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The Walking Dead - Do Not Lead Us Astray - Review

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The Walking Dead “Do Not Send Us Astray” was written by the team of Angela Kang and Matthew Negrete and was directed by Jeffrey F January. This was one of the very least satisfying episodes of the season for me. At times it was virtually impossible to tell what was even going on. If this is an indication of what the show will be like with Angela Kang as showrunner, I fear for the show. Moving Scott M Gimple into the Chief Content Officer for both Walking Dead shows feels like a really, really big mistake right now. It’s no secret that Morgan (Lenny James) has been Gimple’s favorite character and is no doubt behind the move to “Fear” – another mistake. Sacrificing the mothership to save the bastard step child is right up there with killing Carl.

And wow. This entire episode was littered with stupidity. None of these people should have survived this long in the Apocalypse. While infecting your weapons with walker blood seems like a genius move, it also has a ripple effect on the entire logic of the series. You want to tell me that no one ever fought a walker with an open wound before? How many times have we seen injured characters go up against walkers and end up covered in gore? While it seems logical, as a writer, you still have a responsibility to the logic of the world you’ve created. Think about that cut on Rick’s hand as only one instance – he fought for what felt like seasons with that hand… I’m really not sure the failures of this episode are hand-wave-able.

Dotted throughout the episode, Morgan is haunted by the ghost of Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) who keeps telling Morgan that he knows what it is and he knows what he was supposed to. And what was that? Refuse to fight? Take the peaceful path? The upcoming scenes for his jump to Fear certainly make him look like he's going back to following Eastman's teachings. But I've never been a big fan of characters hallucinating dead people - *coughLoricough*

The Saviors approach the Hilltop and the signal goes up from the outlooks – and I did love that Daryl (Norman Reedus) got one of the air horns. Within the walls, Jerry (Cooper Andrews) declares that it’s on. Henry (Macsen Lintz) wants a gun to help defend the Hilltop. Ezekiel (Khary Payton) tells him no and tells him that he doesn’t need to fight. He needs to stay in and help guard the house. Seriously, right from this moment I knew this kid presented a serious threat. He’s about as stable as all the other psycho/damaged kids we’ve met – Sam and Lizzie jump right to mind. Ezekiel might be excused for not seeing the signs, but Carol (Melissa McBride) should have shut this kid down! Telling him he’ll die out there is less than nothing.

Did anyone care when Dana (Peggy Sheffield) got bitten after she was such so mean to Siddiq (Avi Nash)? It was nice to see him stand up for himself, but really? You have someone who’s worked as an EM resident and you’re not grateful? And since when were the Hilltop so experienced in combat and emergency surgery? Haven’t they spent their time complying peacefully with Negan? Her final assessment that she liked him didn’t make me like her.

Jerry’s chopping motion to indicate that the Saviors had arrived was my favorite moment in the entire episode. I do like how his character has evolved into a strong leader in Maggie’s (Lauren Cohen) army.

The Hilltop have buried spikes to prevent vehicles from running into the gate. Seems obvious, but kudos for someone finally doing it. Maggie calls for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Simon (Stephen Ogg) answers as Negan and then clarifies that he’s Simon on his birth certificate – clearly a name he’s hoping to reclaim full time. Cohen is great in this exchange – and really the entire episode. If the show doesn’t find some way to keep her while still letting her take the lead in the Pilot she’s filmed (assuming it gets picked up), the show has officially lost its mind.

We see Maggie fully embrace her role as she identifies herself as “Maggie. Maggie Rhee. The Widow.” And that beautifully sums up her journey so far. The two exchange threats – Simon tells Maggie that her bill has come due, and she replies that his 38 people are still breathing, but if he doesn’t turn around and leave, she has 38 bullets that she will personally fire into each one of them! Maggie puts Alden (Callan McAuliffe) on the radio and he also asks Simon to leave. Simon doesn’t care about the captives – their damaged goods. Saviors need to get themselves out of their own jam – “Screw them.”

Simon tells the Saviors that their goal is not merely infection – it’s extinction. Dwight (Austin Amelio) tries to dissuade Simon by telling him that this isn’t what Negan wanted and Negan could still be alive. What happens if Negan turns up? But Simon isn’t willing to discuss “future problems” – it’s a good indication of just how blinded he is by his anger. He makes Negan look like a stable leader!

The two are interrupted by the entrance of Daryl on his motorcycle with a machine gun! This was another of my favorite moments in the episode. He avoids the spikes and kills a bunch of Saviors before racing through the open gates. The Saviors follow – into a trap as they pull the school bus in front of the open gate, stopping the vehicles, and open fire. The Saviors let loose with a volley of infected arrows. Alden asks Maggie to let him help defend the Hilltop – he clearly has no where to go back to, and we already know he’s a good guy, but Maggie isn’t having any of it. Maggie is looking for Negan – blinded by her own rage – and is furious that he’s not there.

