The second half of the seventh season began with a longer, but ultimately relatively uneventful episode. Maybe there was a desire for a palate cleanse after some of the events of the first half. Maybe it’s simply a nod to people who watch in a binge fashion, who just might want to rest and recover a little bit. Or maybe, just maybe, the powers that be behind the show have decided that the slow pace (with some big shock moments) of the first half was a good blueprint for the second half, and they just decided to keep things moving in that general style.
That isn’t to say that nothing happened. After all, Rick and his crew were able to be denied by both The Hilltop AND The Kingdom. They found themselves surrounded by a new group (which I’m calling Junkrats for now) all because they were trying to reunite with Gabriel. This episode picked up pretty much where the previous one left off, with Rick and company needing to navigate their way a negotiation with the Junkrats, giving us the most awesome Walker to ever Walker yet. We also got a heart-warming reunion, and the chance to see Richard be incredibly shortsighted. It’s exactly like what happens in everyone’s life when they discover that they’ve got New Best Friends, with a smattering of apocalypse thrown in for good measure.
Clearly, Gavin isn’t in complete control of his particular pack of Saviors. Specifically, he isn’t in control of Jared, who was still harboring a grudge against Richard for the last time The Kingdom made a delivery. Gavin clearly sees the value in not overstepping with regards to Ezekiel and his crew, but Jared doesn’t understand that at all. By asking for Richard’s gun, he’s only making unnecessary trouble, and his actions are serving to embolden Richard and, more dangerously, Morgan.
This one is a minor thing, especially because it fits completely with the character of Rosita that has been on display ever since Abraham and Glenn met Lucille. She’s a woman of action, and she wants to do something NOW. However, she clearly has some sort of military experience, as we learned last week. The fact that she doesn’t see the value in Tara’s words of returning to Alexandria and formulating a plan shows that she’s potentially too hot-headed to still be allowed as a part of the away team. Can Rick harness this fiery spirit, or is Rosita on the fast path to a quick end?
You’re surrounded by a group of people who you know absolutely nothing about, and certainly seem a little “off” compared to most of the other survivors you’ve previously encountered. You see the value in bringing them over to your side, because you know you’re going to need an army to take down the resident big bad traumatizing everyone around. Clearly, this is the time to show off the diplomatic skills that have allowed people to trust you, even shortly after meeting you. Or, in Rick’s case, you could point out that the Saviors are just going to gun for the Junkrats soon enough. Look, while it may have worked, thanks to your ability to take down the pointiest of the pointy, maybe lobbing an impending threat from outside isn’t the best way to go about making new friends. Especially given that the Junkrats clearly hadn’t suffered much directly at the hands of the Saviors.
Okay, I get it. You’re trying to protect Carol. You don’t want to see her return to her darker path, and you know that telling her about Glenn and Abraham would definitely bring her pounding down Ezekiel’s door, to force The Kingdom’s hand. So where did Daryl actually go wrong? How about the fact that he let his own personal connections and emotion overpower Richard’s argument, which was technically the correct argument. Without taking down the Saviors, more people are going to suffer and die. One death, especially one isolated death that could be linked to a Saviors raid, would have a great chance of spurring Ezekiel to action. Daryl is basically letting his past connection overpower this information, despite what he himself suffered at Negan’s behest. Not to say that it isn’t an understandable position, just that it puts Daryl firmly on the wrong side of this particular argument.
Speaking of arguments, maybe Richard should just give up on attempting subterfuge at any point. He lays out his plan to Daryl, put tries to dodge around just who would be the person killed as the catalyst. This shows that he at least has an understanding that Daryl and Carol have a history, but read the room, dude. There’s no way that any of Rick’s group would willingly sacrifice any of their own, even if it did mean having a better chance of eliminating the bigger threat, unless there truly was no other way. Oh, and letting Daryl wander away at the end, heading back to Hilltop? Good job on that one, too, even if you did have hep from Morgan in this one. After all, you all know that Daryl is a fugitive from the Saviors, so letting him wander away, unprotected and alone, could certainly lead to him being captured again, and vengeance being rained down upon both The Hilltop and the Kingdom.
That wraps up this week’s episode. Looks like next week we’ll be seeing Negan gracing our screens again, and this time, he seems to be setting his sights internally. Has Dwight been a bad boy? We’ve only got a few days before we get to find out.