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The Walking Dead - Time For After - Review



The Walking Dead “Time for After” was written by the team of Matthew Negrete and Corey Reed and was directed by Larry Teng, whose other credits include NCIS: Los Angeles, Hawaii Five-O, Elementary, Criminal Minds and Animal Kingdom – so he knows action! If last week saw Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) looking a bit rusty, this week showed that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is still very much at the top of his game – even though he is looking for a more peaceful solution. However, the real focus of this episode is Eugene (Josh McDermitt). I think we’re all hoping for him to do the right thing – as Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) urges, but it looks like he is planning to remain a coward.

The episode begins where we left off with Rick – only mostly naked – in the shipping container. Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) has the door opened. Rick makes her the same offer – bold talk from a mostly naked, tied up man! – join them or die. Jadis takes her own photos and has a sketch artist drawing Rick as well. She’s wearing his gun belt and boots. He wants to know why – and she tells him to sculpt him… after. Let’s not forget that last week she was sculpting Shiva.

At the Sancturary, Eugene is tormented about what to do. He pulls out an old composition ledger to try and solidify his position. What he knows, what he knows he doesn’t know, and “things I am unaware of wholly.” I wonder how the last two really differ and how he can list things he is completely unaware of! In order to start filling in the columns, he pays a visit to Dwight (Austin Amelio).

We get a shot of the angel wings on Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) vest as Dwight opens the door. And it’s interesting just how much this episode underscores how Daryl and Dwight’s roles have reversed. Daryl doesn’t care who gets hurt as long as he gets his revenge, but Dwight is still trying to mitigate casualties. Eugene doesn’t mince words – he tells Dwight he knows he’s the “fifth columnist.” Eugene gives Dwight a choice – stop, and he won’t tell Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or the others.

Dwight pushes Eugene back into a chair and tells him that Negan and the Sanctuary are finished. Dwight tells Eugene that all he has to do to be on the winning side is stand down and wait. Let it play out. He asks Eugene if he can do that. He reminds Eugene that he’s seen what goes on there – and I loved that he gets his own burned face right in Eugene’s face as he reminds him of the smell of burning skin. He’s inches from Eugene’s face as he tells him that he may not have blood on his hands yet, but once he does those things – and he will soon – he’ll become those things. It’s an astute demonstration of how they all become Negan.

Eugene tells Dwight that he thinks about saving people. He stands and tells him that he is Negan. They are both saviors. They save. So, is Eugene doing a cost analysis of which way will save the most lives? Unlikely. Eugene will always place his own life far above any number of other lives. Eugene leaves with the same offer. Stop the cloak and dagger. He’ll remain silent as long as no one inside the Sanctuary is harmed.

Eugene continues his assessment by visiting the floor. They’ve barred the door, but the walkers are still out there. He asks Laura (Lindsley Register) what she thinks. She tells him food and water are low. They’ll have maybe a day or two.

Eugene continues but is called in to sit with Gabriel by Dr Carter (R Keith Harris). He tells him that Gabriel is getting worse. He has a virus that is attacking his organs. Carter bemoans the fact that they have no medicine – and doesn’t that seem unlikely? Didn’t Negan stockpile everything there? Eugene thinks it’s Gabriel’s own fault for helping to trap them in there. Carter leaves Eugene to sit with Gabriel while he goes to the market to see if he can at least get some herbal remedies. When Carter says it would be nice for him to sit with his friend, Eugene clarifies that they were simply travelling companions. And that is clearly another way that he justifies what he does.

Eugene is clearly uncomfortable being left alone with Gabriel. Gabriel wakes and jokes that Eugene looks worse than he does. Eugene tells him that he looks like a potato and shit casserole. Gabriel laughs and tells him to sit down. Eugene watches for way longer than he should as Gabriel struggles to get a glass of water. Gabriel wants to know if Eugene is going to help get the doctor out. Interestingly, Eugene makes a reference to the guts that landed Gabriel in his current piss-poor condition. We’ve never heard of someone getting sick from being covered in guts before. Is this an inevitable progression as the walkers become further and further decayed? Is it an offshoot of the ones that have been exposed to various chemicals etc? Regardless, it’s a good reason not to use that tactic all the time.