When Tobin (Jason Douglas) is attacked, Carol comes to his rescue. It was nice that this storyline actually got some closure. I loved Tobin’s “Long time no see.” Siddiq takes over so that Carol can go back to the fight.

Simon is dragging Dwight with him, but Dwight is refusing to shoot. Simon heads out to take out Tara (Alanna Masterson). Daryl sees Simon and Dwight heading for a better position – and I was struck by how much this reminded me of the tiptoeing Cas, Scooby and Shaggy on this week’s Supernatural episode “ScoobyNatural.” Just as Daryl is about to shoot, another savior jumps up in front of him, giving Simon a chance to throw his infected ax at Tara – but Dwight beats him to it by shooting her with an arrow. A GREEN arrow. I’m 99.9% sure that Dwight never put anything on his arrows – but it sure looks (to Daryl) like he just tried to kill her.

Michonne (Danai Gurira) comes and drags Daryl away so that they can move to the next stage of the fight. The Hilltop falls silent and dark. Simon is ready to make a housecall – thinking that they’ve run before, but he’s still keen on doing some “proper slaughtering. The saviors are lured out into the open and then the spotlights are blasted on and the Hilltoppers shoot from the windows. How Simon avoids being killed is a ridiculous miracle. Rick then emerges from behind with his group to play clean up.

Rick almost kills Siddiq as he bends over Tobin trying to help him. He tells Siddiq to stay down and moves off. Rick and Maggie end up together at the gate shooting after the retreating Saviors. Maggie wanted them all dead – Negan most of all, and Rick agrees that that’s what he wanted to. Rick tells Maggie that Negan wasn’t there, but Rick broke away and tried to kill Negan “out there.” Maggie thanks him for trying.

The camp regroups and Maggie tells Enid (Katelyn Nacon) that they don’t have the resources to fend off another attack. Tara is also helping, and Daryl tells her she should be resting. She maintains that it’s just a scratch (and we know how dangerous those can be!). She’s feeling guilty because Dwight is back with the Saviors because of her. Daryl tells her that he’s back with them because that’s who he is. Tara points out that they got lucky finding Maggie and Rick – good leaders who are good people. She reminds Daryl that she was with the Governor when she met them. Daryl insists that she wasn’t one of them, but really, she was. And so was Merle.

Daryl points out that if he’d stuck with his brother, they probably would have ended up with the Saviors. Daryl points out that Tara figured out who the Governor was, and Tara says that maybe Dwight’s figured that out about the Saviors. Daryl asks if that was before or after Dwight killed Denise. It’s a low blow. Tara says that it is square now – even if she hates him for the rest of her life – because he saved her life. She and Daryl have a very different view on what happened in the woods. Tara points out that Dwight could have given them away but was trying to help them win. Daryl refuses to see it.

Michonne comes to Rick and tries to connect with him and tries to look after the cut on his head. He ignores her as he rips the boards off the windows in the kids’ room. With the generator off, they’ll need the fresh air. When Rick pushes her away, Michonne just quietly starts helping with another window, giving Rick space to talk in his own time. He tells her he did it because he saw Negan alone and vulnerable at the end of the convoy. He tells her that he had to try. It’s a short and somewhat pointless scene.

Maggie comes to the expanding graveyard. She lets Alden go outside the gate with a guard to bury “his” people. He tells her that they aren’t his people and he’s glad to see them that way – dead. Dianne (Kerry Cahill) joins Maggie and tells her that she’s a good leader. She already knew that but Maggie proved it by saving lives last night. Maggie is re-thinking her decision – the cost – of using the body to lure Negan to the Hilltop so that the last thing he saw was Glenn’s grave. Instead, she is now seeing the graves multiply. She’s not sure that she’s a good leader, but her only regret is that Negan isn’t in the pile of bodies.

A much more satisfying scene is Carol coming to Tobin to see how he is. He jokes that he would have gotten stabbed sooner if he knew that was how to get her attention! Carol apologizes for how she left, but Tobin doesn’t want an apology and doesn’t feel she owes him anything. He does want to know if any of it was real. She tells him that she didn’t want it to be real. She was pretending because she was trying to live a life, but she couldn’t when she realized that there would be more dying and killing. And that also happened at about the time when it felt like it might be real. Tobin is satisfied.

Carol apologizes again. Tobin asks her if she’s going to leave again, and she’s not sure. But she thinks that she may just have to accept that some of them are just lucky enough to live and some of them are just lucky enough to fight. Tobin tells her that they are fighting to get to the end of the fight, but Carol isn’t buying it. For her, “winning just means we get tomorrow, maybe one more night. Maybe one more morning. After that? No guarantees.” And that’s basically how it works out for Tobin. As Carol speaks the camera also passes over Alden burying the Saviors – no tomorrow for them – and Arat (Elizabeth Ludlow) who is also about to turn. And we see Henry steal a rifle that will ensure more death and fighting.

