Oh Gregory, you suit-wearing, Marcia Maggie-irking, Jesus-freaked disaster of a Hilltop leader, you.
Thus is the crux of The Walking Dead Season 7 episode 5 — “Go Getters.” It also marks the return of my favorite not-Negan Savior, Billy Bob Nicholson. OK, his name is actually Simon — played by Canadian actor Steven Ogg (Better Call Saul‘s Sobchak) — but if Billy Bob Thornton and Jack Nicholson had a love child, he would look just like that and you cannot argue it.
Also, anyone else jonesing to meet the Sanctuary’s dentist? Because, man, those people have some teeth.
But I digress.
We open this episode learning Maggie and Sasha’s fate. They’re fine. Safely at Hilltop and watched over by Jesus/Paul and one Dr. Carson. Maggie didn’t lose the baby, but she’s still in rough shape. It’s not stopping her in her mission to fight back after the loss of Glenn and Abraham, though. Surprisingly, that plan entails staying put at Hilltop — not returning to Alexandria — per the good doctor’s advice. Matter of fact, Glenn and Abe are buried here, too, Hershel’s watch marking Glenn’s grave.
As previously mentioned, Gregory is none too keen on permanently hosting the ladies and he lets them — and Jesus — know it. He thought the Alexandrians had offed all of the Saviors. That was the deal, after all. And recuperating from his stab wound has been trying, damn it. He’s tired and over it and needs all evidence of collusion with Alexandria gone. Bad for “plausible deniability” — the dog-ate-my-homework version of dealing with Negan — he reminds Jesus.
Back at Alexandria, Papa Grimes is trying to talk Grimes Jr. into coming on a supply run, but Jr. would rather finish his dartboard depth-perception exercise and tend to his sister (good for you, Coral. Someone has to.) Michonne kisses Rick goodbye like she means it and tells Carl that she has more important stuff to figure out than finding supplies. She doesn’t know if Rick is right or wrong in his thinking about Negan being in charge, but until she is, sure she is supporting her boyfriend. So there, whippersnapper.
Outside, Carl busts Enid escaping over the wall. E says she needs to see Maggie pronto. And she can protect herself. “I’m not saving you anymore,” he snips. She attributes the ‘tude to what he witnessed a few days back, but he says he isn’t sorry he saw it at all.
Sasha wants to know why Jesus isn’t the Hilltop leader instead of Gregory the Terrible Rememberer. This Jesus does not want to lead the masses. He wants to help. Pick flowers in the appropriate color for the occasion. That sorta thing. They have a little reminisce about Abraham and then Maggie joins them. If they burn their dead — a carryover of being on the run, says Jesus — then what do they have to remember them by, she wants to know. “Us,” says Jesus.
Turns out Enid cribbed some two-wheeled transpo and is peddling along when she encounters a walker. Before she can decide what to do about him all by her lonesome(er, peddle around him, maybe? Zombies don’t run), the creature is plowed down and then plowed down again by a speeding vehicle. Carl. Go get her, go-getter.
His driving is much better than his dart-throwing. At least I think that was on purpose. But he’s not trying to, you know, save her. He just felt like taking a drive and dad wasn’t around to say no.
Meanwhile, it’s nighttime at Hilltop and trouble has just crashed through the gate in the form of a rogue Gremlin. As in the AMC (enh! Get it?!) car, not the hairy little monster. It’s driverless and blaring walker-attracting music. There’s bonus fires to boot. And Sasha and Maggie appear to be locked in their trailer. They bust out, but Sasha orders Maggie to stay put. She opts for climbing on the roof instead, ordering Jesus and others to help out her friend.
What follows is either amusingly cool or completely ridiculous, depending on your frame of mind. While Sasha and Kung Fu Jesus have at the walkers, the farmer’s daughter has somehow made it off the roof and found herself a big ol’ John Deere tractor. Girl drives the thing like a boss, backing over walkers and crushing the Gremlin flat. Ain’t the first time she’s done it, either.
It’s still daytime wherever Carl and Enid are — this is apparently going to be a walk across time zones — and they’re moseying down the road, talking about what happened the night Glenn and Abe met their maker. Carl said he didn’t look away for either head bashing for one simple reason: When he finally gets the chance to kill their killer, he’ll feel like there’s no other choice. Enid’s cool with that.
