‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Episode 12 Review: Disaster Strikes In ‘Not Tomorrow Yet’
Recap and review of The Walking Dead – Season 6 Episode 12 – Not Tomorrow Yet:
The Walking Dead has subsisted on a narrative of close calls — scenarios that put the core cast members in situations they really shouldn’t have survived. Hell, the midseason premiere really ought to have been the end for Carl, at the very least (don’t get me wrong though. I’m glad it wasn’t). But here’s the thing: for as lucky as Rick’s group has been, things can’t go well for them forever. Eventually, they’re going to realize that brute force bolstered by the element of surprise isn’t going to be enough. For all the brutish efficiency on display, “Not Tomorrow Yet” reveals that the Saviors are still two steps ahead of Rick’s group right now, and it’s exceedingly unlikely things will end well for them this time.
The story follows through on last week’s promise of more bloodshed, as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) holds a town hall meeting to decide what’s to be done about the Saviors. While not entirely a Ricktatorship, Rick isn’t exactly putting this to a vote either. Morgan (Lennie James) clearly isn’t down with the whole idea to slaughter an entire community of people, but Rick gives him the freedom to decide whether or not to participate, albeit with the knowledge that if he’s going to stay in Alexandria, then this is how it’s going to be. I know a lot of people took issue with the focus on Morgan in Season 6A, but I find Morgan’s struggle with the sanctity of life during the zombie apocalypse to be as compelling as it is frustrating. Here’s a guy who’s done the Rick thing — he’s slaughtered indiscriminately, and came to realize that it didn’t really make him any safer in this world. And so he’s attempting to make amends for his past behavior by reshaping the narrative of this new world, arguing that it doesn’t have to be all bloodshed. Personally, I don’t think he’s right, since the world that the show establishes is very much of the “kill or be killed” variety. And yet, I admire the attempt. It seems others do too. After all, Carol (Melissa McBride) still hasn’t ratted him out, and although Rosita (Christian Serranos) came close, she didn’t betray Morgan either. That seems to indicate that Morgan might have a point worth exploring, for better or worse. Any real change in this world is going to take sacrifice, after all. The question here, of course, is just how much Rick’s group is actually willing to sacrifice in the name of lasting peace. Morgan isn’t ready to sacrifice his soul by killing again, because he knows the weight that puts on a soul. And we see that weight placed on Glenn (Steven Yeun) by episode’s end, as our favorite former pizza boy finally kills his first living person, and struggles with the consequences.
The raid on the Saviors compound is a wonderfully visceral sequence, in keeping with Season 6B’s apparent aim towards more purposeful violence. Gone are the random, throwaway walker attacks that seem to serve no other purpose than to fulfill some sort of weekly violence and gore quota. In their place are action sequences every bit as violent, if not more so, that move the story along in meaningful ways. Like last week’s gruesome bloodbath that introduced us to the fierceness and desperation of the Saviors, this week’s bloodbath shows us just how much of their humanity Rick’s group is willing to sacrifice in the name of peace. Glenn nearly has a nervous breakdown after taking his first life, before the demands of the battle force him to push down his emotions and spring into action by killing an approaching Savior. But even that act is an attempt to reclaim some semblance of humanity, as Glenn kills the Savior in order to prevent Heath (Corey Hawkins) from taking a life, since he’s yet to kill any living humans. It’s a grueling moment, but it stresses the necessity of what’s happening. Even without having met the Saviors in full, we know they’re not exactly capable of being reasoned with — and if they are, the talks just result in lopsided terms, at least according to the Hillside residents. In short, Negan is crazy, and his followers aren’t much saner. And yet…well, who are really the crazy ones here? Andy (Jeremy Palko), one of the Hilltop residents, remarks that Rick is crazier than Negan ever was, after witnessing Alexandria’s leader beat the crap out of a severed head to make it look less identifiable, as part of a complicated plan to trick the Saviors. It’s yet another in a long line of frightening Rick moments, and it culminates in that Saviors invasion. Infiltrating the Saviors compound, Rick and co. are basically shooting fish in a barrel here, slaughtering sleeping soldiers and clearing out the area. It’s brutal, but it’s in service of Rick’s group accomplishing a goal: eliminating the opposition allows the Hilltop community to achieve autonomy and not have to rely on the Saviors for protection; this, in turn, allows Alexandria to have the crops they need in order to survive. It’s one of those stories I wish The Walking Dead would tell more often, of the politics of the post-apocalypse, and the sorts of deals people need to strike in order to survive. Naturally, the twist here is that Rick’s group didn’t really accomplish much of anything beyond slaughtering a couple of fall guys for Negan. Since no one in Rick’s group knows what Negan looks like, they’re left to ponder which one of the people they murdered was the horrific leader they’d heard so much about. Negan is still out there, and while Rick and co. were indiscriminately murdering his men, the Saviors were already gaining the leverage they need to potentially end this war before it even starts, as Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol are kidnapped.
The episode basically foreshadowed that something bad was going to happen to both Maggie and Carol due to their respective storylines. Hell, the episode is practically idyllic at the start, with Carol making cookies and flirting with Tobin (Jason Douglas). Meanwhile, Maggie and Glenn are basking in the glow of expectant parenthood, albeit with the recognition that she’ll need to be a part of the Saviors raid due to having been a key part in striking the deal with the Hilltop community. Granted, her job is simply to watch the perimeter along with Carol, whom Tobin recognizes as the group’s de facto maternal figure. It’s something that makes sense about Carol’s character, even though we’re four seasons removed from the death of Sophia. Once you’re a mother, you never stop being a mother. And so it is that Carol mothers Maggie by preventing her from going into the Saviors compound once the alarms go off. And yet, had she let Maggie go in, there’s a possibility that she might not have wound up abducted. It’s a bit of a stretch though, since the one thing about the Saviors that we’ve seen so far is that their actions seem inevitable. If they want something to happen, it’s going to happen. And so we’re off on yet another rescue mission with Rick’s crew, with Negan at the end of the s***-colored rainbow. It ought to be an interesting story to follow over the next several weeks. For as much as I was charmed by Tara confessing her love to Denise, and Abraham hilariously dumping Rosita, the real pull for me is in these moments, when the stakes jump considerably, and there’s little guarantee of who will come out of it in one piece.
“Not Tomorrow Yet” is a strong episode for The Walking Dead, even if I mostly preferred last week’s hour. This has been a solid half-season so far, so I don’t have any reason to distrust the direction the show is headed. I’m actually pretty intrigued as to where this will all go.
But what did you think of The Walking Dead – Season 6 Episode 12, “Not Tomorrow Yet”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The Walking Dead, read our review of last week’s thrilling “Knots Untie”!