The Walking Dead 7.09: Rock in the Road
The Walking Dead took a gamble on separating the characters for an extended period of time, and the results were not favorable. Between that and the level of violence in the season premiere, the ratings have taken a horrific slide. Time will tell if the second half of the season can correct the trend, but for now, all they can do is stay the course of fighting back as a combined unit against the Saviors.
It’s interesting how the battle lines are already being drawn. Team Grimes turns their attention to Gregory first, and beat him about the metaphorical head for not being willing to take a stand against the Saviors himself. Do they forget that Gregory was the one that needed Rick to act on his behalf in the first place? And Gregory even makes a few salient points about how much of the current nightmare is Rick’s fault. And one might reasonably ask: is King Ezekiel’s stance materially different from Gregory’s choices?
At the end of the day, neither Hilltop not the Kingdom choose to join the crusade against Negan. And that makes sense, given that Rick really isn’t telling them anything new that might persuade them that the time has come to stage a revolt. The needs of the individual communities are still more compelling than the prospect of a larger collective. I expect the road to the greatly anticipated coalition against Negan will take most of the rest of the season to form.
On the way home, Team Grimes encounters a trap set for a herd and decides to dismantle it for the weapons (which they need badly). Of course, the herd actually appears, which leads to one of the more hilarious set pieces in the history of the series. There are so many ways that it could and should have gone wrong, but the logic of the series is such that the audience can just sit back and enjoy watching countless Walkers get mowed down. Better yet, they end up with explosives that will undoubtedly come into use in a future episode.
While the writers did their best to make it seem like Father Gabriel was betraying Alexandria, the fact that the person who snuck into the town seemingly left with him in the car (you can see a second figure rise up in the passenger side of the car as it drives off) suggests a bigger plan for the good of the community. And since every other member of Team Grimes seems to have a connection to a different group, why not Gabriel? And since a community is found where Gabriel sent them, I wouldn’t be surprised if the apparent hostility is quickly resolved at the beginning of the next installment.
And Rick’s grin suggests that he’s thinking the same thing, and that maybe he’s found people that will be more receptive than Gregory or Ezekiel. One big question is where they are relative to the rest of the communities, especially if the Saviors haven’t subjugated them yet. The implication is that the Saviors’ reach is vast, after all. A map wouldn’t be a bad idea at some point, though as it currently stands, a lot of tension is created by the ambiguity. It would be nice to see if the various communities could, however, corral the Saviors if they did eventually band together.
- Rick takes the first steps towards regaining a bit of his mojo
- The set piece on the highway was visually hilarious and worth the time
- The changes from the comic actually make the different reactions to Gregory and Ezekiel hard to reconcile