The Walking Dead “Not Tomorrow Yet” Review (Season 6 Episode 12)

Previously on The Walking Dead . . .

– The group got a preview of the larger world of which Jesus spoke, as they were introduced to the Hilltop community.
– Desiring to barter with the Hilltop community for desperately needed food and rations, the group agreed to go after Negan and his “Saviors” group.
– We learned more about the mysterious Negan, who demanded half of the Hilltop’s food and rations and in exchange, agreed not to kill them. He sounds like a peach.
– Several members of the group learned that Rick and Michonne had been doing “stuff and thangs,” including Carl, who gave his “cool” of approval.
– We got our first glimpse of the wee baby Rhee thanks to the Hilltop’s resident OB-GYN.
– While contemplating his future, Abraham had visions of Sasha and asked Glenn a few very interesting questions about Bisquick.

On to this week’s episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet.”

The more things appear to “go right” for our survivors, the more I find myself filled with dread and horror about what awaits them as the season draws to a close.

Cookies, Canoodling and Contemplation for Carol
The episode opened with a really quirky, fun open that I absolutely loved thanks in large part to the amazing Melissa McBride. It almost felt like the opening credits of a zombie sitcom, as we watched Carol make cookies, kill zombies and deliver her baked goods to the Alexandria residents. The levity and lightness of the moment came to an end when Rick and the gang returned and asked the group to gather in the church.

The group gathered in the church to hear Rick share the proposal from the Hilltop community. I saw a lot of people on social media complaining about Morgan’s objection and not enough people noticing how eerily similar Rick’s speech was to some of the rally cries we previously heard from the Governor. In particular, I was really struck by the “kill them all” decree, which is straight out of the Governor’s playbook. Do I think Rick is on his way to becoming the next Governor? Absolutely not, but I liked how the speech reminded us of how thin the line is between between doing what you think is for the greater good and outright being a murderous monster. As an aside, I was happy that the writers gave Aaron something to do in this scene and I quite liked his resolve not to repeat the missteps that led to the wolves attacking.

Following Rick’s speech, we saw several of the characters contemplating what was to come. Maggie shared with Glenn that although it was not her plan, she made the deal. I was a little frustrated at this character beat because we saw the potential for Maggie to be a great leader last week. If Maggie had reservations about the plan, she should have raised them with the group while they were at the Hilltop. There was no reason to think that the individuals on the trip would not have listened to her and taken her thoughts under consideration – even if they ultimately decided it was worth attacking the Saviors. This felt more like a setup for Maggie to express her frustration with the decision when we inevitably see the consequences of the attack on the Saviors. I hope that, for once, the blame will not all fall on Rick. I seem to recall Daryl and to a lesser extent, Abraham, being pretty confident about taking out the Saviors. I suppose time will tell.

Returning back to Carol, she spent her downtime in two very surprising ways. Let’s get the easier of the two surprises out of the way – the list. It was very interesting to see Carol take stock of how many individuals she’s killed in the zombie apocalypse. Her list was part of a larger theme of the episode in terms of how we experience murder on the show when a character kills in self defense (prison attack, Terminus) vs. premeditated, preemptive murder (the Saviors, Karen & David). I was also surprised to see Carol include Lizzie and Mika’s dad on the list. Technically, I suppose it could be a mercy kill, but he was undoubtedly going to die and be put down when he became a zombie. I suppose six seasons of The Walking Dead has led me to view murder in varying ways when it comes to the zombie apocalypse.

And then there was the scene with Tobin, which was unexpected. Depending on how you feel about Carol, particularly if you are a Caryl shipper, the scene may have come as an unpleasant surprise. Earlier in the episode, we saw a bit of playful banter between Tobin and Carol when she was on her cookie delivery run. I can’t honestly say that I thought this was flirting at the time, particularly because I can recall only one other scene (in 6A) where the two had any significant interaction. Granted, the whole Abe/Sasha thing was also completely out of left field as well. More on that later.

