It seems like The Walking Dead’s “All Out War” is finally coming to an end. “Worth” is a solid episode as far as exploring the enemy, but it also does what is needed to round out where we are with the various parties involved. We don’t need a lot more from Rick and the gang, which is why they are barely featured. On the other hand, Negan’s brief departure from the Saviors and Simon’s rebellion needed to be dealt with, to put Rick’s greatest nemesis on the right track towards a final battle. Given how the series has had plenty of troubles maintaining consistency on what to think of the Saviors, I can appreciate an episode like this that takes a hard stand on how things should proceed in the build-up to the end.
Following a prologue involving Rick’s reaction to Koral’s letter (it provides all the expected results and more on that in the Dead Bits section), “Worth” gets right to the good stuff. Simon still believes he’s in control and gets to have a great scene with Gregory. While only one of these characters survives this episode, few things on this show these past couple seasons have been better than the interactions between Steven Ogg and Xander Berkeley. With Gregory continuing to work all the angles and Simon barely containing his rage as he delves into what kind of leader he is going to be for the Saviors, it’s the sort of sequence that easily works in place of the wheel-spinning found in repetitive dilemmas about who to kill. We saw this with Tara, Jesus, and other characters and that barely left an impression.
Simon is just one of the great personalities we run into on the Saviors’ side of things this week, but he is part of what makes a good case for The Walking Dead working better as a series that can trust its ensemble, rather than play them off Rick week after week, with an occasional reprieve. How Fear the Walking Dead isn’t finding itself with an advantage of not having to cater to a character like Rick is beyond me. And this isn’t even to say Rick (or Andrew Lincoln, who gives it his all) is unwatchable. That’s hardly the case. However, when you have such interesting side characters who standout so easily, it’s great to see a show that knows how to utilize them best, rather than leave it up to the actors to do their best.
A great example of this is Eugene. While he seems like a joke when placed in specific environments or tasked to be a quirky guy in the background, there’s not much there. In “Worth,” Eugene is playing a significant role in where things are going, and I want to hear him out. He may have been involved in the ill-conceived kidnapping plot that goes immediately awry (good job writers in disappointing Daryl/Rosita fans by making them look like idiots), but once Eugene is back at work, you best believe I enjoy seeing the fire in his voice, as he starts delivering orders.
And how about Dwight? While discussion about his loyalty by Tara, Daryl, and others has gone nowhere all that interesting, Austin Amelio has done an excellent job of building up this character and letting all the stress and exhaustion of playing so many sides against each other hollow him out. Still, he doesn’t let that show to Simon, Negan, and others, which does all the more to have me caring for the guy, once we learn that Negan indeed is on to him. Whether or not he survives next week’s finale, I can say the guy has gone from utter scum to someone I will have a level of concern with in regards to his fate.
I suppose the most important supporting character is Negan. Listen, I’ve been critical of Negan since he entered this series. Based on both issues I had with the character in the comics and how the series decided it would be best for Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play him, I’ve had a hard time caring about his impact in a way that saw me enjoying what his presence brought. This season, particularly these past few episodes, have done a good job of using the character in the right kinds of ways and the right amounts. I may have seen the strings of the whole Simon uprising to the point that made it obvious Negan was never going to have much trouble dealing with him, but I still liked the way Negan went about dealing with Simon.
The final moments of this episode were a bit of a bust. Michonne narrating another letter from Koral to Negan defied the more exciting route this show could have taken, where it played Rick and Negan against each other by turning them into the most extreme versions of each other, but that’s more about plot convenience. Within an episode so focused on the Saviors, it’s also full of momentum in regards to getting this season to its end. We know there’s an attack in the works, who is involved, and what kinds of things are at stake. It works for a series that has to balance drama, action, and horror with heavy-handed themes and the occasional melodramatic speech. Now we have to see if the final showdown will have been worth it.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Aaron took down five walkers, while barely functional, so I guess that’s a good enough win for him this week.
- Are we going to lose Evil Rick, now that he’s read Koral’s letter?
- “I am the juice!” – Simon and Gregory have great verbal battles.
- Aaron is just a mess this week, but at least he’s let us know the Oceansiders will be able to arrive just in time during next week’s finale.
- Speaking of which, I would have such a better understanding of Negan and the Saviors if the show made me aware that Simon was responsible for taking out all the Oceanside men much earlier.
- Gabriel is still fascinating to me as a sick man debating the merits of helping Eugene.
- Eugene made his fancy mac & cheese and then threw it up all over Rosita. Point goes to Eugene.
- So Negan hid behind a dumpster for his epic reveal to Simon?
- And of course, Negan would want to end things with Simon in a one-on-one fistfight.
- Sure, I watch this show, but revealing Laura to Dwight just made me kind of shrug. “Great, that one woman is back…”
- RIP Simon, but at least you’ll end your days on the fence, hungry for blood, as you would have wanted.
- Why destroy the walkie-talkie? That seems irresponsible.
- 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.