Posted December 12, 2017 by David Ratcliffe in Comics

REVIEW: The Walking Dead S08E08- How It’s Gotta Be

Episode: S08E08 – How It’s Gotta Be
Air Date: December 10th, 2017
Executive Producers: Frank Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman, Charles H. Eglee, Glen Mazzara, Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse, Denise Huth

Developed by: Frank Darabont

Written by: David Leslie Johnson & Angela King
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan, Khary Payton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Alanna Masterson, Xander Berkeley, Austin Amelio, Steven Ogg, Josh McDermitt, Tom Payne, Seth Gilliam, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira.


The never ending attack on Negan gets flipped on them as Eugene acting as an advisor pushes Negan and the Saviors in escaping their predicament to launch an attack on Rick’s group. In Eugene figuring out a way to escape and Rosita exclaiming how she made mistakes too the blame is being deflected from Daryl. Still we expect Rick to not be pleased with his deviation from the plan. Especially after the events in this episode.

The opening flashes us back to Carl writing a letter to Rick juxtaposed with him and Rick walking the long road in flashback. Ominous signs. When Negan comes to attack Carl shows his strength long enough for the residents of Alexandria to flee. This heroic moment couple with the morality of the future stuff from the letter writing foreshadowed his bite reveal.


A group of Saviors led by Simon cut of Jerry and Carol and ended up letting Maggie go after blocking her off and killing someone in her car. This led to Maggie taking the ‘eye for an eye’ approach back at the Hilltop and killing one of their Savior prisoners. Maggie is steely in her leadership. Go Maggie.

Gavin leads a group of Saviors to the Kingdom and looks to make them all workers for the Saviors. Ezekiel hides but creates a distraction so the residents of his Kingdom could escape. Carol isn’t let in by Ezekiel as he chains the gates shut. Sadly he gets confronted and presumably captured by Gavin as Morgan looks on. Ezekiel clearly has a death wish.

In another side story the leader of Oceanside’s grandmother Natania gets killed by Aaron and Enid whilst they try to do something nice; bringing alcohol as thanks for the weapons they were given. Cyndie has them stuck under guard whilst she mourns. Did this story even need to be in this episode? No.

The scavengers as expected abandon Rick to make his own way to Alexandria. When he gets there he has an epic fight with Negan finally though they both end up escaping to where Rick finds Michonne who takes Rick down to the sewers where the residents are. Carl is found bitten presumably from his defense of Siddiq a few episodes ago.


The reveal of Carl’s bite and the flaming attack on Alexandria were good moments. Emotional, action packed, edge of your seat stuff. However, his surprise death, or soon to be death, feels like it is being done for the sake of a surprise mid season ending. It will throw fans of the comics up in arms as the show deviates the biggest from the comics yet. Remember when Rick was crying in a flash forward in episode one? This is probably why he’s crying. Remember that happy future with Carl and Judith and Michonne from a few episodes back? Probably a dream then, probably pointless.

Carl is a big part of the aftermath of the storyline with Negan so it will be interesting to see where the show goes after Carl dies in the returning episode of series eight. Has this show jumped the shark? It must return to allowing stories and characters to be told with a focus; less back and forth. The fragmentation is getting to be frustrating. In the past Walking Dead has used it well to build up the tension but here the scenes were too short to help us build emotional connection. The structure mirrors earlier episodes in the series with the attacks on the Saviors Sanctuary but it feels like this show has forgotten what made its storytelling compelling and satisfying.

Another episode to add to the list that half of this series is on; disappointing. I guess its How Its Gotta Be, for now…

Walking Dead airs on Sunday on AMC and will return February 2018.

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David has an undergraduate degree in Drama and first showed symptoms of a mind blown by cinema after watching The Godfather too many years ago to remember. He enjoys binge watching TV shows because that is the only way to watch them, right? The West Wing, The Sopranos and The Wire rank among his favourites of all time; the list could go on but changes the more he watches. Books, comics and games are also enjoyed in different moods. Finishing that novel is a life ambition.