The “honest trailer” video for TWD that I posted last week has a funny part in it about how most episode arcs of the series boil down to two great ones, two good ones, and four that consist mostly of the group walking through the woods. Not a ton of woods scenes in last night’s hour but it wasn’t good and it certainly wasn’t great so I think we know which category it belongs to. Every time they uncork one like this, I think of George Carlin’s bit about the sort of brain fart we all have occasionally where we look at our watch to see what time it is … and then, five seconds later, can’t remember what the watch said. I always feel that way after one of these hours, where you’re obviously merely traveling from the interesting stuff in the rearview mirror to the interesting stuff that’s ahead. Five minutes after it’s over, I can only recall the barest details without effort. Abraham was burbling about starting a family and “Jesus” turned out to be an okay dude and there were a few very heavy-handed moments of foreshadowing about Negan, with “Jesus” making a reference to violence “right off the bat” and Maggie talking about how war with the Saviors will cost the group — hint hint hint, comics readers! — but otherwise, nothing. They made it to the Hilltop. They’re going to take out Negan in return for food. I would have preferred two minutes of intertitles explaining that to a 60-minute slog.
At least Maggie finally got something to do besides look worried and emote over Glenn. And suddenly, after many years of ignoring love among the ruins, the show’s got three romances on the burners — Glenn and Maggie preparing for a baby, Rick and Michonne exchanging knowing looks, and Abraham trying to resolve his interest in Sasha and his interest in the other girl whose name I can’t remember. Could be a smart way to build up the audience’s appetite for zombie-killing once again. That feels like old hat six seasons in, but if any of these relationships get too florid or melodramatic, I’ll be begging for the show to get back to its roots of mass slaughtering the undead. And hey — nothing raises the stakes for a core character’s departure like reminding the viewer that he or she is leaving behind loved ones. Glenn’s enough of a hero to fans that we don’t need the extra pathos of a pregnancy if he departs, but Abraham or Sasha being culled might not have resonated much absent their affection for each other. Nothing adds humanity to a character, something this show often badly needs, like a shot of romance.
Since that episode was a nothingburger, let’s skip the weekly highlight clip in favor of this bit of uncomfortable fun, in which Chris Christie refuses to talk about a guy he endorsed 72 hours ago and presumably should want to salute at every opportunity. This guy’s also undead, politically — his career shambles onward but he’s deceased to pretty much everyone who ever respected him. Exit question via Jonathan Last: Why is a man who’s known Trump for more than 10 years and who referred to him as “Donald” throughout the campaign suddenly referring to him repeatedly as “Mr. Trump”? Did Trump demand that his toady show the proper obeisance? Keep smilin’, Chris.