The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 11 – Hostiles and Calamities

Welcome back into the fold, Eugene. You were definitely missed. Well, maybe your mullet was missed. Or maybe it was just the fact that we needed a little bit of closure for one of our recurring characters after you were taken by the Saviors at the end of the first half of this season. Either way, welcome back.

Yes, this week showed us the next part in Eugene’s personal saga, as he is now living with the Saviors. However, unlike Daryl, Eugene isn’t a prisoner. He’s becoming a valued member of the community, and is definitely showcasing some of his intelligence. There’s a lurking question as to whether or not he’s doing something similar to what he did when he first hooked up with Abraham, by exaggerating what he can actually do to make himself more invaluable, but you can’t argue with the results, as of yet. It’s certainly kept him alive this far, and he definitely knows at least enough to make his stories believable.

Speaking of believable, this episode also spent a lot of time focusing on Dwight, who you knew was going to find himself in no small amount of trouble after Daryl’s escape. While we see Eugene making plays to keep himself alive, we’re seeing just how cold-blooded Dwight has become when it comes to his own self-preservation. Yes, he did work to save someone else, in a situation that will almost undoubtedly come back to bite him in the ass, but that’s the danger of living in a world with so many Hostiles and Calamities. Maybe everyone needs a protective coating of metal.

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Via AMC.

5. Eugene

For the first time in a long time, Eugene finds himself surrounded by women who are attractive AND admiring him for his intelligence. Much like with Rosita, Eugene knows that he honestly doesn’t have a chance, given that these women are some of Negan’s wives, but he still allows himself to get suckered in a bit by their flattery. But that’s not Eugene’s biggest goof. No, that sits with him asking Laura for lobster. Yes, the Saviors have more and better food than almost anywhere, but they’re still a good distance away from Maine. And don’t even get me started on Alaska.

4. Negan

Everything that Negan does is calculated, and he knows what’s expendable, and what isn’t. However, in the conflict between Dwight and Doctor Carson, Negan decides to stick with his right-hand man, instead of the man who could help heal everyone’s right hand. Negan may believe that Eugene is a perfect replacement for the good doctor, but that’s like assuming that a brain surgeon should be the one to remove a burst appendix. Even more to the point, Negan HAS to know that Dwight is lying to him, so unless he’s working a long con that will result in Dwight being put into even more dangerous situations just because he owes Negan, this seems like a truly odd choice.

3. Doctor Carson

You’ve been part of the Saviors for quite some time. You know Dwight is lying. You also know what happens to those that show weakness. Negan doesn’t take kindly to it, and you’ve been a good soldier for apparently a long time, so why would you think that Negan would go easy on you? As much as it might have sucked, maybe you should have gone ahead and gotten your face burned. Oh, you did. That’s right. Along with the rest of you.

2. Dwight

Dwight is playing an incredibly dangerous game right now, and he’s clearly going to take down anyone who might know the truth. That said, as mentioned above, Negan has to be aware of at least partial truth, which means that Dwight now has a target painted on him. He was in a bad situation with regards to Sherry, and he was clearly going to try and protect her, despite the fact that she’s vanished so quickly after Daryl’s escape, and that Dwight recognized her handwriting on the note. As for everything that happens to Dwight over the course of the episode, a lot of it comes down to one simple choice, and that choice put Dwight immediately at odds with his boss. Think of how much grief he could have saved himself by bringing the information about Daryl’s escape to Negan, instead of trying to hold it for a while.

1. Tanya, Frankie, and Amber

Because Eugene is proving himself to be so invaluable, Negan decides to reward him with some social time with a few of his wives. The ladies, more specifically Tanya and Frankie, do a good job buttering Eugene up, feigning interest in his video games, and getting him to spill some of his knowledge regarding bombs and drugs. They even are able to successfully convince him to craft them a poison, under the guise of giving Amber a quick and easy way out. However, they made the first mistake of asking for a double dose, which would serve to tip of Eugene that either Amber wasn’t the intended target, or that they didn’t actually trust his intelligence. Neither plan was set to work well, especially after Eugene witnessed what happens to those who betray the leader of the Saviors (or, at least, are perceived to have done so). They then double down by calling Eugene a coward, almost as if they believe that will sway him back to their side. Listen, Eugene knows he’s a coward. He actively embraces that aspect of his personality. And he’s still survived this far into the apocalypse. You aren’t going to sway him by calling out the trait that’s quite possibly kept him alive.

