Guys, this was the weirdest episode I've seen in a long time. I'm pretty sure we just saw what The Walking Dead would look like if it was a comedy. Specifically, some sort of campy buddy comedy starring Rick and Daryl.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but tonight's cold open was basically a five-minute grocery list. The beginning felt a lot like a dream sequence. Rick is at home with Judith, who's playing on the floor. He's listening to "More Than A Feeling" while Carl plays with a ball in the house. (A ball in the house? I thought we were trying to restore civilization?) We see a black-and-white framed picture of Carl holding Judith. It's unclear when they found the time and resources to not only develop a photograph, but also thoughtfully frame it. Michonne enters, wearing a robe and a towel around her head. She's asking Rick to get her some toothpaste on his run. Outside, Denise asks Daryl to get anything "remotely medical" he finds, plus maybe some pop for Tara, who was talking about it in her sleep. Eugene stops Rick and Daryl at the gate. He wants sorghum, a grain that could drastically improve their food situation. Finally, five minutes and plenty of weird grocery items later, Daryl and Rick are off in what may or may not be a buddy comedy. "Today's the day," Rick says. "We're gonna find some food. Maybe some people." Then they casually mention something about the law of averages and how it's gotta catch up with them at some point, but all I can think is: What the hell did we just watch?
Conveniently, Rick and Daryl pass a barn that says "sorghum." At this barn, they find a truck that's full of sorghum and drive it away. Alright.
Rick and Daryl stop at a gas station to see what they can pillage. They flip over a vending machine and in the process have a run-in with a stranger. His face is covered and he has long hair. He's shady as hell, but assures them he was just running away from some walkers and didn't mean any harm. He asks if they have a camp, and they lie and say no. When asked, he says his name's Paul — "but my friends call me Jesus."
Rick, intent on finding both food and people, starts asking his questions. You know, "How many walkers have you killed?," but Daryl interrupts. "Not this guy." Jesus runs away and says they have about seven minutes until the walkers show up. They hear gun shots, but upon closer inspection it's just firecrackers. They realize Jesus used the fireworks as a distraction and has stolen the truck full of Eugene's sorghum! (Let's not forget that this is a grocery run.)
Rick and Daryl run in the direction of the truck and find the vending machine laying in the road. Daryl smashes it open and takes out some cans of soda per Denise's request. Groceries!
Meanwhile, Deanna's son Spencer walks in the woods with a shovel. Michonne confronts him but we don't really get a clear answer as to why he's doing it. Carl and Enid are in the woods, too, and Enid's kind of like, "Why are we hanging out in the woods?" The real answer is because malls are no longer an option, but Carl says, "We're kids. It's what we do." Enid, ever the fatalist, angsty teen, responds, "We're not kids." They sit by a tree reading comics. Way to friend-zone yourself, Carl! A zombie approaches and he and Enid have a very strange response. Enid wants to kill it, but Carl doesn't. We don't see the zombie's face, so it's obviously someone we know. (My money's on Deanna.)
Rick and Daryl finally catch up with Jesus who is maybe a ninja, because he can FIGHT. Not like it matters, because buddies Rick and Daryl have bested him, pulling their guns. "This is done," Rick says. "You even have any ammo?" Jesus presses. They prove it to him with synchronized shooting of a nearby walker, because this isn't The Walking Dead anymore, this is a now a buddy cop comedy.
They drive away, but only to realize that Jesus is on the roof of the truck. Is this O Brother Where Art Thou? It's a wonder there isn't any banjo music to accompany their hijinks.
And hijinks is exactly what's happening here. Daryl's running after Jesus while Rick's killing some walkers. Daryl corners Jesus in the truck as a walker approaches behind him. "Duck," Jesus tells him, shooting the zombie. Daryl thanks him, then punches him in the face, reminding him that it's HIS gun. But during their roughhousing, the truck rolls into a nearby pond and sinks. The truck full of sorghum! What will they tell Eugene?
Back in the woods, we learn that the zombie Carl left to roam is Deanna. Spencer and Michonne see her, and Michonne restrains her so Spencer can stab her right in the brain. "That's why I was out her," he says. Yeah, dude: we know.
They bury her by a tree, in which they carve a "D." Spencer talks about how his mom left him a note before she died, and Michonne reassures him he still has a family. It all feels very soapy and out of place.
Rick and Daryl drive back to Alexandria with Jesus in the backseat. He may have ruined their sorghum, but he did save Daryl's life, and for that, he gets a free pass. Michonne confronts Carl about the way he handled Deanna's zombie. "You should have left her or killed her," she tells him, reminding him how stupid it was of him to mess around with a walker. Carl says he couldn't have killed her, "because it should be someone who loved her, someone who's family. I'd do it for you. I would." They hug. It's nice, but by this point I'm just astonished that the episode isn't over yet. What's left unresolved? What could we possibly see in the final four minutes?
Rick and Daryl carry Jesus to Denise's house. "That thing didn't work out. It's this asshole's fault. Sorry," Daryl tells her. They take him inside where he's tied up on a mattress a la The Wolf. They leave a glass of water by him with a note explaining he was hurt so they brought him to a safe place. And just in case you weren't convinced this is really a buddy comedy yet, Daryl says to Rick, "Do it again tomorrow?" YOU BETCHA, KID.
Rick and Michonne are sitting on the couch together watching Judith on a baby monitor. He tells her he got her mints. But as he hands them to her, they end up holding hands. Then they're MAKING. OUT. What the hell is happening!?
Back in July 2015 I asked Andrew Lincoln about a potential romance between his character and Michonne, and he said “Look, there aren’t that many people in the apocalypse,” he said, “so maybe when everybody’s dead and it’s just me and her left, let’s get it on.”
Cut to: Michonne and Rick naked in bed together. They're awoken by Jesus — who's pointing a gun at them. Here's hoping next week makes more sense.
Speaking of next week, I'm on Oscars duty, but the super chill Chris Kaye is filling in for me. Keep an eye out for his recap!