The Walking Dead – Season 7

The Walking Dead – Season 7
Grade Average: B

For the most part, the seventh season of The Walking Dead was good. It wasn’t fantastic, or incredible, like I would’ve called the previous season. As a whole story, from episode one to sixteen, the season was erratic, messy, and didn’t work for me. What saved the show this season is the individual episodes being great for what they were. There were some great character moments, some bad decisions made, but ultimately, I’m hoping this disappointing—yet still good—season of the show is a bridge to something even better next season.


HIGHLIGHTS

A lot of great standalone episodes
saved this season from being terrible. “The Cell,” “Sing Me A Song,” “Hearts Still Beating,” “Hostiles and Calamities,” “Bury Me Here,” and even “Swear,” the Tara-centric episode at Oceanside that was divided in criticism, were some of the highlight episodes for me. The first episode, despite its violence and drawing out the surprise deaths to nearly the middle of the episode, was still technically a great episode.

LOWLIGHTS

Fractured group of the main characters
and disjointed episodes made the season feel less cohesive than in previous seasons. I love episodes that focus on a specific character or group, because sometimes they’re the best of what the show has to offer—Morgan’s 90 minute episode with Eastman last season was incredible, as was Maggie and Carol’s episode. They even did something similar after the prison, with everyone separated and all getting to Terminus, but that worked because it was done well and the point was that they were separated. Here we have a problem the same way the show derailed itself with the Governor’s episodes that didn’t quite work as well as the rest of the episodes that season—it was too much. An episode here and there focusing on one character or group is great, but almost the entire season? It just didn’t work. We barely saw Carol at all, or even Rick, really. Almost every episode was focused on either a small group of characters, one character, or one of the main groups, like Hilltop or the Sanctuary. Because of this, we had limited time with a lot of characters that are favorites. Having such a disruption in the way the show tells the story, no longer having all the characters together, or even just separate but in the same episode, made the entire season a disappointing one. Not to say that each of these episodes weren’t good separately, but all together, it didn’t work as a solid season.

Negan
has just become so so so annoying. At first, I liked Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing him, but now I’m just over it. There is nothing more to Negan than what we see. There’s no depth to his character. There’s nothing there but one-liners and him being an asshole. I can’t help but compare him to the Governor, the only other real villain the show has had, who was given a range of emotional depth, a backstory, an arc bringing him from a so-so leader of a small village to a dangerous threat. The only way they’d be able to save Negan as a character is to give him a backstory, give him some emotional depth, give him something to be or do other than being a dick and bashing in people’s skulls.

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The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”
Grade: A-

In the seventh season finale, the war against Negan and the Saviors begins. With “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Dwight helps the Alexandrians while the Scavengers double-cross them, Sasha sacrifices herself, and Hilltop, the Kingdom, and Alexandria win the first battle again the Saviors, driving them and the Scavengers out of Alexandria.

The finale episode was great. I have to constantly remind myself that I DID like it, despite also hating it because Sasha is dead. But it was good. All the pieces came together, the first battle against Negan and the Saviors commenced, and while there were a few faults, it was an exciting episode.


HIGHLIGHTS

The War with the Saviors has begun
and I’m into it. It was a rocky way to get here, but it’s finally happening and I’m excited for next season. With everyone working together, I’m hoping this means all the players on the show will have more time together, more time on screen, and there will be less fractured story telling. I hope this means more Carol—she’s been gone most of the season! Anyway, the fight between them was great. It made a great, exciting episode. We even got some Shiva attacking a Savior. It was great.

Sasha flashbacks
to her and Abraham before leaving to help Maggie, and then again with her watching the sunset before finding Alexandria, really made the emotional impact of Sasha sacrificing herself to help the others, to help Maggie, one of the best parts of the episode—even if I didn’t like that Sasha died.

