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I found Rick's "that's my girl" talk about Carol a bit annoying. He seems to be forgetting that the reason she's out there is because she HATES killing. For Rick, killing is like taking a dump - it's a necessary function which he performs as and when he needs to and probably kind of enjoys in some part of himself. Carol has realised that it can't be avoided if you are going to protect your loved ones, but if you have any sort of conscience, it will "eat you up". He might be proud of her, but she isn't.
I think the whole strategy on the part of the writers is to make us feel like the Saviours aren't all that after all. The inhabitants of Hilltop are spear-wielding Casper Milktoasts, who would be easy to intimidate. So far the Alexandrians have cut a swathe through Negan's militia like a hot knife through butter. Only the most bumbling group of assailants would have been distracted enough by Eugene's gonad-biting to allow Daryl et al to get the jump on them. At least they didn't have the whole of Dwight's group get killed, which I think would have been just a shark too far to have jumped. They will live to fight another day. I think that this is all a ploy to lull the viewer into a false sense of security, which will make the shock and awe of Negan's eventual actions all the more shocking and awesome.
I can't help enjoying Abraham's interactions with Eugene. I know that NOBODY on the planet actually talks like these people do, but you have to admit, it's a wonderful semantic exercise and a joy to listen to if you're a lover of language.
I think it is so important to reinforce the idea that killing cannot be undertaken without consequences, whether that be the personal moral cost to the killer or in terms of the broader implications. The Alexandrians/Hilltop community have taken a bold step here, and instead of wiping out the hornet's nest, they have just poked it with a stick. And they have nowhere to run. It's like Napoleon leading his army into Russia in winter. Seemed like a good plan, but not so great on the detail. I also wonder whether Gregory et al were aware that Negan was not at that facility. How much knowledge do they have of his organisation? If they did know, and send Rick and his people into that situation when it was just basically severing a limb of Negan's empire, then they have serious questions to answer.
I agree that this is where some of the real meat of this story lies. Yes, it is gripping to see characters you care for about to get gnawed, then maybe having been gnawed, then not having been gnawed after all, but it's the moral dilemmas we can all identify with and they form the basis of our attachments to these characters. I think Morgan and Carol are both really good examples of how things can go horribly wrong when people in a society act without reference to other members of that society. Morgan is overattached to his credo of "all life is precious". Carol is overattached to her credo of "your life is cheap unless I like you". Both characters are diametrically opposed but they achieve the same result - they make faulty decisions to the detriment of the group. Carol's ability to kill without flinching is useful at times, but she can't turn it off. Morgan's ability to fight his violent impulses are an example to all, but he can't turn it off either. As you eloquently state S. Smith, as survival turns to living, consensus will have to be the order of the day.So much fun stuff in this episode!!Were the "law of averages" comments flagging the Morgan/Carol stuff? And what about A Ron's good processes vs. bad processes theory as applied to it?I'm well aware almost everyone is probably bored as shit of me talking about this, but I still think the Carol/Morgan issues are super interesting. I really think thats why they showed us all the Sam internal stuff. I don't know that they will pursue it the way I would like, but I wish they would.I would love to see this issue taken up in an intelligent way with the whole group. Yes, I hear the groans from people thinking about Dale at the farm, but I really do think this stuff is cool. And I think it would be a genuine issue in the ZA, especially as they settle into some kind of more stable existence.Up until now its been sort of understandable that they have just run as individuals with their own moral codes, because the shit has always been pretty constantly hitting the fan. But once you move up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, you will hit a point where one would think the group will have to establish some common rules of conduct instead of each person doing whatever they Hell they think is best.