The Walking Thread

image of Governor Cyclops (David Morrissey) sitting at a table in a dimly lit barn, looking grim
"Let us drink whiskey and talk in riddles."

(Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein. CN: Violence; racism; misogyny; rape culture.)

Previously on The Walking Dead: Clues to what will happen in this episode of The Walking Dead! Can you guess what things will happen in this episode, based on the scenes just shown to you? Unless your brains have been zombified, I BET YOU CAN!

Hey, you know what my favorite part of this episode was? By which I mean the part I hated the most because it is the worst and this show is terrible? The part where the entire episode came down to two straight white men who are the respective patriarchs of their clans of garbage monsters treating a black woman like a pawn in their game of Who's Got the Bigger Messiah Complex. GROSS! This fucking show! Ugh!

At this point, I'm just hoping Michonne gets her hands on a nuke and rides it Major Kong style right into the heart of Georgia.


When we pick up at the beginning of the episode with our competing factions in what is apparently the only five square miles left on the planet, Grimes, with Hershel and Daryl in tow, is taking a meeting with Governor Cyclops in a barn, which has been set up as a cool conference room that suffers from the noticeable lack of a Keurig machine.

Governor Cyclops is already awaiting them at UN Barn when they arrive, because he is a passive-aggressive negotiator in addition to being an aggressive-aggressive garbage nightmare. "We have a lot to talk about," Cy tells Grimes, and if this were any other show, I'd be settling in with some popcorn to watch the fireworks, but because this is The Walking Dead, I get a can of diet Code Red to make sure I can stay awake.

Cy removes his weapon as a sign he wants to "negotiate in good faith," then tells Grimes, "Now you," and, in a rare moment of sagacity, Grimes does not put down his gun. But in a typical moment of patented Grimes stupidity, he does not immediately kill Cy, who sits down at the barn desk which has a hidden weapon. Grimes' calculation makes PERFECT SENSE, as usual. It's definitely fine to leave to die a backpacker who has shown you no ill will, but whatever you do, don't kill the guy who is trying to murder the fuck out of everyone you know and care about, and, by the way—is a fucking rapey scoundrel. Definitely give that fucker the benefit of the doubt!

Andrea shows up to UN Barn and is surprised to see that Cy is already there, because of course she set up this meeting because she's the Hillary Clinton of this operation. Yes, what a shocker that Governor Cyclops hasn't been honest with you, Andrea! How out of character for the worst person left on the planet! Andrea tells all the dudes to "save the bullets for the real threat!" and I'm like boredom? terrible writing? cavernous inconsistencies in character development? I need bullets for ALL THESE THINGS.

Grimes proposes a solution delineating boundaries so Grimes Gang and Unpleasantville can coexist, and Cy, who is an excellent negotiator definitely operating in good faith, says he will only accept surrender. This guy would be great in the Shark Tank. "I'm sorry, Mr. Wonderful, but I will only accept a ONE BILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT for two percent of my glam eyepatch company." Then they kick Andrea out, because women.

Daryl, who I notice has the same haircut I do, stands watch outside with Hershel and Cy's two minions: Melvin Nerdly and Token Latino, who is apparently named Martinez. Some zombies show up right on cue, and while Daryl and Martinez argue about who should "go first" to kill them, Andrea strides past and stabs a zombie in the face. Martinez calls Daryl a "pussy," without a trace of irony.

Then Daryl and Martinez team up to kill some zombies, after which they have a neat talk about their backgrounds. On the other side of the barn, Hershel and Melvin Nerdly are also chit-chatting away the time. Melvin Nerdly asks Hershel if he can see his stump, and Hershel says, "I just met you! At least buy me a drink first!" and much laughter ensues. This is all some All Quiet on the Western Front Christmas Day football game shit, y'all. They're not so different after all!

Meanwhile, back at Grimes Jail, Grimes Gang readies their arsenal and Merle tries to leave to go kill Governor Cyclops. Carl the Hat informs Merle: "My dad can take care of himself!" Which is true. Grimes can just barely take care of himself. And he definitely cannot take care of his adolescent son nor his infant daughter, who are respectively turning into a sociopath and a feral child. Merle tells Carl the Hat that his dad's head "will be on a pike real soon." HA HA MERLE IS THE BEST BABYSITTER!

