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The Walking Dead S7E8 Hearts Still Beating Review

walking-dead-5 photoNegan’s unwelcome visit to Alexandria continues as other members scavenge for supplies; things quickly spin out of control.

The Walking Dead‘ this season has been criticized for being slow, meandering, and really down. Not the usual story of survival, community, and family that we’ve seen for the last six seasons.

This mid-season finale, while not the best we’ve seen, is the best of the season and is as much of a message to the viewers as it is to the people of this universe.

It picks up from the previous episode where Negan has been hanging out in Alexandria waiting for Rick’s return and being rather domestic by cooking and having dinner. It’s interesting in we see a relaxed, almost charming Negan. This is one that would almost be a productive member of society. But, we know that’s not the case.

It’s hard to describe most of what happens for the Alexandria setting of the episode. Two individuals die and it’s not too shocking as to who it is. That takes away some of the emotional aspect of it, but how and why is interesting. It ramps up the tension of the series and really sets into motion what those who have read the comics know is coming…. “All Out War.”

But the episode really is about that catharsis. Rick, when we get to those final moments, is back in his “don’t fuck with him” mode and ready to take on Negan for the greater good. Up to this point he’s been broken by Negan, but there’s a change here and we almost see the switch in Rick as he goes through some motions.

And there’s a hell of a lot of emotion as well. Daryl makes it out of Sanctuary and back to the group which results in a reunion where I teared up a little. But the group as a whole comes together and in those final moments march on to what happens next. It’s a reunion that screams the band is back together and game on. It’s the emotional moment which has been lacking for much of this year.

The end of it all feels like a message to the viewers as much as everyone on the show. Rick is back. Rick is ready to kick ass. Negan’s reign is coming to an end as Rick’s “ricktatorship” is back. Rick has a message for fans, buckle up because all hell is about to break loose.

Overall rating: 8.85

The Walking Dead S7E7 Sing Me a Song

walking-dead-5 photoA deeper look at the Sanctuary and the world of the Saviors; members of Alexandria look for supplies.

The Walking Dead‘ focuses on the Sanctuary in this episode that picks up on Carl’s trip to try and kill Negan. It’s an interesting one in that we get a much better idea as to who Negan is and what the “rules” of the Sanctuary and Saviors are.

A lot of the episode is Negan talking to and dealing with Carl after Carl kills a few of his members. It’s scenes that come straight from the comic as Negan breaks down and tries to figure out who Carl is and more importantly what he should do with him.

It’s an interesting episode because we see a different side of Negan. He is his usual dickish self, but he also backs up a little when he thinks and realizes he’s dealing with a kid. We also see Negan explaining his thought process is and how things run.

We run through Negan showing off the world of the Sanctuary and get a better idea as to how things work. It’s more detail than we’ve seen before and better sense as to how people react around him. And based on looks and reactions, it’s also clear there’s some issues within the ranks. We get a better idea that there’ll soon be an uprising against Negan and his loyal followers.

There’s other parts of the episode as folks look for items, but nothing really stands out. Like the previous extended episode there’s a bunch that happens, but nothing exciting and it felt like there wasn’t much of a reason to have the extra thirty minutes. Maybe an extra ten or fifteen (with ads, much less), but the extended episodes don’t feel like they take advantage enough of the time (and that says something for a show that tends to stretch things out).

The episode is the Negan spotlight we haven’t had and presents him in more depth than we’ve had before. What’s interesting is the live action version is just a slightly different version of Rick as opposed to the larger than life character presented in the comics. Still, he’s a slightly different challenge and based on how this episode ended, I’m looking forward to seeing how the mid-season finale wraps up in the next episode.

Overall rating: 7.75

The Walking Dead S7E6 Swear Review

walking-dead-5 photoAway from all the tragedy caused by Negan and his Saviors, Tara and Heath run into trouble after crossing paths with a mysterious new group. A brand new society unlike anything seen before.

The Walking Dead‘ really shifts the focus with an episode completely focused on Tara and Heath who have been awol for the season. I honestly had forgotten about both of them until this point, which I’m not sure what that says about their two characters.

We knew that Corey Hawkins (Heath) would be leaving the show in some way as the actor is the lead in the 24 reboot, 24: Legacy which begins soon. It’s just a question of how, not an if, and this episode sort of answers that.

The episode bounces back and forth between the present with Tara stumbling upon a new group of individuals and her and Heath’s journey. It’s an interesting episode as we learn about this new community as Tara does with little bits of information being teased out little by little. We don’t know if they’re friend or foe and honestly I’m not quite sure what the answer is by the end of the episode.

We learn they’ve had their run in with the Saviors. That they’re very distrusting. That they’re pretty well armed. And my guess is they’ll come into play later this season. It’s just a question as to how. And I have some ideas, but I’m not 100% sure.

The biggest thing about the episode is Heath’s good-bye. It’s an interesting sendoff and one… well I don’t want to spoil it at all.

But, the real emotional punch is the end of the episode as Tara makes it back to Alexandria. She’s been away through all of the events so how will she react? The last few minutes are the real punch to the gut and few words are said as Tara and Eugene exchange glances. It plays into something Tara says earlier in the episode and the impact is felt instantly. The show does some of its best work with what’s shown visually instead of verbally and that scene in particular is a perfect example.

