Gabriel and Negan bond. Rick and Daryl fight. Eugene and Dwight unknowingly get closer.
Rick and the others fight the Saviors, as Maggie must decide what to do with the men Jesus won't kill.
As Negan plots to use Sasha against her friends Rick and the others band together; to head off him and The Saviors.
Tara tells Rick about Oceanside, & the group descend on the survivors to try making a deal. Meanwhile, Sasha must make a tough decision.
Rosita & Sasha start their journey towards Negan. Meanwhile at Hilltop, The Saviors arrive; and not for supplies.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hearts Still Beating” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “New Best Friends” – click here
Here it is – the mid-season premiere!
Open on Alexandria. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) stands on watch at the top of the gate, everything is dark. He passes time reading the Bible. But it’s getting harder to read, you can tell by the look on his face. Soon he goes back to one of the houses, starts piling canned food into a box and looking through the inventory, most of which is going to The Saviors. He packs what he can into a car, gasses up, then heads out into the night.
Is he bringing things to them? No, I think he wants to hide things from them. That could turn things awful tricky.
Back at Hilltop things aren’t so easy, either. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) argues with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his people, he isn’t so convinced the group can do what they say and take out Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or his Saviors. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and the rest try convincing Gregory, but he’s simply not buying it. “You‘re either with us or you ain‘t,” Daryl (Norman Reedus) reminds him.
After they’ve gotten nowhere with the fearful leader, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) brings a few people to speak with Rick and the group. One woman named Bertie (Karen Ceesay) tells Maggie that they’re willing to fight, long as they’re shown how to fight and defend themselves properly. This is a good turn of events, they don’t need Gregory when the people at Hilltop are ready to be part of the resistance. Jesus (Tom Payne) also says it’s time that the gang meets King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). Yes!
They go to the Kingdom – Jesus, Rick, Daryl, as well as Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Tara, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). And there they meet a couple guys on horses, one of whom is Richard (Karl Makinen).
It’s amazing to see Rick and the group when they witness the Kingdom. Even better once Morgan (Lennie James) strolls out to see greet them. He tells Rick and Daryl about Carol (Melissa McBride) wanting to be left alone, too. Afterwards they meet the King and Shiva, and it’s a big of a culture shock. Although Rick jumps on in for a chat. He brings up The Saviors, wanting to band together and bring them down. Everybody discusses Negan, his brutality, why he must be stopped. Jesus also chimes in to say that he once thought their deal was something they could all “live with” but that’s all quickly, horribly changed. On top of that we already know Richard doesn’t like The Saviors, he’s on board to get shit done.
Ezekiel: “And what plans have you, Rick Grimes of Alexandria?”
What comes out is Rick talks about his mother telling him a story when he was a boy, about a road to a kingdom. A little girl and her family went along the road, losing all they had after their wagon hit a rock in the road. The girl, determined never to let the rock hurt another, dug at it until eventually finding a bag of gold. Negan is the rock in the road, and if they’re able to dig him out then at the end of the line is their gold: a world at peace.
Out on his own, Benjamin (Logan Miller) runs into a gun-toting Carol. They talk about general badassery. They also talk about Ezekiel, a little. In this brief exchange, Benjamin instils a tiny smidgen of hope in Carol, somewhere deep down. The fact that this young man still holds hope for mankind, wanting to help others, it sort of goes against everything she’s started believing about the new world.
I love that we get a guy like King Ezekiel, too. Because for so long we went from either Rick’s group and their various people, some good and some bad in the end, then there’s The Governor, all those battles, and then it was Terminus, and so on. Once Negan turned it up you start to wonder, if you haven’t read the comics like many of us, if only the big baddies are kicking around. Finally, we get a guy who’s pure, or at least his intentions are of the purest sort. A little later Benjamin actually becomes the voice of reason for the King, in regards to helping the people of Alexandria: “My dad always said that if you‘re asked to be the hero, be a hero.”
We find out that Ezekiel has regrets about once sending some of his people into battle, which yielded many dead, many children orphaned. So this is part of why he’s so altruistic at this point in time. He wants to right his wrongs. But Rick has been there, as well. We’ve seen all that. He has demons, he also isn’t a total saint. In the end, Ezekiel won’t agree to help, though offers Daryl asylum from The Saviors. Hmm. Something needs to happen to change the King’s mind. Richard’s on the side of Rick and his friends. That’s not enough. At the moment Daryl’s left at the Kingdom with Rick asking him to try his best on swaying Ezekiel.