That closes out the eleventh episode of this season. Clearly next week will send us back to the grizzled arms of Rick and his crew, because we aren’t allowed to be away from them for too long, lest we forget about the driving force behind a lot of the bad decisions being made all over the place. In the meantime, we’ll be sitting on Easy Street with Doctor Smartypants. Who knew that song would come back to haunt us, and yet carry a different sort of haunting feel?

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 10 – New Best Friends

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.

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Via AMC.

5. Jared

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.

4. Rosita

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?

3. Rick

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.

2. Daryl

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.

1. Richard

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.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 9 – Rock in the Road

Oh boy. The last time we talked, the calendar still read 2016. Who could’ve guessed that, by the time our favorite survivalists returned to the screen, we’d be looking at something more akin to the 1950’s? But hey, when you get to kick off Valentine’s week with the dulcet tones of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Khary Payton, it can’t be all bad. Seriously, can we just get the two of them reading the want ads at each other every week? It might actually be more logical than some of the other things we end up seeing in the show.

As for this week’s episode itself, after the mini-bloodbath of the mid-season finale, we were certain to be in for one heck of a ride when the second half kicked off. Except that the only ride we actually got was a pretty nonsensical one, even if it did lead to a pretty cool visual. It was all just one big Rock in the Road, and there are plenty of spots open on this week’s list to get filled in. Is one of them actually gold?

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via AMC

5. Gregory

Okay, we get it, Gregory. You’ve decided that you would rather lay in bed with Negan and his crew than even make an attempt at fighting back. That being said, damn, man. When you ask a rhetorical question, you shouldn’t have to call out with a sing-song “rhetorical” to let people know you didn’t want an answer. Besides, it’s pretty clear that EVERYONE saw Rick and his crew marching up towards your mansion. You can ask them to leave through the back, but there’s no way you’re keeping that meeting secret.

4. Ezekiel

The King actually has a little better positioning on wanting to keep The Kingdom out of the potential conflicts, and that’s largely based around the fact that he’s somehow managed to keep his deal with Negan secret from most of his people. That being said, one would have to think that Morgan’s argument about being somewhat surgical in the attack against the Saviors might have swayed him a little. Sure, Negan is only the head at the top, and there are a few others who could theoretically take his place, but none of them are the same kind of character. Besides, tigers eat a lot, and if things went really south while Negan was captive, Shiva could have some lunch.

3. The Ricktocracy

Or is it currently the Ricktatorship? Either way, Rick and his away team stumble on a trap set for walkers, and we all get to learn that Rosita is an explosives expert. Everyone panics when Carl sees a herd of walkers, until they are reminded that only one eye means no depth perception, so they can take their sweet time getting the last of the explosives. The escape vehicle is primed and ready to go, and the best place they can think to put it is actually closer to the oncoming herd? Really? Sure, you’ve loaded explosives into the back of it, but it still looks like you’re in an SUV, and that there’s some decent flat expanse of land just off of the road on both sides. The guard rails don’t extend the full way. Maybe you could wait for Rick and Michonne a bit further from the impending danger. But no, instead we get to see our booty knockers not only get to mow down a gaggle of walkers, but we then get to see them rush through the remaining herd to try and get to safety, thereby endangering everyone holding back for them. Good thing they have plot immunity.

2. The Saviors

Speaking of the whole mess that allowed for the fairly cool visual and the sudden need to run through a herd of walkers, can we talk about why the Saviors would have left their barricade, and specifically their explosives-and-cable connected cars with any sort of fuel? Or, and here’s a better question, why they connected the cable to cars in the first place, and not the stationary guard rails on both sides? Yes, as mentioned above, it did create a pretty visually stimulating series of walker kills (or at least severe injurings), but there’s absolutely no reason why the set up should have been left as it was. Even if the Saviors were planning on driving the cars themselves, if they didn’t take apart the explosives, it would have been a suicide mission. Sometimes, it’s better to just keep things simple, and use your surroundings, instead of giving your enemies the ability to drive at the exact same speed despite not having a clear view of each other.

