I don’t know where to start. Was anyone actually scared by that stampede of zombies into Alexandria knowing that the core cast has survived dozens of swarms more threatening than this before? Did anyone think Maggie wasn’t going to clamber up onto that scaffold at the beginning with the zombies massing below her, now that Glenn’s been spared and a big reunion scene is in the works? What the hell happened with that fight between Carl and Ron, which looked for sure like it was going to involve someone getting shot and ended up with them being scolded by their parents? Why exactly does Carol hate Morgan so much that she’d be willing to knife him in order to kill that Wolf, when the Wolf was (momentarily) no threat to any of them? Why didn’t the Wolf immediately kill them once they were unconscious? Why did they do the “miracle at the dumpster” scene with Glenn last week instead of this week, leaving him to stand around Alexandria doing nothing while all the action played out inside? How come Rick didn’t realize that leaving your infant daughter alone in a house where someone’s dying of a zombie bite isn’t such a hot idea? Why did Deanna rise from her deathbed and start shooting zombies instead of turning the gun on herself, knowing that wasting her ammo would mean she’ll be torn apart and eaten alive in her last moments? Did anyone explain to young Sam that part of the procedure when covering yourself with zombie guts to blend in is not to talk under any circumstances? Why doesn’t the Grimes Gang use the covered-in-guts trick routinely since it seems to work every time they do? How many total minutes of airtime did Daryl get this half-season? Thirty, maybe? Does Michonne still have a purpose on this show apart from joining in with the katana whenever there’s a sporadic zombie ambush? Why haven’t they given us more scenes with that greasy-haired Wolf, who’s channeled more creepy Joker-esque menace into his few minutes onscreen than most of the show’s villains have across multiple episodes? The Wolf’s going to end up changing his stripes and saving someone from the gang next year just to prove that Morgan’s live-and-let-live path is the “correct” one, isn’t he? Since when does this show have a big climactic (mid-)season finale without offing a major character — and no, Deanna doesn’t count?
Okay, one more. Why’d they leave us with that zombie-guts cliffhanger, with Sam blowing their cover by saying “Mom?” On a more daring show, that’d be a great ending. On this show, the sort of show where a valued character can somehow survive an attack from dozens of zombies by having his dead pal lie directly on top of him, it’s an empty tease. There’s no way they’re going to start the next half-season by having Rick’s new girlfriend and her two kids ripped apart in the opening minutes and devoured in front of Rick’s eyes; if that was going to happen, it would have happened last night as the big half-season-ending gut punch. Instead, what’ll happen when this scene picks up in February is that someone, probably Sam’s mom, will quickly cover his mouth before he can say anything else and before the zombies have caught on that there are impostors in their midst. And then we’ll have a fake-suspenseful tiptoe through the zombie tulips as the group slips through the horde hoping to avoid detection. One of the minor characters might get eaten, just as a nod to the supposed peril of the situation. Is it too much to hope that it’s Ron? He deserves it after coming thisclose to finally shedding Carl’s dead weight from the show before wussing out.
Here’s the sneak preview of Negan’s grand entrance in the second half of the season. If you like your post-apocalyptic warlords theatrically insane rather than the sort of restrained insanity we got from the Governor, you should be pleased.