The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 16: The First Day of The Rest of Your Life

The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 16: The First Day of The Rest of Your Life

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Season 7 Overall Comments are below
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Thoughts with summary mixed together. This was a long episode. I have it a 76 out of 100

This one was a mixed bag for me. The Title sounds like the name of a game show right?

Most of the episode I thought was spent building up to a trigger point and the first round of the War with the Saviors and Scavengers. (This is being called by Gimple: All Out War; just like the graphic Novels.) I didn’t feel as much tension as I thought there would be until the end of the episode when Eugene showed up with the Saviors and even that had a weird delivery.

* Episode opens with Sasha sporting ear buds in darkness listening to Donnie Hathaway’s ‘Someday We will Be Free’ and she dies. Then credits.
* Then the episode starts with Sasha with earbuds in darkness reliving her last moments with Abraham before they set off to take Maggie to the Hilltop and before they were captured by the Saviors and Abraham’s death.
* We learn she didn’t want Abraham to go with Rick although he volunteered himself to go take Sasha.
* Negan tells Sasha it’s the ‘First Day of the Rest of her life’ and presents her with pancakes on a silver platter.
* Dwight tells Rick he wants Negan dead. Tara brings up Denise and Dwight mentions he wasn’t aiming for her and Daryl lunges at Dwight putting a knife mere inches from his left eye. Tara encourages him to kill Dwight and Rick poses no objections.
* Dwight remains unaffected by Daryl as he tells them if they want to end it this way to go ahead, and he was sorry but he didn’t do what he did for him; he did it for Negan and Sherry. He helped her get away which was why he was there and so was Daryl.
* Daryl lets him go. Jesus points out they can use Dwight to bargain for Sasha. Dwight points out Negan will be coming there tomorrow with 20 men and three trucks and he can slow them down by felling some trees. If they take out Negan he can radio the Sanctuary everything is okay and then they can take the 3 trucks into the Sanctuary and
take care of the other Saviors and get Sasha. Then they could go from outpost to outpost and end the war.
* Rick agrees to the plan and lets Dwight go.
* Cut back to Sasha in the casket remembering Abraham saying he has to go and she tells him she had a dream he died.
* Cut to Negan trying to convince Sasha to do his plan. They disagree over the detail that one person had to die. This is how Negan maintains control and fear over people. (Later on Sasha decides it would be herself.)
* Cut to Maggie and Jesus at the Hilltop. They mention Gregory has gone and so she decides she wants the Hilltop to help attack the Saviors.
* Carol leads the Kingdom guards with Ezekiel towards Alexandria and encounters shopping carts along the way where Richard had placed them earlier. It turns out Morgan set them up to stop walkers and Saviors, and they convince Morgan to join them in aiding Alexandria against the Saviors.
* Jadis and the Scavengers show up at Alexandria. She realizes Michonne is with Rick and asks her if she minds if she can have sex with him after she is done. Rick and Michonne awkwardly say they work to do and Jadis just shrugs to her second in command.
* Dwight is good on his word and Negan is delayed from arriving by having to get trees out of the road in front of him. This delay gives Eugene some ideas for a Plan B for Negan.
* Rosita sets up explosives with Aaron and Daryl. Michonne sets up sniper points and arms a scavenger next to her.
* Sasha is back in darkness with earbuds in the coffin listening to Donnie Hathaway. She mentions to Abraham he drowned and she started drowning trying to find him. She still tries to convince him to stay instead of go.
* We go backwards to Sasha with Eugene and he asked her if she changed her mind about suicide and being with Negan (she says no) and in defending himself ironically brings up that they all have choices in life. She agrees. (Eugene didn’t stop her which means he has some type of fealty to Rick’s group.)
* Rick and company get into position and he has Rosita within eyesight to signal to her to set off the explosives when they are ready.
* Eugene shows up in a flatbed truck with a megaphone. In a very wordy, awkward and hard to understand way, he tells Rick he has thought of every plan they may have and asks them to surrender. Rick asks for Negan and Eugene says he is Negan.
* Rick orders Rosita to detonate the bombs and she tries however they don’t go off.
* The Scavengers turn in unison on Rick and Company and open the gates for Negan who comes out of a truck and gets up on a Flatbed truck.
* Jadis tells Rick that Tamiel had followed and met with the Saviors and made a better deal for them.
* Negan presents Sasha to Rick in a coffin wheeled out by Dwight and Simon from the back of a flatbed. He orders Rick to surrender all his weapons and anything he has cached or Sasha dies and then all of them. He asks her if she’s ready.
* Sasha back in darkness with earbuds she relives telling Abraham that the dream felt real (of Abraham and her dying) and they lost it all before it just got started (pointing to them ironically pointing out their deaths coming in the near future.) Abraham convinces her that living is laying your ass out on the line for someone else. In their case, it was Maggie and her baby. They both leave together.
* We see Sasha get into the coffin; Eugene giving her earbuds and an iPod telling her she will be in there a couple of hours. She talks to Negan and he tells her that she doesn’t have to take the trip in the coffin and she asks for a bottle of water and says she could rest in the coffin (you would think Negan would be smart enough to know no one would be able to survive in a coffin for two hours without air right?)They put a tarp around the coffin and take off. She then takes the poison Eugene gave her right after she puts on the iPod and dials in the song.
* Negan opens the coffin to be attacked by a Walker Sasha and falls off the flatbed causing a distraction and time for Carl, Daryl, Tara and Rosita to fire on the Scavengers and Saviors and take cover.
* Rosita gets shot. Rick gets shot by Jadis and pushed off the perch he was on. The Scavengers and Saviors manage to stop the gunfire by holding Rick hostage.
* Negan institutes Eugene’s Plan B. He tells Carl to look up the street because he’s going to kill him. They look up the street as there are screams and someone falls to their death in the distance. Negan tells Rick it looks like he lost someone important. Negan goes on to say he will kill Carl with one swing. Rick defiantly stares down Negan and says ‘I told you already — I’m gonna kill you. All of you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but nothing is gonna change that — nothing. You’re all already dead.’
* As Negan takes his swing, Shiva appears out of nowhere and takes out the man next to Negan and chaos breaks out as the people from the Kingdom open fire and the Hilltop people join in. The Scavengers signal each other and they retreat. Negan, Simon and Dwight manage to get into a truck and retreat with a defiant middle finger.
* Michonne ends up alive but badly beaten. Sasha and Rick were both shot but everyone we know managed to stay alive.
* At the Sanctuary, Negan questions why Sasha turned into a Walker and Eugene says the tarp caused the air in the coffin to seal and she ran out of air and suffocated which he thinks about and then turns to his flock and tells them they are going to war.
* We see a small montage of finding Sasha as a zombie and Maggie giving her mercy. Sasha and Maggie looking out over the land enjoying a sunset together at the Hilltop. Rick, Ezekiel and Maggie talking to their people. Sasha’s funeral at Alexandria where Maggie eulogizes about how Glenn put his life on the line for Sasha and how Sasha sacrificed for all of them because they look out for each other, love each other and help each other because that’s what life is all about.

