By Evan Fischer
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Walking Dead.
Despite a fantastic opening and new interesting plots, The Walking Dead still manages to disappoint. A large ongoing issue with the series is the promise it brings with new and interesting ideas and the lack of follow-through thereafter. The lack of any punch or pay off is the driving force as to why the series is no longer what it once was, and any vain attempts to call back to earlier moments in the series fall flat. When it comes down to it, “Still Gotta Mean Something” only comes off as astonishingly average—which has unfortunately become a trend.
As previously mentioned, the opening is one of the craziest and most fun scenes the show has to offer. Unfortunately, the continuation of the scene has very little payoff. Jadis has her own time to shine as a flashback shows the details of her survival during the execution. If it weren’t for the man who accidentally spares Jadis spouting trash dialogue in the most ham-fisted way possible, then this whole scene would have been perfection, but unfortunately this is The Walking Dead. What happens after this encounter really takes the cake. Whenever the series shows a slice of pre-infection life, it almost feels alien, and Jadis in normal clothes in a clean wooden room is a fantastic visual. To end this fantastic scene, Jadis – now without bangs thank god – opens a shipping container containing Negan tied to a plank. What could The Walking Dead possibly do to top this? Absolutely nothing. As if by prophecy, the rest of the episode is downhill from here.
A trend the series tends to follow is making a generally unlikable character likable out of the blue as a cheap way to make their death more impactful. It seems like this may just be the case for Henry. Henry sucks. No matter how hard the series attempts to make Henry a likable character, he is too far gone. This is a character who ruined plenty of people’s lives and has been shown to be an angsty, no good, baby-child of a character who has no purpose but to be a cheap way to further other characters’ plots—in this case Morgan and Carol. Now that Henry has nearly fatally goofed, he has reverted to the “lovable child” stereotype and I, personally, am just not having it. I call he will die soon as a way to teach Carol and Morgan an important life lesson. He is a detriment to the show and the series as a whole is worse off having him in it. On a side note, the same goes for Tara who is now Mrs. Trusting-and-Kind despite being an evil troll monster who lies and kills because it makes her happy.
Remember that scene I praised so highly just a little ago? Because at this point in the episode it’s awful again. The potential was so high and that’s why it hurt so much when it didn’t go anywhere. All Negan really has to do to escape his crazy situation is shoot a weird cart-monster (which looks plain dumb) and make an empty threat before being let free. While his story about Lucille was neat the first time, telling it again doesn’t have any impact and slows the scene down. The best part of this scene by far is the helicopter. Whose is it? Why is it there? What does this mean in terms of transportation? We will have to be patient as an audience so we can be disappointed by each of these questions in a later season, unfortunately. The last interesting thing that happens in this segment is Negan opening a door for a mystery person. POTENTIAL SPOILERS: it’s probably Gregory and nothing important will happen with it.
Finally: the Rick and Morgan power hour! Besides the opening, this is the best part of the episode. Morgan is delightfully deranged and Rick is just a major dingus. Rick travels to finish off the Savior prisoner survivors as part of some insane power fantasy and finds Morgan with the same plan. Things go down and Rick is at his best (a.k.a. his worst). In a clever callback to earlier in the season, Rick talks about how his word is all he has anymore, but this time without Daryl to pull the trigger. In Daryl’s stead, Rick tricks and obliterates everyone before stating a fantastic “I lied.” After a thrilling battle which shows the darker side of Rick, Morgan has to go and ruin everything by having a dead kid and setting another trend. Rick, Carol, and Morgan all discuss their kids who happen to all be dead at this point and it becomes pretty obvious the writers have no clue what to do with kids. Good luck, Henry.
Featured image from AMC
'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 14: "Still Gotta Mean Something"
"Still Gotta Mean Something" holds tight to the tried and true recipe of the series by creating interesting plots and disappointing everyone with a lackluster payoff. Despite a great opening and a fantastic scene with Rick and Morgan, nothing happens. Nothing ever happens. This series is starting to get on my nerves.