I have mixed feelings on the Carol/Tobin scene. I love Carol as a character and as I said in my review of The Next World, I am all in favor of strong women getting loving on fictional shows. I also have no problem with relationships on The Walking Dead, as I think human interactions are as integral to the show as the zombies. Given Carol’s history, I was curious to see if the writers would allow the character to explore love again and I’m happy they went there. In past seasons, I picked up on the chemistry with Daryl. However, as the show has progressed, I find Daryl more closed off and almost awkward in his interactions with women. I want a man for Carol who is strong and self-assured. I’m also intrigued by the potential for pairing Carol with someone who is not quite the hardened survivor like our core group of bad asses. I actually quite liked the chemistry between Tyrese and Carol and thought they could be a good balance to each other. Unfortunately, I knew it was an impossibility due to Carol killing Karen. I also thought Melissa McBride had chemistry with Lennie James, but the mid-season finale all but confirmed that the two are way too far apart in ideology to expect anything more than friends. Maybe.

I like the idea of pairing some of the core group members with the Alexandria folk, but it’s hard to view Tobin as more than a red shirt right now. I’m interested in seeing Carol meaningfully explore a relationship, not a relationship that will soon lead her to dealing with loss again. I also hope that Carol being open romantically is not one of those tropes The Walking Dead writers go to when they allow a character to experience a major shift in persona/ideology only to kill them off shortly thereafter. I suppose that Tobin could be to Carol what Jessie was to Rick. Perhaps this is the first step in Carol realizing she wants more, which one could arguably say we saw in the opening scene when she was fully embracing the Susie Homemaker persona, and Tobin is the first step in that evolution. I like Carol and I want nice things for her – provided she gets out of her current predicament in one piece. It feels like we have more to explore with the character, as she was clearly at a crossroads. The conversation with Maggie was quite telling. It feels like Carol is either going to try to find balance like Rick or she may double down on the pragmatic bad ass who will not hesitate to kill if you threaten her people.

So That’s What a Dingleberry Is!
Carol was not the only character making life choices in last night’s episode. As we saw last week, Abe nearly being choked to death led to some realizations about the life he wanted for himself. That life did not include Rosita. When we last saw Abe, he realized that Sasha may be the woman for him, but it was not clear if he was prepared to act on that revelation.

Despite Daryl’s doubts about their world being settled, it was pretty evident that Abe decided that he too wanted to give the notion of having a normal life a run. That led to what, in some ways, felt like one the most brutal moments of the episode. I appreciate that Abe is a straight shooter, but his words to Rosita were just cruel. I also had no idea what a dingle berry was and had to look it up. Spoiler alert, it’s a poop particle attached to the butt hair of an animal. Oh, Abe. It was hard to really enjoy Abe’s colorful commentary because it was part of such a harsh breakup with Rosita.

I’m curious to see where things go from here, so I hope Sasha, Abe and Rosita make it out of this season alive so that we can see some of the fallout.

Glenn Rhee – Devoted Husband, Soon to Be Father, Loyal Friend, Repeated Escapee from Death . . . and Murderer?!
After some strategic planning, the group headed for combat with the Saviors. After so much conflict and death, I had kinda forgotten that Glenn was one of the few members of the group who had never taken the life of a living person.

Being faced with that prospect allowed for some really good scenes between Glenn and Heath, as they both shared how lucky they’d been to get this far without killing anyone. This was another interesting example of how we view murder on the show. I was surprised to learn that Glenn was not at least indirectly involved in the murders of the Termites. And despite not killing anyone yet, Glenn has definitely never been an outspoken objector like Morgan.

We’ve seen our group kill before, but I have to say I was struck by the manner in which the group killed the Saviors. It reminded me of how Carol killed Karen and David, which seemed so heartless way back in Season 3. It was also not unlike the manner in which the group takes out walkers – a knife right to the head. Steven Yeun brilliantly captured the the pain and conflict he felt as he killed each of the Saviors. I loved that he spared Heath the torment of killing – until they both fired at the door and obviously killed the Saviors in pursuit of them.

Operation Seize the Saviors’ Compound
As I previously mentioned, watching things go so smoothly for the group just increased my sense of doom and gloom. Although logistically the plan went well (for the most part), the group could have benefited from some intelligence gathering. They operated on assumptions that I’m sure will make the consequences even steeper. The shortcomings of their plan resonated when Michonne asked Rick which one of the men killed he thought might have been Negan. They had no idea of who Negan was or even if the site they attacked was a central location or outpost. I can give them a pass on the latter, as the group is still wrapping their minds around the concept of advanced, well-settled communities out in the world. I appreciate the writers speeding up the action, but it was hard not to be frustrated with the group not taking at least a day or two to actually observe the site before attacking. I suspect this is a misstep that they will soon come to regret.