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The Good:

* I loved all the scenes between Abraham and Sasha. I just wish they were *also* in last season so Abraham’s death would have had more impact.
* I thought there were great messages in there about sacrificing yourself for the future of humanity; knowing no matter what you do you are putting yourself out there and you can go at anytime. All done for the love of each other and mankind.
* Sasha using herself as a Walker Weapon was pretty cool. It follows the logic of her conversation with Abraham of sacrificing themselves for the greater good. I wonder if Eugene caught onto any of this? Or did he just see her as making a choice to bow out of that world because she couldn’t deal with it?

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The Bad:

* The emotional exchanges between Abraham and Sasha were great. The dialog spotty. Small talk mixed with ironic moments like Sasha trying to get him not to go and foretelling both of their deaths in her dreams.
* There isn’t a single walker in the entire episode except Sasha. Even after all the gun play with the Saviors and Scavengers there are no walkers. That makes no sense.
* A major war is kicked off with only one casualty out of the people we know? Sasha and that’s it?
* They don’t show the scavengers wiring the explosives with Rosita, Aaron and Daryl so how do they know where the explosives are and how to disarm them? If Eugene was the one who disarmed the explosives, how would he know where they were and since when did he know how to disarm bombs?
* How is Shiva able to know which of all of these people fighting she should be attacking? It’s not like she was defending Ezekiel from being harmed and she stopped that attack. She went on the attack and somehow she knew which folks were the bad guys. That was kind of silly.
* Eugene’s dialog at Alexandria is too obscure and hard to understand. I had to hear it a few times to understand he was telling Rick and company that he thought of everything they could do to defend themselves and they should surrender while they could. It lacks the suspense and emotional impact it should have had. It’s devoid of any nuance showing Eugene may be playing both sides of the field. I suppose if he’s just a straight up coward always favoring the one in charge then that’s what it should be.
* How in the heck did that negotiation with the Saviors work? Jadis wanted weapons upfront before she committed to working with Rick and with the Saviors negotiation, they wanted 12 people if the Scavengers sided with the Saviors and let them in after the fact? Why wouldn’t they want the people upfront? Since when do the Saviors negotiate with anyone? They normally take things and kill someone to get a group to comply and then order that group to do their bidding. That also doesn’t make any sense.
* The show continues to use plot twists rather then character established behavior and interactions to make things interesting: The Scavengers turning on the Alexandrians, Walker Sasha disrupting a standoff; Shiva disrupting a standoff, etc… The best parts of this episode for me were the moments between Abraham and Sasha and Maggie’s speech.
I need more of that and a story and I thought the buildup was the episode rather than the war itself.
This could be another Gimple thing with plot lines where ‘All Out War’ is its own thing so let’s just get it started with this episode and let it unfold in Season 8. I am not sure if that’s done more for sake of story or negotiating for a new season. Unclear…

* I look at the Walking Dead and the only characters that have a confidante so we get more intimate with their minds are social parings like: Rick and Michonne. Rick and Carl, Michonne and Carl, Dwight with Sherry, Daryl and Merle, Andrea and Shane, Carol and Sophia, Carol and Ed, Andrea and Dale, Andrea and Amy, The Governor and Meghan.

Maggie had that to a point with Glenn.
Daryl had that at a point with Carol.
Rick has had that a couple of times with Morgan.

One can argue Abraham and Sasha, however it’s literally right at the end of Sasha’s life.

The other characters don’t have that so they are all two dimensional to me.

However some have been trying:
Jesus with Maggie
Aaron with Eric (They are a couple and we know little of their dynamics.)
Ezekiel with Carol

The ones that tried and fell short for me:
Denise and Tara
Bob Stookey and Sasha
Abraham and Rosita
Andrea and the Governor
The Governor and Lilly (Tara’s sister)
Carol and Tobin

(BTW: This is what I think Game of Thrones always does really well with; using characters in pairings with the dialog and acting and flashbacks to make them very real where I actually feel something about them in the context of the story.)

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Season 7 Comments:

I think the entire Season was a very slow buildup to this 5 minute battle at the end of Episode 16. It appears I sat through a lot of watery characterization; sketchy world expansion and little plot movement along the way during each episode. I think perhaps they ambitiously took on too many groups and characters to be able to define them all well in one season. That’s got to be hard to do when you consider they have to consistently insert some sort of, action oriented threat of zombies in every episode. (To that point, Episode 16 had no zombies either because there was just too much they wanted to achieve with characterization and buildup; or they ran out of budget.) The Savior situation is just starting to be addressed by the Alexandrians. The only changes from last season are I know more about all the players in the picture; we have added some groups; including the Kingdom, Scavengers and Oceanside to the mix. There is also a touch of courage and defiance now added to everyone in taking on the Saviors. Other than that, that’s it really…

**Characters we know with some expansion**:

Rick: The only changes are we saw solidification of his relationship with Michonne and just more confidence in his resolve to kill Negan. He wanted to kill Negan at the end of Season 6. I would say his ability to judge people has taken a dip considering what happened with the Scavengers. Rick usually is more shrewd with judging threats.

