The Walking Dead, ‘The Other Side’ – All That Build Up, For That?

Walking Dead, 'The Other Side'
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead, ‘The Other Side’ Plot Summary:

The Saviors unexpectedly show up to Hilltop and all plans are thrown into chaos. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) must hide, and confront the elephant in the room. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) decides to pull a power play after the community’s doctor is taken. Rosita (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Sasha (Christian Serratos) speed up their plan to assassinate Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Sometimes real life events tip off what’s going to happen in a television series.

Most of us know that Sonequa Martin-Green will be heading into deep space as a part of CBS’ new Star Trek series. So, when this whole Rosita/Sasha suicide squad pact was conceived a few episodes ago, you know she was on her way out. It makes the most sense — she dies off and then goes to Star Trek. This is kinda like when (coincidence or not) Lennie James left The Walking Dead to do Low Winter Sun. Once that show was cancelled — Morgan’s back! Maybe that’s a bad example. But you get what I’m saying.

That’s why last night’s episode ‘The Other Side’ was such a disappointment.

We had some great emotional exposition between Sasha and Rosita, probably some of the best scenes these two characters have had in a long, long time. The build-up her was great – they resolved their issues, they embraced their inevitable fate, and are now going headlong into the “night” (read: certain death). Martin-Green and Serratos knock it out of the park in this episode. Seriously some of their best work to date.

But all this gets ruined when Sasha locks Rosita out of the Saviors’ camp and says “It’s not your time yet,” and run into the compound guns’ blazing.

In classic Walking Dead-style we get a left turn that pretty much kills the momentum of a character’s storyline — leaving them (and us) frustrated that we didn’t get a payoff. Rosita has basically been in pure death drive all season, and now she (and we) are deprived of that. Instead, we get Sasha, a character seemingly built on hope running in to meet her own death. It would’ve made so much more sense for Sasha to be locked out of the compound by Rosita, then we see Rosita reach her glorious demise. But no, we don’t get it. It seems (whether intentional or not) that this left turn was done in order write Martin off the series so she can do Star Trek.

So now we have to see this character (Rosita) which has moped through this entire season, wanting to die, try and turn things around? I’d rather watch Carol bake cookies for 90 minutes.

Luckily, We did get three interesting moments in the episode however…

1. Gregory’s Heel Turn is Complete: Xander Berkeley’s leader of Hilltop has been very one-note. However, his full-fledged turn into a bad guy came full circle with his political machinations with The Saviors. He’s now iced out Jesus, and is in good with Negan and company. I like this new wrinkle.

2. Eugene’s a Coward?: When Rosita and Sasha try to save our favorite mullet-wearing pseudo-scientist he tucks tail and runs back to Negan. It was a shocking move, and one I hope they explore further.

3. The latest “mystery character:” So they did an interesting job of teasing a new mystery character last night during Rosita’s escape from the compound. Was it Daryl? He did have a crossbow. Was it Jesus? He had a beard. To me it’s fairly obvious who this is — Dwight. I think we see Dwight’s turn to the Team Rick starting next week.

Overall, a strong episode completely marred by a bad ending…

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites