"The Walking Dead" has been doing this weird thing all season where every episode is like an independent film, with its own unique format and structure. This one was put together like six interweaving vignettes, complete with title cards for the characters spotlighted in each one. It worked fairly well in painting what happened to Jadis' (Polyanna McIntosh) people in the trash heap, but made far less sense when we took a random detour to check on Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Aaron (Ross Marquand).
The biggest development of the week, though, is what's happening with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). His blind conviction regarding the path he's on, and the failures he's already dealt with in bringing Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people to heel, are eroding The Saviors' faith in him. What's worse, it's eroded the trust of his lieutenants, and without them, where is he? His whole world is falling apart, and he doesn't even know it yet.
Viewers know that Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) already failed completely at the Kingdom. Simon (Steven Ogg) cryptically hinted that he took care of the Hilltop "as requested," but we don't know what that means, and we also learned that Simon will lie to Negan. When the Hilltop sent a message back in the form of a zombie Savior, it seemed that front wasn't looking too good, either. Alexandria is in ruins with its people on the run, and then there was Simon's mission of the week: to bring Jadis and the Dump People back in line. But how did that go?
Simon is a sadistic bastard who wasn't allowed to get his revenge on the Hilltop for capturing his Satellite people, holding them prisoner and sending one of them to Negan as a walker, so he took all that frustration out on the dump people. All props to Ogg for a powerful performance opposite McIntosh as a man trying desperately to hold in his homicidal rage ... and ultimately failing.
WHO SHOULD DIE NEXT
We hate to rain on innocent Enid's parade, but her usefulness on the show at this point might just come in her death. Plus, sending her off on her own (AARON!) when she's not the most adept at surviving and killing walkers is just asking for her doom. It's a dangerous world out there, and we're imagining Enid not making it back to the Hilltop. But her death could serve as the catalyst for the women of Oceanside to agree to join Aaron and work with Rick to take down the Saviors once and for all. After all, she was brave enough to come face current leader Cyndie (Sydney Park) after killing her grandmother.
With the dump people out of the picture for good, Rick could use Oceanside's numbers, and why do we keep checking in on them if they're never going to step up? They need something to change their mind, and the death of this young woman who walked in to the lion's den to try and make a difference for everyone's future could do just that.
We're mostly trying to make sense of why Enid earned a "title card" in this episode, and we think it's because she is transforming from a character into a plot device. The women of Oceanside are badass and they've stayed out of the fray since Season 7. They won't stay out forever. Plus, Enid's death totally feeds our time jump theory ... just sayin'!
WHO WILL DIE NEXT
Sorry, Simon, but you went off the reservation and lost Negan's trust, even if he doesn't know it yet. As crazy as it is, Negan has a vision for the future and slaughtering an entire group of survivors just isn't part of that. Simon has been a loose cannon for a long time, but he completely went off the reservation this time. Even worse, he lied blatantly to Negan's face about it. And now Negan is talking to Rick, who knows exactly what happened at the dump.
With the Saviors in a spiral, what role does a defiant Simon have to play in the future of the organization. His betrayal of Negan's orders, and public grumbling about it, show that he's lost faith in his leadership. Lying to Negan shows he's lost respect in him as well. At this point, he's more of a problem than a solution, as he's more likely to try and rise up and take over the Saviors than continue to work under Negan, who he has clearly decided has gone soft.
Negan's methods are unorthodox, but they do keep people alive and working. Simon would much prefer to raze the entire region to the ground and move on, but once you set that precedent, that's probably they way he'd deal with anything that goes wrong, and that's just bad for business.