The Walking Dead season 8, episode 11 preview: Dead or Alive Or

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in episode 811 of The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: Gene Page/AMC
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in episode 811 of The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: Gene Page/AMC /

On the next Walking Dead episode, the gang travels back to the Hilltop as internal tensions flare about Dwight’s inclusion and Savior rations get reduced.

Steven Ogg (Simon) was absolute dynamite on last week’s Walking Dead episode, and stole the whole show effortlessly. Give the man just a hint of spotlight, the narrowest of sunshine, just a table lamp’s worth and he delivers the acting goods every time. There’s a reason Ogg’s Trevor in GTA V became an overnight sensation the moment it saw release, and we saw the whole picture this time around. Not just the voice inflictions (which were top notch as usual) but the facial expressions, the body language, the unpredictable intimidation factor that can’t be taught in any acting class. You either have it or you don’t. Simon’s “Light them up gents,” quote was picturesque cinema.

This week we see stone-cold Maggie Greene reducing rations for her Savior company, out of necessity and maybe some spite as well. We encounter a tired battalion of Rick’s gang led by Daryl sneaking through a forest swamp on their way to the Hilltop. The Hilltop has become the shining beacon, the Alamo, the last stand of the battle against Negan and the Saviors. Are their combined forces enough or sitting ducks for the Saviors? Both sides have lost people and resources, though time is more on the side of the Saviors than Rick’s group.

The Walking Dead: “Dead or Alive Or” Preview Trailers

Above: Dwight maps out a course through a forest swamp that Negan himself deemed too dangerous due to walker solicitation. It’ll likely leave the group restless as they march on back to a Hilltop running low on the basics based on ration cuts by Maggie.

Above: The type of swamp walkers the group we’ll encounter on the next The Walking Dead. As you can see from Rosita’s stroll through swamp waters, you just never know what lingers on the floor… Ready to popup and say hello.

Above: Tara still wants revenge for her ex-girlfriend and ready to take out Dwight regardless of usefulness to the cause. In the above clip she asks, “Is there any reason he’s still breathing?” with Daryl telling her it’s not the right time and to delay.

A bit ironic considering his fight with Rick mere episodes ago about crashing the truck into sanctuary. Rosita conveniences Tara to stand down after mentioning, ‘just losing the boy’ (Carl). One wonders how Enid will react once she finds out Carl is gone.

A Dialogue to Remember

Above: Last week’s The Walking Dead ending conversation between Rick and Negan about Carl’s last request was masterful. Negan has an uncanny ability to make Rick question himself and just plain old feel bad. He also has his own way of expressing sorrow and even repeatedly asks if it wasn’t them that got him.

Negan truly did feel a fatherly attachment toward Carl and wanted to guide him to Savior style success. Rick Grimes looked genuinely lost as he kept throwing around threats of revenge as Negan played with his psyche. We end with Negan sincerely asking Rick to just give up, that he’s already lost everything.

The End of the Scavengers

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For those who missed out last week, The Scavengers (minus Jadis) met their end last week at the hand of Simon and The Saviors as we saw Jadis suddenly speak ‘regularly’.

Something about Jadis dropping the act was off-putting unlike King Ezekiel’s reveal, it felt like a peek through the fourth wall. Jadis probably should have kept the The Scavengers’s style and manner of speech. It gave a characterizing identity rather than a gimmick.

The Scavengers will always have untapped potential on the series that we only got a glimpse of in their original betrayal of Rick.

Jessie Anderson’s exit can’t be understated on the series

Finally, folks we need to talk about a lost character. It was apparent from last week’s opening gate, and every Rick/Michonne segment that followed, just how much Jessie Anderson is missing on the show. Before anyone mentions Jessie’s end in the comics, the series just eliminated Carl. Enough said. Jessie had real natural on-screen chemistry with Rick that Michonne, well, simply doesn’t.

It just never feels like true unyielding love on-screen, no matter how much they try to spin their romance as ‘mature’. It feels about the same as say a Rosita/Daryl conversation, when it should feel as Negan would say, ‘Aces’. Familiarity, but not the Rick we saw in season 5’s Alexandria (“Forget”) with a hand on his holster while overlooking Jessie and Pete.

If Jessie was around right this second, a Rick/Negan feud over her would bring ratings through the roof! Remember Rick and Shane over Lori?

It’s all in the episode title?

This episode’s title being “Dead or Alive OR,” leaves the notion that maybe a character is meeting his end or maybe returning. Perhaps, Heath? There’s been the usual internet rumors about Daryl meeting his end but let’s face it, that’s a financial catastrophe waiting to happen.

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The show just eliminated Carl and is on the cusp of having Maggie temporarily (maybe forever) leave. Daryl is unlikely to go anywhere ever unless it was Reedus’ own choice. Probably, a returning character like Heath has gotta be the choice.