I’ve actually been saying this. These show runners ARE capable of making a great show. 4x01, 4x03, 4x05, 5x01 and now this are all among my favorites of the show and TWD franchise. It’s not that they’re incompetent, it’s that them and Gimple want this to be a corny story of love and pacifism, but that’s just not what TWD, especially the show that was supposed to be about the villains. Hell, no one wants to watch a cheesy show about everyone being wholesome in the fucking zombie apocalypse.
When they move out of that and actually make stories that aren’t all about peace and forgiveness, it can be pretty great.
They’re not terrible story tellers, but instead are talented story tellers who have stuck with a shitty story. What I believe is the issue is that, in their minds, the way to “fix” the show was to make the complete fucking opposite show. Bright colors? Replaced by a grey filter. A story about a group of villains? Replaced with a story about helping people and forgiving. No TWD crossovers and new characters? The two protagonists are killed and replaced with a TWD character. A desert backdrop? Replaced by woods and trees. I could keep going.
They’re so shackled down by making this the opposite of what old Fear was that they’re not trying to make an interesting story. We only see glimpses of their potential in episodes like this that move away from that.