After enduring eight of the bleakest, most miserable episodes of the series run of The Walking Dead, the back half of the seventh season has pivoted, offering maybe the best five-episode stretch of the series since season five. Since February, The Walking Dead has reemerged with a new sense of hope, a livelier fighting spirit, a sense of humor, and a newfound fondness for its characters. Viewers understood the trajectory of this season’s arc — Rick would build alliances as it worked its way toward a war against Negan — but showrunner Scott Gimple has been careful to build those stories around his characters, whether it is Eugene getting another chance to remake himself into the man he wants others to see him as, or Rick and Michonne bonding and falling further in love while collecting an arsenal.
This week’s episode returns to a familiar theme for The Walking Dead, exploring how its characters contend with grief in their own distinct ways. Morgan and Carol, who have both been shaped by the devastating losses of their children, had those old wounds ripped open this week, and we witnessed once again how their grief drives them both forward and backward.