The Walking Dead – B-
You know what, Walking Dead, you can kindly go fuck yourself (or what Mr. Ford said would do just dandy). To twice save Glenn only to cruelly lead him to the exact same fate as in the comic — while admittedly effective — feels cheap somehow. Furthermore, it’s a double-whammy of barbarity as Glenn served as the conscience of the show, its safety line during its inevitable descents into post-apocalyptic embraces of tribal sociopath-ery. Well, looks like Morgan’s gonna have to work overtime. It was also pretty obvious that Abraham’s murder was a bit too neat — hell, that even tidied up the show’s dumbest love triangle.
That’s not to say there weren’t things I loved about it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is all the calculated lunacy as was advertised (“Today was a productive damn day”). His quip at the Walker-bago’s expense is priceless, and his cat-and-mouse with Rick is inspired. However, even that is tainted by the Zombie Ninja Warrior segment which is both silly gore and plagued by the basic fallacy that sullied last season’s finale. Negan isn’t a sorcerer: his plan is to keep a chastened Rick alive, but there was no way he could account for a rogue bite or Rick’s disappearance into a sea of gore.
So, we were spared the arms-falling-off boy, there’s a somewhat clever slow-motion reunion in reverse near the end, Maggie makes a stand, Glenn and Abraham are remembered in flashback, Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz slide onto the Talking Dead couch (a figurative one in this case), and we have entered into the deep darkness. Our predictor wasn’t far off, although nobody really predicted Negan’d play two. We’re not monsters, after all.
My first sentence was written mid-episode while still in the soup of losing my favorite character on television (hate to admit it, but Chris Hardwick is right — “even though you knew, you can never be prepared for it”), but I’ve let it stand, raised the grade slightly, because while it was still way manipulative, it does have me longing to see what’s next for the (sadly reduced) gang. On to the relative sunlight of The Kingdom and all its tiger-heavy glory, we all need it.
– Jason Thurston
Bob’s Burgers – B+
While it felt a tad paint-by-numbers, it did feature Tina Belcher at center, the return of Billy Eichner’s demented low-to-high-talker librarian Mr. Ambrose, Bob Belcher on an ill-fated and mostly pointless quest, and many Gene quotables (“what a fun way to cheat at a costume contest”). For those who are inclined to nerd-pause, there’s some terrific chances with trying to decode Tina’s past pun-based Halloween costumes. The episode is bumped up a half-grade by the pure delightfulness of just what has become of Bob’s burger-o-lanterns.
– Jason Thurston