1. Jesus

It’s hard to hate on Jesus. Except for the whole “shucks, that Carl kid outsmarted me” bit. And other moments of incredible stupidity. But hey, the guy was able to get one of the radios from the Saviors, giving Rick and his group the ability to listen to Negan ramble on (and on… and on). He also, after the rebuff from Gregory, is the one to inform Rick about King Ezekiel and his community. Oh, wait. Hold on a minute. Jesus has been scavenging and scouting the area for quite a while before Rick and his group even showed up. He therefore has probably known about at The Kingdom (and maybe the Oceansiders) for quite some time. Why would he wait until now to let Rick know that there were others who could help? Sure, it could be that he wasn’t sure about Rick’s intentions, but that theory goes by the wayside with how quickly Jesus trusted Rick and brought him to Hilltop in the first place. He’s known Rick wants to take down the Saviors, and he’s had to have known that Gregory would be a non-starter. By waiting so long to point out other potential allies, Jesus may have indirectly lead to every death that the Alexandrians experienced ever since they first met the Saviors. At the very least, he’s certainly slowed down any progress that could have been made against Negan, and that just doesn’t look smart in the current environment.

That wraps up this week. Next week, we’re bound to see why Rick was smiling. Maybe it’s finally the end of his journey, and it was an accidental smile by Andrew Lincoln, who can go back to holding up signs made for Keira Knightly. More likely, Rick thinks he’s found his army, and will use his incredible charisma to sway them to his side. Or get Enid to do it.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 8 – Hearts Still Beating

Well, folks, we’ve reached the mid-season break for this year’s run through of The Walking Dead. Pieces are starting to fall back together, after being left to their own devices for the first half of the year. With the way the most recent episode ended, it looks like I may actually be getting my wish for episodes moving forward. What is that wish? It’s really not a complicated one, and it’s one that, honestly, is long overdue.

Talk to each other.

I mean, seriously. How many of the events over the past eight episodes could have been avoided if people had actually decided to talk with someone else (or, in a few instances, with people outside of their particular dyad)? Even some of the key moments from the mid-season finale could have been avoided if there had only been a little more conversation, and a little less “I’m going to do what I want without bothering to check in with anyone else”. Look, I understand that the apocalypse leads to a bit of a need to act based off of impulse, because those impulses have lead our characters to surviving to the point that they have. But you’re trying to recreate a sense of community and civilization. You can’t do that without actively communicating with those around you. Sure, you’ve got Hearts Still Beating, but that doesn’t do a bit of good without actually bringing your concerns to someone else. That lack of a connection between people, based on discourse, is precisely what sets up our list for this week.

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Via AMC.

5. Gregory

Just so we’re clear, you’ve been spending the last couple of days making it clear that you don’t want Maggie or Sasha to stay at the Hilltop. After all, you’re fairly certain that your deal with Negan is going to ensure your longevity, and the two of them pose a risk to that deal. Why on earth would you feel the need to engage with Maggie in the slightest, least of all while she’s standing atop the wall and cosplaying her recently-deceased husband? Poking the bear is already a bad idea, but doing it while the bear is pregnant, saved your town a few days back, and is still raw from losing people she cares about? You’re lucky you only lost your fruit.

4. Rick and Aaron

I’ve got a great idea. No, just bear with me. See, when faced with a lake full of walkers, and a boat riddled with bullet holes (guaranteed to take on water) all with the hope that you find a stockpile of supplies that you can use, how about you, oh, ONLY PUT ONE ADULT ON THE BOAT? We’re shown the bullet holes in the side of the boat, and it is only because both Rick and Aaron decide that they’re going to traverse the lake that we run into the “sinking too soon” situation. That extra 200 pounds certainly didn’t help, and while there was no guarantee that one of them alone would make it across, there’s just no sense in lowering the odds by having both of them jump into the faulty boat.

3. Sasha

Remember what I said about people not communicating? Sometimes, it’s simply refusing to listen to someone else. And that’s exactly where Sasha is, especially when Enid is telling her about the fact that there are a lot more people than just her that want to see Negan removed from power. Sure, Sasha is putting together a plan to do it all on her own because she wants to protect Maggie, but Enid is speaking truths about those who want to see Negan fall. However, Sasha just doesn’t want to hear it, and is instead looking to do it all on her own. Good thing that the episode comes to a close before she can make things worse. Also, at least she isn’t Carol, who has decided she wants to be a complete isolationist.