Negan: I have seen his softer side which adds to him being a grey character; when people have pushed back against him or his comments. I definitely think he has more sides to him then any villain we have met so far. However he’s far from being a Benjamin Linus (Lost) villain as far as unpredictability, calculating ability and insidiousness of manipulation.

Maggie: Started developing as a leader in Season 6 under Deanna Monroe. Gregory’s faulty leadership skills have definitely given her an opportunity to shine next season.

Sasha: They threw her life away with poor story directions. At least they gave her a few minutes of interaction with Abraham to show us how she felt about him; however it was not enough for me to care a lot about her or him.

Abraham: I do know his speech about ‘Layin’ your ass on the line for someone else, tearin’ it to shreds for ’em — You said it before. Oh, my, that is living.’ would have made me feel more for him when he was killed in the Season opener. Sasha’s sacrifice is the only thing that has me thinking about him in retrospect.

Eugene: I think probably has grown the most as a character as far as being a wildcard. Is he just following his cowardice and bowing to the people in charge at the time or is still on Rick’s side?

Morgan: Faced a relapse to his ‘Clear’ days with the death of Benjamin and somehow miraculously snapped out of it when Ezekiel needed him to go after the Saviors for the All Out War attack. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t spend more time on the coming around part to knock him back on track with fighting the Saviors.

Carol: Decided to be a hermit until she learned her friends were killed by the Saviors. Wasn’t the whole point of why she wanted to be alone was she didn’t want to hear about or be around when any of her friends were killed or die? I kind of feel like her story line meandered and I don’t really feel her inner struggle if she had one, so I didn’t feel like yeah! when I saw her come to Rick’s rescue. Does she feel anything for Ezekiel? How about Daryl? I couldn’t get a read on either of those guys as far as love interest for her.

Rosita: Decided to go rogue yet Sasha paid the price for her actions as well as Olivia. Ho hum…I couldn’t understand why she was so up for killing Negan. I never really felt like I knew her feelings for Abraham to drive her vengeful bent.

Michonne: I think Is probably one of the most developed characters out of the bunch. If you compare her to herself in Season 3, she has come a long way. She has hope in her life where there was none. I felt the most for Michonne this season.

Jesus: I felt developed a bit more. I know he’s gay and kind of an outsider although people look up to him for direction; even leaders to help lead. I don’t know what he’s passionate about, what motivates him. I do get the sense he does feel alone at times.

Dwight: Another wildcard that is looking like he will go Rick’s way. I actually loved the dialog in the letter Sherry wrote to him describing how she made him who he was and I feel like he is making choices for himself (even though he is hollow inside.) I felt his hollowness due to the Saviors and how there is a weak fragment of humanity struggling to survive inside of him.

Sherry: I loved her speech. Wow! She has had some of the best dialog in the season I think. It shows depth of understanding and compassion for Dwight and her actions. I hope they do something with that. I would like to see more of her. She has the potential to shake things up.

Simon: He seems like he enjoys his life and knows his place and treats his job like a job. He could be a wildcard if he had the right set of opportunities; I suppose. I liked his dialog and I like the actor who plays him. I would like to know more about him to feel more for him.

Tara: I loved that she had to keep a promise and then she broke it. I would appreciate that more if I didn’t have an issue with how Cyndie reacted to this. If there was more intimate relationship with Tara and Cyndie established as a dynamic to play against; then I can believe having Cyndie side with Tara against her grandmother was genuine; however there’s nothing there so that just plays out for me as a weakly handled character interaction. I didn’t like the way they handled how she dealt with her decision and the outcome. She didn’t appear to have any guilt about leaving the Oceansiders with no weapons. (Especially after Cyndie saved her from being killed on the beach by Rachel; or spying on Oceanside from other members and from Zombies when Tara was going across the bridge.) I am confused about how to feel for her.

**Characters we know with no movement**:

Heath: Has been removed from the picture temporarily. If anything he will be used for world expansion to get us to another group of people.

Daryl: I think is still Daryl, except that maybe now he sees himself in Dwight, so he’s willing to give Dwight a chance.

Father Gabriel: Seems to be the same, his actions with the Scavengers seemed justified in protecting his own people.

Carl: Did some gutsy things this season and it looks like he will end up with Enid. Why does he like Enid? Will he end up with her? It’s unclear.

Enid: Not much from her this season. It’s unclear if she ends up with Carl.

Aaron: Not much for him this season.

Eric: See Aaron. At least we know he agrees with Aaron about attacking the Saviors.

Tobin: Nothing.

**New Characters**

Gregory: I think got established more as a wildcard coward. There’s no doubt he will be with the Saviors pledging the allegiance of the hilltop to Negan which will backfire in his face. This appears to be an unfortunate tropic story plot outcome.

Ezekiel: He appears to have a thing for Carol. Maybe he just sees her as his first in command, however I get the sense they will be together.

Jerry: Comic relief although I would love it if he were a total bad-ass with the double axe. It would certainly give him more depth.

Jadis: She speaks funny and I don’t know why and I really don’t care. She has a funny way of boiling down what she wants. I was confused about the consistency of negotiating with the Alexandrians and the Saviors. I don’t see what was trust with her and Rick when I first met her and that hasn’t changed. If she’s a wildcard I would need her to show vulnerability or an offering of some kind to understand that, however I think she lacks nuance or the ability to communicate that.

Tamiel: Jadis’ second in command who helped broker the deal with the Saviors and who convinced Father Gabriel to bring them supplies from Alexandria (she has snake skin boots).

Ben: I suppose he was just there to Duane for Morgan so we can see him lapse back to his ‘Clear’ days. There wasn’t much there for me.