MIDTONES

Sasha sacrificed herself
and ended her life in order to Turn and become a walker to cause some chaos. This is a great storyline, a great moment of revolt, of sacrifice…for someone who’s NOT Sasha. As one of my favorite characters, I’m just pissed she’s gone. Sure. Maybe that’s why I’m so irritated with this end for her character. I’m just irritated it happened period. But you know what would’ve made me LOVE this idea? If it had been Rosita. Why? Because Rosita is the one who basically has had a low key death wish this entire time. She’s the one who has been on the journey leading to this moment. Her and Sasha were even there at the Sanctuary together. It so easily could’ve been Rosita’s story. It so easily would’ve been better. Rosita has been irritating me this entire season—I mean, we get that you’re going through a lot, but everyone is, and your actions are getting people killed (Olivia, now kind of Sasha)—and Rosita saving Sasha to run in to kill Negan, get caught, imprisoned, and end up killing herself to help everyone else? Major respect would’ve gone to Rosita, because she, in the end, would’ve done something to help the others in a strong way. Having it be Sasha just didn’t work for me. I don’t know if it’s because of how much I loved Sasha, but either way, the episode worked well. We got beautiful moments with Sasha and Abraham, she sacrificed herself for Maggie. It was a great, beautiful way for Sasha to go—I just wish it hadn’t happened at all.

Jadis and the Scavenger’s betrayal
was both disappointing and exciting? I don’t know how I feel about it, honestly. I love how weird Jadis and the Scavengers are. Because they weren’t all that close to the Scavengers, it didn’t really feel like that shocking of a twist. I’ve even heard people saying they saw it coming, one mentioning it earlier than this episode that they weren’t going to go through with it. It made for a more interesting episode because everything was going wrong for Rick and Co. and it all just came tumbling down.

LOWLIGHTS

If Negan was less annoying
I’d like him more. I don’t mean like him as a person, he’s vile, but like him as a character. But he just doesn’t stop with his charismatic “funny” douchebag schtick that is far more annoying than Jadis’s monosyllable, caveman speech and King Ezekiel’s theatrics. Only Gregory being a cowardly dick is one notch below Negan on the likability meter.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 15: “Something They Need”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 15: “Something They Need”
Grade: B

In the penultimate episode of the season, “Something They Need” follows Sasha—who is not dead, (THANK YOU)—who is being held captive similar to Daryl, with Negan wanting her to join the Saviors, meanwhile Rick is informed by Tara about Oceanside and they all decide to take over the camp to steal their guns…which somehow isn’t at all Negan-like to anyone on the show. This episode is strange, the characters making odd decisions, and it doesn’t quite fit the season—it feels like just a bridge to get to the finale by making whatever the writers needed for it to happen to get there, even if it didn’t make any sense.


HIGHLIGHTS

Sasha isn’t dead
and that’s great. I still think her decision int he precious episode was stupid (and again, unlike her character and more like what Rosita would’ve done to Sasha) but since she didn’t die, I’ll allow it. Her scenes with Negan were good—though I doubt Negan would want to keep Sasha as a Savior after she tried killing him, a scene in which we never see, another strange choice by the show—and Eugene bringing her the poison he made for Negan, thinking she wanted to kill herself when she was trying to get a weapon to attack, was a great moment that worked really well. Eugene is a smart character and he did what he thought was best for Sasha to allow herself to die, which made her plan for a weapon backfire.

Dwight
wants to help Rick and the Alexandrians, hating Negan and wanting to betray him. Solid potential here for a great story with Dwight and getting the others some information that is needed to take down Negan and the Saviors—and it came very organically. We see that Dwight is struggling throughout this whole season with staying, with wanting to run and be with Sherry again. But how easily are they going to forgive Dwight for all the terrible things he’s done? How will Daryl? How will Tara? There’s a lot coming with Dwight and I’m excited to see how it comes about.

LOWLIGHTS

Seriously not a single person
mentioned that Rick’s tactics with Oceanside is very Savior-like? No one from Oceanside is going to mention, “What makes you better than them? Taking our guns like they took yours?” NOTHING? No comparisons when what they’re doing is completely awful to the women of Oceanside? Leaving them with nothing? And Tara is just on board with this? None of those scenes made any sense and I’m disappointed. There could’ve been a lot of meaningful conversation about the decisions they’re making, but instead it was just “Tara betrayed you, give us your guns, goodbye.” And some of them even want to fight WITH them? I know that no one was hurt or killed, so completely different, but not really at all? That could’ve been more, there should’ve been more to it, but there wasn’t. They just smile and skip away with the guns like it wasn’t an awful thing to do.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”
Grade: B+

In the fourteenth episode of The Walking Dead—with only two left of season seven—we follow the goings on at Hilltop while some of the Saviors come to retrieve Dr. Carson after his brother, the Sanctuary’s doctor, was killed by Negan a few episodes ago. But mostly we follow Sasha and Rosita, enacting the plan they’d set out to do in the previous episode, going straight to the Sanctuary to kill Negan—a not great plan that may lead to Sasha’s death.

