The Walking Dead: Dead or Alive Or
March 13, 2018 12:42 PM - Season 8, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Daryl finds himself in bad company as his group heads to the Hilltop; Gabriel's faith gets tested.
posted by Happy Dave (13 comments total)
Well, I wasn't precisely into it but I didn't precisely hate it either.

"Boy, I sure hope we don't get much Rick in this episode." (one finger of the monkey's paw curls closed as Gabriel appears on the screen)

I'm not sure where they're headed with the Gabriel plot. Up until this point his only useful skill has been having two working eyes, and now they've taken that away from him. Part of me hopes that the conclusion of his arc is finding contentment and purpose in his new role as shell casing sorter for the Negan organization.

I laughed out loud when Siddiq said that he has some medical training. Of course you do, dude. Of course you do.

Henry has been Carl's understudy for the role of "sullen boy with terrible haircut". It's finally Henry’s turn to shine! I think that I'd be more annoyed at Henry's sudden elevation but they had Carol talking to him this episode. That's typically a death sentence for anyone under the age of majority.

Tara is my favorite TWD character and sad Tara makes me sad. I'd be more patient with her grieving if this show didn't always portray grief as making people stupid.

As usual the zombie effects in this episode were top notch.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:57 PM on March 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

I liked this more than the previous two because yeah, no Rick.

It was kinda blink-and-you-miss-it and I think I blinked at the wrong moment: the doctor shot himself rather than be recaptured by the Saviors, was that it?

Also: for all Negan's "I'm gonna get the whole story out of 'em" bluster, he was apparently convinced -- off-screen -- by Gabriel's "the doctor let me out" story. I suspect we're still slowly working our way towards Eugene's redemption.

Zombie blood as bioweapon is repulsive but:

(a) Have we ever actually seen zombies bleed before? Haven't they always been either mushy-and-rotten or dry-and-sticklike? They don't appear to still have respiration -- they survive underwater -- so why would they still have circulation?
(b) Everyone on the show is constantly dispatching zombies messily and at close range; surely they all get thoroughly spattered with zombie drippings all the time?
(c) How does this play against the we're-already-all-infected that's-why-we-turn-when-we-die business? If anything, this re-raises the question: what's so specially fatal about zombie bites?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:31 PM on March 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Although I guess Gabriel becoming ill after using the "rub zombie guts on yourself" ruse -- despite this having been used before by other characters with no ill-effects -- has done some setting up for "you don't want to get this stuff on you".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:35 PM on March 13, 2018

I LOVED this episode. More later.
posted by agregoli at 5:22 AM on March 14, 2018

It was kinda blink-and-you-miss-it and I think I blinked at the wrong moment: the doctor shot himself rather than be recaptured by the Saviors, was that it?

No, the doctor saw an opportunity to grab a Savior's gun and went for it, only to be shot by another Savior.
posted by agregoli at 5:24 AM on March 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I went back and watched the doctor's death again and got the impression that he shot himself.

Negan's guts plan doesn't make much sense to me either. Maybe he has plans to somehow injure people and infect them without killing them outright? I think that was the gist of the preview for next week.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:21 AM on March 14, 2018

He did not shoot himself. The dialogue of the Saviors right after tells you this. One yells at the other something like what are you doing, that's the doctor.
posted by agregoli at 8:23 AM on March 14, 2018

I believe they may be positioning Daryl as the new leader of the group, with Rick headed towards death. I liked how he censored his yelling once he saw Judith becoming upset. He's leading the people to safety, and I LOVE any action in the woods/swamp so this is a great situation to place him in.

Tara, the murderer! I really enjoyed them giving her some agency and decision-making towards wanting to kill Dwight (And she sure did try to work up the nerve). Between that and in the previous episode, Carol telling a man to "take a walk" and he listens, I'm still struck by how this show manages to mostly treat men and women as equals. I'm very interested in how Dwight's story will be resolved.

I never originally liked Tara that much but I'm very invested in her story now (Although I keep wondering where Heath went to, or if they'll bring him up again - for those who don't remember, Heath was yet another black character with dreads that was along with her before she met the Oceanside people - he was disappeared, but not shown to be dead, so we can assume TWD will bring him back up at some point.) No one who disappears without dying has ever not resurfaced. I feel like there might be one example but I'm not thinking of it right now.

Maggie they keep really silent these days. She SHOULD take Carl's death really hard, considering she helped save his life in the first place. But I'm sure they'll keep her impassive and strange. I have seen some fuss online about how she killed that Savior and how it looked like it upset her a lot but I disagree completely - no one remembers that way back at Woodbury, Maggie shived a man's neck with a walker arm bone and they never said another word about it. She wasn't upset! She also killed people at Woodbury later, and perhaps more at the prison. It's not like that Savior was her first kill.

