After a weird first half of a The Walking Dead episode dominated by relationship drama, director Greg Nicotero and writer Seth Hoffman ratcheted up the intensity levels in the second half of “Not Tomorrow Yet.” Having Negan lurking in the shadows of the series has kept everyone — from Rick and his crew to the viewers at home — alert to possible deaths. We know that Negan is just around the corner, but we don’t know which corner it is, so it makes every step forward terrifying. The back half of last night’s installment was heart-stopping, the kind of episode where the commercial breaks actually came as a relief.
It’s also one of those great The Walking Dead episodes that leaves us with a lot of questions. Here are the ten most pressing.
1. Who performed the song in the beginning of the episode?
It’s a really good song, right? It sounded like a cross between The Avett Brothers and The Old 97s. It’s actually an outfit out of Northampton, Massachusetts called Parsonsfield, named after a town in Maine in which they recorded a couple of their albums. The song is “Weeds or Wild Flowers,” and it is fantastic. The whole album is great. Check them out on Spotify.
2. Where the hell did the Tobin/Carol romance come from?
Honestly, I have no idea. Carol and Tobin have had no major interactions up to this point, and this romantic pairing is completely out of left field. That said, they do make an adorable couple, and I’ve always been fond of Tobin. He seems like a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders, and a big teddy bear, to boot. On the other hand, the series really is laying the romance on thick during this half of the season. It’s getting a little overstuffed with couples, and this particular pairing has really upset the Daryl and Carol shippers.
3. Has Morgan softened Carol?
Carol’s behavior in this episode was uncharacteristic. She seems to have changed her tune about Morgan; in fact, her kill list seems to suggest that she’s starting to understand Morgan and beginning to feel the weight of those eighteen kills. She even defended Morgan to Rosita, and the once ruthless fight-at-all-costs Carol is making out with Tobin, empathizing with those who don’t want to fight, and shielding a pregnant Maggie from danger. Maybe she’s been playing den mother for Alexandria for so long that she’s beginning to feel like one. Clearly, Carol’s guilt over killing is getting to her; she’s even taken up smoking. It represents yet another shift in her ever-evolving personality.
4. Why is Abraham being such a jerk to Rosita?
I get that he had an epiphany last week, and that he realizes that he’s in love with Sasha, but he’s being a real jackass about it to Rosita. No wonder so many fans were upset with this turn of events. “When I first met you, I thought you were the last woman on Earth. You’re not.” That has to be the most insensitive way imaginable to break up with a woman he’s been with for at least two seasons. It does, however, open up a possibility for a Eugene/Rosita romance, if only Eugene can get out of his own way.
5. Is Father Gabriel “still who he was?”
Gabriel explained to Rick that he continues to wear his collar because he’s still “who he was,” but is he? He killed a man in cold blood. He’s completely bought into Rick’s philosophy. That clerical collar is only for show now, although it does make delivering Bible scripture sound a lot more cool when he’s putting a bad guy down. It wasn’t quite Ezekiel 25:17, but John 14:1 will do. However, we have to be a little concerned that, now that Gabriel has a taste for it, he may get overzealous with his killing.
6. What was Tara going on about?
I’m not entirely sure where this relationship between Tara and Denise is going, or why the writers needed to pile on another romantic element to an episode that already had Carol and Tobin kiss and Rosita and Abraham break up. But I do know what Tara was covering up. She didn’t want Denise to know about the other time she ambushed a community. Recall that Tara was on the Governor’s side when they tried to take down the prison, and that Tara was on the side of the Governor and the others responsible for the death of Hershel. She is still feeling the weight of that, and who better to confess to than a priest and a Jesus?
7. Are Heath and Tara still going on the two-week run?
I hope that Jesus and Father Gabriel absolved Tara from her sins, because Tara and Heath’s two-weeker has been mentioned a few times in the last three episodes. Gimple is setting up something. Recall, too, that Heath and Tara drove off at the end of the episode before Rick found out about Carol and Maggie. This seems like one of those opportunities for Gimple and co. to pull away from the main action and have a character-based episode. There are four episodes left this season; one of those will probably be about the two-week trip.
8. Will Maggie or Carol die?
I don’t know, but I hope not. I don’t know why Maggie and Glenn haven’t learned by now that it’s never a good idea for those two to separate, because it never ends well. How many more of these Glenn/Maggie reunions can we endure? I will remind everyone of this fact: Lauren Cohan recently cut her hair very short. I thought we’d see her new haircut after the time jump. We didn’t. I have no idea why she’d cut her hair off otherwise unless her character was going to die and she was off the series.
Also, spoilers, but the woman who took Maggie and Carol is played by Alicia Witt, most recently of Justified fame. I have a feeling that, before The Walking Dead takes up Heath and Tara’s two-weeker, they’re going to spend an episode with Maggie and Carol.
9. What is Morgan building?
Morgan is going through a hard time. His friends are out killing without justification, according to his code, and he’s stuck between staying and watching the rest of the community go against his beliefs, or leaving and going back out on his own. He seems to be having a nervous breakdown. So, what is he building?
It looks like a prison. It looks like Morgan is going to build a prison to lock up someone and convert them, as he had been converted by the cheesemaker. The question is, who is he going to lock up? Rick, who he feels needs to understand that killing is not the answer; or Negan, whom he (ridiculously) thinks he can rehabilitate?
10. What the hell is going on with the Saviors now?
Rick and his crew successfully busted into Negan’s compound and killed everyone inside. And yet, Negan wasn’t inside, and someone — or someones — has taken Carol and Maggie hostage. How many more Saviors are there? And where are they staying?
We do know that Dwight is still around, and in a now-deleted tweet, the actor who plays him — Austin Amelio — said when he’d be back. Dwight, who has Daryl’s crossbow, seemed as though he was an unwilling member of the Saviors. He wasn’t in this compound, so he’s clearly with another set of other Saviors, which suggests there is another — perhaps larger — colony of them. That’s who we should be worried about right now.