Overall, the episode was really good. It didn’t feel like I was missing any of the other characters, even though they weren’t even on screen, because the focus on those who were involved was tight and sometimes intense. It never felt like a boring episode, never slowed too much. Sasha and Rosita really shined in this episode—even if their plan is faulty and stupid and could get them killed—and I liked it a lot. The fact that Sasha may be killed because of the results of their actions here doesn’t make me happy at all—but since technically nothing has happened to her yet, I’ll grade the episode on what has happened, and what has happened was a really good (if not a little flawed) episode.


HIGHLIGHTS

Sasha and Rosita
being the central storyline in this episode worked nicely. Though I still dislike the way everyone feels so disconnected and separated, sometimes the show does well with a focused episode on just one or two characters (in the previous two episodes they did just as good of a job with Rick and Michonne (and Tara and Rosita) and in the last with Morgan and Carol (and Richard and the Kingdom), so I’ve been appreciating it more in the later half of this season than in the first). Letting Sasha and Rosita work together, say their piece about Abraham, and try to move past their differences made for a good episode. What actually happened with them wasn’t as great—more below. I did like the inclusion of Eugene’s true feelings about being at the Sanctuary—he’s lying just like always, a true coward until the end. And I somehow appreciate and respect it. Do whatever you have to do to survive, Eugene, you do you and all that.

Hilltop scenes
were good. I liked seeing Maggie again, the moment with her and Daryl in the cellar had me in tears, and everything worked really well. The intensity of them hiding in the cellar was great and that getaway tunnel Sasha and Rosita go through is genius. Totally using that idea during the apocalypse. I only hope that Gregory dies. Soon. He’s just so annoying I can’t take it. And Jesus came out by saying he’d found it hard getting close to anyone, including neighbors and boyfriends—I’m glad they’re keeping his sexuality the same from the comics.

LOWLIGHTS

Sasha and Rosita’s plan
is a mess. Or at least Rosita’s plan is initially, and Sasha’s plan is at the end. First of all, Sasha’s plan to use a sniper rifle on top of a building outside of the Sanctuary to kill Negan is a HELL OF A LOT SMARTER than charging in there. And when they did finally do that, and didn’t get the perfect shot immediately, they could’ve waited for another chance. I don’t care if they just found out about Dr. Carson being taken to the Sanctuary, Maggie isn’t going to die without him for a few more hours or even another day—hell a WEEK—of waiting for the perfect shot if it meant getting a chance to get out of there alive. Rosita’s plan is a suicide mission that doesn’t make any sense. Second plan, Sasha locking Rosita out of the Sanctuary because the others “need her” (As if they don’t need Sasha, the greatest shot and one of the strongest people on the show; not to say Rosita isn’t an asset as well, but come on, let’s not try to compare the two with strengths! You’re both important, stop this nonsense and try to get out alive, the both of you!) is a straight up mistake on the writers part. Nope. NO. First of all, Sasha didn’t even like this plan. What’s her motivation?! WHY? Just because she thinks Rosita is more of an asset?? Because she thinks nobody needs her anymore? Fuck that. Sasha knows how good she is and how much they’ll need her during the war, just as much if not more than Rosita, and the fact that she didn’t even think Rosita’s plan was good and she thought there could be a chance they survive if they do it Sasha’s way, why would Sasha do it? Rosita is the one with the death wish right now, not Sasha. It should’ve been Rosita locking out Sasha. End of story. If this is Sasha’s end, I’ll be pissed. This may also be completely biased because Sasha is one of my favorite characters on this show and Rosita has become one of my least (though I used to love her, too).