Eugene is finally at the machine shop (his name appears at the machine shop in the opening credits, so I feel he is now where he belongs - which is echoed in the very dialogue). Which means, his days are numbered. Dwight told him back in the earlier half of the season, "You don't have blood on your hands yet, but that's coming." And that Negan would eventually make him a head of an outpost. So we know with the foreshadowing that he probably has some "dramatic" days ahead.

Loved how it played out with Dr. Carson and Gabriel. TWD has been pretty careful about riding that religious/non-religious line, and this was a perfect example. People who want to can buy into the fact that Gabriel is still with us and god is in control. People who want to feel that slam of no hope in the show, well - it's wide open for that. Not sure if they're going to allow Gabriel and/or Eugene to redeem themselves in the end, but they're together, which is a potentially interesting set-up.

Eugene's "psych ops" plan for flinging guts with catapults excites me greatly for the special effects wonder of it. The point is, large amounts of walker blood raining down from the sky is sure to get in some people's eyes and mouths - thereby infecting them and getting them to "join the club," as Negan puts it. However, Eugene didn't really suggest that part would work - he was only saying that having walker guts catapulted at you is super scary and unexpected and will help take The Hilltop off-guard.

For We had a deal, Kyle: (a) We've absolutely seen zombies bleed before - many, many times. They are not always dry. (b) Yes, everyone is splashed with zombie guts all the time, even getting some on their faces, and they've been fine. We don't know if Negan's plan will result in any zombie conversions. Regardless, this is the kind of detail to ignore - we have to assume no one got enough zombie stuff in their eyes or mouths to turn, because...they didn't turn. (c) The show's zombie rules have always been consistent. You turn when you die, unless you get bit - then you get a fever and die and turn. We don't know why, but they've kept these rules consistent throughout every season.
posted by agregoli at 9:07 AM on March 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I believe they may be positioning Daryl as the new leader of the group, with Rick headed towards death.

Yeah. I suspect also that all of Rick's "I'mgonnaKILLYOU" growlings have been a feint by the show: that it's not going to be Rick that takes out Negan, it's going to be one of his lieutenants. Either Dwight getting revenge, or Simon staging a coup.

We have to assume no one got enough zombie stuff in their eyes or mouths to turn, because...they didn't turn.

Well, yeah, fair enough, but that's annoying "convenient for us" showrunner logic that allows them to have it both ways: zombies are infectious plus they get to kill zombies in increasingly over-the-top-messy ways.

Catapults did feel like a very suitably Eugene-y suggestion, though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:31 AM on March 14, 2018

It struck me how much like a bunch of video game levels this felt, as I was watching it.

There was the escort quest, where you had to clear a zombie-infested swamp to get your NPCs to the safe zone.

There was the point n' click adventure game, where you had to find what you needed in the deserted cabin. But then Gabriel failed the quicktime event to save the doctor by stopping him going for the gun, and he was proper gutted because he hadn't saved in ages and he didn't want to have to go through all those clicks again.

And of course there was Negan, unlocking Zombie Baseball Bat in his tech tree. All he needs to do now is grind for a little more XP and he'll get Zombie Bullets and Zombie Grenades and he can finally zerg rush Alexandria and Hilltop with a bunch of basic infantry that he's upgraded.

And Eugene's playing some weird, fucked up mashup of Bullet Factory Simulator and one of those Japanese graphic novel games with super questionable politics where you have to 'charm' potential girlfriends.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:53 AM on March 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

So AMC announced the finale of this season and the start of Fear will be televised AND shown in theatres, which makes me think they might be killing off a veerrrry important central character......
posted by agregoli at 9:58 AM on March 16, 2018

Eugene's brainstorms are awfully selective. Why isn't someone making mortars? There were no machine shops in the 1600s. Why aren't we seeing WWI style fortifications? Seems like a trench filled with burning diesel is a pretty good catch-all solution given what we've been shown of how walkers react to fire....

I should note that I took a break from the show after S5, so I've been catching up and marathonning it really doesn't do it many favors. Like for a while it was impossible for Negan to appear on the screen without saying "badass," and the pattern in which characters are paired off to disagree about How We Live, suffer Bad Shit, and then swap positions gets really old.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:28 AM on May 14, 2018

Make that the 1400s.

Or, given that this is the South, maybe coehorns:

Coehorn-type mortars of approximately 180 pounds (82 kg) weight were used by both sides during the American Civil War. At the Siege of Vicksburg, General US Grant reported making such mortars "by taking logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six- or twelve-pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands. These answered as coehorns, and shells were successfully thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy.

But the way the writers do it, we're more likely to encounter someone who's raided a Civil War museum. I'm surprised (but also a bit relieved) that we haven't seen self-styled Confederates yet.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:34 AM on May 14, 2018

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