Over the radio Negan’s voice is heard eulogising Fat Joey. Meanwhile, Rick and Co head onto the highway where they find a bunch of cars blocking the way. They move them with their vehicle while Michonne keeps her eye on the horizon; she spots a strange device. It’s a rope across the road rigged to an explosive device. Now, they’ve got to disarm the thing. Rosita has her hands into the trap’s inner workings, as they hear Negan call out over the radio for men to go searching for Daryl. Following that, Rosita gets the main component of the trap disarmed, and they all go about carefully unwrapping the dynamite and other explosives, watching the road for Saviors or walkers.
And sooner than later the undead come shambling from a distance. The group packs up what explosives are in good condition, scrambling to put the cars back in place on the road. A massive horde of zombies works its way up the highway faster than expected, forcing Michonne and Rick into a quick plan.
We get one of the coolest zombie killing scenes EVER, as Michonne and Rick use the wire between the cars from the trap to clothesline tons and tons of the walkers before climbing in with the rest of the crew and scooting to safety. Behind them an explosion goes off blasting more meat into the sky.
Michonne: “We‘re the ones who live”
Once Rick makes it back to Alexandria they’re greeted by a Saviors convoy. Simon (Steven Ogg) arrives, coy as ever. They’re trying to find Daryl, of course. Simon wants to search the entire place and they go about their business, all the while trashing everything like pigs. The Saviors also come across the empty shelves in the storage garage, the stuff we saw Father Gabriel take in the opener. But they don’t care, not until pickup day. When the group is left on their own again people believe Gabriel ran off with their supplies. But what’s the truth? Rick, Tara, some of them don’t believe he’d do that to them.
Turns out they were left a message: BOAT. Mysterious how he knew where Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick had gone. So, another journey is at hand. When the crew make out for the boat on the lake they find footprints. They follow them to an old factory in a field where they encounter people with guns, many others with weapons; MANY.
But Rick smiles in the face of it all. Literally. A big shit-eating grin. Is it a ‘bring it on’ smile, or a ‘these people can help us’ grin?A great mid-season opener after the break. So many things to look forward to, and lots of character development going on, especially when we get a conversation between Aaron and his partner Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson). We see that everyone has issues, everyone has worries. This will only continue in the next episode “New Best Friends” and I’m excited.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 5: “Go Getters”
Directed by Darnell Martin
Written by Channing Powell
* For a review of the previous episode, “Service” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Swear” – click here
After the events of the season opener, we’re back at Hilltop with Maggie (Lauren Cohan). She’s safe and sound, feeling better. At least physically. Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) helped her out with pregnancy troubles; she’s out of the woods, for now. The baby is fine, as well. A little Glenn or Glenda is still on the way down the road. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is well, too. They both go to where their men are laid to rest. Sasha gives Maggie the watch Hershel gave to Glenn, still in his pocket the moment he died. “All Abraham had was a cigar,” she quips. Going forward, these two women will be even stronger than they were already. They’ll take this and make it into more strength. You just wait.
Jesus (Tom Payne) is on the side of Maggie and Sasha, but Gregory (Xander Berkeley) isn’t keen on having the soon-to-be mother around any longer. He feels they’ve put themselves out enough on their behalf. I don’t like this dude’s attitude. Although he was promised to have the Saviors taken care of, and that didn’t happen. He’s concerned with “plausible deniability” and wanting to not get his head cracked open by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). For his part, Jesus does his best to stand up to the Hilltop leader. Not that it does much to sway the guy.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are headed out from Alexandria, leaving a pissed off Carl (Chandler Riggs) and a reluctant Michonne (Danai Gurira) behind. Nothing is good in their world, still with a Negan boot against their windpipe permanently. One nice thing is that Michonne and Rick feel back on the same page again. She refuses to let up with him, unlike when he had Lori around only to bitch at him, to tell him what he’s doing wrong. Now, Michonne does her best to both encourage Rick, as well as let him know when he’s out of line. Even if she doesn’t, she always makes sure there’s a Plan B. As for Carl, he’s always concerned, about everything. That shit happens when you lose your mother, lose your eye. He sees Enid (Katelyn Nacon) sneaking over the walls to go to Hilltop, to make sure Maggie’s okay. And Carl says he doesn’t want to save her anymore, like a cocky little prick. Up at Hilltop, Jesus tries to reassure Sasha things will be fine. But he isn’t the take charge-type, he isn’t a leader admittedly. She does her best to help him realise he might have to “do more” in order to make Hilltop what he wants it to become.