Other than that, I thought the episode was great.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 13: “Bury Me Here”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 13: “Bury Me Here”
Grade: A-

The thirteenth episode of The Walking Dead season seven, “Bury Me Here” or “Melongate,” as I like to call it, is one of the best episodes of this second half of the season. Focusing on the Kingdom and Carol, during the drop with the Saviors, a melon goes missing and Benjamin is killed for it—though it’s revealed Richard had stolen the melon so they were show, knowing it would get himself killed in order for Ezekiel to see that they need to fight—and Morgan teeters on the edge of sanity once again because of it. Morgan accepts that they need to fight and uses Richard’s plan against him, killing him to show the Saviors they will be good, while planning to fight against them later. After telling Carol the truth about what happened to Glenn and Abraham, Morgan and Carol are both ready to fight along side Ezekiel and the Kingdom, who finally agrees that they need to fight with the Alexandrians and Hilltop.

An emotional episode with an interesting story as Richard enacts a plan to get himself killed, which eventually triggers a breakdown in Morgan, which results in Carol learning the truth about the Saviors, and all of this brings Ezekiel to the decision that they will fight. Overall, it’s one of the best episodes in this second half of season seven, bringing back Carol—hopefully in a more active permanent way—and finally getting the Kingdom to join up with Rick against the Saviors.


HIGHLIGHTS

With the melon situation
getting Benjamin killed, Morgan once again falls into his unhinged state that had been suppressed for so long by changing his lifestyle of no killing. He’d been feeling like a father-figure to Benjamin, confusing him for his son Duane when speaking about him to Ezekiel after killing Richard, and this brought Morgan just enough back over the edge to want to fight the Saviors with Rick. Lennie James did an incredible performance, as always, and Morgan killing Richard and getting Ezekiel and the others to want to fight the Saviors, tricking the Saviors into thinking they’ll be good, as Richard was going to do, is an interesting direction for Morgan to go and I can’t wait to see what this does to Morgan, teetering on the edge of sanity once again.

Carol has returned
from hiding out in the cottage near the Kingdom, power-walking right back to the Kingdom, taking out Walkers, getting shit done, and just being Carol. Anything to do with Carol is fantastic stuff for the show, she brings so much to each episode and Melissa McBride is a phenomenal actress. It’s a shame we’ve seen so little of her this season and that she’s been tucked away for so long being inactive.

Richard’s plan
stealing the melon to get himself killed and to get King Ezekiel to see that they have to fight, was, technically, a good plan. As a character, I like Richard, his role in the plot of getting things started, because it creates great tension. He wants the same things as Rick and the gang, to go after Negan and the Saviors, but he’s doing it all wrong—wanting to allow Carol to be harmed by the Saviors in order to get King Ezekiel to fight, wanting himself to be killed to get them to fight and getting Benjamin killed instead. And finally, Morgan takes it upon himself to kill him to get the same thing accomplished, which was necessary. Because as much as Richard made for good TV, he needed to go or he’d make more stupid—though well-meaning—decisions about the coming war.

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 10: “By the Light of Dawn”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 10: “By the Light of Dawn”
Grade: A-

The mid-season finale of Shadowhunters season two surpassed most of its preceding episodes and becoming the highest graded episode from me thus far. As an episode of a television show, it was great; but from a fan of the books, it was less great. With major changes in the way things unfolded in the second book, the midseason finale focused entirely on the “activation” of the Soul Sword (not in the books) but gave a lot of familiar moments from the book that made the episode work really well.

There was only one thing, one major thing, that bothered me. I believe it to be a plot hole (though some have argued that it’s not, which I’ll get into) that Jace is thought to be able to destroy the sword by touching it. Or at least, a strange oversight that no one remembered Jace already having touched the sword during his interrogation with Aldertree. Some have pointed out that it needed to be activated for Jace to destroy it (which wouldn’t make any sense because Clary (or Jace because he has angel blood, not demon blood, it turns out) would’ve had to touch it first, and Jace didn’t have her touch it first) or that Jace would need the same power to activate it as he would to destroy it, a lightning bolt or the Institute’s angelic power. That is a possibility, however it’s never stated in the show? And if it was, a whole lot of people missed it since at the end, we see a possible Sebastian having taken the sword and many pointed out he was wearing gloves to prove that he could touch it without destroying it. The whole thing is a mess, either way. The show either confused its audience with too many “rules” to a show-based device or it made a large mistake—it distracted me the whole episode because it didn’t make any sense for Jace to believe he could destroy it.

