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Sunday, April 15, 2018

[RECAP] Season 8, Episode 15 of The Walking Dead, "Worth"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

With only one episode left to the season finale, The Walking Dead's episode 15 "Worth" solidified Negan's control over his flaying community of Saviors, in dramatic fashion.  We see a Negan that is cunning, manipulative, decisive and yes, strong.  It was a solid episode that focused on his return to The Sanctuary and the final pieces of the puzzle that are put into play heading into the season finale.

We start the episode with Rick finally opting to read Carl's letter, his last wishes.  As Rick reads his letter (a voice over by Chandler Riggs who played Carl), we get to hear all of Carl's wishes including the ability to make Rick feel safe.  He describes wishing that he could make his father feel safe again, the way he always made him feel, particularly when taking long walks by various areas, including an old farm.  Carl implores his father to find a way to make things right with Negan because there are in fact, innocent people who live at The Sanctuary, purely out of circumstance.  He doesn't want anymore innocent bloodshed and he hopes that this note will guide his father on the right path.

Huh.  A little too late considering Rick just murdered some Savior escapees but ah well.

We are left wondering, however, if the note made any difference because the next thing we know, we join a few different story lines, all happening simultaneously.  One of these include Aaron's camping out by the Oceanside community, in a futile attempt to try and convince them to join the cause (*yawn*).  He is deeply dehydrated but is still able to defend himself against a group of walkers (suspending disbelief here, but okay) and proceeds to give a short monologue to the ladies of Oceanside, making the case that the only way for things to change is for them to join them in the fight.

Personally, I would expect to see the ladies of Oceanside to be the Calvary that arrives during the season finale during just the right moment, to save the day...or at least assist in saving the day.  

We move on then to the next bigger piece of the story which centers around Eugene.  We see that Eugene is now fully in control of his own outpost, which is the armory that has the capabilities to produce ammunition.  Father Gabriel is on the assembly line assisting in the manufacturing of bullets but it comes to light that he has been damaging the shell cases and apparently, this would cause a significant injury to the shooter (I'm not an ammunition expert, so please bear with me).  Eugene pulls Father Gabriel from the assembly line and he's left to contemplate if he's really evolved from the priest that shut out his own congregation to protect himself, since he's making bullets out of more self-preservation.  Before we can delve too deeply into that however, Eugene goes outside with a couple of Saviors to test some of the loads created.  This all comes to an abrupt halt when Rosita and Daryl take out the two Saviors and proceed to take Eugene hostage.

During Eugene's walk with them, he tries to make a compelling case for the fact that he took the blame for Rosita's attempt to take a shot at Negan, and THAT was what brought him to The Sanctuary, not that he came out of his own volition (not to mention that it saved her life).  Once he arrived at The Sanctuary, he fully expected to be tortured and inevitably killed but his skills and knowledge ended up putting him in a valuable light, in Negan's eyes at least.  From there, he's been able to make use of the meager skills that he possesses and they're valued.  Rosita ignores all this from Eugene...until he brings up that they wouldn't be in the place that they're in if Rick hadn't made them kill all those Saviors in their sleep at the satellite station.  

Well, you can't say Eugene's wrong with anything he said right there.  This is a huge arguing point among fans of the show and for me, at least, I fully agree with Eugene's point (hence #TeamNegan).  Rosita though, does NOT agree and proceeds to almost shoot him in the head, all the while talking down to him and telling him that they wont kill him but that they'll keep him in a cellar and only let him see the light of day when they need his services.  That apparently, will be a better use of his "pathetic life".  This appears to be the breaking point with Eugene who then proceeds to gag himself and make himself throw up all the sardine mac 'n cheese he had just eaten (I know, gross), all over Rosita.  This provides him the distraction he needs in order to escape and hide, until Rosita and Daryl disappear.  He then heads back to The Sanctuary with a renewed vigor to supply Negan with the quota demanded, even going as far to tell his team to sit down and get to work so that they can start doing something with "their pathetic lives".

So will Eugene ACTUALLY support the Savior cause by supplying them with all the bullets they need to end this conflict with Rick?  Or will his sentiments win out and will he be persuaded to hand over to Negan defective bullets?  The end of this scene show Eugene apparently scraping shells against some sort of metal but as I already mentioned, I am not an ammunition expert so we'll need to wait to see the actual outcome during the finale.

Finally, we get to the heart of the episode which takes place among the Saviors at the Sanctuary (primarily Dwight, Simon and of course Negan).  We see that Gregory is at the Sanctuary and is talking to Simon, trying to convince him of his worth and how he should be allowed to speak to Negan to express as such.  Simon then proceeds to tell him that he is Negan and "not in the collective way".  

On a side note, there were a lot of great lines this episode but we'll get to them as they come.

