s already dead, so Ezekiel calls her a coward. Later, Morgan is preparing to leave to look for the escapees, so Carol decides to go with him.

Meanwhile, Daryl, Rosita, Laura, and Maggie think that the Saviors must be running low on ammno, but that they have their bullet maker — Eugene — so they make a plan to go to where they must be getting their bullet ingredients from.

At the Heapster pile, tied up Negan can smell the death in the air. He keeps asking what happened, but Jadis is silent. In an effort to get her to believe he had nothing to do with the death of her people (which is actually true), Negan stresses that he’s told her that people are a resource and he wouldn’t throw resources away. But he knows that he was indirectly responsible and for that he’s sorry. This sets her off, and she swings Lucille, stopping right in front of his face. Negan then reveals that he named the bat after his wife, who had gotten him through life. We know Negan’s a talker and a quick thinker, so as he continues to try to get Jadis to set him free, he also manages to grab a gun, a flare, and her photos. While this happens, Jadis’s alarm on her watch goes off and a helicopter flies overhead. Jadis tries to get its attention with a flare and calling to it, but it doesn’t work. This is the second time we’ve seen a helicopter fly over the Heap (we saw this first in a previous episode this season). This is also not the first time that Jadis’s watch alarm goes off in this episode. (What does this mean!?!?) Amazingly, she does set Negan free. He wants her to come back to the Sanctuary with him, but she’s going to stay behind. He stresses that it’s a standing offer and that he’ll check back with her again at a later date.

In the search for Henry, Morgan hallucinates a vision of the boy, and concludes that he must surely be dead. Carol realizes that Morgan is “off” and reveals that she only came along to keep an eye on her friend. She clearly believes that Henry didn’t make it either. Eventually, they come upon a walker with a stick in it — it’s Henry’s stick. That’s it for Morgan, he’s done. He tells Carol he’s not strong like her, and he doesn’t “save” like her. He “has to kill ’em.” Morgan sets off in the opposite direction, while Carol sticks to the path to look for Henry, whether he’s dead or alive.

While searching for the escaped Saviors, Rick sees a herd in the distance. This is when Morgan finds him, and right away, Rick knows something is wrong with his old friend. “I’m not right,” Morgan reveals. This isn’t the first time Rick has seen Morgan like this. They realize they are both out there to find the Saviors and put an end to them. Unfortunately, just then, they are attacked. It’s the escapees!

Rick comes to to find he and Morgan are tied up and being held by the former POWs, now led by Jared. Jared wants to kill the “dead weight” — their injured comrades — and deliver Rick (“Rick the Prick” to be exact) back to Negan. But the other men actually want to go back to the Hilltop, and don’t seem to want to kill their injured friends either. They don’t think there’s any place for them anymore at the Sanctuary, since Simon had forsaken them during the negotiations. Morgan readily admits that he came there to kill them all, but now he won’t have to when the herd that’s coming eats them all. Rick tries another tactic – he gives the men his word that they will all be safely brought back to Hilltop, healed by the doctors there, and integrated into their community. He stresses that a man’s word has got to mean something. Just then, the herd attacks!

Now, this herd attack leads to one of the most satisfying moments of the series — the death of that scumbag Jared — but also to one of the most disturbing ones too — Rick purposely going back on his word.

When the herd attacks, one of the men saves Rick from Jared! Once freed, Rick and Morgan fight alongside the Saviors. Another one then saves Rick. In turn, Morgan and Rick shockingly KILL their new allies! As one man lays dying, he asks Rick why he went back on his word when the men wanted to go back to Hilltop. “You gave us your word,” the man says, and Rick’s word has always meant something. “I lied,” Rick tells him before shooting him in the head. SERIOUSLY!?!?!??! I can’t believe this. I mean, I feel like this day would have come a lot sooner if we were looking at this scenario in real terms. But as for the show’s terms, Rick would never do something like that, especially when it was clear that these men were serious about wanting to be part of the Hilltop.

As for the satisfying moment, when the walkers come, Morgan and Jared are fighting, but Morgan manages to push his opponent into a group of undead and traps him behind a gate with them, and then holds the man in place so he can’t escape! As Jared screams, “Let go!” to Morgan, the walkers feast on him, finally giving him the death he so rightly deserves.

As Morgan and Rick go to leave, Morgan says “Everybody turns.” This prompts Rick to ask his friend why he had saved him when they first met. Morgan reveals that he saved Rick because he still had his son at the time. This is something Rick can relate to because he too tried to be a better man when his son was alive. You can see that these two men no longer have the restraint they did before when they were trying to be role models to their sons. Those days are over. This is why Rick is no longer a man of his word.

Driving back home, Negan comes across a familiar face on the road. Who? We don’t know. He opens the door for this person, basically telling them they look shittier than shit. When he arrives back at the Sanctuary, Negan appears to be alone in the car. There, he tells one of the guards, who’s happy to see him, to keep it quiet about this return for now because he has some surprises in store for people.

In the woods, Carol hears Henry’s cries — he’s been hiding but is found by some walkers — and she saves him! “I was wrong,” she says to him, “you could survive,” referring to the night of the attack on Hilltop where she told him that if he went outside he wouldn’t survive. She then brings him back to Hilltop, where Ezekiel is happy to see them. Carol then reveals to Ezekiel that she had had a daughter — the whole quest for Henry is reminiscent of the search for Sophia, which ended badly. And that after she lost Sophia, she lost herself, but the people she was with — Rick’s people — helped to bring her back. She feels like at any time she could be swept away again, but at least now she knows that if that ever happened, she could find herself again. As she says this, they are holding hands and he takes back what he had said earlier about her being a coward. Then Morgan and Rick return. Morgan tells Henry that he killed the men responsible for his brother’s murder. “I’m sorry,” Henry tells him, realizing the burden that was. “No,” Morgan responds, “don’t ever be sorry.”

Rick, though, stops for no one, including Alden, who he looks right at as he walks passed, and he goes inside.

The episode ends with everyone in tears: Jadis crying in her pristine trailer, while Morgan is crying at the Hilltop. Rick is teary-eyed in his room, holding Carl’s letter. When Michonne comes in, he tells her “I’m sorry,” and she tells him he doesn’t have to be. They say “I love you” to one another and kiss. She then leaves the room, so that Rick can read the letter.

Oh, wait, NOT in tears are Rosita and Daryl, who have made their way to the munitions factory. They’re planning on what to do when Rosita says, “We don’t take out the machines, we take out the man,” meaning Eugene, the brains behind the operation. And let me tell you, Eugene’s eventual death is going to be great, too.

Wow wow wow! I’m still really upset about Rick. For 8 seasons, I’ve been saying that Rick is the best character and he can do no wrong in my eyes. But tonight, he was just plain wrong. There was no reason for him to kill those men, aside from Jared. (As I’ve said before, Jared shouldn’t have even been a POW; he should have been killed immediately.) His son repeatedly try to show him that peace and truce were the way, and lost his life in the pursuit of this lifestyle, but Rick is hellbent on revenge. So much so that he went from being an honest, trustworthy man, to not only going back on his word, but actually turning his back on and killing the men who had saved him. Wow. Rick, please redeem yourself really soon!

Video

‘Still Gotta Mean Something’ Official Sneak Peek Ep. 814 | The Walking Dead


Next on The Walking Dead.

‘Fighting a War with No Ammo’ Ep. 814 | The Walking Dead


Daryl and Rosita devise a strategy to fight the Saviors without ammo.

[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC. Courtesy of AMC. Used with permission.]

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