Eugene uses the walkers as his excuse that an escape attempt isn’t possible right now. Eugene is more honest with Gabriel than we’ve heard him be. Is it because he thinks Gabriel is dying? He tells Gabriel that he is a small person who does not stick his neck out for anyone. Gabriel tell him: “All I want is for you to do the right thing.” And Eugene wants to know what that is exactly.

Eugene tells him that right for some is downright horrific for others. Making the right choice – to stay alive – has kept him alive. Gabriel tells him that it requires faith, trusting yourself, believing that God is inside you, guiding you and knowing that he has a plan for all of them. He asks Eugene if that’s so hard – and Eugene says it’s absurd. Gabriel asks is it? He reminds Eugene that he’s a man of science and not too long ago, it was thought absurd that the dead would walk again.

Gabriel takes Eugene’s hand and leans into him. He tells him it’s not so impossible to believe that Eugene will know what the right thing is when the time comes. And then, he’ll act. Eugene is clearly moved – or troubled – and he looks at his hand. It’s the hand with the red paint on it. Perhaps he’s already done the right thing by not acting and giving up Dwight – or perhaps the right thing is to give up Dwight. There is still no clear answer for Eugene.

We finally see where Morgan (Lennie James) went. He’s one of the snipers watching the Sanctuary. He recognizes the garbage truck when it arrives. It’s been revealed that James is the cast member being sacrificed in an attempt to save Fear the Walking Dead. It’s possibly the stupidest thing they could have done. Particularly in light of the information we learned about Negan believing his greatest weakness was in not being able to put down his wife when she turned – Morgan is the character with the most in common with him. I want to see THEM interact! Not to mention how special Morgan is to Rick’s entire storyarc. My big hope here is that when Fear ultimately dies, they haven’t killed Morgan off and he comes back to Alexandria.

Tanya (Chloe Aktas) arrives with a bottle of alcohol to trade for Eugene fixing her boom box. She’s pissed off he hasn’t finished it – the bottle was the second payment, due on completion, and we learn that Eugene’s conscience has been bothering him enough to keep him from sleeping. Eugene is shocked that she’s expected him to finish something so trivial when they are trapped and on the brink of destruction, but she tells him that her situation hasn’t changed. She’s always been trapped there. She’s already a prisoner living on borrowed time.

Tanya recognizes the need for help sleeping. Eugene doesn’t even understand why she thinks she understands. But she understands the guilt that comes with taking care of you and not trying to take out the problem. Eugene is horrified, but recognizes the truth in what she says.

Daryl and Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) plan is to crash the truck into the side of the building and let the walkers in. Rosita (Christian Serratos) wants to know that they’re sure that the workers will be able to get to safety. Daryl says they’ll be on the other side of the building. Daryl is sure that this will make them surrender. Morgan tells them that he and the other snipers are with them. They’ll keep them covered. He wants it done.

Rosita sides with Michonne’s concern that it’s risky. Why can’t they just wait it out? And it’s nice to see Rosita back on the side of the sane! Tara, however, insists that the attempt to lure the walkers away with music was something that almost did go wrong – and something else could happen. Of course, they could stop that too… Daryl insists that they don’t have the numbers anymore without the Kingdom to fight.

Rosita reminds them that that is why Rick is talking to the Scavengers. Tara doesn’t want to believe them – they turned on them before and that is a fair point, especially given Rick’s current position. And this also brings up the point that these asshats should be rescuing Rick, not screwing up his careful plan! Rosita – and I loved her for this – tells them that she believes in Rick Grimes!

