Are there even enough people left now to build the aqueducts and windmills?
The Hilltop repelled an attack from the Saviors in tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead” which was quite good. But in “Do Not Send Us Astray” – written by Angela Kang and Matt Negrete, directed by Jeffrey January – the worst the Saviors have to offer isn’t the bullets and guns, but guts. Lots of zombie guts.
With Negan effectively sidelined, Simon takes over the Saviors, and proceeds to immediately implement his plan for dissent: kill all the dissenters. He drives up to Hilltop in the middle of the night and launches his assault. Simon is less profane than his boss, but just as gabby.
The plan is actually a hybrid of his and Negan’s approaches. While Negan wanted to put a good scare into them with the zombie-guts thing, Simon is prepared to kill them all two ways: with the guts, and with guns.
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The Hilltoppers are well prepared, thanks to an ingenious defense plotted out by Maggie Rhee. Maggie has wholly embraced her nickname of “the Widow,” which harkens on a sad thing of course, but is also kind of savage. The Widow. Who wants to cross the Widow?
The Widow terrorizes the Saviors. She lets them in, only to trap them in darkness and flood them with lights, leaving them as ducks in a shooting gallery. Of course, their plan had a surprise angle to it as well. A number of Hilltoppers are wounded but not killed in the melee. Soon enough, many will be recuperating but coming down with a fever.
It’s been a while since we had a good, old-fashioned zombie rampage on this show, and it’s darkly refreshing to see that the undead can still surprise us. We were so consumed with Simon’s malicious intent that we actually forgot about the guts plan. When Tobin abruptly died – bye, Tobin! – we thought he’d had a heart attack or something.
No, it was Simon’s implementation of Negan’s variation on Eugene’s plan to hurl zombie parts over the wall, Medieval-style (and it’s interesting that we’ve now had a few references lately to Medieval-era technologies. Wonder if that’s intentional or not.)
All of the wounded Hilltoppers will die, and turn. After the attack, the survivors are basically huddled down inside Barrington House, sleeping wherever they can. Slowly, the undead wander in and start chomping down.
It is ugly. We haven’t seen anything like this probably since the prison, when people were dying from the swine flu. It takes time for Rick and company to put the dead down, and piece together just what exactly happened. It’s only because Rick had attacked Negan, and saw the five-gallon drum full of blood, that they were able to figure it out.
This leaves the Widow feeling somewhat guilty. Yes, she devised what seemed like a great plan that should have protected them. She appeared to be a far more capable leader of the community than Gregory.
Yet, she admitted that her entire motivation was just to kill Negan, to exact revenge on him for killing Glenn. She wasn’t trying to protect a community, she was trying to lure Negan to her. This is actually even worse than Rick’s impulsive attack on Negan. That wasn’t planned out. This was, and it created havoc.
Speaking of creating havoc, was there any doubt whatsoever, that young Henry was going to go off and do something incredibly stupid? Henry wants to join the fight. His foster parents, Ezekiel and Carol, smartly forbid it. So what does he do? Pilfer an assault rifle, and go out to the pen, on his own, to confront the prisoners and try to find out which one killed his brother.
Do kids always do things this dumb or is it just on “The Walking Dead”? This is early Carl Grimes-level idiocy. Does Henry even know how to fire that rifle, much less have the strength to control it? Why would he even think this?
Kid, this is a bad, bad move, and of course it goes off just as badly as you’d expect. He somehow managed to also steal the key to the lock, unlocks the pen, and opens the gate. Argh! He threatens the prisoners for bit, wildly fires off a few rounds, and then gets knocked the ground when the screaming starts. Most of the prisoners escape, except for the few who have acquired a Stockholm Syndrome-like desire to stay at Hilltop.
In the end, what appeared like it was a decisive battle is not. Both sides are grievously wounded, but not utterly defeated. This so-called “all-out war” is turning into a war of attrition.