Other than that, the episode was the best of the show. Even with the disaster of the sword plot that wasn’t in the books, all the pieces and characters worked well and I was genuinely invested in the downworlders and the potential of them all being killed. Most importantly, there were moments from the book that remained and it made the show feel more like the story so many love.


HIGHLIGHTS

Raphael
tells Isabelle that he isn’t interested in having sex with her, or anyone, and has always been that way. If that’s Raphael coming out as asexual, I’m thrilled to have some inclusion on the show for asexual people, because that’s super rare. I’ve heard that it’s sort of hinted at in the books and I’m excited that they’ve decided to include it in the show. I’m not asexual myself, so I don’t know how well they are handling it so far, but I hope they’re able to make the character a good representation of the ace community.

MIDTONES

The moment with Simon and Jace
is a big part of the book. It’s one of the moments I was looking forward to. Simon is dying and he drinks Jace’s blood to survive, tackles him and drinks from his neck and then they continue to go find Clary. But in the show, it’s Jace using that damn shapeshifting rune to look like Clary to have Simon feed from his arm. Apparently, too homoerotic for the show—Magnus and Alec are enough. But this was one of many moments from the books that made it in, even if slightly warped, and that made the episode feel more like the books even if the overall plot of the episode was nothing like the book.

The end of book two,
besides the epilogue, ends with the characters in the back of a truck on its way back to land from the ship that was destroyed by Clary (don’t even get me started, they easily could’ve put all this in the show) and Simon needs to get back before the sun rises. It’s an intense end, the clock ticking and the sun rising and Simon could die. But he doesn’t! Because he drank Jace’s blood and he now has some angel in him and can now step into the sunlight. This moment was dropped for Simon being in the Institute and forgetting that it was morning and he jumps back from the light coming in through the window but he isn’t burned. Simon and Clary go outside and are all excited, Jace is jealous, and that’s how they ended the episode. It just so underwhelming, that moment they realize he’s the Daylighter is big in the books. And it didn’t seem like that big of a deal in the show. However, most of these moments that they’re bringing into the show have to be changed slightly because of the plot changes, which are understandable, just disappointing.

LOWLIGHTS

Too much tech
is destroying the story. I don’t know how much any of the technology used in the show is in the books, but I’m just getting tired of it. The story is fantasy based, the books are so much more intricate with magic and the show is being bogged down by technology. All the computers of the Institute, Aldertree turning into a hacker at a random to get into the wherever the “angelic power” was located for the Institute. It’s all too much.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 12: “Say Yes”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 12: “Say Yes”
Grade: B+

In the twelfth episode of the seventh season of The Walking Dead, “Say Yes” follows Rick and Michonne on a long run to find as many guns as they can in order to win over Jadis and the Scavengers to fight with them. Meanwhile, Tara contemplates telling Rick about Oceanside’s guns, even though she’d promised never to mention their existence if they let her go, and Rosita wants to kill Negan and asks Sasha to help her.

Overall, this episode brought Rick and Michonne back to the forefront of the story, the core characters of the show, which I feel like we haven’t seen much of this season thus far—because we haven’t—and it was good to get back to them. However, Rosita’s impatience in the plan is going to get everyone—if not just her and Sasha—killed, which is a disappointing direction to have her go into.


HIGHLIGHTS

Rick and Michonne
are the Apocalypse Power Couple of my dreams. I loved getting more time with them, especially as a couple, because we haven’t had much of time with them separately thanks to the fractured storytelling they’re doing this season. Having them be the focus of the episode, finding all the guns and food, and working together to clear Walkers were both funny, adorable, and bad ass. The episode was much stronger than previous because of the focus on the core characters of the show.

Tara
contemplating telling Rick and the others about Oceanside was a great b-story to the episode and gave Tara some more screen time (which she hasn’t had since her standalone episode “Swear,” an entire six episodes ago). There was great stuff here for Tara having to break her promise and I loved the scene with her talking to Judith while sitting for her.

LOWLIGHTS

Rosita’s
anger is valid, but I don’t like what she’s doing. I don’t like that she’s ruining the plan, trying to take it in her own hands, and now bringing in Sasha to the mix, I’m just worried that she’ll do something stupid and it will make me dislike her as a character, which I don’t want to do because I’ve always liked Rosita, but I’m liking her less and less. And if this makes me dislike Sasha (or worse, gets her killed), one of my top ten favorites characters on the entire show, I’ll be upset.

The fall of this season,
as much as I’ve enjoyed most of it, was from the fractured stories that they’re trying to tell. Everyone is scattered and I had thought that this would be fixed with everyone coming together at the end of the mid-season finale, but with Maggie (seriously we’ve seen her, like, twice?) and Sasha at Hilltop, Alexandrians all over the place, Carol out on her own, the intro to the Kingdom, and the focus on Negan and the Saviors, the show is suffering from trying to tell so many stories. The first season they were doing too many standalone episodes, but now they’re just not doing a good job of handling all of these different groups all scattered. Though, I will say, it’s making it easier to cope with the losses we’ve had, because sometimes we don’t see some characters for episodes and episodes at a time, so missing those characters are easier.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 11: “Hostiles and Calamities”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 11: “Hostiles and Calamities”
Grade: A-

In the eleventh episode of the Walking Dead season seven, we follow the Saviors exclusively again at the time of returning with Eugene as their captive and just after Daryl escaped. Dwight deals with the ramifications of Daryl escaping, with the help from his ex-wife Sherry, and Eugene learns that instead of being a captive, he’s now considered to be one of the most important new members of the Saviors, being able to create bullets and having a brilliant mind, he’s given a nice room and is treated well.

There were interesting parallels to the third episode of the season, “The Cell” where Daryl is being captive and it features Dwight dealing with being under Negan’s thumb: Eugene is given a nice room,  takes to being a Savior (out of true want or as a defense mechanism) and is asked what his name is, to which he replies “Negan” before Negan can even get out the question; he plays the Easy Street song in his room, the same that Daryl was tortured with; Dwight is locked in a cell by Negan in order to teach him a lesson; Dwight goes on a run to find Sherry, similar to in “The Cell” to find the missing man.

Overall, the episode was really great. It had a lot of layers to it and the focus on Eugene becoming a Savior (again, whether by choice or defensively is still unclear) was really great. Even Negan was more tolerable in this episode, though not any less of an asshole. One of the best episodes from this season for sure.


HIGHLIGHTS

Eugene’s
becoming a Savior was really interesting. It very well could be him dealing with the situation in the best way he knows how (lying in defense) but he does seem to take being a Savior. It’s an interesting storyline that I’m excited to see where it goes.

Dwight
is much more likeable now in this episode. With “The Cell,” we were sort of forced to sympathize with him, but I think it had been too soon. In this episode, now that we’ve been able to get to know Dwight with the third episode and understand he and Sherry’s reasoning for staying, we’re able to feel bad for Dwight more naturally. We’re able to root for him more and hope that he eventually turns on Negan. But that’s still hard to do because of all he’s done—killing Denise one of the big ones—but we know that he’s been doing it just to survive, that being a Savior was better than being dead, but as Sherry states in her letter—they were wrong, it’s not better.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”
Grade: B+

Rick and the Alexandrians attempt to convince the strange group, the Scavengers, led by Jadis, to join them in the fight against the Saviors. Jadis refuses unless Rick can prove himself being capable by shoving him down into a trash pit with a spike-covered Walker. Meanwhile, Daryl stops Richard from tricking the Saviors into attacking Carol, thinking it will get Ezekiel to join Rick. After Daryl threatens to kill him if he does, Daryl reunites with Carol but doesn’t tell her anything, including about the deaths of Glenn and Abraham, knowing that if he did, she would need to fight the Saviors though she doesn’t want to.