Tara is the one completely off the rails suddenly, and I do have a bone to pick with the writers. Why do we need characters suddenly losing their good sense and becoming bloodthirsty and stupid? I get that Tara wants revenge for Denise – but she was sensible for so long! She honored her promise to Oceanside – and now she’s angry at herself for doing so? I will concede that Tara has never been the smartest survivor.

Rosita refuses to help them. Morgan gives her a car to get home. Michonne tells her that she’s going to stay and see it started. And again, Rosita is the voice of reason. She asks her if she thinks it’s easier to come out there and risk than to stay at home and wait. Rosita used to think that too, but sometimes you just don’t get to know. You have to wait. And Rosita admits that her change of heart came with watching Sasha walk out of the coffin. She has seen the result of her own impulsive behavior – and Rosita’s change of perspective was exceptionally well written and acted.

Negan meets one on one with Eugene. He tells him that people will die. Not him, because he’s too good at surviving. And it feels like an echo of what Eugene told Gabriel, and in this way, Eugene truly is Negan. Neither of them really care who else dies as long as it’s not them. But Negan doesn’t want to see people get killed. Negan tells Eugene that he’s strong – his brain is strong. Eugene insists that they are utterly on the same page.

It’s hilarious when Negan extends his hand to Eugene, and he has no idea how to respond, so he goes to kiss it! Eugene is ready to treat Negan as his sovereign and remain completely submissive. But Negan is offering his hand to shake – a gesture that one extends in mutual respect. Negan tells him to stand up and shakes his hand. Negan underscores to Eugene that not many people earn a handshake from him. The look and smile on Negan’s face after Eugene says there’s work to do seems to indicate that Negan knew that Eugene was wavering in his purpose. He needed to bring him back to belief in the Saviors and offering him the respect he never got from Rick and the group is a tactic to do it.

Eugene goes to work – but he doesn’t fix the boom box, instead he rips it apart and goes scavenging. He’s building a droid and putting music on it – including the iPod he gave to Sasha for inside the coffin. He too is thinking of Sasha. But he goes ahead anyway. He chooses to help save Saviors by luring the walkers away from the building.

Tara gets out of the truck to provide cover for Daryl. Michonne hesitates to get out. She tells Daryl that she came because she needed to see that it was going to work. She echoes what Rosita told her – none of them get to know that. There’s always risk. She does know that things are working now. They need to trust that that things are going to keep working.

Michonne tells Daryl that what they’re about to do isn’t worth risking us. Daryl clearly struggles with what she says, but he tells her that the risk is worth it to him. Michonne tells him she just can’t, and Daryl understands. He tells her that she shouldn’t. Reedus and Gurira are both terrific in this scene. I have to say that I’ve never been angrier at Daryl. He’s doing exactly the same thing that got Glenn killed. Tara tells him that they can do it and Daryl says they will, but he doesn’t look quite as convinced.

Eugene continues his scientific method by recording his process, but Dwight arrives just as he’s about to launch. Dwight holds a gun on Eugene and tells him to back away from the drone. Eugene tells Dwight that he’s trying to save people and many will die if he kills him. The drone will lead the walkers away and free them. And Dwight points out that Negan will then kill Rick and Daryl and Rosita and all his old friends. Eugene insists that they are former travelling companions, nothing more. Dwight insists that he’s working with them to save everyone – they only want to get rid of Negan.

But that’s exactly the one person who Eugene doesn’t want to die. He’s the one person that Eugene can trust (Really, Eugene????) to keep him alive and give him respect. Dwight pleads that they are almost there. Eugene insists that Negan isn’t the dying type, and Dwight points out that Eugene is. Eugene doesn’t disagree, but he does explain his choices to Dwight. 1. He doesn’t free the Sanctuary and Negan executes him as a personal favor (so Eugene isn’t bitten or die of starvation or watch the others die). 2. Takes his chance being shot in the back. Eugene accepts his fate and launches the drone. And Dwight can’t shoot him! But he does shoot the drone.

