‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8, Episode 13: “Do Not Send Us Astray”
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of The Walking Dead.
Last week I was lenient with “The Key.” That episode wasn’t a complete waste of time. I will not be as kind with “Do Not Send Us Astray.” This week’s episode was a complete waste of time and was littered with many problems. So many things could’ve happen this week but none of them did. This was the perfect opportunity to buck the trend of major characters only dying in a premiere or finale. It was the perfect chance to kill Daryl in a satisfying way but no, no they didn’t do that. Instead, they killed Tobin and a bunch of other characters so minor that they have had a collective screen time of five minutes at best.
“But Phil, why are you being so harsh?” Well, let me tell you. This episode was a pivotal moment ripped straight from the comics, so why is it so bad? Four words: missed opportunities and Henry. See, the scene where the Saviors attack the Survivors with tainted weapons was HUGE in the comics. It was Rick who was shot by Dwight, and no one knew for a while if Rick was going to turn or somehow be immune. Well, it turns out that Dwight didn’t taint his weapon, so Rick was spared. That didn’t happen this episode. Instead, good ol’ Tara was shot by Dwight. The problem comes with the fact that she isn’t a big character. No one cares if she dies. In fact, she’s right up there just behind Daryl on my death wish list. There’s no real impact on the discussion of will or won’t she turn (she won’t).
The other problem comes in the form of a complete 180 in character development. Just a few episodes ago Tara was actively trying to kill Dwight, but now she blames herself for Two-Face returning to the Saviors. What? If anything, Tara should be fuming to kill Dwight even more now that he shot her. Granted, he did save her. If it weren’t for him, she probably would have been killed by Simon.
Another problem is with the severity of the situation in this episode. I’ve already mentioned how no one of any real impact dies in this episode. That could’ve been changed or, at the very least, teased. What I mean by that is Daryl should’ve been the one shot by Dwight. Even if it’s a bait-and-switch like Glenn’s dumpster adventure, it would have raised the stakes more than some extras dying. Sure, Tara won’t die (at least not right now) and neither would Daryl if the role was switched, but it would be so satisfying if there was even a chance of him dying. But there isn’t, not this episode anyway. So many missed opportunities to make things interesting. Also, as a side note, Enid’s acting when they made it seem like Tara would die was so poor I thought I was in actual Hell.
A major problem was the lighting in this episode. The show has a bad track record of having big action sequences take place at night, when the viewer can barely see it. This made the episode hard to follow. What was going on? Did someone just die? It sounded like it but the screen was black save for the AMC logo in the corner. I understand why it took place at night, so that the Hilltop could blind the Saviors when they invaded. Also, so that the zombified Militia members could attack the others in their sleep. That’s swell and all, but it doesn’t mean anything if the viewer can’t see it.
The final problem is with Henry. He shouldn’t be the character he is. I can understand how he got the gun, but there’s no way he should’ve gotten the key to unlock the Savior pen inside the Hilltop. He’s the reason Gregory and Jared escaped. Wow, stellar job there Henry. Granted, he did allow Alden and some other actually good Saviors to escape when Walkers started attacking people in the pen. I’ll give credit where credit is due. But the scene could’ve been handled by, say, a deranged Morgan looking to kill Jared. Speaking of Morgan, he’s going off the rails again. It’s a lazy way to write him off the main show and onto Fear the Walking dead.
Is Alden legitimately good or is he playing Maggie? Will Siddiq prove useful enough to justify Carl’s death? Will Daryl or Tara or (better yet) both die soon? Will Henry die too? Will Morgan get a nice send off? Hopefully these questions are answered before the season ends.
Featured Image from AMC
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