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The Walking Dead - The Lost and the Plunderers - Review

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The Walking Dead “The Lost and the Plunderers” was written by the team of Angela Kang, Channing Powell, and Corey Reed and was directed by David Boyd. While the ratings didn’t plunge quite as low as I thought they would, we are still down to mid-season two levels. Is the show riding the coattails of Black Panther? Or maybe the fans who are left have given up any hope of any character getting out alive? The title, of course, is a reference to the sign at the gate to Alexandria. Mercy for the lost, but vengeance for the plunderers…

I liked how each of the sections was titled with a character’s name. We start with Michonne (Danai Gurira), and really, if people are still watching because of her – they should be. She has created this amazing, fully-realized character, and we get up close and personal with her grief over the loss of Carl (Chandler Riggs). And I’m going to quickly pause here, to once again rant about what a STUPID, EXPLETIVE, mistake it was to kill off Carl and lose Chandler Riggs. Yes, he’ll be fine and have a terrific career – but I’m NOT fine and want Carl back.

Michonne has Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) back as he continues to grieve, and think about what Carl asked. He hangs Carl’s gun on the cross marking his grave, but then takes it again before he leaves. He’s clearly tried – and failed – to take Carl’s last wish to heart.

Michonne surveys the devastation to Alexandria, and clearly, she is grieving for the loss of her home – and her family. It’s clearly symbolic of both – she tries and fails to shut the gate on the walkers – and really, the place is already overrun anyway.

Rick takes a walkie talkie off one of the Saviors. And Michonne knows already that he’s not going to respect Carl’s last wish. They go back to the house, and Michonne pauses to look at the handprints that Carl left for Judith. It’s a beautiful moment as she lays her own hand over Carl’s and takes a moment to really feel her grief. But then the walkers catch her notice, and she goes to Rick to tell him that they have to go. They load a van with as much as they can gather.

Michonne notices that the gazebo is on fire – and says to Rick that Carl used to sit on the roof. Now it’s Rick’s turn to say they have to go, but when Michonne runs in with a fire extinguisher, Rick joins her, recognizing her own grief manifesting in trying to preserve this piece that was important to Carl. They are forced to let in burn when they are overrun with walkers. Michonne looks at the sign at the gate as they leave their home.

As they drive, Rick asks Michonne what she thinks Carl meant. He’s clearly trying to avoid really confronting what Carl has asked him to do – he’s looking for a loophole. Rick wonders if Carl meant that they were supposed to stop fighting, surrender to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Michonne sensibly suggests that they pull over and read what Carl wrote – well, d’uh! Rick is not ready yet – again, he’s busy looking for a loophole. And then Michonne finds the letter to Negan – and Rick doesn’t know what to do with that.

Rick changes the subject – seemingly – and insists that they need to go to Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). At first, it seems he may be worried about them – they went to the Sanctuary with Rick – and we later find out that they are in danger. But then it’s clear that Rick still just wants their firepower. More importantly, and this shows he didn’t really change the subject – he insists that they are “ours” – Negan can’t have them – and Negan doesn’t get to have any part of Carl – yet clearly, Carl was also thinking about Negan when he died. After all, Carl made the same plea to Negan before he died to stop the fighting. And Michonne sees that Rick is not ready to stop fighting.

They are too late when they get to the junkyard, however. As then enter in, the entrance is booby-trapped and they find themselves trapped with walkers – and I know I recognized many of Jadis’ people. It’s a nice bit of clever foreshadowing – and a somewhat disorienting time loop in the episode – that also works as Michonne and Rick are still reeling from the loss of Carl.

The next section is entitled NEGAN. He’s back at the command center, organizing the various operations. He’s still waiting to hear from Gavin and is trying to round up the Alexandrians. He clearly admires the way Carl played him at the gate. Simon wants to go after the Alexandrians, but Negan has someone else on it.

He thanks Simon (Steven Ogg) for handling the Hilltop – and especially because Simon didn’t want to handle it that way. This is a terrific scene between the two, and we start to see that there’s a different dynamic than we might first have assumed. Simon is clearly more unhinged and violent than Negan – and Negan seems used to keeping him on a short leash. He wants Simon right in front of him where he can keep an eye on him.

Negan wants to talk about the “garbage-people,” and Simon is ready to go out and “take care” of them. But Negan still sees them as a resource. Negan orders Simon to deliver only the standard message – take one out, JUST one, so the others fall in line. He invites Simon to speak his mind. Simon is furious that these people – Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and the garbage-people – don’t get the lesson. Is he angry because he’s jealous that they’ve fought back when he had to give up? Or is he just a psycho?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is great in this scene. He tells Simon that he’s trying to hold it together – and the quiet way he delivers his orders is more menacing than yelling could be. Negan tells Simon that what they do is hard – but it works. Simon points out that it hasn’t worked lately – but Negan insists that once he kills Rick, everything will be fine. In a twisted way, it seems like Negan really leans more toward mercy – for the lost – while Simon wants vengeance.