And it’s at that moment that Daryl and the others begin their attack. Daryl jumps out of the truck just as it reaches the herd. They breach the door and the walkers pour in. There are workers there, and many are killed. Regina (Traci Dinwiddie) holds the walkers back as long as she can, but they go through a lot of ammunition. Eugene watches terrified, but a fire is ignited within him – now he’s furious. And here’s one of those consequences that Daryl and Tara could not have known about.

Eugene goes to Gabriel and tells him flat out that he’ll never be a part of his plan. He tells Gabriel that he and Sasha made their choices – what most will consider the right thing – but they’ll both be dead soon. He tells Gabriel that he’s fine with doing whatever he has to in order to insure that he stays safe and alive. He will be Negan, he won’t cover for anyone, and he’ll make sure that Carter stays right there in case he needs him! It’s his biological imperative to stay alive and it’s all he knows how to do.

Eugene goes to Negan and promises that he can fill Negan’s guns back up. Negan asks Eugene if he realizes the shit storm he’s planning to unleash on Rick, and Eugene is fully aware. Negan asks Eugene how it feels to be the second most important person there and to be about to save lives. Eugene is clearly completely sincere when he says “great” – right after he’s condemned his friends to die horribly. I thought that was it for any hope of Eugene redeeming himself. He tells Negan he has one more problem solved, and I was sure he was about to give up Dwight. However, there’s a knock on the door.

The lieutenants file in and Negan tells them that Eugene has a way out for them – and a topper. Dwight says “yeah?” – and Amelio also has to get a special mention for how good he is in this episode. It’s clear by that one word that he’s prepared for Eugene to give him up – but Eugene doesn’t. Would he have done it if he didn’t have to face Dwight while he sealed his death warrant? I suspect he would have with no hesitation. Instead though, with Dwight right there, Eugene lamely says that he can fix the intercom system.

Eugene sits in his room and listens while the Saviors shoot everything in their path. Eugene does still have a conscience. McDermitt is fabulous in this final scene as he forgoes his usual shot of alcohol in favor of chugging the entire bottle to try to numb the pain of his guilty conscience.

The episode returns to the junkyard. Rick is once again removed from his container and this time brought before Jadis. She arrives with a replacement for Spike and tells Rick that it’s time for after. But there’s no way that Rick is ready for after. This was yet another spectacular sequence. The walker has a metal helmet and is on a pole with a noose. He can’t be killed, but he can be held while he bites someone. Rick takes out the guy holding him and then uses the pole on the walker as a weapon until he can rip the walker’s head off!!!

Jadis simply watches while the fight progresses. Rick gets to her before she can use her gun on him – and gets her down and face to face with the head. Rick tells the others who have rushed in to help that he’s walking out of there now. He tells them that his walking out means that they will die. His walking out means his people will attack – no today, but soon, so maybe they should just run. Jadis makes a fist to tell her people to stand down. She says she’s done, and he helps her up.

Jadis asks what happens if they join him. He tells her to meet them at the Sanctuary. They’ll ask the lieutenants to surrender, and then he – alone – will kill Negan. Jadis wants all of the Saviors things. Then she says ½. Rick insists a fourth. She wants him to let her sculpt him after – naked. Rick refuses – and suddenly he’s talking in the clipped spare way they do. “These. Off. No sculpting. My boots and my clothes. Now.” Jadis agrees to his terms.

The last scene is Rick arriving at the Sanctuary with Jadis and a truck load of Scavengers to fine one of his lookouts dead – and no snipers answering. The walkers are dead – and Negan is gone from the Sanctuary. The last close up of Rick’s face makes it clear that he is terrified. No doubt his first thought is for his friends. But what does he do about Jadis now? Is he going to just head back down to them?

This was another great episode. I’m not sure that I can hold out any hope for Eugene, and am I alone in wanting to slap Daryl? Tara has always been stupid, but Daryl? Is Gabriel really dying? Can he rally enough to help the others? What did you think of the episode? What is Rick’s next move? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!



 
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