Henry: Ben’s younger brother. Ezekiel is raising him.

Richard: I think didn’t last long enough to appreciate what he could have brought which could have been more of Ezekiel and the Kingdom to us. Who is Ezekiel going to bounce his ideas and dialog off of or interact with so we get a better idea of what he thinks about and how he feels about things? (Especially in private.)

Natania: The leader of Oceanside.

Cyndie: Has the potential to be paired up with Tara. I see them ending up together. There is trust between them although there was broken trust. If there was a more intimate relationship with Tara and Cyndie established as a dynamic to play against; then I can believe having Cyndie side with Tara against her grandmother Natania was genuine; however there’s nothing there, so that just plays out for me as a weakly handled character interaction.

Rachel: A little girl who can kill walkers and give Tara the finger.

Beatrice: A good fighter for Oceanside; very tough.

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Unknowns:

* Who’s side is Eugene on? Was he responsible for disarming the explosives or the Scavengers?
* Does Rick and Company feel like they have someone on the inside with Eugene? I don’t think so.
* Where are the heck are you Heath?? An update is long overdue. Who are the people you are with and can they join in the war? Do they even know who Negan and the Saviors are?
* What kind of circumstances would bring the Oceansiders into ‘All Out War’ if Alexandria needed them?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 15: Something They Need

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I gave this a 62 out of 100. ‘The Something They Need(ed)’ was a better written episode. I hated this.

* Tara tells Rick about Oceanside and we see a montage on top of the dialog with them sneaking up to the compound.
* Maggie instructs Eduardo on being a farmer and planting crops inside the Hilltop facility as Gregory watches on.
* Eric is glad he went with Aaron and finally agrees that attacking the saviors is the only way. Jesus has regrets about letting Sasha and Rosita go.
* Sasha gets captured. (Gee, there’s a surprise. The last episode literally just lead her into this situation.)
* She’s sexually assaulted and Neegan kills her attacker (David) with a hunting knife through the throat. Negan leaves her with his big blade to kill the zombified rapist when he turns and in the total darkness of a holding cell; or to kill herself. He tries to convince Sasha to join the Saviors and makes her an offer.
* Eugene stops by to give her ‘creature comforts’ in the form of a pillow and a lantern (there goes your suspense with figuring out how to kill David). He tries to convince Sasha to take Negan’s offer like he did. He tries to convince Sasha that Abraham would want her to join him and she says no he wouldn’t and to go.
* Gregory follows Maggie outside the Hilltop walls; she’s trying to transplant a blueberry bush to the inside walls. He tries to kill her (while guarding her) but is stopped by the presence of walker he says he will kill. Maggie ends up killing the walker and also another one that attacks Gregory in the process. Gregory is caught in a lie about his abilities to kill walkers with Maggie and the other Hilltop folks; he hasn’t and he can’t.
* Rick and company set off explosives and fire off a lot of guns in the process of taking away the guns from the people at Oceanside; leaving them unprotected and setting off a huge zombie all you can eat signal. The Coup De Gras was Tara once again given the little girl the middle finger; except this time it applies to the entire community of Oceanside.
* Sasha tells Negan she will join them (He doesn’t trust her yet.) It appears Negan knows Rick is plotting something (who told him? Eugene?)
* Eugene goes to Sasha and she fakes wanting to kill herself so Eugene will bring her a weapon. He brings her the poison he had made for Negan’s wives.
* Rick and Company show up at Alexandria to find Dwight there with Rosita ready to offer his help against Negan. Daryl and Tara have to be held back. Rick tells him to get on his knees.

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Best Line went to Negan: saying Sasha displayed her ‘beach ball sized lady nuts’.

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The Good:

* Eugene is a coward and cowards are definitely some of the most dangerous wildcards in the show.
* Eugene bringing the poison and not knowing if it would be painless had me in stitches (especially when Sasha rolled her eyes.)

* Negan continues to show his grayness of character with his severe intolerance to rape and his tailored methods of recruitment when he offers comfortable settings to Sasha (instead of torturing her like he did with Daryl) in exchange for information on Rick’s plans.

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The Bad:

* Negan says Sasha caused ‘One hell of a fracas last night’. I felt robbed of her fight displaying her ‘beach ball sized lady nuts’ with the Saviors and the zombie David. Why the heck did they give her a lantern too? That could have been the most terrifying walker scene they could have shot; a close quarters; darkness struggle with a walker. Oh well…
* Rick and Company have a plan to set off series of explosives to confuse the Oceansiders. There were some walkers that came due to the explosions, however leaving them with no weapons against what will probably be a large herd of walkers (due to all the noise) is just stupid. All the gun play taking out the walkers from the explosions will no doubt bring even more walkers. I don’t think that was well thought out.
* A lot of wasted time and dialog was spent in Oceanside on trying to convince me that all the noise; taking away the guns from the Oceansiders (who were mostly women and children) was a good idea and that they would be okay with it and join Rick and Company in their fight against the Saviors. It’s not going to be enough guns to give to the Junkyard Dogs (the Scavengers) and their leader Dieter (Jadis).
* I don’t feel any real buildup here between the Saviors and everyone else in this episode, so if a war is going to be set off the final episode of this season they will have to address that first thing in the next episode.
* I thought Tara not having any pangs of guilt about taking the guns away from the Oceansiders was cold and heartless. I do know ‘giving the finger’ was an inside joke between Tara and the Oceanside girl. We know the girl can take care of herself, however I can’t help feeling the way in which these weapons were taken could have been done without excessive unnecessary dialog; making so much noise and in a way that would compel the Oceansiders to want to help Rick when he needs them. What specifically exists now that would drive the Oceansiders to help the Alexandrians at this point? I think that is a faulty plot point for me. They could have had Rick save their leader or their group from something like a Savior attack or herd attack (that was not caused by the Alexandrian’s themselves.)  Those things are certainly more compelling reasons to help Rick and Company then what exists on the page now.

