By Josh McDermitt
February 20, 2017 at 08:56 AM EST
Gene Page/AMC; Inset: John Sciulli/Getty Images

Every week, The Walking Dead’s very own Josh McDermitt, who plays Dr. Eugene Porter, is taking EW behind the scenes of the hit AMC horror series. For each episode, McDermitt will share his thoughts on what went down and what’s coming up, plus walk us through the ins and outs of the show. This week, McDermitt dives into the 10th episode of season 7, “New Best Friends.”

“I would die for the kingdom…”
“Why don’t you?”

Boom! Brutal words coming from Daryl (Norman Reedus) as he and Richard (Karl Makinen) from the Kingdom get into a shoving match over how to handle the current situation called The Saviors. I like Richard. He is ready to make the tough decisions and it seems like King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) isn’t. It’s obviously easier for someone to make those difficult choices when there are little to no consequences. And I can’t go too hard on the King since being a leader must be tough, but c’mon! Richard knows what’s up.

But Josh, you would let Richard kill Carol? Richard’s plan makes sense. Unfortunately, he stepped into a heaping pile of Daryl and got his ass kicked. But if we are to take a step back and look at this objectively, Richard has a good plan that could help usher King Ezekiel to make a decision to fight with the Saviors. However, I’m Team Daryl all the way and seeing that rage overtake him was something that I always love to see.

Daryl seems very frustrated, as do a lot of the characters at this point, with how things are progressing toward the fight. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen; a lot of opinions are thrown about. Part of me still wishes Shane (Jon Bernthal) were around so he would just walk right up to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and shoot him in the face. Done, over with! But no, let’s hear YOUR dumb idea of how to handle the situation! The roadblocks for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group seem to be endless. At some point I’d like to see Rick start biting out the neck of everyone who disagrees with him á la Season 4 and the “Claimed” boys. That’s a leader I can get behind.

This whole episode we are seeing people come to terms with the reality of this new world. It makes me wonder if in the back of everyone’s mind, they were thinking life could somehow get back to normal at some point. But now we’ve had several characters basically resign themselves to the fact that this world is brutal and the only way to survive is to make choices that ensure you’re not on the receiving end of that brutality.

Let’s discuss Rick and the Garbage Pail Kids. Such an interesting group of trash people. The way they speak, they way they behave is so clipped and regimented. It’s almost like they think words are a finite resource. Better not use all of the words at once! And everything seems so thought out and methodical. Their leader, Jadis (Pollyanna MacIntosh), obviously wants to barter to make an exchange for Father Gabriel. I just want to say. I’m so excited Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) didn’t turn on the group. There WAS a person in the car as he was driving away… I knew it! I love Father G.

But before we get more into that, let’s talk Rick in the Thunderdome!!! THIS WAS EPIC! Rick is tossed down into the garbage filled arena with the craziest looking warrior zombie. Can we somehow make a bunch of those things to fight Negan? This was amazing! Rick the Gladiator, piercing his hand, cutting open his leg, just to show these people he’s serious about working together. This group wants guns in exchange to fight with Rick. They’re not making it easy for the group, are they? Rick and the gang need guns themselves and now they have to go out and find more guns for a group that already has a lot of guns. I can’t wait to see how this pans out. “Hey Tara, any leads?” NOPE! Uhhhhhhhh……

But let’s a get back to Father Gabriel and Rick chatting about Father G leaving. It was so sweet that Gabe recognized that Rick didn’t think he turned on the group. Then Rick had my favorite line of the episode…

“Someone showed me that enemies can become friends.” So amazing. I’m digging the bromance that’s brewing between Rick and Father Gabriel. But that line makes me wonder if it is foreshadowing for maybe a Rick & Negan spinoff sitcom? Rick & Neegs? Don’t try to steal that idea; I already wrote the first script.

Rosita (Christian Serratos) and the take no shit train continues… Tara (Alanna Masterson) asks, “who are these people?” Rosita’s response is classic teenage angst, “Your best friends, I guess.” What the heck??? I laughed so hard at her saying that. It’s like the zombie apocalypse equivalent to saying “… your MOM” as a response. She’s killing me.

Saddest moment of the episode was the Daryl & Carol (Melissa McBride). reunion. That scene had me sobbing into my bowl of ice cream. Tears of joy, but then I was sad when Daryl flat out lied to Carol about everyone in the group being okay after their encounter with the Negan and the Saviors. It’s incredible that he wants to protect her by lying to her. He probably knows that if he told her the truth, she would head out this instant and start World War 3. Would that be a bad thing? I don’t know. But I having a feeling that lie is going to come back to bite him somehow.

And to end the episode with Daryl staring at Shiva is a pretty amazing visual. Both wild animals. One is contained. One can’t be. #TeamDarylForLife.

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