Meanwhile, Jesus is negotiating Maggie’s and ol’ whatsername’s spot at the Hilltop table. Either Gregory is the epitome of Bad With Names or something’s not right in the dude’s balding noggin. I’m going with the latter but am, thus far, not too hard pressed to care. Besides. He really wants to hand Hilltop off to Jesus if the guy would just stay put for one damned second. Maggie and Sasha interrupt the convo, decline the offer of some of Miss Caitlyn/Maitlin/who-the-hell-ever’s rhubarb preserves and demand to know the terms of their being able to stay. The negotiations are interrupted by the arrival of Billy Bob Nicholson. Hurray! Gregory orders the ladies into the closet to hide.
I know Nicotero said that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was his first, best choice for Negan, but you have to believe that Ogg was a contender, too. If he wasn’t, he sure should have been. He’s maybe a touch too grimy — too sinister, perhaps — for the job, but I’m glad he’s still A Big Part of the Problem. He is ultra-fun to watch.
What follows is either mildly ridiculous or completely ridiculous, depending on your frame of mind. Carl finds a backpack by the side of the road and in that bad boy is a couple of pairs of roller skates that just so happen to be a perfect fit for him and his girl. Xanaduuuuuuu! Xanaduuuuu-uuuuu-uuuuuu! And that’s how they first knew they were in love! <3 <3 <3!!! Barf.
I know. I’m supposed to be touched. Young love can still bloom in a zombie apocalypse! All it takes is a couple of pairs of skates and some plinky music!
I’m not touched. Sue me.
Simon, meanwhile, is all about a painting of a horse-borne general in Gregory’s study. Management by example, he says. Which is also what last night’s little visit from the Gremlin parade was about. Here the Saviors were going to teach the Hilltoppers all about the art of the zombie kill, but nooooooo. They were suddenly able to go right out there and do it themselves. Imagine that. Gregory says it was thanks to skills they learned from the Saviors .. so the Saviors still saved them. So … um … yay?
There’s some discussion of folks with whom the Hilltoppers were working being done in by the Alexandrians — the Wolves, maybe? Little Timmy and the Dick Brigade? Or am I missing something? But no matter, that. The Alexandrians are working for Negan and Co. now and they are some real go-getters! Speaking of which, Simon and Co. are here to do some go-getting of their own. Half the Hilltop’s stuff. But first, is there anything Simon should know about? Anything at all? Gregory?
Gregory, showcasing the depth of his brain issues, leads Simon to a closet. Oh oh, Marcia and Whatsyourname. Except Jesus relocated the women to another closet, so all Gregory is giving up is a case of perfectly good booze. Negan will like it, so good enough. Simon will “take the headline” for it. Oh, and also … kneel. Good Gregory.
Meanwhile, out in the woods,
Romeo and Juliet Carl and Enid are earnestly talking over Carl’s very selfish plan to kill Negan all by himself, for himself. Even if he did it, how would he get away after? Doesn’t matter, says Carl. Does to Enid. Good a reason as any to kiss. E says she knows she can’t stop her man from his mission and heads into Hilltop on her own.
Back inside Hilltop, Gregory and Jesus aren’t seeing eye to eye about what went down with the Saviors. Maggie either. She belts Gregory in the jaw, then fishes her dad’s pocket watch from his pocket. She is staying and he shall call her by her name. Maggie. Maggie Rhee. Maggie Maggie Rhee is also whom Jesus thinks should run the place … but we’ll talk about it later. Say, after Jesus tells Sasha where Negan lives … using his words and not some eye-blinky Morse Code. And just Sasha gets the intel. Not Maggie. Agreed?
Maggie, in the meantime, heads back to return the watch to Glenn’s grave and finds it — well, actually it’s Abraham’s. Oopsie, Enid — decorated with green balloons, courtesy of the young woman sitting beside it. Change of plans for the watch. It goes to Enid, next generation ass-kicker, instead. They have themselves by which to remember their dead, Maggie smiles.
Before they tuck into some grilled cheese with tomato soup, the women clasp hands and give thanks to the real Jesus. The other one stows away on a Savior truck. And he’s not alone. Looks like Judith is.
New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere Sundays at 9/8CT on AMC.