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Unknowns:

* Who’s side is Eugene on?
* Who’s side is Dwight really on?
* Where are the heck are you Heath?? An update is long overdue. Who are the people you are with and can they join in the war? Do they even know who Negan and the Saviors are?
* Does anyone mark Sasha with death?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 14: The Other Side

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I gave this a 72 out of 100.

* Jesus comes out to Maggie. (Jesus is gay in the graphic novels as well.) He talks about how it was tough always getting close to people and how the Hilltop needs riot gear.
* Jesus walks in on Sasha taking his bullets from his ‘Farewell to Arms’ book and tells her she can take them and tries to persuade her and Rosita not to take on Negan alone and to wait.
* Sasha gives Enid a bracelet she was working on for the baby and Enid gives them 10 minutes to leave before she let’s Maggie know what they are up to.
* Simon and his group of Saviors come there looking to take away Dr. Carson. Carson finds out his brother has been killed at the Sanctuary and he is taking his place.
* Rosita and Sasha escape Hilltop through a tunnel and wire a car to get to the Sanctuary.
* They discuss how they will get Negan. Sasha wants to shoot him from a high up spot when she has a clear shot out in the open. Rosita insists they need to shoot him up close by going in to get the job done. (So she brings a sniper rifle? How about a pistol with a silencer right?)
* Daryl and Maggie hide in the cellar of the main building from the Saviors. Enid tries to keep someone from searching there and the guy still goes down there and doesn’t find Maggie or Daryl.
* Daryl reflects on his guilt for Glenn’s death to Maggie. She says it’s not his fault and asks him to help her win against the Saviors. He agrees.
* Harlan Carson is exchanged for a pallet of Aspirin and with the promise of Cardamom Gelato.
* Rosita and Sasha reach a high point opposite the Sanctuary and see that Eugene is working with Negan. They can’t get off a shot at Negan.
* Rosita relays her explosives (and capabilities) background to Sasha through a string of past relationships and shows her how to tie knots. They bond over talking about their feelings for Abraham.
* They enact Rosita’s plan and break into the Sanctuary and try to rescue Eugene who doesn’t want to be rescued and runs away.
* Sasha tricks Rosita into going first and then runs after Eugene; someone in the shadows with a crossbow takes out a Savior who saw them. Rosita retreats into the shadows.
* Gregory whines about his situation and works on his alcoholism and stroking his huge ego.

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The Good:

* I like the blurriness of allegiance they are establishing with Eugene. It’s pretty clear though he’s on Rick’s side because he would have had Sasha and Rosita captured if he was against them.

* It did feel good seeing Maggie and Daryl work through what happened to Glenn and uniting.

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The Bad:

* I don’t understand what kind of hold Gregory has on the Hilltop denizens. Why haven’t they kicked him out of his position? Folks have already rallied around Maggie for saving them from Walkers and she and Sasha are training folks to fight against the Saviors. That doesn’t make any sense. Are they worried he will just out Maggie to the Saviors? It looks like he is going to do that soon anyway.

* Sasha’s plan to wait for a shot at Negan was abandoned only after sitting for Rosita’s ridiculous plan of getting inside. That didn’t make sense to me. Again, I think I am being exposed to plot threads that are poorly written or covered up. Rosita’s plan is a way for the writers to get someone like Sasha on the inside to die some tragic death in S7E16 to set off the war.

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Unknowns:

* Who’s side is Eugene on?
* Who’s side is Gregory on?
* Where are the heck are you Heath?? An update is long overdue. Who are the people you are with and can they join in the war? Do they even know who Negan and the Saviors are?
* Who did Rosita see who appeared to be holding a crossbow? Daryl or Dwight? I think it’s Dwight. Daryl I believe is still with Maggie.
* Does anyone ship Maggie with Daryl?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 13: Bury Me Here

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I gave this a 82 out of 100.

I find that rarely in the Walking Dead does the writing, direction and acting come together to deliver an emotional feeling drama and I think Scott Gimple, Lennie James and Alrick Riley pulled an incredible synergy around Morgan’s character in this episode. I will tell you in the comics, Morgan is a flat, two dimensional character in contrast to what they have been able to deliver and achieve with Morgan in the show. I love the arc Gimple has put together for Morgan since Season 3’s episode ‘Clear’. It appears to be carefully constructed.

For me, Morgan represents the continuation of morality; the use of violence only when it’s necessary; handing down of life lessons and nurturing of the young; justice and channeling of the elements of goodness; even if they are sourced from those who aren’t all the way good (like Richard who had good intentions and leadership aspirations.)

* We jump forward to a preparation of an offering of one cantaloupe to the Saviors and then credits.

* We jump back to the present where Carol awakes from nightmares by the light of a hurricane lamp.

* Morgan trains Benjamin’s brother on the Bo Staff and manages to get him to admit he looks up to Benjamin while Benjamin walks by.

* Carol decides to go to the Kingdom to question Morgan if everyone in Alexandria is okay? She injures a walker on the way and kills five more with a street sign before entering. Morgan defers to Daryl and offers to take her to Alexandria to find out.

* On the way back Carol notices an unknown person killed the injured walker and they then show Richard digging a grave next to some shopping carts and a yellow crate. He buries the backpack of a little girl with the dirt he is piling up from the grave (this was the backpack of his daughter.)

* Nabila tells Ezekiel that the King’s garden is ridden with Weevils and has to be destroyed, however it will grow back with time (nice analogy and hopeful message about the world they live in with the walkers and civilization.)

* Benjamin goes to Morgan’s apartment. He gives Morgan a velvet painting of a bull fighter. Morgan asks who the girl was who gave it to him and he refuses to answer. He shows Morgan his Akido book and quotes the line “To injure an opponent is to injure oneself” and concludes you get injured no matter what. (Foreshadowing his future death.)

