‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: Carnival of Souls
It’s time to scavenge on The Walking Dead. In a world where the easy pickings are gone, that means taking a risk to obtain what you need.
Rick and Michonne are the focus of this week’s main story, out on a scavenger hunt that has a dual purpose – find bounty that will appease Negan and the Saviors, and discover enough guns to bring the newly discovered Scavenger community into the war against the Saviors. To accomplish this, they need to take physical and emotional risks. It’s a love story in a world gone mad, and even though this is a filler episode as we count down to the season’s likely climactic battle, it’s a sweet tale of two people who found true love amidst carnage.
It’s a measure of the growing disinterest in the dangers posed by swarms of dead people that drives this episode. Rick and Michonne discover a broken-down carnival filled with walkers and military people. Driven by their need to collect, they devise a plot to take down the infestation and seize the booty.
Of course, nothing goes according to plan. But even in its most harrowing moments, there’s the sense that the walkers are more nuisance than threat. That’s definitely a sign that the shark needs to be jumped, and we almost get that in one surprising sequence.
In this week’s B-story, Rosita aimlessly plans her revenge on Negan, and goes quietly about building up to the moment. But her monologs with Father Gabriel and Baby Judith (in her first big series role) is so ambiguous and lacking in structure that the cut-aways to her seem like filler within an episode that’s mostly filler.
This week’s recap:
*** Rick and Michonne are out scavenging, but aren’t finding much. The nearby towns and homes have been picked clean, so even two days out from Alexandria, they aren’t finding much. Since the Negan train always arrives on schedule, that’s not good news, and they need to find something, anything that will help them fulfill their quota.
*** As luck would have it, they stumble upon a weird carnival. It apparently was used as some sort of military staging ground in the early stage of the collapse. But its inhabitants were overrun by walkers or killed by bandits, leaving behind a fairly large contingent of the living dead. Still, there are bountiful meals ready to eat available, and the military walkers still have their side arms on their belts. That inspires Rick and Michonne to take a chance and attempt to harvest the goods.
*** Their first attempt at a plan is to blockcade a section of fence with an abandoned car. This doesn’t work because the car has no brakes. The second is to hide behind a small fence and kill the dead, but that fails because the fence is weak. Finally, they decide to randomly move about the carnival and kill the walkers behind more solid fencing, but get separated, albeit within eyesight of each other.
*** Rick makes a mistake. Climbing on one of the rides for a better view of the carnival, the metal collapses, sending him plummeting to the ground in front of a horde of walkers. They swarm him, and Michonne is too far away to get there to help as he runs out of ammo. She stands, shocked, as the walkers swarm where Rick landed. It seems like she’s so shocked at this horror that she’s about to surrender herself to the horde, so stupefied by the thought that Rick is gone.
*** But wait – Rick has pulled a Glenn. Somehow, someway, the swarming walkers have not managed to rend and tear his flesh. Instead, out of nowhere, he leaps up and throws Michonne her dropped sword. Instantly galvanized from stupefaction and shock, they continue clearing up the remaining mob of walkers. Having conquered the carnival, they begin the tedious task of picking up the spoils.
*** The captured bounty is impressive. There are 63 guns, a huge number in this picked-clean world, to be delivered to the Scavengers. Rick is hopeful that this will fulfill his agreement to deliver “guns, lots of guns,” in return for the Scavengers aligning with the other communities against the Saviors. But Jadis, the Scavenger leader, declares that the amount must be twice what’s been offered (note: always get something specific from maniacal leaders of random groups). Rick is chagrined, but still agrees that he will continue to look for guns. He even has a golden moment with Michonne, as they mutually encourage each other to continue even in the face of one of their deaths.
*** In the only moment of the B-story worth mentioning, Rosita arrives at Hilltop colony. She needs help from Sasha, her former romantic rival. Sasha agrees to help her plot to kill Negan, but imposes one condition – Sasha will be the one to take the shot.
Next week: The search for weapons and bounty continues. Will the Oceanside people come back into the picture? Will Rosita’s plans to take out Negan in a solo effort screw up the coming war?
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