With Rick’s mind now set on taking the smack to Negan, “Say Yes” had the feel of earlier seasons, as Rick and Michonne embarked on a mission to procure the guns promised to Jadis and her people in return for their help battling The Saviors. The lovebirds’ time away from Alexandria not only underscored the attraction which has developed between them over the years (two steamy clinches in as many minutes, if you please), but also how well they work together in the field, often wordlessly. Rick and Michonne are both smart and deadly (or should that be un-deadly?) and now share a bond that almost allows them to fight as one person.
There was even a touch of fairy-tale romance about their journey, as Rick’s insistence that they stay out, alone, for just one more day, prolonging their ‘vacation’, led them to an abandoned carnival, and surprise caches of weapons and food. The fairground seemed to have been seized by the military in a failed stand against walkers, leaving a hoard of zombie thrill-seekers and soldiers, loaded, automatic weapons still strapped to their rotting bodies. Michonne’s declaration that their discovery was ‘meant to be’ leant an air of mysticism to proceedings, as did the appearance of a deer.
The deer, in recent Walking Dead history, seems to be a bit of a harbinger for disaster, and his desire to give his lover the venison she lost to The Saviors was quite literally Rick’s downfall in this episode, as the ferris wheel he was using as a vantage point to shoot the deer gave way, dropping him the midst of a cadaverous mob. Danai Gurira really came into her own in this scene, the warrior gone in an instant, replaced with a petrified husk of a woman who thought her partner was dead. A lingering reaction shot, followed by that legendary katana clattering to the ground may not have been enough to convince viewers that Rick Grimes was zombie chow, but it did make me briefly worried for Michonne’s safety.
Back at Alexandria, Tara was grappling with the dilemma of whether to tell her people about the Oceanside colony. She fidgeted with her shell bracelet, a reminder of the promise she made to the woman who saved her life, and confided in someone who definitely wouldn’t blab – baby Judith. Saying that though, Judith must be on the cusp of talking by now. I know the zombie apocalypse probably hasn’t done wonders for her development, what with her being told to shush for most of her short life, and her care-givers don’t have much time to read her seminal texts, but even so. I wouldn’t be surprised if the youngest Grimes’ first words are ‘Tara knows where the guns are at!’
While Tara was wrestling with her conscience, Rosita was bored of waiting for Rick to make his move. There was a nice parallel scene to Rick and Michonne’s salvage hunt, as Rosita took out a particularly gross walker in a cabin in the woods having seen a pistol inside, only to discover it was a toy gun. After giving a concerned Tara short shrift, and rejecting Father Gabriel’s counsel when he found her in his chapel with a bullet, Rosita set out with a shiny new rifle to find the one woman she knew would help her in her suicide mission to take out Negan – Sasha. Rosita and Sasha seem to have put their rivalry for the late Abraham’s affections to one side, and bonded over their desire to see Negan six feet under.
Speaking over Abraham’s burial site, Sasha insisted she be the one to take the shot. Rosita conceded, knowing Sasha is the better markswoman, and the two women seemed to be making a pact that suggested they didn’t expect to return from their mission. Having fire-fighting and military backgrounds respectively, it seems believable that both women would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. However, Rosita’s anger seems to stem from her grief at Abraham’s death (as does Sasha’s), and also her guilt over the murder of Olivia. Given that Rick had returned with supplies and had been galvanized by the desire to build a new future for the next generation, it seems a pretty reckless plan to steam in, kamikaze style, and risk retribution on the group before they’re ready to fight. Rosita and Sasha’s shared appetite for self-destructive revenge is selfish. From what we saw of The Sanctuary’s machinations last week, the way Negan commands loyalty from his people as well as instilling fear, I can’t imagine Rosita’s plan can go anywhere but south.
Another fairly slow-burning episode, “Say Yes” is hopefully the calm before the storm. With The Kingdom set to join the cause, and Carol out of retirement next week, things look to be building towards an explosive season finale. Here’s hoping…
Final Grade: C
+ It was good to see Gabriel acting in a priestly fashion. His character has undergone some subtle development this season, and I’m warming to the fella.
+ This episode went a long way towards helping us invest in the relationship between Rick and Michonne. It has been largely side-lined since it started in earnest, but there was even a hint that Rick wants to bring new life into the world with Michonne if they both survive the skirmish.
+ The zombie kills were outstandingly icky and gross this week.
– Tonally this episode was kind of odd, with Rick and Michonne’s giggling a little too forced and a tad out of character.
– Considering how great the practical effects are on this show, the bad CGI deer was pretty jarring.
– I suspect the show is going for a ‘strong, capable women’, Thelma and Louise vibe with the Rosita and Sasha splinter group, but it’s only succeeding in making me think they have their inevitably sticky ends coming!
Extra Thought: I’ve been pondering the bizarre, broken speech of the Heapsters and decided it’s just ridiculous.
So, how was it for you? Was Rick & Michonne’s dystopian honeymoon sweet like cotton candy, or staler than week-old popcorn. Let us know in the comments, or over on Twitter.