* Richard comments to Morgan that Benjamin is too young to be a father. Morgan asks him if he was ever a father and he says he was and had the perfect life. Richard takes the opportunity to acknowledge how they don’t see things the same and reflects on how Morgan will have to change his good ways because the thing with the Saviors won’t last.

* Ezekiel and Company head out for a Savior drop off with 12 cantaloupes and they are delayed from arriving on time by shopping carts blocking the road in an arrow formation. They get out to clear the road block and find an open grave the arrow points to that says ‘Bury Me Here’. Ezekiel comments that it’s luck people are not insane and Benjamin points out that the world they live in drives people insane but Ezekiel made them another world.

* The Saviors aren’t happy they are late and the Kingdom is a cantaloupe short. The Saviors ask also for their guns besides the food. The Saviors says Ezekiel needs to teach them a lesson. Richard steps up to be shot by the Saviors (as he expected) and instead they open fire and shoot Benjamin in the left femoral artery and he starts to bleed out. They tell Ezekiel to come back with the missing Cantaloupe the same time the next day.

* Ezekiel and crew rush Benjamin to Carol’s place because she’s the closest and has medical supplies, however it’s too late and Ben loses to much blood and dies. Ben repeats the line ‘To injure an opponent is to injure one’s self’ before he goes. (That may be the case if it causes Morgan to rampage against the saviors.)

* This causes a psychotic break in Morgan and he starts to relive his past in flashing montage. He nearly commits suicide by slashing his wrists in the open grave Richard had dug. He kicks the yellow bin at the height of his freakout to reveal the cantaloupe that made them short with the Saviors and cost Ben his life.

* Morgan confronts Richard about the Cantaloupe and Richard admits he set up the whole thing to have a conflict with Saviors. He was sure he would be the one who was shot because the Saviors stated he would be the first one to go if there was a problem in the past. He then tells Morgan since it didn’t go that way this was because the Kingdom has done nothing. Richard reflects back to his past where he did nothing and it cost his family their lives. He points out they can use what happened to make the Saviors understand that they get it and understand what they need to do, so they Saviors gain their trust and then they kill the Saviors. ‘Kill or you might as well kill yourself.’ He tells Morgan he will take this opportunity to lead the armies to kill the Saviors and that he will talk to Ezekiel and tell everyone what he did soon and live with that the rest of his life.

* The next day they bring the Cantaloupe (the scene we see right at the beginning) to the Saviors on time. Morgan asks Richard if he spoke with Ezekiel and he says he will do that later. (I think at that point Morgan felt Richard was lying to him and had is own motives other than what he told Morgan.) Ezekiel overhears this conversation and demands to be told then what Richard was going to tell him just as the Saviors show up. The Saviors ask about Ben and Ezekiel tells them he’s dead and the leader of the small Savior group tells the shooter of Ben to start walking back to where they came from or he will kill him.

* Richard starts to tell the Saviors they get it and Morgan snaps and strangles Richard and tells everyone Richard caused the issues from the previous day. He continues Richard’s intended speech by saying they know what they need to do. Richard’s original intention to use his own life to gain the Saviors trust is realized by Morgan. The pickups will continue after that. (Morgan has every intention to kill the Saviors when they least expect it; fulfilling Richard’s other intentions.)

* Morgan tells Ezekiel that Richard wanted to die and he thought that he had a choice in the matter, however when the Saviors chose *Duane* had to die. Ezekiel asks who is Duane? and then Morgan quickly changes that to Ben (Morgan obviously saw Ben as Duane; yet another life of a child he failed to protect that had died needlessly.) Ezekiel wants Morgan to go with him however, Morgan tells them to leave without them and finishes off Richard so he doesn’t turn and then goes to *bury him* in the grave he dug for himself. He uncovers Richard’s little girl’s backpack and buries that with Richard.

* Morgan goes to Carol and admits killing Richard because he got Ben killed and tried to start a war with the Saviors. He gives Carol the opportunity to ask him what happened at Alexandria and she does. He tells her that the Saviors killed Glenn and Abraham, Denise, Spencer, and Olivia and he’s going to kill them one at at time starting now and turns to leave. Carol begs him to stay in her house for the time being, which he does. Morgan sharpens one side of his staff at her house into a point. (It appears at least part of the hold Morgan is back; the one that can kill people and walkers very efficiently.)

* Carol goes to talk to Ezekiel about getting ready to battle the Saviors. Ezekiel acknowledges to her that they have to get ready to fight but not today and she helps him and Ben’s brother plant new crops in the King’s Garden.

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* Best Lines ‘I think I just pissed myself’; ‘Leave the Cobbler’.

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The Good:

* I loved the writing and blocking, especially how Morgan really listened to Richard in his speech about his plans and he carried out the plan; sacrificing Richard to get the Saviors to believe their obedience. (The part he omitted was Richard being the leader of the attacking armies.) Now he’s getting ready to fight; Richard got through to him.

* A big episode for Morgan. I really feel like I saw the break in his psyche after the loss of Ben. He now knows he has to fight to keep humanity from disappearing. The loss of Ben and killing of Richard has in some ways balanced him; he will fight and kill humans now if he has to. This is a move to the center from the leftest notion of not killing any humans anymore.

* Great montage where I really felt Morgan slip in his sanity at the loss of Benjamin.

* For me, Morgan represents the continuation of morality; the use of violence only when it’s necessary; handing down of life lessons and nurturing of the young; justice and channeling of the elements of goodness; even if they are sourced from those who aren’t all the way good (like Richard who had good intentions and leadership aspirations.)

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The Bad:

* Minor things really. Some of the closeup walker kill scenes with Carol using a road sign to kill zombies looked a little funny and need to be adjusted.

* One can argue Ben’s life was a throw away (because we didn’t really know him too much), although if you think of the promise a child brings to the world (whom we nurture) and the tragedy a young death robs us all from that promise, is this any different then what happens in reality? Not really…

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Unknowns:

* Who killed the Walker Carol left in the road? Was it Richard?
* Is Morgan going to remain at Carol’s house until the war with the Saviors begins or sharpen his staff and to start killing Saviors right away?
* When is Ezekiel planning to strike the Saviors?
* Will Carol make her way to Hilltop to help synchronize the attack?
* Where are you Heath??