The two are interrupted by Maggie’s (Lauren Cohen) delivery from the Hilltop. Clearly, Simon didn’t do his job very well! Simon is ready to kill every last one of the farmers. And Negan does raise his voice at that as he tells Simon that he will do his job! But Simon is clearly dangerously close to insubordination…

The next section is ENID (Katelyn Nacon), and we finally get back to Oceanside. Aaron (Ross Marquand) tries to get them to talk as he and Enid are handcuffed to the same radiator that Tara was. Beatrice (Briana Venskus) tells Cyndie (Sydney Park) that it’s up to her because Natania was her family. Just fyi, hilariously after not being on either show for some time, Venskus was also on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week! Rachel (Mimi Kirkland) is still a little psycho and just wants to kill them.

Meanwhile, and in stark contrast, Enid is consumed with guilt for having killed Natania. She tries to convince herself that Natania made it so that she’d have to do it – and she’d do it again even knowing how it felt. Clearly, and in a nice synergy with Carl’s remarks on killing last week, Enid has not had to kill many – if any other living people.

They return, and Aaron thinks they are releasing them until the order is to take them to the beach. Enid appeals to Cyndie, telling her that she should have a better reason than killing them to make herself feel better – because she won’t. We’re back to the mercy/vengeance dichotomy again. Enid tells Cyndie that killing IS the punishment. She also tells them that eventually the others will come and wipe them out for vengeance – it’s clearly a vicious cycle. The cycle that Carl is trying to break. Cyndie decides that they live.

Cyndie tells Aaron that they do want to know if they win, but they’ve already taken everything else that they have to give. Cyndie tells them never to return – how is she going to know who wins?? Enid tells her to stop killing strangers and to learn the difference between friends and enemies.

Aaron refuses to leave until they join the fight. He thinks that in time he can convince Beatrice and Kathy (Nicole Barre) to fight. He tells Enid that he needs her to go back and tell Maggie what’s going on – and keep Maggie from coming. He’s not going back, but he is going to wait for them to contact him again? This part of his plan seemed a bit un-thought out. Enid and Aaron promise each other that they’ll be ok and see each other again – and really? Who can make those promises in this world? Still, it’s a nice moment as Enid flings herself in to hug Aaron before leaving. And I can’t be the only one worried about how devastated she’s going to be by the loss of Carl.

Even the Red Machete short in the middle of the episode seemed to carry through the mercy/vengeance thread….

The next section is devoted to SIMON. Simon seems to be holding the company line – except for his comment that they are “going to sit on their dicks a might longer” instead of attacking the Hilltop… He then heads to the landfill with a full head of steam. He goes toe to toe with Jadis – who is her usual stonewalling self. I did love Ogg in this scene – I love his refer to any notes you may have – for Jadis’ apology.

Jadis tries to tell him that they didn’t have a deal with Rick – and then Simon loses his tenuous hold on his temper. He has no real interest in carrying out the mercy side of the equation. He’s clearly angry that he has to tell her that Negan says they can be forgiven. When Simon demands their guns, even Brion (Thomas Francis Murphy) objects. Jadis knows that they’re in trouble though and gives the command to give up the guns. McIntosh is outstanding in this episode as we finally get some layers to her. Even after she gives up the guns, she is still willing to be arrogant and go toe to toe with Simon.

Simon asks her about the site – and he mentions a helio-pad!!! And solar panels. Jadis tells him that it’s just a dump. But does she have that helicopter???? Simon is still waiting for his apology, however, and Jadis’ attitude is not helping his own mood. Simon isn’t feeling her apology and shoots Brion. And we finally see a crack in Jadis’s armor.

When Simon then kills Tamiel (Sabrina Gennarino) – who I think is Jadis’ lover, Jadis loses it and knocks Simon on his ass. And that’s it for Simon. He has his men kill all of them as a shocked and devastated Jadis watches. Simon does not tell Negan what really happened – he just tells him that he delivered the standard message, and there was remorse. They are interrupted as Negan gets a call from Rick. Is Simon planning a coup? There’s no way that Negan can let this pass… I can’t wait to see the fallout from this.

The next section is JADIS and takes us back to Rick and Michonne being overrun by the walkers, who we now know for sure are Jadis’ people. I knew I’d seen Brion and Tamiel earlier… They climb the junk pile – where the walkers can’t follow and find Jadis. I loved that in contrast to being completely clothed in black layers as we normally see her, she’s just got a white slip on. It also contrasts her being completely naked when she sculpts – clearly reflections of her state of mind – she felt completely safe and was free to be herself through her art – but here, she is stripped bare, down to her essentials.