Stuff, Thangs and Other Observations . . .
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– Did you catch Johnny Depp’s “cameo” in last night’s episode? In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Greg Nicotero shared that one of the Gregory heads (on the far right) was based on Depp. Fun!

– I was initially a little confused about the dialogue between Rosita and Carol about the great stow away wolf controversy. What I could not follow was how exposing the secret would also have consequences for Denise. After a few rewatches, my best guess is that there was concern that Denise could get in trouble with the group for providing medical attention to Morgan’s stow away wolf. I don’t necessarily agree that Denise should face consequences for her actions and I think her good deeds far outweigh that one decision. I suspect Rick would go to bat for the woman who saved Carl’s life. This feels more like a plot contrivance for Morgan’s storyline and I would not be surprised if he still chooses to come clean at some point without disclosing what Denise did.

– I liked the character beat with Tara, as Rick’s speech reminded her of what happened at the prison and the guilt she still feels about being there. Although Denise indirectly reciprocated Tara’s declaration of love, I kinda wish she would have just returned it outright. The group is more secure than they have ever been; however, life is far too short in the zombie apocalypse not to tell people how you feel about them. Denise’s decision to delay telling Tara she loved her made things feel even more ominous for the couple and I’m not optimistic about the odds of them ever getting to properly exchange “I love yous” in the future.

– I continue to enjoy Father Gabriel’s transformation. Although this was the first time he actually outright killed someone, one could argue that he sentenced his congregation to death when he locked them out. Granted, inadvertently killing people out of fear, is far different from shooting someone point blank. I still feel like there’s a deleted scene somewhere that would really benefit this transformation, but I like it and Seth Gilliam is having so much fun with the role.

– The pictures of bashed in heads was just horrifying. Although some may not agree with the group’s decision to preemptively attack, it is very clear that the Saviors are merciless and brutal. What kind of person keeps those pictures as a trophy? Blech.

Survivor Of The Week
I know that he is a source of frustration for many, but I’ve decided to designate Morgan as my Survivor of the Week so that I may say a few nice things about the character. I am not fully on board with Morgan’s transformation into a ninja turtle and his “all life is precious” outlook. However, I appreciate that the writers have continued to be very consistent in Morgan’s journey, regardless of how his philosophical approach frustrates his fellow survivors and fans watching at home. In this week’s episode, it was not surprising to see that Morgan was the lone voice of contention in response to the proposal to take out the Saviors in exchange for food and supplies. I saw the groans over social media about Morgan objecting, but if Morgan had suddenly decided it was time to kill it would have felt like a knee-jerk regression in his development.

Much of what I like about Morgan, despite not necessarily being in agreement with his “all life is precious” beliefs, is what Lennie James brings to the character. James is simply brilliant in the role and whether it’s season 1 Morgan hesitating to put down his zombie wife or Season 3 Morgan living in isolation and accepting his lot in life to “clear” or Season 6 Morgan who came back from the brink and wants to maintain civility and faith in mankind despite the circumstances, I am ALWAYS sold on the character’s conviction and steadfastness because of James. I always feel compassion for Morgan because of how James plays him and my heart ached for him in last night’s episode because I felt his isolation. I felt his sincere desire to help while remaining true to himself. I also respect Morgan as a character because he is one of the few who is strong and confident enough to look Rick in his eye and respectfully disagree with him.

While the core group of Alexandria bad asses head over in pursuit of the Saviors, Morgan remained behind and appeared to be building a much-needed prison for the Alexandria residents. I love that Morgan found a way to help and still stuck to his principles and it was a nice callback to Morgan’s relationship with Eastman. Further, Alexandria needs a prison. Although I appreciate that there will be foes that the group certainly cannot coexist with, there are some offenses that may not necessarily warrant death. For example, Pete was an awful, horrible, abusive monster. However, being shot at point-blank range by Rick was a very extreme form of punishment. Why not put Pete in the cell so that he can still service the medical needs of the residents?

Until Next Week!
Overall, this was yet another great episode in a very impressive second half of this season. The last multi-episode arc that really stood out to me was the series of “I” episodes in season 4 – Infected, Isolation, Indifference and Internment. Although those episodes were strong and highlighted a very strong performance by Scott Wilson (Hershel), they almost pale in comparison to the show’s current run. Melissa McBride and Steven Yeun were both brilliant this week. What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off below!

*Gif from giphy