Later in the night, music starts playing from a car. The Hilltop gates are open and fires are lit nearby. Sasha and Maggie try to figure out what the hell is going on. Walkers invade the premises by the dozens. When Sasha heads into the streets, so do Jesus and others. It’s take charge time. The car with the music is locked tight, caged in. And what does cowardly Gregory do? He cowers inside while the others work hard. Then Maggie shows off, driving a bit of farm equipment through Hilltop to crush a bunch of zombies, as well as that damn car. Good show, Mags!
Carl catches up with Enid on the road, running down walkers in his own car. They then walk on the road together. He tells her about needing to watch what Negan did to their friends, to remember. For the day when they need to kill the bastard. Enid likewise worries for Maggie, not wanting anything bad to have happened to her. They share a kiss together afterwards. Once she realises Carl is trying to hunt Negan and his people. She tries to stop him, but you know him. Hard-headed just like dad.
Simultaneously, Gregory is bitching about Maggie, not wanting her around, as Jesus fights for her. I mean, she helped them fight off an attack the night before. And he’s quite ungrateful. The Saviors have shown up, that makes it all worse. Simon (Steven Ogg) is there to have a little chat about going forward, recent developments and all. He brings the message that people at Hilltop ought not forget how bad things are out there in the world, outside the walls. He’s impressed the walkers were all cleared up by the Hilltop citizens. But worries Gregory’s people are getting “soft.” One thing is painfully evident, that Gregory is Negan’s full-time bitch, on his knees serving the master.
When the meeting’s over, he takes Simon to where Maggie and Sasha were hiding. But not for them: for Scotch. This will make a nice gift for Negan, though Simon takes the credit. Plus, they’ll take half of the supplies on-hand at Hilltop. On top of that he makes Gregory kneel for him. Like a bitch, as I said. Seeing the whole thing makes Jesus sick to death looking at their supposed leader. Gregory actually tried giving up the women, though Jesus did the right thing and hid them elsewhere. He’s taking charge a little more, or at least he’ll be making sure the leader makes less decisions without the whole community.
Maggie finds Enid outside in Hilltop, near the graves. They head inside after and eat, chatting about old times, laughing a little. Sasha soon joins in and they’re like a family again. In a sweet gesture, Maggie gives Enid the watch Glenn was given by her father. However, she also says they don’t need any items to remember the dead by; they have each other, they have the memories in their minds, never to be forgotten.
And their time will come. They’ll have revenge, in some shape or form, some way. Maybe not today or tomorrow. Someday, though. Amazing enough, Jesus sneaks on the Saviors truck as they go, meeting Carl stowed away out back.
Very slow episode, yet there was a lot going on all the same. We’re getting a shape and sense of the whole world going on in the zombie apocalypse, instead of the finite plots and stories of Rick and his crew. Lots of things happening as they mingle together.
Next episode is “Swear” and I feel like Season 7 is gaining steam with every episode, setting up good things for the latter half.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 11: “Knots Untie”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell
Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) give us a bit of enjoyable banter to start this new episode. Their relationship is a whole lot of fun, two very different yet like-minded individuals. A new watch post is starting, with Eugene (Josh McDermitt) taking Sasha’s place alongside Abraham. He doesn’t appear to want that at all. Then we cut to him waking up next to Rosita (Christian Serratos). Everything with the zombies going on, and then they’re all still dealing with real life issues from before: love, relationships, jealousy, falling out of love. The zombie apocalypse makes life shit, but even worse is the fact that humans are the worst part about it all, deep down.
In the garden, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) do some gardening. They’re hoping crops will grow. Meanwhile, there’s a panic on the street.
Cut to Jesus (Tom Payne) sitting on the steps outside Rick and Michonne’s (Andrew Lincoln/Danai Gurira) room. Then Carl (Chandler Riggs) pulls a gun on him. The kid also learns about his “mom and dad” hooking up. Uh oh. Well, everyone shows up now, Rick shirtless, Michonne, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the rest arrive.
