Archive for November, 2016

Blogging Dead (s7ep6): Swear

Posted: November 28, 2016 in Television, The Walking Dead

Having split of from the rest of the group after the attack on the communication outpost, Tara and Heath continue their search for supplies. While Heath continues to wear down after the experience of killing the Saviors, Tara maintains a constant optimism and focus on supporting their community. After coming across a bridge that appears to have been walled off, they explore and find a mini settlement that has since been abandoned. They also find a hoard of walkers hiding underneath the sand pile on the opposite side of the bridge and get overrun, causing Heath to go for cover and Tara to fall over the side into the water. She washes up on the shore unconscious and is found by two young women, who spare her life for the time-being.

Dealing with the Apocalypse:¬†There was an interesting contrast in how various characters dealt with their predicaments throughout this episode. Near the start, Heath and Tara were caught up in a fight over whether to continue searching or turn back to Alexandria. While Tara maintained her optimism and focus on the future, she held that perspective at least until she eventually made it back to Alexandria. Heath and the rest of the original Alexandrians had never really dealt with threats like the Saviors until Rick took control. He was having trouble processing what it meant to take lives the way they did, and it still is not clear if he made it back or if he knows about Negan’s revenge.

As for Oceanside, their group had an interesting story as to why they were an all-female community. Having lost so much to the Saviors, they adopted a kill-no-questions-asked policy. Natanya and her group revealed their fate to Tara and their hesitation with keeping her alive. Cindy ended up being the only one willing to give her a chance, holding onto that sense of humanity that Tara ascribed to.

Dropping a Bombshell:¬†There were two major moments in the episode where the viewers and Tara learned what has been happening with the¬†Saviors. Tara’s discovery of Oceanside and the reason for the lack of men was representative of the murdering mentality of Negan. For every community the viewers have encountered, Negan has already spread his control. While Oceanside is separate at this time, they are affected in the way that they are trying to stay hidden and have already lost so much or standing up to the Saviors.

Tara’s return to Alexandria brought forth a moment that viewers may have been dreading for her. She had no idea that Denise was killed by the crossbow or that Glenn and Abraham lost their lives directly to Lucille. She looked broken and unable to reconcile what she missed. She promised to Cindy that she would keep Oceanside a secret and held up her end of the bargain as she got grilled by Rosita. It is hard to tell how she will recover and what role she will play in the eventual challenge to the Saviors. Will she eventually give up Oceanside or will someone else discover its existence?

Question of the Week: Was that the last we will see of Oceanside?

In Memoriam: a bunch of dried out walkers

Waking up at the Hilltop, Maggie jumps directly from a  consultation about her baby to catching up with Sasha. They visit the newly filled graves for Glenn and Abraham and share a moment before Jesus arrives. While the recommendation for Maggie is to remain at the Hilltop to recover, Gregory arrives at the graves and immediately insists that Maggie and Sasha go back to Alexandria. While they are given the night to rest, they are woken up by loud music and a horde of walkers marching through the front gate. Meanwhile, Rick and Michonne go off on their own separate adventures, leaving Carl to chase after and protect Enid.

The¬†Cowardice¬†of Gregory:¬†It was clear from the first meeting with Gregory that he is a self-preservationist. He cares not for the safety of his people nearly as much as he does for himself. He was a bit dismissive of Rick and his people at the beginning, but he saw Rick’s promise to eliminate the Saviors as a chance to preserve his quiet piece of the world and his belongings. Maggie and Sasha have brought significant challenge to his order and have no issue with expressing their distrust of his leadership. He was willing to give the two up to the Saviors, but Jesus was smart enough to predict Gregory’s cowardly decision-making.

The Continued Strength of Maggie: Unlike many other characters on the show, Maggie has used tragedy as an immediate turnaround to focus on next steps. While she needs to give herself a chance to recover from her trauma, she refused to ignore opportunity to protect the Hilltop from walkers and even got worked up in front of Gregory in a challenge to his leadership. There is a clear sense that she is on a path toward power. Gregory is not long for his role and is likely one or two more errors away from either Maggie taking hold of the opportunity or Jesus helping to get her to assume the role.

Complicated Young Love:¬†Carl has acted¬†like he’s been done with Enid a couple of times, but this episode had him tell her directly, only to break that statement almost immediately. He truly cares about her, and he took a moment to show it with the kiss after their skating date. The young couple may actually have a chance if Enid can find a way to stay put and if Carl can survive the trip to the Sanctuary. Will Negan allow Carl to continue to explore his romantic future?

With the Saviors showing their force against the Hilltop, they have visited all three communities within the first part of the seventh season. Negan’s influence is all-encompassing at the moment. What will be the action or force to push back?

Question of the Week: What type of leader could Maggie become?

In Memoriam:¬†walkers (by knife and vehicle), Gregory’s pride

Way ahead of schedule, Negan arrives at the gate of Alexandria, ready to get to work on their new relationship. The surprise visit starts off a little rocky, as the townspeople were not prepared for an army to walk through the gate. Spencer almost pushes Negan’s button, but Rick steps in to ensure that they just get down to business. The Saviors begin their tour of the town and the process of taking half of their belongings. The interaction does not go well at time, with Carl struggling with the taking of all of the medicine and Negan realizing that a few of the guns are not with the rest of the inventory. While all of the bumps are smoothed over, Negan drives off leaving the town miffed about what their future will be under Negan’s rule.

