The Walking Dead

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7: 10 Questions Raised By Episode 5


The Walking Dead finally checked in with Maggie, Sasha, Jesus, and the rest of the Hilltop community this week with its fifth episode of the season, “Go Getters,” focusing on the fallout of Glenn and Abraham’s deaths, as well as Hilltop leader Gregory’s displeasure at Rick’s failure to get rid of the Saviors. Overall, this was another mediocre episode in a season that is increasingly becoming a slog, but it did have its moments. In particular, Maggie and Sasha’s relationship was well developed, as the two shared in their collective grief over the loss of their loved ones and forged a deep bond that is sure to make them a force to be reckoned with as the season moves along (Negan had better watch his back because these two women certainly aren’t going to forget).

Besides the Maggie and Sasha stuff, the only other real highlights of this episode were the return of Jesus and his delightfully over-the-top kung-fu and Steven Ogg as Savior lieutenant Simon, who is emerging as an even more interesting villain than Negan. Much like every other episode since the premiere, not much really happens in “Go Getters” that is worth getting excited about, but it does feel like we’re getting much closer to open war with Negan, which is a plus. With only three episodes left until The Walking Dead goes on its mid-season break, here are the biggest questions we have in the wake of “Go Getters.”

10. Where The Heck Are The Other Hilltop Residents?

The late night zombie attack on Hilltop is the central action scene of this episode and while it gets points for showcasing Maggie’s quick-thinking and leadership skills, not to mention Jesus and his roundhouse kicks, the whole sequence felt off because of how empty it felt. It’s been established that Hilltop isn’t full of hardened survivors to the degree that Alexandria is (which is part of the reason why Rick promised to get rid of the Saviors in the first place) but are there seriously so few capable people living there that it falls on three people, one of whom is a pregnant women with explicit instructions to “take it easy,” to take care of everything?

Where the heck was everyone? We see Maggie tell two men to go close the gates, but considering we don’t see them after that, we might as well assume that they just went back to bed. Did AMC just not have the budget for extras in this scene? Whatever the case, the lack of people felt unrealistic and detracted from what could have been a more impactful scene.


9. How Much Longer Will Gregory Be In Charge Of Hilltop?

While it had been awhile since we last saw Gregory, the Hilltop leader quickly reminded viewers what a spineless coward he is by trying to kick Maggie and Sasha to the curb right from the get-go (and to add insult to injury, repeatedly got their names wrong throughout the episode). Gregory’s interactions with Simon, the Savior lieutenant that Negan sends to Hilltop in his stead, make it clear that he is exactly the kind of person the Saviors want in charge of one of their satellite communities, as he is all about appeasement.

The thing is, Gregory’s tactics clash with how Jesus believes the Saviors should be handled and they certainly rub Sasha and Maggie the wrong way, with Maggie in particular already looking like she should be leading Hilltop. Whether it turns out that Simon finds out about Gregory’s deal with Rick or Maggie simply choosing to replace him, it seems that Gregory’s days running Hilltop are numbered, but how and when his rule will end remains a mystery. Source: Wetpaint

8. Why Did The Saviors Set That Trap Anyway?

To the surprise of no one, it turns out that the Saviors were the ones who set up the late night zombie attack on Hilltop. As Simon explains to Gregory, the whole thing was done to remindHilltop community why they need the Saviors around, but at the same time, this explanation is a load of crap. If the Saviors knew about Hilltop’s deal with Rick and Alexandria — which, it must be stated, remains unclear — sending a horde of walkers to mess with Hilltop would make sense as a way of getting back at them, as it sends a message that betrayal will not be tolerated. However, the armored car trap plays out more like the Saviors pulling a sadistic prank on the people of Hilltop, which in many ways feels counterproductive at this stage.

For one thing, the Saviors rely on Hilltop for supplies, so why would they want to risk some of them dying in a walker attack. Also, the Saviors come to collect supplies the very next morning. What if some of those supplies had been damaged or lost during the attack? It just feels like there’s no rhyme or reason to anything the Saviors do on an episode-to-episode basis (which very well could be the entire point) and this attack in particular also brings up another huge flaw in the way the Saviors operate …


7. Do The Saviors Actually Provide A Service?

It’s no secret that the Saviors function as a protection mob that demand payment from weaker settlements and in return, let them keep their lives, and while they do seem to uphold their end of that bargain (for the most part), there’s another part of the Saviors’ deal that they are ridiculously bad at: protecting their settlements from walkers. During Negan’s visit to Alexandria last week, he made a big deal over killing a couple walkers outside of the gates, pointing to it as “proof” that the Saviors are providing an essential service.

Deliberately sending a horde of walkers against Hilltop and standing back and letting its citizens deal with the problem only reinforces how uselelss the Saviors actually are at “protection” but again, maybe that’s the whole point. It’s not like Hilltop or Alexandria are in a position to complain about the Saviors failing to provide them with protection from walkers, so Negan and his group can easily get away with just not doing it. However, when walkers are everyone’s problem and the Saviors could easily take hordes of them out without breaking a sweat, it seems counterproductive to let your settlements know that you don’t actually have their back. Don’t be surprised if this turns out to be one of the major catalysts for going to war with Negan.


6. Could Simon Challenge Negan’s Rule?

As previously mentioned, “Go Getters” saw the welcome return of character actor Steven Ogg as Savior lieutenant Simon, who Negan has put in charge of overseeing operations in Hilltop. Simon wastes no time in establishing his hold on Hilltop, as he proceeds to scare the crap out of Gregory while also getting him to kneel for him for good measure before he departs. As Negan’s representative in Hilltop, Simon naturally acts similarly to how Negan might while coming to collect supplies from a settlement, but to be honest, Simon is actually more intimidating than Negan and a more interesting character overall. All credit to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but Negan’s posturing and grandiose speeches have already grown tiresome, whereas Ogg acts like he might give you a hug or shoot you in the face at a moment’s notice.