We find out now that Jesus is from a settlement. They grow crops, and they’re a lot like Rick’s group. Turns out they trade… with other people.
Jesus: “Your world‘s about to get a whole lot bigger”
Preparing to head out and see what Jesus has to offer, Rick tells Carl about him and Michonne, that he would have said something regardless, only it literally “just happened” that night. But Carl’s fine, like any understanding young fella.
On the ride out, Abraham asks Glenn, roundabout, whether or not him and Maggie were intending to make babies. Glenn tells him: “We‘re trying to build something.” Along the road, the crew find an overturned car, zombified corpses already hanging out the side, screaming. Rick immediately holds Jesus at gunpoint. Nobody is playing around at this point, not in any given situation. They’re always on guard. Although, Jesus looks worried for his people; Maggie stays behind holding a gun on him, hands tied behind his back, as the others investigate further inside a nearby building.
Inside, Rick, Abraham, Glenn, Daryl and Michonne find several people who they help out and into the R.V. The people have medication which they’re bringing back. One of them happens to be a doctor. This group also has their sad stories. Soon enough, though, Jesus brings them to their community: Hilltop. The perimeter is lined by large wooden posts, almost like an old pre-18th century settlement. Very cool.
Except at the gates, those guarding it get antsy about Rick’s group having weapons. Jesus calms the situation. Even convinces Rick to trust them, allowing them to keep their weapons rather than giving them over. Inside, it’s very much like a 1700s settlement, with a few modern touches. Supplies from a power company made things a little easier. Barrington House sits in the middle of it all, a historic house preserved, which they built Hilltop around. They’ve also got trailers on the land. We meet Gregory (Xander Berkeley), the boss of the whole operation. He tells them to wash up, then they’ll meet. On the way to get clean, Rick tells Maggie to go first then talk with Gregory – when she asks why, he advises: “I shouldn‘t.”
When Maggie does meet with Gregory, he talks about the museum, the historic site of the house. She grills him about how they’ve managed to survive. Jesus told Gregory about the group’s situation. Gregory comes on a little too strong, treating her like she’s got nothing to offer. Unfortunately, it seems like Gregory doesn’t want what they’re offering – mostly ammunition.
Jesus hopes to help the group. He wants “a few days“, which they agree to.
Then there’s problems with Negan. Gregory’s people come back, without a couple friends. Then one of them stabs Gregory. Hell breaks loose. Daryl breaks an arm. Abraham is almost choked to death. Rick has a knife to is throat, but manages to stab the guy holding it through his neck. More guns are drawn on Rick. Yet Jesus diffuses the situation.
Later Rick asks more about Negan – head of “The Saviors” and a nasty dude. Appears there’s no messing with Negan, a man who beat a 16-year-old kid to death in front of Jesus and their group, to make them “understand” immediately. Hilltop is forced to give half of their supplies (et cetera) over to Negan. Daryl is more than willing to go find and kill Negan, after meeting some of those bikers on the road. If done, Jesus agrees they’ll strike an agreement with their group.
In his bed, Gregory calls for Maggie. She tries to convince him they’re fit to do the job on Negan. He isn’t so hot on making a deal with them. But Maggie stress they’re “willing to work for it” and Gregory finally decides to go for it. She wants half, though, which Gregory wasn’t prepared to hear. She’s got him figured out.
Gregory: “You want anything else? Kidney, maybe?”
Rick and the others seem to be taking this lightly. They feel invincible, almost. They’re willing to go up against a man about whom they’ve got no idea. Anyone who’s read the comics is aware. For those uninitiated, Negan is a terrifying individual. Michonne knows “it‘s gonna be a fight” – Rick assuages her doubts: “We‘ll win,” he tells her.
At the same time, Maggie and Glenn have Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) do an ultrasound. They see their baby for the first time. A rare gift in the post-zombie world. Everyone gets a glimpse as it’s passed around the R.V. There’s a certain light in Abraham’s eyes, looking to Glenn in understanding now.
Everyone drives off into the sunset. But rest assured, their world will not be sunny much longer. The approach of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan is coming. And there will be blood, no doubt. Plenty.
Next episode up, getting closer and closer to the end of the 6th season, is titled “Not Tomorrow Yet” and I cannot wait.