The Walking Dead continues picking up the pieces from its seventh season finale, focusing this week on The Hilltop. As Maggie struggles to cope with the loss of Glenn, The Hilltop has an internal struggle with how to handle their relationship with The Saviors. There’s some okay characterization of Carl, but it’s not a lot of new information. The episode’s focus seems “Go-Getters” isn’t evenly balanced with information, but it gives enough to keep the show rolling and clarify what’s important.
The set-up of “Go-Getters” is probably the weakest point of the episode. Maggie and Sasha head back to The Hilltop to make sure Maggie’s baby is okay. For those that have forgotten, The Hilltop is the other survivor colony under the control of The Saviors. While it seemed like an interesting place last season, the introduction of Negan and The Kingdom has made it unimportant. Therefor, The Saviors setting flaming walkers into the town is a low-stakes situation. It mean Maggie and Sasha have more to do while there, but it still mean they’re up to very little. Outside of confirming Maggie’s baby is okay, and giving Gregory some well-deserved sass, what’s the point of the episode?
It doesn’t help that The Hilltop only has two residents of note, Gregory and Jesus. The fact they’ve been absent for a while highlights how ineffectual they are to the plot. They work as a means to reinvigorate Maggie and Sasha, but not as individuals. Jesus is another standard good guy, albeit with a goofier name and aversion to leadership roles. Gregory’s apparent alcoholism makes him more engaging, but he’s still just another antagonistic authority figure. Neither of these characters can carry an episode with their problems, and their insignificance brings the episode down. The Walking Dead couldn’t even justify Negan caring about The Hilltop, sending Steven Ogg in his place. It’s an environment that doesn’t make for enough engaging plot, keeping the episode tethered down.
Overall, the emotional arcs of the episode don’t provide any new revelations or evolution. Maggie gets a bit of closure, keeping her father’s watch, but what else does she do? Her squabble with Gregory is a rehash of last season, and taking a bigger role at Hilltop doesn’t change their immediate circumstances. Sasha serves primarily as muscle for Maggie, getting no closure for the loved one she lost. Carl has a chat with Enid about why he wants to kill Negan, but it’s not enough to outweigh the slower elements of the episode.
The biggest problem of this episode is that it’s more set-up. We’ve seen set up since the beginning of the season, as The Walking Dead set up its season. It’s all work done without intrigue attached. The narrative doesn’t make the work compelling, and there’s not enough pieces moving. The twist of Jesus & Carl going Negan-hunting could have been compelling, but only comes at the end. Maybe The Walking Dead can pick up the pieces soon, once they’re all out on the board. But “Go-Getters” suffers from Exposition Syndrome, providing more info than action.