One of the main problems created by the end of the sixth season, and beginning of the seventh, of TWD is that now we’re dealing with a very fractured core of characters. After all, it was the end of the season that sent Carol and Morgan along their path towards the Kingdom, and the start of our current set of tales has given us Maggie, Sasha and Enid at the Hilltop, Daryl stuck with the Saviors, and Carl and Jesus off riding in the back of a truck full of goods. We also watched as Tara and Heath went on their own scavenging trip, further fracturing the group. Why is this a problem? Look no further than the opening set of episodes for the seventh season. In order to do justice by the story, we’ve needed to stop in and visit at least aspects of each of these groups, and there hasn’t been any real movement forward in the main story because of it. Instead, we’re getting a series of vignettes, which can stand on their own, but there is a definite need to start tying groups back together again, if for no other reason than to avoid inertia.
All of that said, this week was the episode where we stopped in and checked back in with Heath and Tara, as the two of them had left Alexandria and we hadn’t seen either for a good span of time. It certainly didn’t look good, as the episode opened with Tara almost being speared, and Heath nowhere to be seen. But did it play out as badly as it started? Not quite, and we swear that the Oceansiders aren’t responsible. At least, not entirely.
Maybe Beatrice can be excused for being a little confident, given that she had Tara dead to rights by all counts after the latter had made her break for it. However, the one thing that Beatrice clearly never learned is “don’t monologue”. She ended up spilling a whole, sordid history of the Oceansiders experiences with the Saviors, but did it all to someone who she was under orders to eliminate for safety. Even if Cindie hadn’t shown up when she did, Beatrice created too much of an opening for Tara alone to possibly either escape or turn the tables, and that’s a risk that should never have been taken by a community working towards secrecy.
Cindie is the sole reason that Tara makes it through the episode, and, honestly, the only reason why Tara is around past the first four minutes. Rachel is intent on doing what must be done, and killing the intruder before any damage can be done to the community. Not only does Cindie stop her, thereby endangering her own position within the safety of the Oceansiders, but she goes a step further and leaves valuable supplies for this person she has no reason to trust. Maybe fish is a renewable resource, but the bottled water? But it’s okay, because somehow Cindie knows that Tara is a good person, and should be rescued. Or something.
Sure, we could be angry at Tara for talking too much about Alexandria. Or we could be frustrated about her randomly following Cindie, despite not knowing anything about her (this certainly isn’t the first time Tara has encountered people who hold nothing but ill will towards those not amongst their own). But let’s look at the moment, caused by Tara, that actually caused the whole sequence of events to start. That moment was on the bridge, when she and Heath found the small encampment. Mostly buried in the dirt was a pack, that may or may not have held valuable supplies. Tara, without a thought, tries to yank the pack out, causing the landslide to fall apart and walkers to appear everywhere. Nevermind the logistics of all the walkers being buried where they were, Tara should have tugged once at the pack, and then tried to find a way to remove it, or the items within, in a safer way. You’re living in the apocalypse. Assume that the pile of sand was dumped there for a reason, and it might just be best to leave it.
The leader of the Oceansiders clearly never intended for Tara to make it back to Alexandria. She’s trying to protect her community the best way she knows how, and she’s definitely of the belief that she’s only going to be able to achieve that if no one knows about them. So why did she feed Tara? Or let her rest? Or give her the ability to potentially escape? Natania already knew that Tara was a proficient fighter, as was evidenced during their first encounter. Giving Tara any sort of a chance just feels like too much of a risk.
1. The Entire Oceanside Community
Really, this is all spurred on by Tara sneaking into the community, and trying to find out more about them. Naturally, she gets spotted, and what ensues is a string of bullets being fired in her general direction. Tara is able to escape every shot, and sets her path towards her interaction with Natania by choosing not to kill Beatrice to potentially grant her an escape. Oh, wait, this is a community that wants to be as secretive about their existence as possible. It’s clearly one of the reasons they fashioned spears. So they just open fire randomly, spraying their own homes while also making a ton of noise? Also, for a group of people wanting to get away and hide from the Saviors, why would they stay so close? Literally nothing about either action makes sense, unless it was just done for a silly narrative, and to give Tara something to do in her solo adventure.
That does it for this week. We’re approaching the midseason finale, and the groups are starting to get reunited. Except for Heath, who apparently got away but was replaced with a woman walker who matched almost every other detail. And Daryl, who’s still being kept hostage by the Saviors. And Carol, and… you know what? Let’s just agree to come back next week, and see what more is unfurled before our eyes.