Sunday, February 12th the mid-season seven premiere of my all time favorite show, The Walking Dead, returned. Titled “Rock in the Road”, this episode is all about gaining allies to help in the fight against Negan. Rick and his gang head to the Hilltop, the place where Maggie, Sasha and Enid are staying, to try and convince Gregory to once again help them fight the Saviors. The first time this conversation happened, it was Gregory who convinced Rick and his people to attack the Saviors outpost, thinking it was their headquarters… which failed horribly ending in the death of beloved characters Glenn and Abraham. Now that Rick has accepted that killing Negan is the only way to protect his people, he’s ready to go to war but Gregory is selfishly declining to get on Negans bad side. What to do, what to do…
This show has always found a way to make its audience sympathize with the worst of the worst and turn on characters we thought we loved because they were just that amazingly developed. We saw them make mistakes, go through things that challenged their humanity, and crossed that very thin line that is constantly shifting in this show. But they were always good people. That tied with great action, award-winning special effects and phenomenal acting just makes this show deserving of praise. But recently it hasn’t been living up to it’s potential, even with the addition of one of its greatest villains from the comic books. And I didn’t realize it until watching the premiere.
First let us talk about Daryl Dixon, the fan favorite ruggedly good looking archer, who barely said a full sentence in the whole episode! What?! Why is Daryl being written as if he’s this unimportant temporary character that has yet to find his place in the group. When trying to convince Ezekiel and The Kingdom to join their fight against Negan, Daryl spouts “You call yourself a damn king? You sure as hell don’t act like one!” This is one of two lines he says throughout the whole episode. Yes Daryl, because rushing off to fight Negan without a direct and precise plan worked out so well the last time. Of course Ezekiel is going to say no, he has his own people to protect, plus he has the best deal with Negan out of all three of the groups that we know deal with him. Rick and The Alexandrians have no weapons, barely any food, not enough people and definitely not enough good fighters. What is your plan again if you get the Hilltop and the Kingdom on your side Rick?
The Hilltop scene was just a mess. Rick and his group asking the same questions, Gregory giving the same answers. A repetitive and dragged out scene that tried to incorporate humor and give the group an obstacle for a few episodes. The humor..? Another mangled line spouted by Daryl that makes us question the what the writers are doing. But let’s talk about this Gregory character. I think there is something mentally wrong with him. He might have short-term memory actually. I understand that he is written to be an asshole and extremely annoying, but I question how this man is continuing to lead such a large group of people. He’s a straight up coward who’s only interest is in protecting himself. I can understand his reasoning for not wanting to join and fight the Saviors again; Negan will kill him, but then he shouldn’t have let Rick and the gang go off and attack the outpost the first time. After all it was Gregory’s idea.
After the group leaves The Kingdom they end up on this road barricaded by cars and a long steel cable rigged with explosives… convenient. It looked as if the Saviors created a trap for a herd of walkers that was heading their way. Rosita and the others begins taking the explosives (they need it for war) while Rick and Michonne drive the two cars that the cable is attached too to kill off what looks like hundreds of walkers. This was a pretty cool scene so good job guys.
The episode ends when the group is tracking Father Gabriel, who had just ran away, and they end up in what looks like a junk yard surrounded by dozens of people holding weapons of any sort… and Rick smiles. People! With weapons and armor! This means the attack against the Saviors can actually be a success. And with just his smile, I felt as if Rick was finally back to being the leader we need him to be.