Gregory then switches gears and proceeds to of course, butter up Simon, and tell him how he wasn't surprised that he was now in charge since Negan had a lot of personality but always "pulled his punches".  Simon agrees and explains that that is all the more reason that he cannot be seen with him.  In other words "Ergo, you go" (HA, awesome line).  This causes Gregory to become indignant and start exclaiming how valuable he really is ("I AM THE JUICE"), forcing Simon to land him on his behind.  Simon then threatens to kill Gregory unless...can he make coffee?  And just like that, Gregory is saved by becoming his errand boy.

And then of course, we get to see Negan confront Dwight in the courtyard.  He asks if he's surprised to see him and says that it was a punch in the stomach being left behind to basically fend for himself or die (not in those exact words, but you get the idea).  Dwight tries to make excuses as to why things happened as they did but Negan talks to him more so on the bigger picture.  We're not necessarily clear what it all means until later.

Later on, we see Negan call all his top men/women into his conference room (?) for a meeting of the minds.  Simon owns up to his raid on the Hilltop, taking it way too far, although never admitting to his slaughter of the Garbage People.  Negan cleans his bat and approaches Simon, talking the whole time about how he took a chance on him that a lot of people wouldn't have because of his indiscriminate slaughter of all those men and boys of Oceanside.  We finally get the confirmation that many of us suspected in that, SIMON was the one responsible for these meaningless slaughters. Negan still stands by his stance that people are a resource and that behavior wouldn't have followed his typical way of thinking.

He finally reaches Simon and asks him to get on his knees, which Simon does, ready to accept his punishment...but all is apparently forgiven.  Negan then proceeds to share his plan for surrounding the Hilltop and eliminating Rick's people in a last ditch "scorched earth" approach to the problem. Simon praises his plan but no sooner than they are dismissed, Simon approaches Dwight in his room about staging a coup against Negan as soon as possible.  Dwight is initially hesitant but then eventually succumbs to Simon's pressure and agrees.  Seemingly.

Once out in the courtyard, Simon tries to rally the insurgents on what they need to do which is essentially killing Negan quickly and respectfully, since "the man has gotten us this far".  It's at this point that we hear a Savior whistle and Negan comes out from behind a dumpster, thanking Dwight. He counts down from three and all of a sudden assassins kill off all the insurgents, leaving only Simon alive, and restrained by two Saviors.  Simon demands from Dwight why would he go to Negan after all he's done to him but Dwight merely responds that he would ultimately win, so it was a no-brainer.  Negan then approaches Simon and says that if Simon feels he deserves to be in charge, then he will give him a fair opportunity to prove himself.  After all, "to be the man, you have to beat the man".  

Let me tell you, that Ric Flair quote was not wasted on me.

To be the man, you have to beat the man...wooo!
Next thing we know, both Negan and Simon are in a sort of "Fight Club" scenario, surrounded by Saviors and essentially whoever's left standing is the leader.  Simon starts by addressing the crowd with some grandiose speech which appeared to be purely a distraction because he took the opportunity to sucker punch Negan while he was in the middle of talking.  No matter, Negan holds his own in the ring with Simon, getting him to the point where he has him pinned and he proceeds to choke him to death with his bare hands.  No Lucille, no guns, no knives.  This was purely a Mano-to-Mano fight to illustrate to the rest of The Sanctuary who was the Alpha dog, aka The Boss.  And Negan of course, won.

In the midst of all this, Dwight took the opportunity to give a map of Negan's plan to Gregory, ordering him to get those over to Rick immediately so that they can start getting ready.  We think that Dwight has gotten away with this maneuver until we get to the end and Negan walks Dwight to his room...only to be greeted by the savior Laura (aka Neck Tattoo).  This is the savior who witnessed Dwight turn on his own people and she apparently told just as much to Negan.  He then informs Dwight that based on this Intel from Laura, he knew he couldn't be trusted so he concocted this dummy "plan" to share with Dwight, knowing he would share this with Rick.  Rick and crew will actually be walking unbeknownst to them, right into an attack (rather than away from it).

So what will now come of Dwight is anyone's guess but Negan apparently has some "big plans" for him (*YIKES*).

At the very end of the episode, we see Negan on the balcony overlooking the courtyard and a Walker Simon on the wall (best walker EVER).  He is contemplating the crushing of his insurgents when he gets a message from Michonne on the walkie-talkie.  She merely wants to deliver Carl's final words to Negan, as he requested.  As suspected, it is more of the same, imploring Negan to stop and work with Rick.  While you can tell Negan is affected by Carl's words, it's all a little too late.  He has Rick after him, he had Dwight selling his secrets to the enemy and he even had Simon trying to stage a coup.  For all intensive purposes, he is DONE and makes that very clear to Michonne before destroying the walkie-talkie and ending the conversation.

So what happens now?  Will Negan not show any mercy?  Will anyone show any mercy at this point? Will we see that helicopter again and will it bring Morgan over to Fear the Walking Dead?  And will we get a tease of Alpha and the Whisperers in the post credits?  We'll have to see during the season finale.


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