It’s Negan’s World:¬†…and they’re just living in it. The instant Negan walked through the gate, he knew that he owned everyone in his presence. It did not matter that the town was heavily armed or that some of the Alexandrians are still ready to fight. He knew how to manipulate everyone around him. He handed Lucille over to Rick to emasculate him through carrying it around the entire visit. He calmly handled Carl while he was handling a loaded gun. He kept Olivia captive while waiting for the missing guns. He broke Daryl to the point that he did not even¬†tempt the idea of speaking up to see if Negan would let him go. At the very end, he was able to walk away knowing that Rick was a tamed animal, at least at the moment.

Rick’s Controversial¬†Passive¬†Presence:¬†There were times were Rick appeared ready to take a swing at Negan. Surprisingly, it was not when Negan was threatening Carl. The split second when Negan took out the walker with the candlestick was the moment where he appeared to be the most ready to take a swing with Lucille. It was not until late in the episode that it became apparent how aware Rick was to the potential dangers to his people’s lives. There were certain people who were missing and Negan looked ready to assert his dominance at numerous moments.

Also…bombshell…Judith is Shane’s daughter. While this may not have been a major surprise, there did not seem to be a reason before to revisit that part of the story. The moment with Michonne where he got a chance to explain his passive behavior around Negan and the Saviors finally allowed him to explain how Judith’s presence had an impact on his decision not to fight or plan to attack the Saviors…at least at this point.

Setup for an All-Out War:¬†For those that know the comics, you know what is coming. For those looking just at the show, there were a number of moments that helped to push the story forward in this one, including points where it seemed that Negan was gaining more position. Carl’s anger, Michonne’s realization that Negan was messing with them, and Rosita’s visit to Eugene to get him to make bullets all provide seeds for the group to reorganize and start to develop a new plan. Rick prevented himself from lashing out but he appears more broken at the moment.

What they have not realized at the moment is that there are three communities out there that are being terrorized and could potentially have the manpower and resources to consider a fight against the Saviors.

Question of the Week: Father Gabriel seems to believe in Rick more now than before the invasion of the Saviors into their lives. What do you believe has changed Gabriel’s mind?

In Memoriam: several of the Savior walkers

Blogging Dead (s7ep3): The Cell

Posted: November 7, 2016 in Random

Back at the Sanctuary, Daryl has been locked up in a small, windowless room and tortured with loud, obnoxious music for hours on end. While Dwight enjoys his fresh sandwich, he tosses Daryl one made from dog food. Dwight continuously returns to the room to feed him while waiting to see Daryl break to Negan’s will. When Dwight leaves to deal with an escaped member of Negan’s clan, Daryl makes an attempt to escape. The failed attempt leaves him trapped again in the room and awaiting his fate.

Daryl’s Will:¬†While Daryl has been tested in the past, he has never experienced such torture. The “mine” guys pushed him to break his care for others, though¬†running into Rick and Carl helped him snap back into reality. Now in imprisonment, Daryl is being pushed to his limit between the sleep depravation, loud music, poor food, and lack¬†of light. Negan is waiting for Daryl to abandon his name and what makes him an independent person, but Daryl¬†in the moment of truth refused to break. He has always had this inner strength that other characters have only shown in glimpses compared to his consistent stalwart personality.

The Complicated World of Dwight:¬†It is easy to look at a guy like Dwight and see the angry follower who seems to hate everything about Daryl. The beginning of the episode helped to push this concept as the contrast of him taking what he wants was put against the way he treated Daryl in the cell. As the episode pushed forward, his interaction with Gordon only served to reinforce this thought. The image of Dwight became more complicated when Negan tried to finally break Daryl.¬†After placing the picture in Daryl’s cell to make him fully break down, Dwight stayed to wait for Daryl’s tears to become real. After Daryl’s refusal to take Negan’s name, Dwight actually appeared to acknowledge that breaking to Negan’s demands would at least save his life. Daryl’s refusal challenged Dwight for just long enough that it felt like he finally commiserated with the idea that Dwight sold out while Daryl actually took the moral high ground.


Negan’s Rule of Thumb:¬†There have been a few encounters where we have experienced the “we are Negan” comments. Being such a charismatic leader, he is able to get nearly everyone¬†around him to accept his rule. He is a threatening presence, but there is something else that holds him in a position of power. In a broken world, he is willing to put himself out there to lead the sheep. His people are looking for someone to provide direction and protection. He is smart enough to know what to promise and what boundaries to push in order to take people to the edge. This will certainly serve him well until someone, maybe Maggie or Rick, is able to find a weakness in his style of rule.

Negan’s style of rule will be on full display next week, as we will see him take a trip to Alexandria and push a broken Rick to admit defeat. Will we see Maggie take over for Rick’s weakness? While Rick find his groove back? Will Negan enact a takeover of the quiet community? We’ve got a 90 minute episode to find out.

Question of the Week: How long would it take for the music from this episode to make you go crazy?

In Memoriam: Gordon