By Nanea Hoffman
At the end of last week’s episode, Maggie and Carol were taken hostage by a bunch of Negans Saviors.
Maggie stupidly insisted on coming along on the raid, and then Carol stubbornly insisted on staying with her, and then the Negans Saviors snuck up on them. Apparently, they are all Negan. Do you think Negan is post-apocalyptic slang for douchebag? Okay, I know, I know – Jeffrey Dean Morgan has yet to make his appearance. But wouldn’t it be great if that was what Negan meant? “Rick, stop being such a Negan!”
There’s Paula, who in another life would probably have been in the same Bunco club as Carol. As it stands now, she’s a Savior, which puts her at odds with our favorite zombie-killing housewife. Paula wants to trade Maggie and Carol for the Negan guy Rick captured.
This episode mostly centers on the psychological drama between the captives and captors. Who were they? Who are they now? Who are the bad guys, really? The questions raised are as uncomfortable as duct tape bindings.
Paula is a great foil for Carol, especially in the scene when she shares that cheesy story about the carrot, the egg, and the coffee grounds and what happens when you boil them. You can see that Paula has gone through each of those stages in her personal metamorphosis, and that she is now beyond care or regret. She left that behind when her human kill number reached double digits.
Molls is basically the female Abraham. She is dying of cancer and that seems to have given her a sense of liberation. Molls is what you’d call “fuck-free.” She has absolutely none to give. Also, she is responsible for the quote of the week:
I really thought Carol freaking out was a ruse. I figured she was doing her Alexandrian suburban mom bit, getting everyone to think she is soft, but really, she’s an egg! Or coffee! I thought she deliberately revealed Maggie’s pregnancy so Paula would understand that they were high value prisoners. This does not engender compassion in Paula, who seems to view Maggie as a human Happy Meal containing “bite sized snacks for the dead.” Still – it’s important info. The best part of Melissa McBride’s performance is that we are left guessing. How much is acting and how much is Carol’s real fear that she is becoming a cold-blooded killer?
Especially poignant is the moment during the boss-fight between Paula and Carol when Carol says, “I was afraid of this.” And then Paula ends up being walker chow.
The most unexpected (yet somehow expected) moment comes when Maggie and Carol burn the Saviors alive! Like, holy shit. They look both sickened and determined. It had to be done, but in doing what they have to in order to survive, have they become monsters like the Terminus cannibals?
When Rick and the cavalry arrive, it’s all over, but you can see that for Maggie and Carol, it isn’t. Not really. Maggie tells Glenn she just can’t anymore.
Carol tells Daryl she is not okay, and he pulls her in for a hug. “Come here.”
Other great moments:
The conversation between Maggie and Other Maggie Chelle, during which Chelle informs her: “You’re not the good guys. You should know that.”
When Donnie, the Savior who Carol shot in the arm, becomes enraged at Paula for ordering him to stand down and backhands Paula, knocking her to the ground. Shades of Ed and Carol! Maggie attempts to defend Carol, and then Paula knocks Donnie out with her gun.
This entire kidnapping incident, especially the way in which Maggie and Carol escape, is surely the boiling water that has transformed these two women. It certainly highlights the ways in which our heroes have changed (for example, when Rick casually caps the leftover Negan Savior at the end).
What does this mean for the Alexandrians? And seriously – where IS Negan?