If there’s one thing the most recent episode of the Walking Dead indicates, it is how the group has evolved from where they were. The episode starts with (S)Carol playing Happy Homemaker, making cookies for her community out of beets and acorns she harvests herself like a prairie home companion. She doles them out with a friendly demeanor that belies her new lethal nature.
No one knows how lethal she is like Carol herself. It is something she contemplates at poor Sam’s grave. When she returns to the sanctity of her room, she opens a journal that has tracked what could only be assumed are her “kills” since the prison, putting her number at a terrifying “18,” which Movie Pilot suggest might be off a smidge.
That she uses initials is interesting. It’s also quite telling that she didn’t include Sam, Jessie or Ron in her tally, even though – arguably – it was her scary bedtime story to Sam that facilitated their deaths. It was clear Sam hadn’t slept much since she told him about the monsters, and likely wasn’t in his right mind when he had to mingle among the scary, scary walkers. And she had to realize this on some level, otherwise why linger at his grave to contemplate just how far she’s come?
She’s not the same mousy victim she was in Season One. She can even give her new squeeze, Tobin, equal parts lovin’ and backtalk, as part of their new mating ritual.
It is clear that things have changed for our group and they are not going to go back. These are not the same people who wrestled with the idea of killing some kid in Season Two. Instead they are planning a preemptive attack on Negan’s group, the Saviors. To kill before they themselves are killed.
Of course, Morgan once again tries to plead for reason and diplomacy. Now that Father Gabriel is packing heat and ready to fight, the voice of the moral majority has shrunk to one man, and, unlike Dale before him, Morgan realizes that there is no argument to be had. Rick is a man on a mission and can not be persuaded.
This thing is happening. And it’s happening fast.
Rick decides that they’re going to infiltrate Negan’s compound in the cloak of darkness, to kill them all while they are sleeping. It’s a ruthless plan, one that even puts the Governor’s takeover of the prison in Season Four to shame. Tara finds herself once again recruited for the mission, though this time she has enough trust in Rick and faith in the group that it is a little easier to do what needs to be done.
Apparently so does Glenn, who is faced with completing his first human kill since the world fell apart. It is a heart-wrenching scene, made even more emotional by the fact that he still manages to ‘Glenn’ all over the place, killing his second human almost immediately in order to spare his cohort Heath from the same sad initiation.
Again, it goes to show how far these characters have come. They simply don’t live in the same world they used to, and it’s foolish – and deadly – to pretend otherwise. The fact that Rick shrugs it off as a matter of providing food for his group hearkens to the Terminus folks who resorted to cannibalism to survive. The Hilltop stooge Andy nails it perfectly when he says, “The Saviors, they’re scary. But that prick has nothing on you.”
Despite the deceptively normal beginning of the episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet” hits hard and fast a little over the halfway mark into the show. Rick and Co. are efficient little assassins, who make quick work of the guards and scores of sleeping Saviors. They aren’t messing around, and it’s actually a really good plan, as evidenced by how much damage they do.
Of course, Rosita might just be taking out some frustration after the most heartless breakup in Walking Dead history. No muss. No preamble. No excuses. Abraham just drops her cold. And I do mean cold. “When I met you, I thought you were the last woman on earth. You weren’t.”
Really, Abraham? That’s how you want to end it?
Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this plan being executed perfectly, lest they get executed in the process. In a heart-stopping moment, Glenn finds a mess of Polaroids, that illustrate perfectly what happens when unfortunate souls cross the Savors.
More to the point… when someone crosses Lucille, the bat wrapped in barbed wire that is Negan’s weapon of choice.
That it is Glenn, whose counterpart in the comics met his end in such a way, could make even the most hardened WD fan break out into a cold sweat, likely foreshadowing a horrific death in the near future.
“Not Tomorrow Yet” shows us that we have much to fear. There’s a hitch in the plan when one of the Saviors sets off an alarm, throwing the whole thing into chaos, and putting every single one of Rick’s group in jeopardy. Well, everyone but Maggie and Carol, who are far enough away from the compound that they should be out of immediate danger, a danger that makes killers not only of Glenn and Heath, but of Father Gabriel and even Jesus.
After her heart-to-heart with Tobin, where he tells her that she is the mother of the group, Carol decides to stay with Maggie and keep her safe, which, ultimately, makes both of these women act out of character from who they’ve become.
And that, folks, is where this theme takes an interesting turn.
Rick and his gang manage to escape harm in the epic shootout, leaving only one Savior left who tries to escape on Daryl’s stolen motorcycle. Daryl ain’t havin’ it. But before they can finish him off, a (female) voice over the walkie lets them know that they *might* want to reconsider… and she says the only two words that could stop Rick and his entire bunch cold.
Of course, those words are Maggie and Carol.
That this is a redhead, much like the walker Carol eliminates while out foraging for acorns, is probably no accident.
One thing is clear. This brutal episode sets the stage for a finale that has already promised it is going to cost us something. They thought they could get the jump on Negan, but he’s clearly in another league altogether, as evidenced by the fact that he wasn’t even at this particular compound (suggesting that it was a satellite – and quite possibly a weed growing – location.)
There will be a reckoning. There’s no turning away from that now. So lock yourselves into the seats, folks.
Tomorrow is coming.