Spoiler Warning for Season 7, Episode 5 of “The Walking Dead”
Several weeks have passed since the traumatic Season 7 Premiere, in which Glenn and Abraham were brutally murdered by Negan, changing the landscape of the series forever. Each episode (with the exception of Episode 2, which focused on Carol, Morgan and The Kingdom) has spent time showing the effect that these murders had on the members of the group. Finally, Maggie and Sasha are given their time to mourn, unite and move forward to honor and avenge their fallen lovers. This emotional episode features just what makes “The Walking Dead” so great, character-driven storytelling.
“Go Getters” begins with a shot of Maggie opening her eyes, waking up in The Hilltop Colony’s infirmary; this opening shot perfectly mirrors that of the Season 5 episode titled “Stabtown” in which Beth wakes up at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Both of these scenes signify major changes in the Greene sisters, a new spark of life. Dr. Carson informs Maggie that her stomach pains can be attributed to a condition called Abruptio Placentae, where the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus. Dr. Carson assures Maggie that the baby is healthy, but recommends that she remain at The Hilltop where he can care for her until the baby is born. Sasha is waiting outside of the infirmary trailer and breathes a sigh of relief when she learns that Maggie is okay. Sasha then brings Maggie to an area of The Hilltop where she has buried Glenn and Abraham. A truly heartbreaking sequence follows as Sasha hands Glenn’s pocket-watch to a tearful Maggie as she kneels over the grave; Sasha assures Maggie that she will remain by her side as she recovers. Maggie places the pocket-watch, which was passed down to Glenn by Hershel, on the grave as a marker. Jesus appears and offers his condolences, placing green flowers on the graves, which he explains symbolize “release.” After several weeks of seeing the rest of the group mourning, it is incredibly cathartic to witness the grief and heartbreak of Maggie and Sasha.
The emotional moment is broken up as The Hilltop’s leader, Gregory, interrupts and questions Maggie as to why Negan and The Saviors weren’t eliminated like she promised; the deal to take out Negan’s crew was presented to Gregory back in “Knots Unite” by Maggie and much of their conflict comes back around this episode. After confusing Sasha for a Hilltop resident and calling Maggie by the wrong name, Gregory demands that Glenn and Abraham’s bodies be burned. Gregory also lashes out at Jesus and orders him to make sure that Maggie and Sasha leave soon lest The Saviors find out and destroy his plausible deniability of being connected with Alexandria. Later, Jesus helps Sasha make beds in his trailer for her and Maggie. Sasha tells Jesus to make Gregory change his mind about making Maggie leave; she proposes a solution that would involve her leaving The Hilltop and scavenging for supplies to pay for Maggie’s place. Jesus hands Sasha the necklace that belonged to Abraham; this is rather awkward considering the necklace was made for Abraham by Rosita as their relationship was coming to an end. Maggie enters the trailer and asks Jesus why bodies at The Hilltop are burned rather than buried; “What do you have to remember them by?” she asks. Jesus responds with a simple “us,” referring to the fact that life carries on and those left behind carry on the traits of the dead.
Over in Alexandria, Rick attempts to recruit Carl into coming along with him and Aaron on a supply run. Carl refuses, claiming that he isn’t going to kneel down to Negan. Rick also tries to convince Michonne to come along on the run, but she also refuses. There is a small endearing moment as Rick and Michonne embrace in a lengthy kiss showcasing the fact that even though they may not agree on their current situation, their love for one another stands strong. Outside, Carl notices Enid preparing to climb out of Alexandria. He confronts her and she explains that she is going to The Hilltop to be with Maggie. Later, Enid is shown riding a bike before stopping at a gas station where a lone walker starts to lunge for her. Suddenly, a car plows into the walker before crashing into a post. Carl is revealed to be the driver, clearly taking his driving skills from Lori. While walking down a road, Carl tells Enid that he watched Negan kill Abraham and Glenn so that it would be ingrained in his memory, giving him reason to fight back. Carl then finds two pairs of roller skates, which leads to a rare moment of joy for two characters that have experienced great losses. This simple moment of levity is much needed and serves as a moment of respite from the stress and gloom. I also greatly enjoyed the dialogue between Carl and Enid this episode, which feels like genuine and realistic conversations between two teenagers discussing a tragedy.
A tense and confusing night of panic strikes The Hilltop, awakening Maggie and Sasha and putting them into hero mode. Multiple fires burn, The Hilltop gate is wide open and classical music blares out from a car placed in the middle of the community. The doors and windows of the trailer are sealed shut, forcing Maggie and Sasha to escape through a sunroof. Sasha tells Maggie to stay put before climbing to the ground to fight the many walkers that are now pouring in through the gate. Jesus makes his way out to help fight off the walkers as Sasha tries to shut the music off; she is unable to do this however, because the car has been closed off with metal grates. From the top of the trailer, Maggie orders several residents of The Hilltop to help defend the community. Next, she climbs into a large tractor and drives it over several walkers before crushing the car, effectively shutting off the music. Meanwhile, Sasha and Jesus continue to fight off walkers in a sequence that is truly epic; the blaring fires, the nighttime sky and Jesus’ legendary ninja skills are just a few components that make this scene memorable. In all the chaos, Gregory hides in the safety of Barrington House. This specific sequence showcases the importance of teamwork in combating threats.