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 12: Say Yes

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I have this a 75 out of 100.

 

Rick and Michonne go out for days trying to scavenge weapons to meet the Junkyard Dog’s deadline and weapons quota. They hit a windfall at an army encampment next to a carnival (kind of an odd pairing.) They accidentally fall through the roof of a building find Meal Ready to Eat (MREs) supplies, water and pick off walkers in the carnival area and win a prize of a few Kewpie dolls, a walker ravaged deer and about 60 weapons.

Rick almost dies in the process of trying to kill a deer falling from a fun ride and zombie swarm and this tests the bonds between him and Michonne. I felt her loss of herself (and need to live) when she thought Rick was devoured by Walkers. I can believe at this point in time they have both perfected killing thousands of walkers and handling a small herd, so a mistake in judgement is definitely the only way either of them could buy it and that’s what was delivered.

I also feel that Rick has found his equal in this post apocalyptic world with Michonne. She’s the only one as strong and as level headed as he is. Lori didn’t have Michonne’s fortiude, nor emotional, physical, or spiritual strength.

Tara debates to Judith whether she should tell Rick about Oceanside and break her vow. She gives Judith her trust bracelet from Oceanside as a symbol of passing that trust over to Rick and then she decides to tell Rick and the group.

The Junkyard Dogs tell Rick and company that they need to find more weapons. Rick negotiates for 20 weapons of those found and the cat (he took for Michonne.) They will use those to find more weapons. My guess is they need to find at least 60 more weapons. ( I don’t think Oceanside has that many weapons.)

The Junkyard Dogs with their black apparel and broken language reminds me of Dieter from Sprockets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprockets_%28Saturday_Night_Live%29
I was half expecting Jadis to say “Your presence intimidates me to the point of humiliation.” and then I was waiting for them to start dancing to German new wave music.

Rosita decides that Gabriel was a fool for convincing her not to kill Negan and goes Rogue. She recruits Sasha with a sniper rifle so they can take down Negan on what they call a suicide mission (See the Bad.)

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The Good:

* I definitely can feel Michonne and Rick’s bond now. I think Michonne as a character has changed the most in the series from where she has come.
* The scene where Michonne thought Rick was eaten and dropped her sword was a great emotional reveal about her. I can feel how she wanted to give up living once she thought what she was fighting for (a life together with Rick) was gone.
* I loved how Rick wanted to take time with Michonne once they found their weapons and food cache; just so they can have quality time together. That’s long needed face time as a couple in this world.

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The Bad:

* I really hate when I see plot threads leading action clearly in a TV series. Rosita going rogue with Sasha is an unfortunate example. The writing to me is sloppy and forced. I didn’t quite understand Rosita’s conversation with Gabriel. It made it clear though she was being irrational, although she doesn’t appear to let that sink in (when I thought she looked like she was considering what Father Gabriel said to her.) Why would they act so stupid as to think they can take out Negan on their own? They know Negan has an unknown number of outposts and heavily guarded main facility. Whether they have areas memorized or think they think they have enough Intel to make a difference it’s still reckless to me. Obviously one or both of them will either be killed or made an example of it front of Rick and company.
* Rick throwing Michonne her sword was kind of a tropic move. I have seen that in so many epic fantasy movies where the hero is thrown their weapon at the last minute to pick up the fight when they have been backed into a corner. I suppose it the Walking Dead is striving to get back to its Comic Book roots it works.
* Tara left Alexandria with Heath and she knows it looks like he was captured, so why the heck haven’t they sent out a search party for Heath?? It’s pretty obvious if he’s alive he’s with a group they have never seen before and that group could have the weapons they seek.

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Unknowns:

* Will Rosita and Sasha’s actions start the war with the Saviors? I hope it’s a series of concurrent offensive actions; not just theirs.
* Will Sasha and Rosita’s lives be thrown away for the sake of plot movement? And possibly another cast member’s life if they do not succeed at killing Negan?
* Will Rick go to Oceanside for weapons? Will they try to find Heath on the way? Perhaps that group with the ‘ppp’ labeled keycard has weapons too?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 11: Hostiles and Calamities

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I have this a an 80 out of 100. I like the interactions in this episode.

We leave off where Daryl just escaped due to Dwight/Negan’s wife Sherry (aka Honey) letting him out and Eugene arriving shortly later from Alexandria with Negan. Dwight immediately figured out that someone let Daryl out (and had his suspicions it was Sherry (Honey)).
Negan has him beaten up and thrown into Solitary. After that; he has his men go looking for Daryl; coming up empty Negan realizes Sherry is gone and questions Dwight. He realizes Daryl had been let out; possibly by Dwight himself or Sherry. He tells Negan he can find her and so Negan lets him out to go look for her. Eugene gets shown to some nice living accomodations where he can have what he wants.

A female Savior shows Eugene around the main floor of the sanctuary and explains the point system and how he can just take what he wants, he just has to detail and sign for it.

Negan tests Eugene’s intelligence and buys his lying (about the Human Genome Project).
Negan gives him the problem of deteriorating walkers protecting the fence and Eugene comes up with the solution of encasing their heads in metal and fixing them to the fence. This sells Negan on his brain skills.

Negan sends over three of his wives for non sexual companionship as a token of his gratitude later that night. He plays ‘Yars Revenge’ on an Atari 2600 with Amber and Frankie and Tina gets drunk and despondent about her personal situation with Negan. They try to quiz him about the Human Genome Project work he did and he uses his ‘not at liberty to discuss’ lie line on them. He shows them some tricks with yeast, peroxide and dish soap.

