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TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 8, Episode 14

Season 8, Episode 14: Still Gotta Mean Something

PLOT: Morgan and Rick deal with escaped Saviors while Jadis confronts Negan.

REVIEW: We're now just two weeks away from the big crossover event when the season eight finale of AMC's The Walking Dead will apparently lead directly into the season four premiere of the companion series Fear the Walking Dead, following the character of Morgan Jones (Lennie James) from one show to another... And the Walking Dead episode Still Gotta Mean Something has really made me realize how wary I am of that crossover. Just when the frequently frustrating Fear the Walking Dead was winning me over (I enjoyed season three of that show more than I've been enjoying season eight of this show), decisions are being made that have me concerned for its quality. It looks like the show, which had previously been set earlier in the zombie apocalypse timeline than The Walking Dead, will be jumping ahead some years to accommodate the crossover, which is disappointing, and Morgan wasn't only the least likely character to be crossing over from one show to the other, he's also one of the least inspiring, because this guy can be a major drag.

I bring the crossover business up now because Still Gotta Mean Something is a prime example of why I find Morgan to be one of the most maddening characters on The Walking Dead at times. I get so tired of watching him waffle back and forth between his "I'm a pacifist"/"I'm a maniac" modes, his mental breakdowns, his hallucinations, his ramblings. I wish he would just pick a path and stay on it. This time around, he's regretting being talked into sparing the lives of some members of the Saviors community, members who have now escaped from the pen they were being held captive in at the Hilltop community. Morgan hunts them down, determined to kill them, driven forward by cryptic visions, while I sigh, roll my eyes, and dread watching him drag his crises over into Fear the Walking Dead.

Morgan gets on my nerves, but even with him having such a prominent role in this episode while acting off-balance once again, this did still turn out to be an episode I had been waiting to see for about a year and a half, ever since Joshua Mikel stepped onto the screen as the Savior named Jared in the second episode of season seven. This was the episode in which Jared is finally put out of our misery and given the nice, bloody death he deserved. His death actually happens at the hands (and mouths) of a herd of zombies, but Morgan helps it along, so okay, I'll give him some points for it.

While Morgan's on his quest, he gets a talking-to from fellow waffler Carol (Melissa McBride), then gets an assist from Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who is, of course, dealing with his own emotional issues, having recently lost his son Carl. He still can't bring himself to read the letter Carl left him for, but he does display signs of being willing to show mercy to the Saviors, like Carl wanted him to and like friendly Savior Alden (Callan McAuliffe) has asked him to. And then he helps Morgan and the zombies kill all of them. This mercy thing is still a work in progress for him.

Meanwhile, former Savior leader/former "big bad" Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is in the clutches of former Scavengers leader Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), whose people were massacred by Saviors at the order of Negan's traitorous right hand man/new Saviors leader Simon (Steven Ogg). I had figured that Simon purposely left Jadis alive as an extra "screw you" to her after killing the Scavengers, but a flashback shows us that she had to use some trickery to get through the situation. Now that she has Negan subdued, she has concocted some kind of convoluted revenge that involves burning his beloved baseball bat Lucille, drawing a helicopter to her junkyard home with the use of flares and fire, and wheeling around another of her twisted zombie art projects. As far as revenge tactics go, this is one of the worst I've ever seen. When torturous vengeance can be foiled by a man strapped to a mechanic's creeper, there has either been some very poor planning or almost a complete lack of planning. This scenario really only succeeds in allowing Negan to show emotion (presumably so we'll go along with the fact that the show is going to keep him around as a less-than-villainous character) and to deepen the mystery of the helicopter that has been flying around for a while now. One of these days that damn thing is going to land, and I'm not sure the answer of who is on board is going to be as interesting as the question.

Still Gotta Mean Something was a troublesome episode packed with nonsense, but it had its bright spots and made for an enjoyable enough viewing experience. It has successfully removed Jared from the show, so that made it all worthwhile.

Bonus: It was confirmed that Tara (Alanna Masterson) is going to be just fine after being shot with a Savior arrow in the previous episode. Although the Saviors were attacking with weapons that had been dipped in zombie blood and guts, so they would infect anyone who was wounded with them, Tara was shot with a clean arrow fired by Dwight (Austin Amelio), saving her from being shot by Simon. This has finally, completely convinced Tara that Dwight is working against the Saviors from within, so he is now forgiven for that time when he shot an arrow through her girlfriend's head. That's good news to me, because Tara and Dwight have become two of my favorite characters.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: As cool as the junkyard zombie looks, nothing about it is as wonderful as the moment when the herd of zombies tear Jared to pieces.

GORY GLORY: The gore isn't even all that disgusting or bountiful in Jared's death scene, but just the fact that he's the source of the gore makes it a glorious sight.

FAVORITE SCENE: There's a theme here. My favorite scene was Jared's death scene.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Still Gotta Mean Something?

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