The episode wasn’t the best episode, even though I like how weird Jadis and the Scavengers are, mostly because the episode’s structure was so strange, making the pacing of the first half of the episode annoying and almost slow. Other than that, I enjoyed the episode a lot.


HIGHLIGHTS

Scavengers
were weird but I loved it. Jadis, the leader, was played incredibly by the actress she plays. I like that we’re seeing different types of groups in the new world. I find that the leaders of each group have whatever personality the majority of the group does, as if with limited contact with others, the group’s leader sets the tone and personality for the group. Rick’s brave and hopeful = Alexandrian’s brave and hopeful, Negan’s an asshole = Saviors are assholes, Ezekiel is theatrical = his followers are the same, Jadis is strange = her people are strange. I liked the dynamic and the way the Scavengers communicated and acted, even if the tone of the show changed a little for the episode, it worked well.

Daryl and Carol’s
reunion made me cry. The fact that Daryl didn’t tell Carol about the others to protect her from not wanting to fight, him threatening Richard to save Carol—other than the Scavengers, it was a very Carol/Daryl-centric episode, and we haven’t seen that dynamic in a long time.

LOWLIGHTS

Structure of the episode
was awful. We first get a moment between the Saviors and the Kingdom, a scene with Richard and Daryl, and then another scene with Richard and Daryl before we even got back to the Alexandrian group at the junkyard, a full twenty minutes into the hour.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”
Grade: B+

The midseason premiere of The Walking Dead has Rick’s group all back together again, now with the goal of taking out Negan and the Saviors—but they need numbers, so they (unsuccessfully) attempt to gain the help of both the Hilltop leader (though they get some of the citizens to agree to fight) and King Ezekiel of the Kingdom. With little support from the other groups, Rick’s group come upon a Walker trap with explosives set up by the Saviors that they disable to use against Negan. After returning home and dealing with Negan’s men searching for Daryl (who was given asylum by the Kingdom), they learn that Father Gabriel is missing and has taken most of their supplies—however, after finding a note left by him, they track him down to another large group with a large amount of weapons encircling them.

As a midseason premiere, it wasn’t the best episode—nothing too exciting or dramatic happened, though the intensity of a large Walker horde coming toward them while trying to get the explosives was great. The best part of the episode was having the main cast back together again after a disjointed first half of the season. This episode, felt disjointed within itself—a lot happened in this episode. Though it’s only the start of what’s to come, it looks like it’s going to be great.


HIGHLIGHTS

Everyone is together again
and Negan isn’t in the episode except for his voice over the radio. With everyone together all working toward fighting against the Saviors, the show has picked up its energy again and is heading toward something great. Negan not being in the episode worked to the show’s advantage, as giving the time for our main characters to reconnect (though, they sort of didn’t even though they had the chance to).

The dynamite scene
was incredible. The intensity of it, all of them working quickly and efficiently so that none of the explosives are set off and the horde of Walkers coming at them made the scene of slow-moving, far-off zombies exciting. Rick and Michonne taking the horde down with the cable was awesome, but seemed unnecessary to get that close and risking getting killed.

The end scene
in search of Father Gabriel worked best for me. The smile on Rick’s face in the end shot as they’re surrounded by the new community, who seem to be heavily armed and skilled, got me excited for the rest of this season.

LOWLIGHTS

Disjointed
is a great word for what this episode was. It covered a lot of ground with a lot happening. The group went from getting the other communities to join them, to finding and getting the explosives, to returning to deal with the Saviors looking for Daryl, then going on a hunt for Father Gabriel, all the while not giving much attention to the main characters and relationships they have to each other. A lot of scattered plot.

Dialogue and characters
suffered in this episode. For the main characters, there was a lot of waiting around and standing as a group talking to the leaders of the other groups. I mean, for the main cast, were there any more than maybe two scenes where they weren’t all together, like standing right next to each other and not doing anything but adding some mediocre one liners? I’m glad they’re all together again, but it’s almost like the show didn’t know what to do with them now that they are reunited. (The exception is the great action scene of moving the cars, removing the explosives, and escaping the Walkers, the best scene of the episode.) There were other great character moments but they happened with secondary characters: Benjamin, Ezekiel, and Aaron and Eric.