The episode is a slow but interesting one that pays off in the last 15 minutes which show the emotional rollercoaster the show excels at and reminds us at its heart it’s all about those still living.

Overall rating: 8.15

The Walking Dead ‘Nothing Left’ Sneak Peek

Tara and Heath fight about whether or not to head back to Alexandria. Don’t miss the next episode The Walking Dead, Sunday, November 27 at 9/8c on AMC.

The Walking Dead S7E5 Go Getters Review

walking-dead-5 photoSaddled with grief and surrounded by enemies, members of the group try to find safety at the Hilltop before it’s too late.

The Walking Dead‘ changes its focus in this episode from the Savior’s camp and Alexandria to Hilltop where we get to see Maggie, Sasha, and Jesus.

But the episode is so much more than that too.

First, we find out how Maggie is doing and Sasha is by her side the entire way. There’s news about the baby and I’m not a spoiler person so you’ll have to watch the episode or go elsewhere to find out.

But, the episode is really more about Maggie coming in to her own in a way and standing up to Gregory, the spineless current leader of Hilltop.

The community is sent a message by the Saviors which results in Sasha, Maggie and Jesus taking the lead to deal with it all barking out orders and making the situation safe. It’s a stark contrast to Gregory who grovels in front of whatever the Saviors say. And that contrast is the spark of the power play to come. As a comic reader, I know how this ends, but it’ll be interesting to see how the show varies from the source material.

There’s also something with Carl and Enid. They go on a road trip and again I don’t want to ruin it as to where and why. Something happens between them and we’ll just leave it at that.

The episode is an interesting one in many ways but what stands out to me is it wasn’t about how scary or imposing the Saviors are. Instead the focus is on Maggie the badass and her standing up. That is something I’ve been looking forward to and think from here on out it’s as much Maggie’s story as it is Rick’s and hopefully the show will recognize that as well.

Overall rating: 8.15

The Walking Dead: ‘The Next Deal’ Official Sneak

An angry Carl confronts Michonne about her plans for dealing with Negan. Don’t miss the next episode of The Walking Dead, Sunday, November 20 at 9/8c on AMC.

The Walking Dead S7E4 Service Review

walking-dead-5 photoThe remaining members of the group try to keep it together in Alexandria; they receive a sobering visit.

The Walking Dead‘ is interesting in that the Saviors come knocking in Alexandria to demand their payment. It’s the first confrontation between Negan and Rick since the events of the first episode and first payment to be made… and they’re early.

The episode has two main points, for Negan to dominate and for Rick to come to a realization of what the new reality is. And that’s the interesting thing about this episode. There’s not a lot of flash, it’s all about the subtle moments, words, and interactions.

Most of that surrounds around Rick as we see him go through the steps of resistance and eventually acceptance. He at first resists Negan a bit and then eventually gives into his demands and wants. He gives up goods. He gives in to demands. And we eventually find out why.

Though the episode is an extended one, it’s the last 5 to 10 minutes of it that’s really key. In a discussion with Michonne, Rick gives up what’s on his mind and he goes through a lot including what happened to Shane and the truth about Judith.

This episode can best be described as the psychology of Rick. We get a sense of where he’s at with the reality of what’s going on. It’s a key episode because of that. Because now we know where Rick’s starting from mentally, we can get more interested into where he goes from here.

Overall rating: 7.65

The Walking Dead: ‘Negan’s in Charge’ Ep. 704 Sneak Peek

Don’t miss the next episode The Walking Dead, Sunday, November 13 at 9/8c on AMC.

The Walking Dead S7E3 The Cell Review

walking-dead-5 photoA new group of survivors seem to have it all in their impressive community; however, there is a price.

The Walking Dead‘ focuses on Daryl and Dwight in this episode that’s really paired down in a lot of ways. The episode takes place mostly in part of the Survivor’s community, the Sanctuary, and a lot of it revolving around Daryl’s incarceration by Negan.

The episode is fascinating is that it really drives into the psychological control Negan has of his followers. But, is that control absolute? What we see in this episode is some of those first cracks and that has to do with Dwight.

The episode is about control and control. Negan wants to break Daryl and make him a member of the Saviors and Dwight has made that a mission of his. But what’s Dwight’s motivations?

For me, it feels like Dwight is focusing on Daryl because he himself is torn over being broken by Negan. Dwight wears Daryl’s vest. Dwight rides Daryl’s motorcycle. Dwight uses Daryl’s crossbow. It’s clear Dwight is a bit fascinated and obsessed in a way over Daryl. We can guess why, but most likely it’s due to Daryl’s being free and standing up compared to Dwight’s emasculation.

We get some of Daryl’s backstory which ties slightly into what we saw of Dwight last season. There’s some pieces of the puzzles coming together there and what happened to Dwight’s face. It’s interesting and throughout the episode Negan looms over everyone.

We also learn more about Negan. We get some of his moral code. We get some of his philosophy. And we get the sense of his control over everyone. It’s a slow tease of the villain who isn’t as much as a villain as may think. Maybe he just sees a different way to create order.

As I said, it’s an interesting episode that shows how much things have been played out, but we also begin to see cracks in a new world full of so much order.

Overall rating: 7.95

The Walking Dead: ‘The Cell’ Official Sneak Peek

Dwight watches workers reinforce the Sanctuary’s protective barrier. Don’t miss the next episode of The Walking Dead, Sunday, November 6 at 9/8c on AMC.

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