The next morning, Gregory expresses his gratitude to Sasha and Maggie for their roles in saving the community. Rather than allowing them to stay, he tells them that they still need to leave right away. Loud noises outside interrupt their conversation; a sizable force of Saviors make their way into The Hilltop with Simon leading them. Gregory tells Jesus to hide Sasha and Maggie in a closet to assure that they aren’t seen by The Saviors; this would incriminate Gregory and The Hilltop in Alexandria’s conflict with Negan and The Saviors. Simon and the others enter Barrington House and greet Gregory, before explaining that they are essentially replacements for The Saviors that were killed by Rick’s group at the compound back in “Not Tomorrow Yet;” the residents of the compound that Rick’s group killed seem to be the only group of Saviors that The Hilltop had any direct communication with. Gregory speaks with Simon alone in the study to discuss the attack that took place the night before. Simon claims that it was meant to remind Gregory and the others that The Saviors will protect the community from walkers in exchange for half of the supplies. However, Simon is pleased when Gregory assures him that The Hilltop residents took care of the walkers themselves using skills learned from The Saviors. Gregory then leads Simon to a closet where he assumes Maggie and Sasha will be hiding, but is surprised when he finds only a case of scotch. Simon takes the scotch as a gift for Negan before making Gregory kneel before him. The scenes between Gregory and Simon are positively uncomfortable and serve to highlight Gregory’s willingness to bow down to those that pose a threat to him. Xander Berkeley and Steven Ogg deliver expert performances in their scenes together, establishing a strange and entertaining relationship between the characters of Gregory and Simon.
Upstairs, Jesus lets Maggie and Sasha out of a closet in Gregory’s bedroom. This enrages Gregory and he scolds Jesus, who stands up to him and confidently proclaims that both Maggie and Sasha will stay at The Hilltop. Gregory is clearly angered by everyone questioning his leadership, but Maggie puts him in his place by punching him in the face and removing Glenn’s pocket watch from his jacket; Gregory has already been established as a coward, but his decision to steal from a grave shows that he is a complete scumbag. Maggie then orders Gregory to call her by her correct name, Maggie Rhee. This moving moment serves as a turning point for her character, a new Maggie is taking the stage, carrying the memory and traits of Glenn on her shoulder. Gregory leaves and Jesus obscurely tells Maggie that The Hilltop may be in need of a new leader. After Maggie leaves, Sasha secretly asks Jesus to find out where Negan lives. He agrees to her favor, but voices his concern of keeping it a secret from Maggie. It seems as though a revenge-arc is being set up for Sasha, prompting me to worry for her long-term survival. It’s worth noting that Rosita seems to be on a similar warpath, hoping to avenge the deaths of Abraham, Denise and Glenn. This juxtaposes the outlook of characters such as Rick, who seem to be more willing to accept life under Negan, given the bleak chances of overcoming his rule.
From the treeline just outside of The Hilltop, Carl and Enid watch as Saviors load supplies into trucks with Simon leading the charge. Enid comes to terms with the fact that Carl didn’t leave Alexandria to join her on the trip to see Maggie, but instead to search for Negan. She tells him not to go, stating that killing Negan would be for him not Glenn and Abraham. Carl kisses Enid, confirming a long-suspected romance between the two. Enid leaves and sneaks into The Hilltop while Carl sets out on his own mission. Maggie finds Enid kneeling over the graves, green balloons rest on top of the grave, memorializing the friendship between Enid and Glenn; Maggie and Enid embrace, relieved to see each other. Enid prepares a meal in Jesus’ trailer as Maggie tells the story of her running over a boy’s car with a tractor in high school. Sasha joins the two in the trailer, surprised but pleased to see Enid. There is a small moment in this scene where Maggie mentions that Glenn was a bad liar, calling back to when the group was on the farm in Season 2 where Glenn blurted out that Lori was pregnant and that walkers were in the barn. Maggie then gives Enid the pocket watch, stating that she doesn’t need anything to remember Glenn; “we have us” she says, paralleling Jesus at the beginning of the episode. The three take a moment to pray before eating; this badass trio will definitely be a strong force moving forward. Outside, the Saviors drive away but Jesus jumps into the back of the truck that is headed for The Sanctuary. Jesus looks up to find Carl sitting behind some boxes; will Jesus and Carl work together and treat their trip as a reconnaissance mission or will their desire for revenge get them into trouble?
“Go Getters” features some of the most emotional moments of the season thus far. Seeing Maggie and Sasha begin their grieving processes essentially restarts the viewers’ mourning. Maggie and Sasha have lost more than most characters and their bond has formed into an unbreakable sisterhood; they will fight for and defend each other no matter what. It’s heartwarming to see character traits and qualities of Glenn and Abraham carry over to the Maggie and Sasha; the simple and moving shot of Sasha sharpening her knife with Abraham’s cigar in her mouth signifies that she will carry his feisty and ready-to-fight nature. Maggie’s development is also note-worthy and I am excited to see her step into a more leadership-based role at The Hilltop. There is also significant development for Jesus, who finally makes a stance and calls Gregory’s poor leadership out. The blossoming relationship between Carl and Enid is also a highlight; while I initially wanted Carl and Enid to remain friends, there is clear admiration between the two. The acting for this episode is truly remarkable, specifically Lauren Cohan and Sonequa Martin-Green, who both manage to balance grief and sorrow with optimism and small moments of joy. Next week’s episode looks to focus on Tara and Heath, who have been on an extended supply run. Be sure to tune in to “The Walking Dead” next Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.