Assuming Simon continues to get screen time as the season progresses, is there a possibility that he could become a threat to Negan? He’s shown himself to be just as smart, calculating, and ruthless as his boss, so you have to at least entertain the possiblity that he may want to branch out on his own at some point. The more likely (and less interesting) scenario is simply that Simon is a loyal, trustworthy underling and will go down whenever Negan does, but it’s worth holding out hope that the show will do something better with him.


5. Was It Worth Totaling A Car To Kill One Zombie?

No, of course not.

Easily the worst moment in this episode was Carl’s over-the-top “rescue” of Enid from a lone walker. Rather than get out of the car and kill the walker by hand, Carl pretty much totals his ride and acts like it’s something anyone would do in the same situation. It’s clear that The Walking Dead is going out of its way to establish this as Carl’s reckless teenage years and it looks like this characterization may even lead somewhere interesting, given that Carl is currently on an ill-advised mission to kill Negan, but the moment with the car was beyond stupid.

For one thing, it’s not made clear how Carl even procured the car in the first place and given that working vehicles are kind of a rare, important resource in the post-apocalypse, it is simply ridiculous for a character to nonchalantly wreak one in at attempt to impress a girl he likes. Then again, this is Carl we’re talking about; a character who refuses to get a much-needed haircut or bother with annoying concepts like common sense, so it’s not like we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. At least we’ll be taking a much-needed break from Carl and Enid’s awkward teenage romance for the foreseeable future, which is its own kind of blessing.


4. What Is Carl’s Plan?

As Jesus discovers in the episode’s final scene, Carl has stowed himself away in one of the Saviors’ trucks, proving that he wasn’t kidding around when he told Enid he was on a mission to kill Negan. While we know what comes of this plan based on events from the comics, there are two variables introduced here that could lead to things playing out much differently. First of all, it doesn’t look like Carl has access to a gun, unless there is randomly one in the back of the truck. In the comics, Carl opens fire with an assault rifle as soon as the Saviors start emptying the back of the truck, so unless Carl gains access to a gun, he’s going to have to do something else.

Also, there’s the fact that Jesus is with him in the back of the truck and he probably won’t be too keen to start recklessly gunning down Negan’s men upon arrival at the Savior compound. Whatever Carl’s plan is, it is undoubtedly going to blow up in his face, but it will be interesting to see how the show deviates from events in the comics, given that Carl’s upcoming encounter with Negan is one of the most significant events in the entire Negan storyline.


3. What Will Jesus Do?

With Carl on the warpath, it’s easy to get a bit worried about Jesus, who may or may not get caught in the crossfire. We know that Jesus is on a reconnaissance mission to discover where Negan’s base of operations is located and since he’s pretty much a ninja, it’s safe to assume that he would be able to accomplish this without being seen. Unfortunately, he now has Carl to deal with, so whatever his original plan was, it’s likely now changed. One would assume that Carl’s plan to kill Negan will come up in conversation and assuming that Jesus isn’t in a hurry to die needlessly, he’ll probably try to talk Carl out of it and not succeed because Carl is an obstinate teenager. While Jesus probably won’t be able to stop Carl from doing something stupid, he’s a smart, level-headed guy, so you know he is going to try to do something to help Carl or at the very least find a way to not get in his way, but one thing’s for sure: this is no longer going to be a simple recon mission. Source: GQ

2. Could Enid Actually Become A Decent Character?

I was ready to write a big rant about why Enid is the most pointless, uninteresting character The Walking Dead has ever produced … but then something changed. Incredibly, the show found something for Enid to do that didn’t involve running away or moping: being there for Maggie. She adorns Glenn’s grave with those green balloons she managed to keep out of the Saviors’ hands, which was admittedly a very touching moment. It looks like Enid is now going to stay with Maggie and Sasha at Hilltop, which honestly might have been the smartest move the writers could make with her character. Ever since she was introduced, Enid has had nothing substantial to do and has felt like a completely unnecessary character, but now that she’s joined up with Maggie and Sasha, perhaps she can start making worthwhile contributions to the show’s plot and actually become a decent character in her own right.


1. Why Can’t This Show Adopt A Better ‘Check-In’ Model?

We’re now five episodes into this season of The Walking Dead and yet, it feels like barely anything has actually happened. While this has something to do with the fact that the show is taking its time to establish a world under Negan’s rule — we can’t just move right into open war with the Saviors, as much as we may want to — the lack of forward momentum also has a lot to do with the way the show is structuring its episodes. We’re at a point now in The Walking Dead’s run where there are multiple ongoing storylines with several groups of characters in different locations, which is a tough balancing act for any show to handle. The problem is that The Walking Dead is spending whole episodes at a time with just one group (for the most part), which means that we are going weeks at a time without even seeing certain characters.

Compare this storytelling structure to something like Game of Thrones, which also splits its characters into many different locations and stories, but manages to give equal focus to most of them by jumping in between four or five in a given episode. Why hasn’t The Walking Dead adopted this sort of check-in model? Now that the situations in Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom have been firmly established, hopefully The Walking Dead does the smart thing and starts to jump between these locations and characters more frequently because at this rate, we would have to wait until the mid-season premiere just to see Maggie and Sasha again and that’s simply unacceptable.

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)