The worst aspects of The Walking Dead reared were out in full force Sunday’s episode, “The King, The Widow, and Rick.” That title alone shows how uninspired the adventures are this week, as nearly everyone talks about planning or preparing with no movement whatsoever. About the only redeeming thing is an utterly ridiculous kill when Rosita fires a damn rocket launcher at one lone Savior. It’s honestly pretty awesome, it’s just not enough to save a boring episode.
As the episode title suggests, most of the hour is devoted to Ezekiel, Maggie, and Rick dealing with whatever they have to deal with. Rick tries (and fails) to get Jadis and her Scavengers to join their side one last time. With some two dozen Saviors now prisoners of the Hilltop, Maggie has to figure out the balance between keeping one’s humanity and making sure there are no wolves among the sheep. And Ezekiel is just flat-out depressed that he led so many of his own people to their deaths last week.
It’s already a busy episode, but sandwiched between those huge segments are equally lengthy and pointless diversions to other characters, like Carl, who reaches out to a survivor named Siddiq — the same guy who pleaded to Rick weeks ago — all because he felt bad his dad was an asshole. Jesus contests with Maggie for almost no reason. Much as everyone loves Carol, even her subplot finds her nowhere and right back in front of Ezekiel.
This is Walking Dead at its worst: It’s an hour of people talking about what’s going to happen next, planning for what’s going to happen next, teasing what they’ll do when whatever happens next finally happens. And that’s all in the future, so to keep folks tuned in for the mid-season finale. But we’re not in the mid-season finale. We’re just in the season, so they blow up a dude with a rocket launcher to keep us awake.
There is a unifying theme to this week’s episode: prison. Whether literally or metaphorically, everyone seems to be a prisoner to something. (Somehow, this theme was not explored when the show took place in an actual prison.) It’s just unfortunate that the audience is a prisoner as well, held back from something exciting just because it isn’t time yet.
But we’ll always have this amazing kill, immortalized in GIF form below. Nice one, Rosita.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.