The Walking Dead “Say Yes” was written by Matthew Negrete and was directed by Greg Nicotero, which was expected given the terrific walker featured in the episode – and the walker essentially exploding all over Rosita (Christian Serratos). The heart of this episode – as it is the heart of our group – is the away mission of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). These two have incredible chemistry and are really a super couple in every sense of the words.
The episode begins with a terrific montage of Rick and Michonne on their road trip, kicking ass and taking names – though very little in the way of guns and food, and having a lot of what looks like very uncomfortable sex in that van. I loved that this sequence played out with only music and no other sounds – until the two talk. Michonne thanks Rick for keeping watch. It’s not your typical couple’s breakfast. Michonne asks “are we going to win today?” And Rick answers “yes.” It’s the first reference to the title which plays out throughout each story thread. The two are good on their own, but together they support and reinforce each other, making them great. And possibly invincible?
They might not have a lot to show for their trip, but Michonne is still smiling – “because we’re fighting the fight. It’s better.” But that isn’t entirely what’s making her happy. It’s fighting the fight with Rick. And then the two of them come upon two guys playing golf. It’s so random and almost normal – and out of left field – with no explanation. Do they talk to them or just back away? We may never know… Did they trade for the pretzels and batteries or just take them?
Michonne is eager to get back, but Rick wants just a little more time. Michonne assures him that they don’t have to find all of the guns all at once – they’ve got time. But Rick wants to stay out. Ironically, I think they both really want the same thing here – safety and distance from the actual fight/war that is coming. They both want time to enjoy themselves. For Rick, he also wants some freedom from the burdens of being leader. I loved that we actually get to see moth of them smiling for a change.
While Michonne and Rick grow even closer, Rosita is busy pushing everyone away, bent on exacting her revenge. When Tara (Alanna Masterson) comes to her, she’s already removed her own stitches – and that’s a badass scar – that looks like the trail of a tear…
Tara tries to be upbeat and reassure Rosita that it will all work out. But Rosita is still in the depths of despair, and it begins to become obvious that there’s no way to pull her out of this self-destructive downward spiral – she’s just going to continue pulling more people into it. Rosita doesn’t care about the scar because she has no intention of living with it for long.
I liked how Rick falls asleep while Michonne is driving – like any colicky child. It’s a nice symbol of the mother role she also plays for him, providing security and comfort. While she waits for him to wake up, she spots a deer – and deer are always highly symbolic in this show. Rick remembers that he owes her a deer – from before – when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) took the last one that she shot (by accident, remember!). In that instance, he sacrificed the deer to save everyone – and he’ll do the same thing later in the episode – only this time, he’ll sacrifice the deer to save himself – and he still owes her that deer…
In this case, the deer once again saves all of them because it leads Rick and Michonne to the carnival – or fair? And they hit the jackpot. Michonne says “something serious happened here. A long time ago.” And they’ll never likely know what it was. There was some kind of fight – maybe with walkers or people, but the important thing is that they’ve found “it.”
Michonne is still a terrible shot – but it’s hilarious when she shoots the target in the shooting gallery – was she aiming for it? Maybe her aim is actually improving. I loved the two of them falling through the roof, and we’re so conditioned to expect the worst, that it’s awesome just hearing Michonne’s laughter.
Michonne sees it as a sign that they land on a gigantic mattress – and for once, I’m happy to ignore why that’s even there. We get some truly lovely pastoral shots of the fair as the sun sets – but of course with a Walking Dead twist of walkers wandering around the fair.
Not only do they hit the jackpot with guns, they also hit the jackpot with food. I loved the two simply gorging on what they’ve found as they make plans for the future. Michonne makes it sound so easy! Kill the walkers for their guns, coordinate with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), and defeat Negan – and anyone else who gets in their way. But then, she asks the hard question – what then?
Rick’s answer is “we keep going.” Let’s not forget, at the end of the day, Rick began as a simple Sheriff’s Deputy – and he’s been through so much, he’s still thinking one day at a time. Michonne makes the point that Negan has re-ordered the world the way he wants it. Killing Negan leaves a void. How is the world to be ordered after that? I loved how she gently guided him through this process about considered what will need to be done. Rick sees the individual communities continuing to be autonomous, but working together – Michonne points out that someone needs to make that happen. And at this point, let’s think about Jadis and her people – they take, they don’t do. What is their place going to be going forward once they are armed to the teeth? Don’t they pose the same problem as Negan?
Michonne wants Rick to be in charge, but Rick doesn’t want to. Michonne is sure that he’d be good at it, if he wanted it. Rick wants to do it together – he wants that… and I loved how much like a schoolboy he is when he adds “if it’s something you wanted…” And the smile she gives him in return, is really the only answer he needed. Am I alone in drinking in every one of their smiles in this episode?
Rick still wants to take his time in getting things done – but Michonne still thinks they should get back. He tries to distract her with chili-mac and cheese… together! And then we see that Rick is not sleeping – even when he doesn’t have to keep watch.
Rick and Michonne get to work gathering the guns. I loved how he divided the walkers – and it really didn’t seem too chivalrous to leave her eight! But I also loved how it didn’t worry him at all – he knew she could handle it. In yet another, super gruesome gag, Rick pulls apart the walker stuck in the windshield of the car he needs to block the exit.
But of course, things finally fall apart – the brakes don’t work, and then one of the walker’s gun starts going off – almost shooting Michonne and calling all the other walkers. They overshoot – but Michonne – from the trunk – assures Rick that it was still a great plan!
