The Walking Dead 7.12: Say Yes
Despite having quite a bit more action than the episode before it, this installment manages to feel like it’s barely making any headway. And considering that it focuses so much time on Rick and Michonne, it’s strange how much of a misfire it seems to be. The couple goes hunting for guns to fulfill their part of the deal with their new allies, and hilarity ensues. Including a lot of things that should have gotten them killed.
Perhaps the most egregious moment comes late in the episode, when the writers try to convince the audience, for just a few moments, that they actually might have killed off Rick. Maybe that’s overstating it, since the intent was to convince Michonne of the possibility, and show how she reacts to the thought. But the way they played it seemed to cross the line into audience manipulation, and it just felt oversold. It glossed over the disturbing thought that Michonne is so invested in a future with Rick that she would be willing to die if he fell.
It's hard to imagine Michonne giving up, so it seems like the kind of detail that ought to have gotten more time for exploration. Yes, they did talk about it, and Michonne is the natural one to take up his mantle if Rick gets killed in the war against Negan, but if it’s that important, messing around with gobs of Walkers when they know situations can quickly get out of control seems like a fairly irresponsible decision. What if both of them had died while taunting the undead? How quickly would things have fallen apart? For that matter, how many times have the Saviors come calling and wondered where Rick is?
Meanwhile, Rosita gets a lot of screen time, and that’s unfortunate. Rosita is distressingly one-note, all anger, and there’s only so much that can be done to make that interesting. Yes, she eventually solicits Sasha’s partnership to go gunning for Negan together as some kind of Abraham-inspired sisterhood of vengeance, but it’s a long road to get there. The outcome seems inevitable, so unless there is a surprising shift sideways, I don’t see where this is going.
Similarly, while it’s nice that Tara is thinking about what to do with Oceanside, it doesn’t quite go beyond reminding the audience they exist and have a good amount of training with weapons. Tara has a lot to think about on that score, but it’s exactly what was predicted after her solo episode, so it feels like treading water. Probably the biggest revelation there was that the writers remembered Judith was still around!
What the episode did for me was perhaps to the contrary of its purpose. It took something that was fairly amenable in the Rick/Michonne relationship and made it less palatable. Because there’s something insidious in the suggestion that Michonne would just give up and die if Rick were to get killed. It’s just not the character we came to adore in earlier seasons, and it actually makes the argument that Michonne is weaker as a result of the relationship. It’s a horrible writing choice, in so many respects.
- At least there’s progress in getting the guns for the alliance
- Michonne, as a character, is not served particularly well by this turn of events
- Rosita is a character that could do a lot more than be really, really angry