Siddiq also tries to clean Rick’s wound so that it doesn’t get infected. Siddiq also reaches out to Rick, telling him about a prayer to the dead that he’s learned as a boy. It ended with “do not send us astray after them.” Rick isn’t ready to hear it. But Siddiq is trying to warn him not to sacrifice himself or obsess over Carl so that he follows him into death.

As night falls, Maggie walks around the crowded halls of the house where everyone has taken refuge sleeping. Bertie (Karen Ceesay) is sitting up with one of the injured. So perhaps they haven’t completely forgotten about watching to make sure people don’t die and turn while everyone is sleeping? Maggie runs into Wesley (Ilan Muallem) who was injured in the fighting. He clearly looks ill. And really??? How have they all forgotten the signs of infection???

Like Dianne, Wesley praises Maggie and says how lucky they are to have her. Gregory (Xander Berkley) was all about himself and with him in charge, the Hilltop wouldn’t still be there. He gives Maggie pause because her whole plan was to get what she wanted – Negan dead. But she is Hershel’s daughter, and she knows she has work to do – and it includes protecting the people in her charge.

Meanwhile, as the night wears on, people are dying and turning. It seems to start in the infirmary – where there is no excuse not to have people watching specifically to see if people are turning. Please explain to me why the front door to the house was wide open and how Wesley could fall all the way down the stairs without waking anyone up? It’s the stupidest sequence in the history of the show. I did like Rick helping Siddiq with his first amputation, and I loved Jesus (Tom Payne) and Michonne teaming up to take out a walker.

Henry going to the prisoners’ pen, however, makes it a hard call as to which is stupider. Henry wakes Gregory up – who tries to get the gun off him – at least the kid wasn’t that stupid. He also clearly hasn’t believed that Gavin killed Ben. Alden does a better job of trying to talk Henry down. He tells him that he lost his brother too, but killing a bunch of people won’t make Henry feel better for long. I really, really hoped that someone would turn Jared (Joshua Mikel). However, it was clearly going totally bad as soon as the stupid kid opened the gate. Jared gets the gun and takes off with a bunch of the Saviors.

There’s chaos in the house as Morgan, Rick and Daryl take down the walkers. Tobin somehow makes it up the stairs and is about to bite Bertie when Carol has to be the one to kill him. Daryl makes sure that Carol is ok. Carol points out that Tobin wasn’t bitten, and Rick puts two and two together – Lucille had been covered in walker blood. Maggie points out that Negan had them working for him again – killing each other as they turned. Bruce (Ted Huckabee) realizes that his fever is no ordinary fever. Unlike Carl, he can’t take care of himself, and he pleads for one of them to do it.

Meanwhile Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Tara have been guarding the kids. Rick and Daryl join them, telling them that the house is clear. Daryl tells them that the Saviors did something to their weapons so that anyone who got hit turned. Tara just says ok – Enid says no. Daryl apologizes for not letting Tara kill Dwight when she had the chance, but she tells him no. Dwight wanted to be there with them. She says no matter what he did she just wanted him dead – so she took him out to kill him and he got away. Tara says “Karma’s a bitch” – but she’s completely missing the point. If she hadn’t taken him out and he hadn’t gotten away, he wouldn’t have been the one to shoot her with a CLEAN arrow – it would have been Simon’s infected ax. Again – how is nobody noticing that she has ZERO SYMPTOMS???!?!?!! She’s NOT sick. It’s Karma that Dwight has once again saved her life!

Siddiq is saved by Alden. Maggie is about to shoot Alden, but he explains that Henry opened the pen and some of the prisoners ran, but others are trying to close the gate. Maggie wants to know why he didn’t run. It ought to be obvious, but Alden points out that she saw how much they mean to Negan and Simon – why would anyone go back to that? Alden points out that they had plenty of chances to run and they didn’t.

Maggie watches as more of the bodies are buried. Dianne asks her what’s wrong and Maggie says the cost. Rick turns and walks away. Michonne looks distraught. I’m not liking the wedge that they are putting between Rick and Michonne.

I saw one review title call this episode a return to stupid people doing stupid things, and I couldn’t agree more. I realize that they are all tired and shell-shocked, but c’mon! There is no way that Tara is dying. Henry could easily get Carol killed – and seriously, show, if you want to completely kill your ratings, do THAT. Maggie's view of the increasing number of graves feels like a reflection of the shrinking fanbase...And my final peeve for this episode? What the hell are they doing with poor Tom Payne? Way, way, way more Jesus please! Seems like an appropriate plea on Easter Sunday… What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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