Rick and Michonne escape from the car but are still surrounded and on the run. In a nice parallel to the beginning montage, the music comes back up as they fight – only this time we hear the walkers too and some faint carnival music as the two fight – one at the slide, and one at the ferris wheel. Rick is once again distracted by the deer. Rick’s view of the deer is possibly the worst matting in of a deer ever. Rick hesitates to kill the deer because if he does, the walkers will get it.
When the ferris wheel breaks, Rick falls right in the middle of the walkers. We hear his gunshots – as does Michonne. She runs to his aid, only to see the walkers gorging on what she thinks is Rick – and again, the music comes up as Michonne is in shock. She stares disbelieving and drops her katana! It’s proof positive of just how much she loves Rick – a dangerous emotion in the apocalypse – but also a clear indication of how much she has committed to their shared vision.
But the walkers aren’t eating Rick. He’s sacrificed the deer to save himself. I think what may possibly be one of my all time favorite shots in the series is Rick throwing Michonne her katana and the change on Michonne’s face as she realizes what’s going on, she is immediately back in survival mode – and then flings herself into Rick’s arms.
The two finish picking up the guns. It becomes clear that whatever happened, a lot of the people did get headshots because of how decayed the bodies are lying around the field. Michonne takes a moment while gathering the guns, with Rick watching, to gather herself – she’s clearly thinking how nearly both she and more importantly Rick almost added to the untold story of this field.
There’s no more reason to stay out, but Rick stops the van to tell Michonne that he would have liked to stay out a few more days. He can see that she’s still troubled. He admits that he hasn’t been sleeping, thinking about what – and who – they lost. I loved that we finally get some insight into just how much Glenn’s death has affected Rick – he tells Michonne, that Glenn saved him right at the start.
Rick knows it’s normal to feel the way he does. They went through something – and he’s referring to Negan and what just happened to the two of them. It’s his turn to be the cheerleader and support Michonne – and it’s another wonderful illustration of how much the two work as a perfect team. He tells her that what happens next is they win, but they will lose people – maybe even each other. But even then it will be worth it.
Gurira and Lincoln are both simply terrific in this scene. Michonne tells Rick that she can’t lose him, but he insists that the kind of life they had just surrendering wasn’t life. The two are warriors – they have to fight the fight. That’s living. Rick tells her that he can lose her – and I actually believe that he’s finally gotten to a place where he could go through that trauma again – and he tells her that she can lose him. They have to fight for the people they love – it’s about a future, it’s not about them any more. If something happens to Rick, Michonne has to lead the others forward. And she wants to know how he knows: “Because you lead me here.” He’s said yes to her and the future.
While Rick and Michonne hit the jackpot, Rosita gets covered in gore – and attacked by one of the grossest walkers yet, only to come up with a squirt gun. Rosita then goes to Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and tries to blame him for her own actions. Gilliam is fantastic in this scene.
Gabriel takes her abuse and doesn’t rise to the bait. He tells her that it’s easier being dead, and he still maintains that they need Rosita. He can live with being responsible for her still being alive – and truly, that’s all he’s responsible for. Olivia, Spencer, and Eugene are all on her. He agrees that he decided to meddle – but now that she has a life, what is she going to do with it? And I think this is one of the best lines the show has ever delivered: “Anything is possible until your heart stops beating.” Undeniably true, and something he’s clearly embraced himself.
Alanna Masterson has perhaps her best scene to date in the show as she thinks out loud while looking after Judith – who’s gotten so big!! This child is adorable! Judith wants the shell bracelet that Tara got from Cyndie at Oceanside. Tara talks through her moral dilemma. Cyndie put her ass on the line to save her and she swore an oath – but they have the guns that could save everyone from Negan, and don’t they also have a vested interest in avenging their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands? But saving someone has to count for something – especially now when it seems everyone is simply looking out for themselves.
Tara is sure that if she tells anyone, it will end in a huge fight. Oceanside wants to hide. They don’t want to fight, so they’ll fight them. Tara muses “What makes our life worth more than theirs? Because we want to stop the people who are hurting us because they will hurt other people?” I was really wishing that Tara might go to Gabriel for guidance…
Rick and the group take the guns to Jadis – and she says no. So not on the page of the title! Jadis points out that there are twice as many of them as there are guns. She’s actually not wrong. She says the deal is still on, but they’re taking all the guns. Jadis tries to play hardball, and Rick is having none of it. Instead of beating him down from 10 guns and demanding the cat back, Rick makes her say yes to his group taking 20 guns and keeping the cat!
Michonne tells Rick that the upside is that he gets a few more days before what comes next. She recognizes, finally, that his reluctance is all about having to face losing more of his friends, family, and maybe even her. She plays cheerleader again – they’ll get there.
The episode ends with Tara ready to tell Rick about Oceanside. She’s saying yes to her own group.
In the final scene, Rosita goes to Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). She doesn’t even have to ask before she gets a yes. She’s brought Sasha a high-powered rifle, and we know that Sasha is an excellent shot. Sasha’s only demand is that she gets to take a shot – Rosita’s turn to say yes. The two both of them agree that it’s a one-way ticket and they both say yes anyway.
This was a terrific episode. In many ways, even with all the action in it, it felt like a bit of breathing space from the headlong action of the season. Rick and Michonne became even closer and more solidified as leaders and partners. I think that Rick will respect Tara’s wishes – they could send an all-female party to negotiate lead by Michonne perhaps? But is a bloodless confrontation with Oceanside really a possibility? I have to say that I am so over Rosita and Sasha’s selfish need to avenge their own guilt. I’m not going to be terribly sad if they both become casualties at this point.
I loved the structure of this episode and the theme of the title running through it. I also liked the musing on what it means to be alive and what that means going forward. Lot of great walker action too! What did you think of the episode? Can Jadis be trusted? What will happen with Oceanside? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!