From the moment Carol took out this pills bottle in the first few seconds of this episode, it was obvious that they would become an action point. And although I'm glad that the show did not last for several weeks, it means that Ghosts is a highly compressed anti-drug screed that ranges from the introduction of the problem through the presentation of its negative effects to confrontation Carol's dark night of the soul, all in one go. And although there are ways that could have been done effectively, none of these were. Messy and awkward, everything here felt distracted and emotionally ineffective. If the climax of your episode is Negan blinking his thumb up, an error has occurred.
Our heroes have been waiting for the other shoe to fall since moving to the Alpha area in the season's premiere, and they face some consequences for their actions – if not those who think , The waves of hikers who rattle their walls for more than two consecutive days (shown in a decent opening assembly) are not sent by the leader of the Whisperers. As Lydia explains at the emergency meeting, if Alpha were to be punished, Alpha would have unleashed the Horde and obliterated it. No, their punishment – the loss of part of their territory, especially their hunting grounds – is more structural and may have far more damaging long-term consequences. It's not a noticeable loss, but it does increase the suspense in the long run, which is a better result for the audience, if not for Alexandria.
Unfortunately, Michonne, Daryl, Carol and several others go to the meeting with Alpha, where they explain the new state of things to them (Samantha Morton does a wonderful job in working out the revelation that they are aware, that they came to Whisperer territory three times, and not just once. Next comes an intricate effort on the side of the show (and the characters' side) to control Carol's pill popping and lack of sleep. After seeing some whisperers running past them in the forest, Carol sounds an alarm, but Michonne immediately questions her senses – and with good reason, as it turns out. It does not take long for Carol to hallucinate entire conversations with Daryl, losing track of time. It forces the character into a position of plaintive obstinacy, and although it is consistent with her personality, it is not much fun to see it. Melissa McBride is doing her best with this material, but she is not feeling well.
Worse, the show fails when trying to play them both ways. It wants to pull the rug out from under Carol and retroactively reveal that we can not trust anything she sees or hears, but it also wants to create tension by going back and showing us that there was actually a Whisper in the building with them and Carol's perspective contains elements of reality. This is handled clumsily, and the two elements weaken each other: After Carol's hallucinations have just been pointed out, it is difficult at the moment to decide whether she should invest in the drama, that she is turned upside down by a noose, or if she is it's supposed to handle so much imaginary nonsense, the skeptical response we've received through the episode that prevents the confrontation with the story. (It does not help that such a random turn of events does not really make sense.) Go back to the bottom and try to narrate the story with a "haha, a bad guy was there!". makes the story only flatter. It triggers a shrug, no wheezing. Equally yawning was the scene with Rosita and Eugene, who only confronted Eugene with something we all knew from the beginning – Rosita will never fall in love with him. Did he really need that to be said when she was either drunk and / or exhausted to believe it? Even by Eugene standards, that's a reach. Rosita is deeply annoyed at the fact that Eugene's only motivation for his friendship with her was the conviction that she would eventually see him as a romantic partner. At least Siddiq's PTSD breakdown during the treatment of Carol's injury gave us a chance to see that maybe Dante is not as crappy as he was at the season opener. This is new information, in contrast to everything we have received from these few scenes in Alexandria.
What leaves the subplot of Aaron and Negan as the strongest part of the episode, and that does not say much. But Jeffrey Dean Morgan comes alive in this season, and his character is eventually taken off the leash both figuratively and literally to become a real flesh-and-blood person. What made the back and forth interesting was not necessarily the actual argument – Aaron likes to punish Negan for the death of his lover, which is understandable – but the way it actually turned out to be much more effective than the whole last one Season endless philosophizing about the jail cells, how hard forgiveness is in practice. Integrating Negan into Alexandria is a testament to how difficult it really is to personify the vaunted ideals of a better society for which Carl died as a preacher. If the guy who once was a mustache-twirling cartoon of a villain now occupies the moral stronghold in exchange with one of the more sympathetic protagonists of the series, shows that in what I had previously dismissed as the lame negan salvation, potential plugged.
Overall, this episode feels like a missed opportunity. Carol's Psyche is one of the richest in the series and is disappointed by the execution here. If the tensions and excitement escalate next week, it will be, despite this installment payment, not because of it.
- It still seems a bit cheap to keep Carol alive after her failed assassination, but Samantha Morton is so good that she makes the relief "I forgive you – mother to mother" threatening plausible.
- Man, Negan is right, milkweed is no joke .
- Everything afterwards suffered in comparison, but the first revelation of Carol's conversation with Daryl as a hallucination was undeniably effective.
- Gabriel, forcing Aaron to allow Negan to fight him: "Peanut butter, hit jelly." Still does not really explain why there were only two of them in this group.
- Seriously, the best part of the episode was Negan, who realized how Aaron would behave and in return smiled, "Okay, I'm in, boss!"