The Walking Dead: Season 7 Episode 5

Today’s episode of The Walking Dead was finally a return to form.  While it wasn’t the best or most compelling episode of the season so-far, ‘Go Getters’ finally balanced more than one storyline per episode!  ‘Go Getters’ opens on Maggie, recovering in The Hilltop colony under the care of their doctor, and the watchful eye of Sasha.  One of the biggest questions left hanging since the last time we saw Maggie and Sasha was the state of Maggie’s pregnancy, and it only took five episodes to find out that her pregnancy survived the trauma of episode one.  Maggie and Sasha are an unlikely pairing—one I didn’t see coming, but since the deaths of Glenn and Abraham in the season premiere, these two widows have more in common than ever before.

Much of the episode focuses on the power dynamics within The Hilltop colony: the doctor tells Maggie that she must stay at the Hilltop for the duration of her pregnancy, but their leader Gregory insists that she and Sasha leave.  We were introduced to Gregory last season, the misogynistic leader of the Hilltop who refuses to learn any girls’ name and chooses instead to call them ‘honey’ or ‘dear.’  Back in season six, Maggie and Gregory brokered a deal for Rick’s survivors to take out Negan and the Saviors, which obviously backfired with disastrous results, and so Gregory wants to cut all ties with Rick’s survivors and get Maggie and Sasha out of the Hilltop.

Gregory is yet another man in charge of a group of survivors.  This season, we have four very different styles of male leadership in Rick, Negan, Ezekiel and Gregory—perhaps then, it is an intentional contrast to have ‘Go Getters’ end on a powerful shot of three women holding hands as Maggie, Sasha and Enid say grace around their modest dinner table in the Hilltop.

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This episode suggests a shift in the future power dynamics at The Hilltop, as Gregory and Jesus come into conflict about Gregory’s treatment of Maggie.  Jesus, a prominent scavenger for the Hilltop, understands Gregory’s flaws but seems powerless to change them: ‘Why aren’t you in charge?’ Sasha asks him. Jesus replies, ‘That’s not me: I’m not a leader’ (ironic words, coming from a character who’s named after a prophetic figure).  I believe that Sasha’s right here—if Jesus can see the flaws in Gregory, he should stop complaining and start leading in his own way.

A large amount of screen time is taken up by the interaction between Gregory and one of Negan’s henchmen, Simon, who comes to collect the Hilltop’s bounty.  Their conversation is tense, as Simon is gruff and loud and intimidating, just like Negan.  This is a trait within the Saviors that it starting to bother me: why do all the Saviors have to be Negan clones?  The actor portraying Simon does an excellent job, but his defining traits feel too much like Negan’s.  Without the supporting cast having their own distinguishing characteristics, I fear it can only deduct from Negan’s appearances.

The other major story strand carried out in ‘Go Getters’ sees Enid and Carl travel from Alexandria to The Hilltop.  Enid’s motivation is to see her adoptive mother Maggie in one piece, but as they get closer it becomes apparent that Carl is only there in an attempt to find Negan.  This pays off at the end of the episode, as he sneaks into one of the Saviors trucks that has just raided the Hilltop and is on its way back to the Savior compound.  Enid and Carl’s journey sets the stage for Carl’s first kiss—a monumental event for any fan of the show who has been watching since the beginning.  This kiss, as well as Carl’s discovery of a pair of roller skates during their journey, provided some relieving moments of innocence; kids just being kids.  While the roller skates were a blatant plot device, conveniently abandoned on the side of the road by their previous owners, it is refreshing to see a short moment of carefree, teenage joy shared between Carl and Enid.

‘Go Getters’ is in no way the most exciting episode of The Walking Dead, but it answers a lot of questions and sets up even more.  Sasha wants revenge on Negan—an exciting development that mirrors Rosita’s budding revenge plot back in Alexandria.  It’s interesting to see that both women left behind by Abraham feel impassioned by his death, and want revenge because of it.  Revenge is undoubtedly a through line that will appear in season seven; it’s just a matter of who will be successful in exacting it.

 

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