2. Rosita

Rosita’s got a gun. And, thanks to Eugene, Rosita’s got a bullet. For moments through the episode, it even looks like she might be stepping back on her plans to use her single bullet to try and take out Negan. That is, of course, until Negan removes one of the pieces from the board during the pool game. Welcome back to the land of not communicating, Rosita! Even worse, her single bullet doesn’t do anything further than damage Lucille. That’s right, folks, Negan survives through the improbable (but completely based on the comics) moment of the bullet intended for him striking his bat instead of him. This act leads directly to the death of Olivia, and the capture of Eugene. If only Rosita could have talked to someone, and realized that her plan was bad, even if she HAD managed to take out Negan with her single shot. This is what happens when you throw away your shot. Rosita could learn a lot from Hamilton.

1. Spencer

Oh, Spencer. Spencer, Spencer, Spencer. I would say we hardly knew you, but that isn’t true. What we hardly knew was any level of effectiveness. Yes, you had a few moments throughout your time that may have saved people. But you’ve also spent an excessive amount of time being upset that Rick came and things went south. Little secret, Spence? If Rick and his group hadn’t shown up, Alexandria would’ve been overrun by walkers, except it would’ve happened without a group of people who knew what they were doing to defend. Now you’ve made it clear that you see your future by Negan’s side. You even go out of your way to butter him up, all to drop your big proposal that Negan take out Rick and install you as the leader of Alexandria, instead. This gives us, as an audience, a chance to see that Negan does have a certain twisted honor, but those living within the world should know fully well that Negan does not respect those who do not do for themselves. Maybe slicing Spencer in twain was a little excessive, but Negan DID have to find out if the man had any guts, and that was the quickest way to do so.

That does it for the first half of The Walking Dead, season seven. We’re seeing what Negan’s world looks like, and it seems largely to revolve around breakdowns of communication. The second half of the season picks up right before Valentine’s Day, so maybe, with love in the air, we’ll see people actually willing to talk again. The final scene seems to indicate that is the case, but, well, this show has pulled the rug out from under us before.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 7 – Sing Me A Song

Quick! Someone head down to where The Walking Dead is filmed, and check all of the set pieces for teeth marks. Because Jeffrey Dean Morgan has definitely been spending his time on camera chewing through the scenery. Watching his performance, and he certainly seems to be enjoying to the utmost his role as Negan, and he’s definitely indulging in every opportunity.

Look, I’ve seen a lot of hate thrown towards Morgan and his character since the most recent episode aired. A fair number of those critiques revolve around Negan being poorly written, or spinning to Morgan doing a bad job as an actor. I have to admit right here and right now that I just don’t see it. Yes, the writing is a bit repetitive this season, but that’s more of a result of choices made to break up the characters, and consequently the story, into separate segments. Truth be told, even through the terrible moments (fake Heath, anyone?), this season has actually been pretty darned watchable. No, the story isn’t moving forward terribly quickly. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t seen some pretty good individual segments. Honestly, the weakest moments in my opinion came during the Carol/Morgan/Kingdom episode, and then the stuff with Carl and Enid. As for Negan, yes, we’re seeing just a touch of how twisted and dark this guy can be, but we have to remember that he didn’t rise to power simply by being a complete jerk to everyone around him. This season isn’t another “revolving around the Greene farm” season. The story is slow, but that’s to give us a little time with everyone. And while some people may have found Negan’s moment with Judith to be silly, I saw it as something much darker and more foreboding. When you Sing Me A Song, you don’t leave out the messy parts, and this season has done a decent job highlighting some of that mess.

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Via AMC.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of The Walking Dead without people doing some truly stupid things in the name of plot and story. We had a little extra time in this episode, which naturally gave us a few more opportunities to see people take leave of their senses.

