With only a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead left, “Faith” was a pretty crowded episode as far as shaking up some things, taking down an adversary, and getting some events set for some major disruption. It relies on the audience keeping track of many different characters and quickening up certain moments (the court case) that could have used more time to breathe. Given the path this series is going down as it wraps things up (as well as sets up a few new spin-offs), I can’t say this was the angle I was hoping it would all come down to, but at least we get to see our group finding ways to work with each other.
Separating out these different plotlines, let’s start with the big thing everyone was clearly excited about. That’s right, Dan Fogler returns as Luke! Y’know, Luke, the music teacher who the show had stashed away in Oceanside. In all seriousness, good for Fogler not only becoming one of the few redeeming things about the Fantastic Beasts series but also not being too high on his horse to refuse a return to The Walking Dead. He and his Oceanside girlfriend, Jules, apparently fled the community once the Commonwealth showed up and managed to stumble across Aaron, Jerry, Lydia, and Elijah.
With the Commonwealth, for some reason, coming after these two, the group now has to stay on the move and avoid capture, leading to the trusty use of walker guts to blend in with a horde. There’s not much to say here regarding what plot this is serving. However, a walker stumbles at one point and grabs one of our heroes’ dropped knives. I suppose there’s more to come in the realm of the “Variant” plot.
The majority of characters are featured in the work camp plotline. Daryl, Carol, Maggie, and Connie are all set to infiltrate their Commonwealth-occupied home, Alexandria, while Rosita and Gabriel keep a lookout outside. Beyond some moments of dialogue expressing their various concerns, there’s not much they ultimately add until the end of the episode.
Instead, we focus on Negan and Ezekiel to a lesser extent. Seeing his wife working nearby, Negan challenges authority to get her off her pregnant feet. This leads to more beatings and a trip to the Warden’s office, where Negan is asked to be a spy. With hopes of stopping any attempts at revolt, the Warden makes things clear that he could make things easier for Annie. Ultimately, Negan feels his best course of action is to become a martyr.
There’s not an inherent issue with this as far as how the episode has been filmed. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has remained one of the best actors on The Walking Dead for the past few seasons, so he nails what’s needed of him. However, it’s how AMC has dropped the ball on revealing the existence of spin-offs, which robs some of the urgency from supposed executions. There are attempts to subvert this, though I wasn’t ready to believe this show would have a pregnant woman executed on a firing squad, let alone half the cast when they all stood up for Negan. Again, in the moment, there is tension to be found in a sequence like this, but it’s also hard to avoid outside distractions.
More effective was what happened next, as the build-up to the troopers being unsure about taking these actions, resulting in the Warden being stabbed in the back, meant getting more of an idea of how dire this situation still is. Despite Rosita’s threats to have a walker eat the Warden as he bleeds out, the man’s chilling smile doesn’t reveal where the rest of the children are being held. Why? Why is this act of torture and punishment needed by the Commonwealth? I don’t know, but now another week will be spent delving further into whatever off-site heels still exist.
Back in the Commonwealth is the trial of the century, or so I would have thought, but things are already well underway. I understand The Walking Dead isn’t a legal drama, so I wasn’t expecting Witness for the Prosecution playout here. However, it still feels as though we were short-shrifted in getting more from this trial. It amounts to the kangaroo court Yumiko expected, where she can’t properly do her job because of a judge who’s already made up their mind. The only thing that could help, beyond the court of public opinion, is the words of Mercer. However, his silence, even after a not-subtle plea from Eugene, leads to the guilty verdict that was expected from the start.
Oh, but wait. Despite being sentenced to execution, Mercer and his men collect Eugene out of jail, and rather than marching him down to the gallows or whatever, the man in red has another thing in mind. “It’s time to fuck shit up,” he states, which was about as satisfying as the answer Andy Serkis gave Diego Luna on the most recent episode of Andor, which has more than a little in common with what we’re seeing here.
“Faith” seems to be purporting the notion that things actually can work out for our heroes, despite the hopelessness of their situation. The Walking Dead has always had its sense of nihilism on the mind, and yet, when push comes to shove, when the group truly works together, as Eugene has stated, they not only get things done but manage to change the minds of those around them to some degree. Yes, bloody fights, murders, and more carnage have also assisted in their continued living. Still, one thing is for sure: Pamela Milton doesn’t know who she’s messing with, which will lead to big problems for her and her community.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Nothing too wild, beyond a walker getting fed, but Daryl did stab a zombie in the face during his move through the sewer.
- Tyler Davis, the man who tried to take Max hostage during the gala, is back. He’s at the work camp and continues to leave very little of an impression.
- Milton is just full evil now. Lying about the tape, heightening her emotions for the people in front of her. The little smile she has after Eugene is sentenced. It’s all out there now.
- Hey Warden, maybe don’t deny a guard a transfer while also talking to Negan.
- I have no idea if we’ll ever see Oceanside again, but at least we know Rachel stayed to fight.
- Ezekiel status: still really pissed at Negan. However, he does try to stand up for the man in his own way. Ezekiel is great.
- Rosita being hardcore when it comes to her kid, yields excellent results.
- 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.