We continue to be walking a good path on The Walking Dead. “Bonds” may be more of an episode focused on arranged pieces on the gameboard, but it’s focused enough by limiting the storylines, and packs the right amount of punch with the characters who matter. I like where Carol is headed. Eugene is getting more to do. Siddiq’s PTSD issues are paying off. Plus, once again, Negan is sitting at the top of this zombie series sanctuary.
Rather than begin the episode with a direct to jump to what happens next with Negan, or leaning into the Gamma situation that’s sure to play a role in the weeks to come, the focus is on Carol. This portion of the episode begins straightforward enough. The morning routine is not enough for the woman who not only wants revenge but continues dealing with her frustrations through a new strategy. Fortunately, Daryl isn’t blind to what’s going on.
Spotting Carol and joining her on a supposed “Negan watch” means putting these two together for the episode, which no one complains about. The writers continue to show their affinity towards the friendship Carol and Daryl have, but some rocky elements are looking to shake things up. Soon enough, Carol explains that she wants to destroy Alpha’s walker horde, minimizing the threat the Whisperers present. However, by the end of this episode, things have taken a turn.
In capturing a Whisperer, Carol is playing a deadly game that could get people hurt. This isn’t new for the character. Her impulses have resulted in losses and questions before. However, perhaps this could ultimately help too. Or maybe a sleeper agent in the form of Gamma will mix things up for certain, giving Alpha all the ammo she needs to launch a larger attack.
Shifting gears to some of the other characters, Eugene seems to have something to live for again, at least in human form. Sure, he’s getting a kick out of using the satellite parts to help expand his radio range, but having it immediately lead to something is a step forward in having him move on from Rosita. Now he just has to deal with how to best address this secret relationship he is forming with a mysterious entity.
Meanwhile, Siddiq has his own mysteries to deal with. With distractions in the forms of nightmares and ill-timed visions getting in the way, it’s causing him to lash out at Dante. And poor Dante; the guy is dealing with a bunch of patients thanks to a stomach flu going around (think to Gamma poisoning the creek last week). One could only hope things get better, or Aaron at least steps up to explain what he saw. In the meantime, we are getting to see more of Siddiq, even if he’s becoming too unhinged for his own good. Ideally, he’ll find a way to open up more and relieve all of his stress.
And now for Negan. After last week’s brush with sainthood, it seems as though the big bluster is back for the man with the leather jacket. We find Negan talking away, quickly becoming the bane of Beta’s existence, tolerating him just enough to keep things fun. Regardless of how this aligns with the comic, I’m into this storyline for the way it feels like some kind of act.
As much as I believe Negan has changed, I think it to be for the better. So whatever game he is playing, it is neat to see him do so much to tempt fate. Beta could easily kill this man, but Negan presents enough info to show himself as a valuable asset. What’s Negan’s potential gain in all of this? I have my ideas, but for now, it is easier to watch a wacky montage of Negan attempting to live the Whisperer life.
The two major confrontations play well here. First, Beta seemingly tires of Negan’s nonsense and leaves him to die. It’s a great moment to show what Beta is willing to put up with and how well Negan can adapt. We know he’s a capable fighter, but because of our investment with him at this point, seeing him channel that energy into attempting to fit in, while clearly getting under the skin of the second-in-command, screams power play to me.
That’s where the second confrontation comes in. With Negan announcing his survival, spotting Alpha means having the chance to walk directly up the leader and make himself as appealing as possible. Alpha is perhaps smart enough to see things for what they are. Still, the weird energy between the two of them is either a way to further get to Beta or a wild development set to shake up how everyone acts around each other, including our heroes.
Like I mentioned, this episode features a lot of table setting. It’s not new for The Walking Dead at this point in the season. A mid-season finale is getting close, and things are bound to be getting wild quickly. With Negan in a new position, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of danger that creates. At the same time, who knows what kind of plans Carol has on her mind as well.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Daryl almost snuck in another win, but Beta takes the honor by combining it with his very limited sense of humor.
- Eugene’s AV Club is fighting to be the best/worst Hilltop podcast name.
- “Mother of Pearl” – Eugene does get in his moments.
- “Slide her a little omega on the side.” – Negan really was at his most Negan this week.
- Thoughts on who Eugene is talking to over the radio?
- Daryl pulls a “Guts” move and gets walker blood all over. A tactic that is always disgusting to watch.
- Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what me and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on The Walking Dead TV Podcast.