5. Daryl

Let’s make sure we’re clear on this. Daryl has been shown to have a couple of big brass ones underneath his dirty jumpsuit. He has stood up to Negan on a semi-regular basis. However, a part of him has been broken, as was evidenced by the way he took to mopping up the floor after the iron incident. Or is he broken? Is he actually playing a role like Carol did when the gang first made it to Alexandria, in order to find a better opportunity later? Either way, choosing to stand up to Negan regarding Carl’s safety just doesn’t make any sense. If he’s been broken, then not even seeing Carl (who was actually pretty safe, given Negan’s desire for visible revenge) should have spurred his threats. If he’s playing a role, then jumping to Carl’s aid could unravel everything he’s done so far. But hey, it landed Daryl back in his cell, where he could be gifted a lockpick.

4. Spencer

Oh Spencer. I wasn’t sure I’d ever find a character I disliked as much as any of the cast from Fear the Walking Dead. Thanks for stepping up, buddy! Let’s see the things that Spencer does this week. He implies to Rosita that he may have a few more secret supply caches laying around outside of town. He openly plots a mutiny within Alexandria in front of Gabriel (who has grown quite a spine during his travels with Rick). Oh, and let’s not forget that he seems potentially open to the idea of handing Alexandria over to Negan and the Saviors. Sure, that last point isn’t expressly stated, but it would certainly fit in with the rest of his stances. Spencer could simply be reacting out of anger for what happened with his parents, but he’s clearly only looking out for himself, and simultaneously doing a terrible job of it.

3. Jesus

At no point should Jesus have looked at Carl, and the stuff he did, with the utter bemusement shown on his face. Concern, maybe, because he knew Carl was going into the lion’s den. Anger, perhaps, at having been suckered by a kid more than once. But the “aw shucks” expression? Really? But hey, at least you made up for it by hiding on the roof of a truck and getting into the compound where you, um, stayed on the roof of a truck? And Negan doesn’t have any people in towers keeping watch? Um….

2. Mark

The laws of living under Negan are pretty well laid out, from everything we’ve been shown so far. Don’t steal from the community. Don’t push back against the leadership. Oh, and don’t shirk your responsibilities, especially so that you can get a little alone time with one of Negan’s “wives”. Yes, Negan’s harem is a troubling aspect, but it probably isn’t too far out of the realm of reason for a post-apocalyptic society to devolve to a point where the alpha male gets his pick of women to be at his disposal. So yes, while Mark and Amber had a past together, all of that went by the wayside when Negan “claimed” her as his own. Doubly troubling for Mark? He already had evidence, in the form of Dwight, for what happens when someone tries to betray Negan in this fashion.

1. Carl

Carl has shown regularly that he is not a planner. Not in the slightest. In fact, pretty much the only plan he actually had during this episode was to somehow get himself separated from Jesus, and even that was more of stumbling into the latter’s own plan to disembark for safety. Good job, Carl. Now you’re alone on the truck, being taken into the compound, with no reason to believe that Negan will be there to personally unload it. Of course, he IS there, and Carl gets to unload shots at the man responsible for Glenn and Abraham. Except for this nagging random Saviors who got in the way. Even had Carl succeeded in shooting Negan, what was the next step? He was outnumbered, and heavily outgunned. And you can bet that someone would have been ready to step up and fill in the void, should Negan have actually been gunned down. If only Carl could have, oh, talked with someone at some point about his plans. At least he made it back home, despite all odds.

That wraps up this week’s list. There were definitely some cringe-worthy moments, with Negan’s treatment of both Carl and Olivia showcasing just how disgusting and abusive this guy really is. And none of this is even really going into the sheer luck involved in the actual caches of supplies found by Spencer, Rick, or Aaron. Next week is the mid-season finale, and we’ve still got some far-flung pieces. Clearly, not everything can get tied together, but are we going to see our heroes actually start to communicate? Or are they going to keep acting on impulse, and not take a moment to see if anyone else might have a better idea? If the first part of this season is any indication, it’s going to be a frustrating mid-season.

 

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 6 – Swear

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.

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Via AMC.

5. Beatrice

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.

4. Cindie

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.

3. Tara

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.

2. Natania

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.

