The Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

The Walking Dead 7.07: Sing Me a Song

The Walking Dead 7.07: Sing Me a Song

Written By:
Angela Kang and Corey Reed
Directed By:
Rosemary RodriguezA much more detailed look into the world of the Saviors and their home, the Sanctuary, is shown. Meanwhile, members of Alexandria look for supplies.

The Walking Dead has been sticking very close to the source material this season, and I’m beginning to wonder if they are trying too hard to be faithful.  That’s not to say I had too many problems with this episode; it was actually a fairly strong representation of Negan’s rule over the Sanctuary.  For all that people keep asking why no one has tried to kill Negan yet when there are so many opportunities, this episode makes it clear why.  The Saviors are convinced that he is the reason they are surviving.  They haven’t figured out yet that the benefits don’t have to have the cost he imposes.

 


 

Perhaps the problem isn’t the adherence to the source material, since that delivers the chills and Jeffrey Dean Morgan continues to show that there is more to Negan than the manner in which he portrays himself.  Rather, it’s the way the writers linger over each scene as if they are afraid to let matters accelerate.  I want to jump into the editing bay and tape down the 2x button. 

 

Part of the problem is that keeping the major players invested for so long means giving them relief from the grueling shooting schedule every so often.  Drive the pacing of the story a bit faster, and the cast would need to be around all the time.  Frankly, I don’t think they could handle it, and I’m not sure the budget could, either.  Take a close look at this episode and you’ll notice it’s practically a “bottle episode”; most of the story is confined to a stretch of road and a single building.

 


 

It’s also becoming increasingly obvious that Negan is a character that needs the right director’s touch to capture the full range of his mindset.  There are enough scenes that demonstrate there is someone much more serious and calculating under the showy surface, and every so often it feels like the director (or someone) needs to decide when Negan pulls back the curtain a bit more consistently.  Maybe the idea is that Negan is even more arrogant and obnoxious on his home turf, where he has to maintain the image for the “faithful”, but he’s strayed into seeming a bit too cartoonish in this episode and “The Cell”.    

 

On the other hand, we haven’t gotten to see Negan outside of his comfort zone.  I’m waiting for the inevitable origin episode, which if it sticks to the story given in the source material, would go a long way towards explaining his personal ticks, his methods, and even his odd soft spot for Carl.  The audience doesn’t have that context yet, so he seems ridiculous.  (I won’t spoil it, but imagine what kind of job often involves over-the-top aggressive personalities in leadership roles, and you’ll probably be right.)

 


 

Carl is actually the best thing about the episode, and for a character that used to be considered the biggest punchline in the fandom, that’s amazing to consider.  His scenes stick very close to the source material, which presents him with more than a few challenges.  For example, Carl is much younger in the comics, so his emotional breakdown when revealing his eye socket makes a little more sense.  Also, it’s easier to imagine Negan finding Carl “adorable” as a preteen psycho-in-training than a defiant teenager.  But Chandler Riggs sells it about as well as anyone could hope.

 

While all of those fun scenes at the Sanctuary were playing out, there was a lot of setup regarding the mid-season finale.  Spencer is doing everything to make himself a target for just about everyone, Eugene is helping Rosita get that bullet she’s looking for (which is a great reminder that Eugene could get production on ammo going eventually), Daryl is free, Michonne is on her way to Sanctuary in Negan’s absence, Sasha and Jesus are planning something, and Rick and Aaron also have something in the works.  Readers of the source material can probably guess at a lot of what is being planned, but with Negan sitting on the porch with Judith, waiting for Rick to get back to Alexandria, one can only hope the next episode starts off strong and doesn’t let up.


Our Grade:
B-
The Good:
  • Chandler Riggs puts in one of his best performances
The Bad:
  • Negan seems to require a particular brand of direction, and not everyone is up to it

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The Walking Dead by - 12/6/2016 7:45 AM113 views

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