Season Six, Episode Twelve — “Not Tomorrow Yet”
By Jarrod Jones. Think about what it would be like to live amongst the walking dead. You’ve had a year or so to adapt to the jarring changes, the societal shifts, the non-stop deluge of cretins (living or otherwise) who want nothing more than to see the light leave your eyes. Needless to say, you’ve done some remarkably awful things in order to stay alive. But in the quiet hours — when the energy is humming nicely, the laundry is finished, and the arsenal is put away — how do you spend your time? Do you find a piece of the life you left behind? Or do you take up some kinda morbid hobby?
For a former housewife, Carol seems to gravitate in the frightening space in-between. Carol hums as she bakes sheet after sheet of cookies (acorn and beet, nobody’s favorite) to keep her mind quiet. We’ve watched Carol murder and lie more times that any of us could be comfortable with admitting, and seeing her draw breath without a gun (or even a knife) in her hands is a peculiar thing, indeed. Is she merely filling the time in-between melees? Or does she still keep a small piece of the meek housewife within her? Who are those cookies actually for, anyway? Not for those who could still taste them, that’s for sure. No, this is what Carol does: she bakes cookies for the dead.
There’s plenty of skirmish in this week’s installment of The Walking Dead, but poor Carol ends up sitting most of it out. Because, killer that she is, there’s still a mother behind her cool, grey eyes, and she’ll be damned if Maggie is gonna louse up giving Judith a playmate. But because Carol now has to babysit Maggie, she has in effect turned the pair of them into a liability — something Rick & Co. just can’t afford right now. The Saviors have to go, and Alexandria needs two of its finest killers on the frontlines. Instead, they’re held hostage by Negan’s crew, held up by their own apron strings. And you can see the clockwork running in Carol’s mind. This is not how things should have worked out. And you know what? She’s absolutely right.
WHAT WORKED: The assault on the Savior compound was a TWD all-time best. It was gripping, not just in a visceral way, but in an emotional one as well: could Glenn actually take a human life? He’d long been a hardened walker slayer before Rick’s mercenary work brought him to this week’s fight, but his People Kill Count had remained a solid goose egg. Steven Yeun brought his actorly chops along with his steel-jawed resolve this Sunday, and it made the ensuing brouhaha all the more invigorating.
WHAT DIDN’T: Big moments for many of the major-league Alexandrians this week: Abraham ditched Rosita (presumably for Sasha), Carol finally got herself some (with Tobin, which really?), and Glenn finally killed his first human being ever (in the most disgusting manner possible). But the episode moved by so quickly — to make room for the kick-ass action, natch — that we never got a chance to catch our breath. The limits of a weekly 45-minute show were on full display this week, as time constraints made for one hell of an emotionally fussy episode. (Morgan barely had enough time to cry in his sad basement.)
“You can do things… that just terrify me.” – Tobin, to Carol.
Rick: “Why are you still wearing that?” Gabriel: “It’s still who I was. I think. (pauses) And it’ll be harder for them to see me in the dark.”
“The Saviors? They’re scary, but… those pricks have nothin’ on you.” Hilltopper, to Rick.
“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE.” – Carol, to Maggie.
BEST MOMENT: Head’s up. That Hilltopper fellow said Negan wanted Gregory’s head in exchange for some poor imprisoned whelp. “And we’re gonna give it to ‘im,” says Rick. What follows is a startlingly amusing sequence of walker head-hunting to find the right candidate for Rick’s ruse. One head’s too big. The other’s too small. And this one? “Gregory’s a different… shape,” the token Hilltopper says to Rick. So Deputy Grimes goes to town on the severed head to make it look as mashed up and broken as Gregory’s undoubtedly will if he keeps up the smart comments. The Walking Dead makes several attempts at comedy, and rarely does it ever work, but Andrew Lincoln’s deadpan was put to wonderful use in this moment. Hi-larious.
EPISODE’S MVP: It was a team effort this week. No single performance outshone the other — Abraham put Rosita out, sure, but there’s no honor in ditching the one person who cares for you for inherently selfish (and covert) reasons. And yes, Glenn came to grips with the need to wipe those Savior sons of bitches out with aplomb, but the rocket-fire pace of this week’s episode barely gave us enough time to process it. No, this week’s episode of The Walking Dead held true to the maxim of Alexandria — “it takes a village.” (Unless you’re pregnant.)
BRAY OF THE DEAD:
– Ever wonder what a beet and acorn cookie would taste like? Yeah, I don’t want to either.
– I could only imagine what it’d be like to get rebuffed by a dude like Abraham only to be comforted by an imbecile like Eugene. Rosita, you have my pity.
– Hmm. An array of heads, photographed bloodied and bashed in. Wonder how they got that way.
– Talking Dead: J.B. Smoove should never, ever be allowed to guest-star on this (or any) show, ever again.
7.5 out of 10
Next: “The Same Boat”, soon.
Before: “Knots Untie”, here.