First, I said that “The Other Side” was the show’s big swan song for Sasha — but as we found out this week, Sonequa Martin-Green has been gifted a drawn-out, physically and mentally torturous march towards death in Negan’s lair. That’s what you get for doing Star Trek, sweetie.
Second, I 100 per cent thought that the shadowy figure with the crossbow at the end of the episode was Daryl. Because Daryl has a penchant for carrying crossbows and standing in shadows — and had inquired about Sasha and Rosita’s whereabouts mere moments before — but also because I thought that Daryl betraying Rick before the war would be an interesting move for the show.
But it was Dwight, and I feel Eugene levels of lame for not thinking of him sooner. Dwight’s betrayal was foreshadowed back in “Hostiles and Calamities,” and he has just as many reasons to hate Negan as anyone else in the Sanctuary, so his defection makes total sense during a season when so many things have not.
All that being said, “The Other Side” was an all-around solid episode that set up next week’s big finale quite well, though how The Kingdom will join forces with Alexandria, Hilltop, and the gawd-awful Scavengers before Negan gets wise remains a giant mystery. Its standout scene was an Avengers-style team-up between the hardened warriors of Alexandria and the Amazons of Oceanside, but what everyone is going to be talking about at the watercooler tomorrow is Sasha, so let’s just start with her.
As expected, Sasha did not get very far in her poorly thought out solo-raid on the Sanctuary. Unfortunately for her, she also didn’t get her second wish after killing Negan, which was to die trying. So when we caught up with Sasha this week, she was imprisoned in the same cell that housed Daryl earlier in the season.
When the door creaked open, we all fully expected Negan to strut in and torment Sasha with Lucille. Instead, we got a character called David — a character we’ve seen lurking around in the background, but haven’t really “met” in the way we’ve met Dwight, or even Simon. David offered Sasha water in exchange for sex, and when she told him to go to hell, he ripped off her shirt and began his attempt to rape her.
At this point, Negan finally walked in. And if you thought Negan was just going to let it happen, then you clearly never read about this weird part of Robert Kirkman’s comic books where Negan despises rape, to the point where “no raping” is a golden rule of the Sanctuary. Negan stabbed “rapey Davey” in the neck, ordering his lackeys to fetch Sasha a new shirt as David bled out from the jugular.
This scene probably would have played a whole lot better if a couple different things had happened first: One, if we’d actually met David before this week, and therefore had even a minor investment in his fate. Two, if Walking Dead had bothered to explore Negan’s twisted relationship with sexual violence back when, say, we spent half an episode with his coven of wives.
We all know, Negan undoubtedly included, that blackmailing multiple women into marriage with the threat of certain death is rape. And Negan essentially threatening to do the same thing to Maggie back in “Service” sounded pretty “rapey” too.
The Walking Dead has never really touched sexual violence beyond surface level. The closest it came to actually portraying what living in a violent land without laws might be like for women came when the Governor sexually humiliated Maggie back in Season 3 … and when scenes like “rapey Davey” happen, I tend to wish they would leave rape alone entirely.
Negan noticed Sasha’s shooting skills and her “beach ball-sized lady balls,” so he offered her the chance to win a spot in his core circle. His first test was to give her the knife from David’s jugular, telling her she could either try to use it to kill him, slit her wrists, or finish David once he reanimated.
“Take some time to think about it,” he said. “I just want you to understand that we are not monsters.” (They are.)
He then left, and later allowed Eugene to come in. Of course, everybody’s least-favorite Negan of all the Negans pleaded with Sasha to join the Saviors, noting that he himself had only done so because Abraham’s death robbed him of all hope that the good guys — the “survivors” — could win.
Eugene clearly wanted Sasha to “say yes” so he could feel better about his own massive failure, but Sasha is no Eugene. She did finish the reanimated David, but she quickly surmised a new, very desperate plan to avoid joining the Saviors: after Negan came in and told her about test number two, which was for Sasha to give him all of the deets on Rick’s plans for the Saviors, Sasha asked Eugene to smuggle her a gun or a knife to kill herself with.
“Give me something,” she plead, notably repeating “like a gun or a knife” about a thousand times — just enough to let viewers know that she planned on killing Negan, but would undoubtedly be gifted the Chekov’s Poison Eugene made for Negan’s wives back in “Hostiles and Calamities” instead. She sure ‘nuff was, and looked so goddamn despondent when Eugene slipped it under the door instead of a knife that I nearly wept.
Put this brave and beautiful woman out of her misery already, show!
Happier news came from Oceanside, where literally zero people died in Rick Grimes’ gun raid — and strangely enough, it’s all thanks to a herd of walkers.
While most of the Grimes Gang hid with their massive assault weapons and some timed explosives, Tara entered Natania and Cyndie’s home to convince them to join the fight. She explained that her group was hidden outside with bombs so their guns would be stolen either way, but that no one had to die — and best case scenario, they could work as a group to defeat the man who’d killed so, so many important men in all of their lives.
Natania wasn’t having it, and eventually everybody ended up outside with various guns pointed at various characters’ craniums. A herd of walkers interrupted their tussle, and when Rick and co. handed knives to the Oceanside ladies as a sign of trust — and the group sliced and shot the hell out of dozens of walkers as a team — many of Oceanside’s women asked Natania to change her mind and go to war.
But since Natania is not about that life, and her women move as a unit or not at all, the Grimes Gang went home with guns and guns alone that day, promising to give them back after the fight was finished.
Besides the whole Dwight defection thing — which happened in the final seconds of the episode, so we’ll have to wait to see what’s in store for him next week — the only other major thing that happened involved Gregory, who will die horribly next week to this entire fandom’s delight.
Gregory, the boozed-up human equivalent of a wet band-aid, considered literally stabbing Maggie in the back while she was out gathering greens for her famous kale smoothies. Then — after Maggie saved his ass from a gaggle of walkers in front of some Hilltoppers, emasculating him thoroughly — he decided to drive to the Sanctuary and rat out the Grimes Gang, making good on his promise to Simon from a week ago.
This leaves us with several balls still in the air moving into the finale. Rick’s army is coming along quite nicely, but with Gregory on his way to Sanctuary and Negan already clued in thanks to Gregory’s words to Simon last week, this could go about eight thousand different ways. I’m excited to see how it all plays out, if also dreading the end of my poor, sweet, undeserving-of-this Sasha.
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