Shane Ryan and Josh Jackson review The Walking Dead each week in a series of letters.
We have seen some truly awful plans in Walking Dead history, but I don’t know if we’ve seen anyone quite like Richard, rest his soul, for really over-complicating and bungling something simple. In the past three weeks, he has had two separate plans for starting a war with the Saviors—which, by the way is a good and smart idea!—and I would like to review them now.
Plan 1: Attack a convoy of Saviors, then leave a trail to Carol’s house, so that Carol gets killed because the Saviors think she attacked a convoy by herself, and then everyone gets so pissed about Carol dying that they start a war. This was narrowly averted by Daryl.
Plan 2: Drop one of the 12 cantaloupes off the back of the supply truck so that when they meet the Saviors, the head dude gets so mad about a missing cantaloupe and them being like 10 minutes late that he kills Richard, at which point everyone will be so upset at the death of Richard that they start a war.
These are hilarious, bad plans. All of them depend on a thousand stupid contingencies going right, which would only happen on a TV show with questionable writing. Also, they all end with either him or one of his friends dying! That’s not great!
Here’s a simpler plan for starting a war, Josh, that I just devised.
Plan 3: Wait for a supply meeting with the Saviors. Use your gun to surprise kill them all. Turn around to King Ezekiel and the others, grin broadly, and say, “guess what, homeys? We’re in a war now!”
So, “Bury Me Here” was kinda dumb in that way. Karl Makinen (Richard) and Lennie James (Morgan) are both solid actors, and their scenes together were fairly decent despite writing that was, as I said, kinda dumb. Essentially, though, this was another “delay the inevitable” episode, and it wasn’t any less frustrating than the rest of them. We’ve known for a while that Rick and the Kingdom and the Hilltop and everyone else have to eventually decide to fight the Saviors, and it’s annoying when you as a viewer are about eight steps ahead of a TV show. “Just f’ing GET THERE already!” is not the reaction any show wants, much less for 10 weeks straight. After a decent episode last Sunday, we’re back to cable’s version of hell.
The silver lining, of course, is that everyone at the Kingdom has decided on war by the end. Richard’s plan worked, weirdly, and he ended up being sacrificed for exactly the reason he intended, albeit on a different day. Morgan kills Richard for show, basically, to convince the Saviors that all is well, when in fact in his mind he’s already planning war. So, to recap:
Finally, at long last, Morgan is ready to dispense with his hugely zombie-apocalypse-inappropriate stick-zen, and start kicking ass.
Finally, Ezekiel is done being a pushover.
Finally, at long last, someone just a suddenly naive and sensitive Carol that Abraham and Glenn got watermelon-smashed by Lucille.
(Side note, this scene at the end made me laugh, just after Morgan dropped the bomb that Glenn and Abraham were gone:
Morgan: “And they killed more. Killed Spencer, Olivia.”
Carol, more or less: “Eh…”)
Now, at last, over the final three episodes, we get to see WARRRRRR! (Although it occurs to me as I’m typing that we might have to endure the same drama at the Hilltop…son of a…) Along with the big battle, in which a whole bunch of extras and at least one off-main character will die, we might get to see Morgan go vigilante assassin on their asses, which will be awesome. So the build-up has been long, and painful, but at least we’re mostly through the weeds.
What did you think?
I’ll keep it short this week since I don’t have a lot to say about this particular episode. But I do feel like I need to help you manage your expectations:
There is no way this gets resolved in any fashion this season. The big battle is likely coming this time next year. Negan doesn’t go away easily. Remember the Governor? It took forever to kill the Governor. There might be a skirmish this season? But the real fight is a ways off in the distance.
“Bury Me Here” was commendable only in that I think I’m going to start liking Morgan and Carol again after the events we just watched. I’ll take Clear Morgan over Zen Morgan any day, and hopefully we’re about to get the Best of All Worlds Morgan. A badass fighter with a conscience would be a welcome addition to the team.
There were definitely cues last night that Benjamin was in trouble—he was completely sympathetic. We learned what a good (fatherlike) big brother he was, that he had a love interest, that he wanted to learn to be a great warrior like Carol. And then he died. Meanwhile Richard became the worst. You’re right that it was an incredibly stupid plan, and it was kind of good to see him go.
Please don’t die, Daryl Dixon
Shane and Josh will be back with more next week.