‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8, Episode 11: “Dead Or Alive Or”
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Walking Dead.
“Dead Or Alive Or” is the deus ex machina episode of this season and it is terribly obnoxious. The story is split up between Gabriel, the Hilltop, Negan, and the Alexandria survivors, and it seems God saves them all throughout. There is absolutely nothing of consequence that happens in this episode and just about every character shown is terrible.
I’ll start with Gabriel’s story on account of the fact it is too terrible to ignore. The Walking Dead isn’t scared to ask the big questions, but it does manage to soil itself at the thought of answering them. This week the series asks, “Is God real?” to which it answers “yup.” Gabriel and Carson have, at this point, escaped and are terribly lost. Gabriel, now nearly blind, is having trouble reading the map and despite Carson’s qualms, he is confident God will lead the way…and he does. Gabriel’s newfound Daredevil powers allow him to hear an abandoned radio tower which he is convinced is God’s plan.
From here on out, blind faith and a love for Jesus carry this duo through countless mishaps (and no not the shows Jesus, the Nazareth one). Gabriel finds the house, sure, but then come the antibiotics…and then the keys hidden in the piggy bank…and then that one time Gabriel closes his eyes to shoot a walker. Never has a show made me hate two characters any quicker, and by the time Carson got shot I was relieved. It is worth noting that Maggie is no longer sick and doesn’t really need a doctor to the extent Gabriel is making it out to be. Also worth noting is that whenever one doctor dies another comes to immediately take their place, so for future reference don’t get too worried if Siddiq eventually bites the dust.
Besides Gabriel we have Eugene who is consistently terrible. Now in charge of the bullet press, Eugene feels confident enough to boss people around. Unfortunately, since his conception he has been obnoxious in both voice and character and, with him in charge, he is at optimal Eugene. When Negan brings the newly captured Gabriel in to help he doesn’t rat out Eugene. This gets Eugene back in Negan’s good graces once again and surely not for the last time. Besides this, nothing of any note happens during this entire scene.
Alexandria survivors make up for a lot of this episode’s shortcomings. By this I mean just Dwight. Out of the whole cast, Tara is the worst, and her bad character shines the most during these scenes. Dwight, who both killed his own men and led the Alexandrians to safety, is still under fire from them on account of his past. It is unclear if the show is trying to make the Alexandrians off to be the absolute worst, but it is doing a great job of accomplishing that. Despite several heartfelt apologies and real intent to help stop Negan, Tara still attempts to kill him. But luckily, yet another deus ex machina moment occurs just in time to save him, get him back to the Sanctuary, and gain Tara’s trust. During all this Daryl is focused on clearing a path through the swamp, which provides some fun waterlogged walker moments but nothing especially interesting or important besides that.
Finally, there is Maggie and the Hilltop. Not a lot goes on here either unfortunately. What ultimately goes on in this scene is the bond between Maggie and the prisoners (really just Alden though) in the way of free time. The main reason for this whole portion of the episode feels like a reminder that Maggie still exists and the Hilltop is still struggling.
The episode ends with Negan’s epiphany on biological warfare. After rubbing Lucille on a walker he informs the sanctuary they will focus on infecting Rick’s group rather than just killing them. Overall, this was The Walking Dead at its worst. Luck gets the main characters through the day, relationships are constantly reinforced via repetition, and worst of all nothing happens. Unfortunately, Dwight gets the short end of the stick; he is the most interesting and likeable character but is hated by everyone. The whole episode could have been done in under 20 minutes and was ultimately just padding.
Featured image from AMC