Jadis tells them the Saviors did it, and the only way out is the way in. Jadis tells them that it used to just be trash – no heaps – and she used to come there to find things to make art with, but after the apocalypse, she realized that the whole place was a canvass. It’s a beautiful metaphor for the community that she created – down to the last detail – clothing, language, everything. Her goal was to create something else apart from everyone else. Rick blames her, and tells her that the destruction of her people is her fault. He’s not wrong. She reaped what she sowed by double crossing everyone.

Jadis wants to come with them, but Rick refuses to show her any mercy. He tells Michonne that Jadis can’t help them, so he’s leaving her. Michonne doesn’t fight him on it. Jadis almost makes it, and begs Rick to at least just let her get out. Rick shoots over her head – an act he later points out to Michonne as an act of mercy. But is it. Letting her die is the same as killing her.

But Jadis isn’t going to die. She was a leader for a reason, and she seems to have retreated to her affectless demeanor as she calls her people to her and watches as one by one they fall into the trash compactor. She uses herself as bait – and really, she has transformed them all now into hamburger. In case you weren’t getting the point, we see their flesh splashed over the blue cat that she’d been painting. In the end, this is all that she has created. Is this mercy for her people? Will she want vengeance now? It’s also important to notice that the cat IS blue – in fact, it’s the same blue that Carl used for the handprints. These are signs of life, of defiance in the face of death.

Jadis helps herself to a can of applesauce. Is this the tree of knowledge? Has she learned from this mistake? I doubt that she’s learned the lesson that Simon thought he was delivering. I’m curious to see if she shows up flying a helicopter…

The final section is RICK. Rick tries to explain his actions. He tells Michonne that he didn’t want Jadis dead, he just wanted her gone. He tells her that Jadis made it – he saw her get away – but he also knew that there was no way out! Michonne very gently tries to tell Rick that the incident felt like what Carl was talking about – what they should do. They have a choice – the choice of the episode: mercy or vengeance.

Rick finally pulls over, saying he needs a second. He clearly feels badly about what he did to Jadis – and it seems she paid twice for Negan pissing people off. Rick gets out of the truck with Carl’s letters. He looks at his own, but it’s Negan’s that he reads. Bad choice Rick. But he sees what Carl asked of Negan. From what I could glean, it seems exactly like what Carl said to Negan on the wall. As always, Lincoln is great here, even with no dialogue.

And we circle back to Rick calling Negan on the walkie talkie. Rick leads with “Carl’s dead.” And we cut to Negan, who is clearly upset by the news. Rick tells Negan about the letters and that Carl asked Negan to stop in the letter he wrote to Negan. Rick tells Negan that Carl asked him to stop too. Carl asked for peace.

Rick thinks it’s too late for peace. He’s going to kill Negan. But tellingly, Negan doesn’t want to talk about a showdown. He wants to know how Carl died. He’s clearly worried that Carl died because of the Saviors, the grenades, the fire. But Rick is still working his way through the fury stage of grief. He tells Negan that Carl went out to help someone and got bit. And is this why Rick can’t face the mercy side of the equation?

Negan is clearly genuinely sorry when he tells Rick he is. He doesn’t help the situation by telling Rick that he had plans for Carl though. Even Negan thought that Carl was the future. And then Negan moves into the anger phase of grief. He tells Rick that Carl is dead because of him because Rick couldn’t leave well enough alone. And because Rick wasn’t there to stop Carl from doing something stupid. And in reality, Carl was doing what Negan says he’s doing – saving people. But Negan also doesn’t know how right he is. If Rick had reached out and shown mercy to Siddiq instead of firing over his head – as he did again with Jadis – Carl would still be alive – well, maybe.

Negan wants to know who’s next – will Jadis kill Michonne? – Rick says Negan is, but Negan tells him that he stops people from dying, he’s the answer. Of course, he didn’t stop Jadis’s people from dying. Negan warns Rick not to let anyone else die because of his bad decisions – you can’t walk away from that kind of guilt. Negan tells Rick that he failed as a leader and a father. He tells him to give up because he’s already lost.

I loved the final shot of Rick alone in a field – and he looks lost in the sense that he can’t find his way. Again, it’s a great metaphor. Rick may or may not have lost the fight or the war, but he’s definitely lost his way. Carl had become his moral compass and now he is clearly struggled to follow the path that Carl wanted him to take.

This was a really nicely structured episode with terrific performances from all of the “title” characters. Numbers are down on all sides, and Negan has trouble brewing now from within his ranks. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out! What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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