Eventually, Merle tries to leave with a bunch of guns in a cool duffel bag, and when Glenn tries to stop him, Merle rasp-snarls at him: "The Governor feels up your woman and you pussy out?" Great dialogue. This show is terrific. They start punching each other, forcing Blonde Sister to shoot a gun in the air to make them stop. Save the bullets for the real threat, Blonde Sister!

Back at UN Barn, Grimes and Cy are having a great conversation about so many things. They drink whiskey and there is a ton of ACTING! Look at all the ACTING! So much ACTING! Grimes looks confused and nauseous. ACTING! Governor Cyclops speaks in riddles and smiles toothily a lot. ACTING! I am literally laughing out loud. Is this show a comedy? This show is definitely a comedy.

Outside, Hershel talks to Andrea and she confesses to him, "I don't know what I'm doing here." That makes two of us, Andrea! She asks Hershel what Cy did to Maggie, and Hershel tells her that Governor Cyclops is a sick man. No doy. Hershel tells Andrea she should join up with them again. "I mean, sure, Grimes has visions of his dead wife, and he is a terrible leader, and he is very sweaty, but at least he doesn't keep zombie heads in an aquarium, so there's that." Lesser of two whatthefuuuuuuucks.

Cy tells Grimes if they go to war, the fight will go down "to the last man." Emphasis on man. He then tells Grimes there is a way to end it: He shows Grimes his grody eye, care of Michonne's badassery, and tells Grimes that if he hands over Michonne, Unplesantville will leave Grimes Gang in peace. LIKELY STORY! "Is one woman worth all those lives?" Cy asks, and I barf one hundred times.

Speaking of Michonne, back at Grimes Jail, Merle tries to talk her into ambushing Cy at UN Barn, but she tells him he's on his own. It kinda seems like they are totes becoming BFFs, despite Merle having tried to murder her and being a white supremacist fuckhead. What a great story arc! I hope they fall in love!

Speaking of love, Maggie visits Glenn who's doing some zombie-gazing, and it is very awkward! But then Glenn says, "When we got back from Woodbury, I made it all about me, and you needed your space and I didn't give you that." And Maggie tells him, "I didn't need space from you. I just wanted you to see me." Then Maggie tells Glenn she misses him, even though they're always together, and Glenn says he's sorry and he loves her, and then they do it. Aww.

Back at UN Barn, Grimes tells Cy that killing Michonne for vengeance is beneath him and we all LOL BECAUSE NO IT'S NOT. That's pretty much right in Governor Cyclops' wheelhouse, Grimes, and good job as usual paying attention! Cy tells Grimes he's risking his children's lives and that he's got two days to think about it. Then Governor Cyclops hands Grimes a note that says, "If you want to hand over Michonne and do not want me to kill you, check this box: □" with instructions to pass it to Andrea in study hall once he makes up his mind.

Grimes has a brief moment of clarity and tells Cy he knows that handing over Michonne won't keep them safe. "We're going to war." I'm sure that will be very exciting 100 episodes from now. Or in the last 15 minutes of this interminable season. Whichever way they decide to play it.

The minions return to their respective communities with their respective garbage leaders, including Andrea. Back at Unpleasantville, Cy informs Melvin Nerdly that he intends to slaughter Grimes Gang no matter what. Gee, what a shocking reversal yawwwwwwwn. Melvin Nerdly looks hella unhappy about it. This guy. Get it together, Nerdly! You are working for a despot! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE POCKET PROTECTORS!

Back at Grimes Jail, Grimes tells everyone what happened, leaving out the Michonne part. Then he takes Hershel aside and tells him about the Michonne part, and explains he didn't tell the whole group because he wants them to be scared. WHUT. Shut up. His moment of clarity passed, he wonders out loud to Hershel if maybe he should hand over Michonne, and Hershel reminds him of all the kickass shit Michonne has done for them. "She's earned her place."

To which Grimes responds by asking Hershel if he's ready to sacrifice his daughters' lives for Michonne's, thus employing the same rhetorical THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN strategy as Governor Cyclops, whom he is no better than! They are the same horrendo nightmares in slightly different horrendo packaging! He tells Hershel he wants to be talked out of it. Jesus Jones. This show.

Over the last part of the episode, some song I don't know plays over the readying for war at Unpleasantville and Grimes Deep. It reminds me of the Tangerine Dream score for Risky Business, which is probably not what they were going for, but now I am picturing Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay having sex on the Chicago Elevated Train, and about how there is no way in hell I'd ever get my snatch out on the El. The end.

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