Dwight makes it back to his old house he had with Sherry before the apocalypse. He doesn’t find her but he does verify the handwriting in the note to Daryl is hers and now he knows she let Daryl out. He finds a goodbye note she leaves for him. She admits in the note that she is responsible for making him into what he has become (which he didn’t want to be) and that he took her back to the Saviors because she made him. He left her beer and pretzels to show her that he showed up like she thought he would in her note to him.
She loved who he was and was sorry for having made him what he was now. She even thought he might kill her at this point because he has been converted.

Amber and Frankie visit Eugene and trick him into making poison pills for Tina so she can put herself out of her misery. They ask for two pills.

Eugene grows a pair and gets the ingredients on the Sanctuary floor.
He also grabs a stuffed animal and calls it ‘Grembly Gunk’

Dwight takes the Goodbye, Honey signature off the note and cuts it off and plants it in the Dr.’s desk.
This frames the doctor for helping Honey escape. He goes back and claims he killed Sherry to Negan. Negan vows if she’s ever found then Dwight will end up dead from an iron mark on the other side of his face.
Dwight doesn’t even flinch at that this mention.
In front of all his wives, the Saviors and Eugene; Negan shoves the Dr. in the furnace as punishment for helping Honey and Daryl escape.

Amber and Frankie visit Eugene for the pills and he refuses to give those to them since he realizes they are trying to poison Negan and he wants no part of it.

The episode ends with a shared moment between Dwight and Eugene. It reveals they both are individuals, however they are fka Negan.

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The Good:

* Who would have thought you would see Yar’s Revenge in the Walking Dead?
* Eugene bopping to ‘Easy Street’
* It makes sense that someone who is generally an outcast (nerd) and not good at anything who now has a purpose (making bullets, etc) is being rewarded with a nice place and companionship would convert to the dark side. However, there is a nice blurry line there where I feel Eugene is still an Alexandrian. I like those developments with his character. I also like how they used him quickly in the inner politics between Negan’s wives and Negan.
* I like Dwight’s development in this episode. Clearly he is maneuvering inside of the Sanctuary and he is stone cold. It appears part of his personality died after being inculcated with Negan and the Saviors. It does look like he is also blurry as a character with regard to being a Savior and not being a Savior. He let Honey go which means the old Dwight is still there. I have nice sense of the duality in his character.
* The exchange at the end of the show with Eugene highlights how they are both in the same place when it comes to their alignment (pretending to be Negan). However they both are coming from different directions (Dwight from the Saviors and Eugene from Alexandria.) It’s pretty clear they are both just doing what they need to do. They could become allies in future episodes within the Sanctuary.

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The Bad:

* I was kind of surprised Amber and Frankie didn’t threaten Eugene they were going to tell Negan they slept with Eugene (if he didn’t given them the pills); instead they just call him a coward.

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Unknowns:

* Is Eugene just playing the fake role like he’s one of the Saviors or has he really converted over to being a Savior?
* Will Honey end up at Hilltop with Daryl?
* Does anyone ship Honey with Daryl?
* Will Dwight eventually end back up with Honey and on Rick’s side?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead Season 7: Episode 10: New Best Friends

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Thoughts with summary mixed together.

I gave this episode a 70 out of 100.

Rick and his search party encounter (lets call them) the *Junkyard Dogs* who have captured them and given them a chance to negotiate using a Trial by Combat method.

I kept thinking of the episode of Star Trek where Kirk fights the Gorn.

Rick has a cheesy uninspired non suspenseful battle with a walker wearing spiky armor whose defeat allows an agreement to take place where they will get back their food items and tools from the Junkyard Dogs in exchange for the weapons Rick and Aaron recovered from Stanton’s boathouse. Does anyone else see Fonzi jumping the shark here like me?

Richard gets Daryl to agree to attack the Saviors, however Richard was trying to lead them to Carol as the person who did them in. Daryl refuses to attack the Saviors and Richard’s information sends him to Carol’s location.

Sparks don’t fly between Carol or Daryl, however it was a moving scene. Do they have a mother/son dynamic? Platonic warriors? I think the vagueness of their relationship does help show both of them have trouble with intimacy due to their broken backgrounds. However, it’s a double edged sword isn’t it? I don’t get a strong emotional moment from them both because of that but I understand why. The overall effect for me was a warm sort of touching seen which could have been a little stronger.

Overall thoughts…Yawn…

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The Good:

* I love Jerry as a character. His good natured obedience begs for me what his intensity will be when I will see him eventually fight. I am guessing he’s a pretty fierce warrior when he has to be.
* Daryl reuniting with Carol, however the dynamics for me were wimpy (SEE the bad).
* Nice easteregg. The Smokey and The Bandit Truck Trailer.

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The Bad:

* More tiring wasted calls on Carol. More repetition from Ezekiel’s group. Even if it’s Jerry handing her the cobbler. Yawn…
* I think I wasn’t the only one disappointed that Carol didn’t hook up with Daryl. I suppose the nature of their individual characters is more complex than to allow for that to happen.
* Yet Another group very roughly sketched out.
I really don’t care whether they help Rick or not because I don’t care so much for those characters because I don’t know these characters. I have not seen them betray others; lie to others, dishonor an agreement. I have not heard their story on how they met each other or how the Junkyard became their home. Their words to me have no weight. I do know Rick needs them more than they need him so they do provide some suspense and motivation for why Rick needs to find more weapons. That’s about it.
* A fight to the death battle with a spiked walker. I never felt Spiky man was a threat to Rick’s life. I didn’t get any suspense. I actually starting laughing half way through the fight because the walker looked so ridiculous and piles of garbage kept falling on Rick. This was just to silly. I wish I was drunk at the time because I probably would have really laughed myself into a fit.

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Unknowns:

* Rick doesn’t want to give up the weapons cache he got from Stanton’s boat. Will Rick and company find more weapons? Will Tara lead the group to Oceanside or keep her vow?
* What is the nature of Carl and Daryl’s relationship? How does he see her? What about her seeing him?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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