 

 

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 5 – Go Getters

Welcome to the point in the seventh season where we’re just going to throw some absolutely ridiculous scenes at the screen, and expect that the audience is going to just go along with them. I mean, seriously. The show has been largely embroiled with the new conflict, displaying just how dangerous Negan and his crew is. We’re taking a step to visit the Hilltop community and check in on Maggie. So, while we’re doing that, let’s just drop a couple of completely silly moments into the episode, and then just pretend that we’ve had spots like this all along.

Look, I’m definitely one for ridiculous with my scares. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite films, and I tend to find unintentional comedy in scenes that shouldn’t have a laugh (although I have yet to find any intentional comedy in Napoleon Dynamite, but I’m apparently in the minority there). All of that said, the roller skating scene? Just ludicrous, and that’s even with ignoring the pure chance that Carl and Enid would find the exact RIGHT SIZE of skates laying in a random, abandoned suitcase. Oh, and just in case we forgot that Maggie was a farmer’s daughter, we got her wonderful tractor scene (anyone else reminded of the zamboni scene from Deadpool?), and the later admission that she’s done that before. So, yeah. Silly for the sake of silly, which might have worked had the show regularly devolved into sillier moments like that on a regular basis. Instead, it just feels like these Go Getters were being used somewhat to poke fun at the audience for accepting everything thrown at them.

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Via AMC.

5. Enid

Really, Enid almost doesn’t deserve to be put here, given that we know she’s got a pretty messed-up world view. However, as she’s off riding her bicycle from Alexandria to Hilltop (how close are these communities, any way?), she sees a relatively fresh patch of blood. Enid is a survivor, and she has largely accomplished this by being smart about her actions, and using stealth to her advantage. Naturally, this character who actually has some levels of hyper-vigilence would get off of her bicycle and start wandering slowly, practically encouraging a walker attack. Next time, Enid, just keep riding.

4. Carl

After fighting with his dad over the lack of movement to fight back against Negan, Carl does what any other teenager who just watched his girlfriend hop a wall to maneuver through zombie-infested wilderness would do; he steals a car and goes after her. Except Carl has no depth perception. And no license. And probably hasn’t really had time to truly learn how to drive a car. While his actions do end up saving Enid from a walker, he also proceeds to wreck his mode of transportation. Looks like he gained his driving skills from his mother.

3. Gregory

Oh, Gregory. It makes sense why you’d be upset with the Alexandrians over Negan ramping up his efforts. But there’s no call for taking a pocket watch off of the grave marker off of Glenn’s grave, especially with his widow currently recovering in your community. Like you really need to know when it’s exactly 1:27pm.

2. Carl

Back to the one-eyed wonder. After abandoning Alexandria (hopefully after at least letting Judith’s babysitter know), he and Enid make it all the way to Hilltop. They even arrive as the Saviors are busy raiding the community. At this point, Carl strikes upon a plan to try and help everyone. Except for the fact that he is concocting this plan with another teenager, and they’re looking at a group of Saviors that’s relatively large, an incredibly well-armed. Oh, and it was clearly shown earlier in the episode that Carl’s aim is off, which actually makes him a detriment in any combat. Thankfully, Enid chooses to use her skills to get herself into Hilltop safely, and Carl returns to Alexandria. Oh, wait, no, he climbs into the back of the Saviors delivery truck. Alone. With only one eye. Clearly the kid has a death wish at this point, and doesn’t even realize it.

1. Gregory

With that, we return to Gregory, the man who was leading the Hilltop (although, it does seem that his version of leading was a kinder version of what Negan’s been doing, since he’s clearly got himself outfitted with trappings of wealth for the community). In fact, Gregory is so desperate to cling to what he’s determined “normal” that he is willing to sacrifice a sick, pregnant women to Negan’s men, and is only thwarted by Jesus outsmarting him. When Negan’s men find Gregory’s scotch, that is the moment where Gregory almost fights back. Over scotch, not people. Listen, Gregory, you may have kept Hilltop in existence, but you’re treading on thin ice when you start talking about kicking out the only people who kept you safe in the walker attack . Maybe he should just get into a car and start driving. Just stay away from Maggie and tractors.

That wraps up this week’s episode. Let’s take some time this week to look at what we’re thankful for, and then come back to check out Swear. After all, the midseason break is coming sooner than we might realize, and it would be a shame to make it there without carbing up first.