This Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 15
Wow! The Walking Dead got a lot done this week, and nothing felt particularly rushed in “Something They Need,” which set up next week’s season 7 finale. The Hilltop storyline continues to be the weakest of the bunch two weeks in a row, but even that subtle power struggle isn’t all that hard to watch. It’s just difficult to compete with everything else going on in the episode.
I won’t beat a dead horse – I’ve already praised the show for turning things around in the second half of the season – but these last few weeks have really felt like a return to a better era of The Walking Dead. While “Something They Need” isn’t even the best episode of TWD in the last few weeks, it’s a great example of how good the show can be when it’s not pussyfooting around its storylines. Things moved VERY quickly tonight.
We have to start with Sasha, who I still think is on her way out – both for story and real-life reasons. I was actually a little underwhelmed that we didn’t get her death scene last week or at the beginning of this episode. Setting her up to die in the finale is the obvious thing to do, and I’m not sure anyone will be surprised by it. Of course, we did get another great performance from Sonequa Martin-Green, who shared a notable scene with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan. It might actually be the best scene the villain has had since the premiere. Negan might even be genuinely scary this week – almost! – and we get a bit of complexity out of the character, too. It’s good to know the son of a bitch is at least against rape.
I’m not sure how to read Sasha this week. I was clearly so wrong about Eugene’s true intentions, so I’m almost afraid to go out on a limb and say Sasha is faking the whole suicide thing. She really wanted Eugene to bring a sharp object so that she could use it against Negan. Sasha clearly looks disappointed when the mullet brings her the suicide pill from a few weeks ago instead.
Sasha won’t die by suicide. She can’t. If she didn’t kill herself in season 5 – in which she lost both Bob AND Tyreese – she’s not going to do it now. It would be a disservice to the character, who’s grown so much over the years – a long ways away from lying down in a pit of zombie corpses (which might be my favorite shot of the entire series, by the way). My guess is that next week the Saviors and Rick’s coalition will clash somehow and Sasha will take her shot and die trying.
Meanwhile, there’s the Dwight twist at the end of the episode, which will probably play into Negan’s inevitable demise. We’ve spent a lot of time with the scowling henchmen this season, and I’m glad it’s finally paid off. I really hated how the first few episodes weren’t consistent about Dwight. One episode he was conflicted about his duties to Negan and the next he was just a cackling lackey. Sherry’s escape and letter finally put things in perspective for Dwight, though, and it looks like he’ll help Rick get the upperhand on the Sanctuary next season. Hopefully, we’ll get a more interesting angle on the character now that he’s turning over a new leaf. Or is he faking?
The second half of the season has really benefited from giving less of a fuck about adapting the comics, a dependency that really hurt how the writers handled Negan among other things. Jadis and the garbage men (best band name ever) are a prime example of the writers having a little fun with the show, creating a new faction that is both wholly original and fits in with the overall mythology of the show. The time we’ve spent in Oceanside this season is also a welcome surprise, as well.
While Oceanside is from the comics, it’s never really been fleshed out by Kirkman, and it looks the show’s really found an interesting way to exploit that. The return to Oceanside isn’t quite as explosive as I expected. I assumed there would be a casualty tonight – maybe even Tara for breaking her promise. Or perhaps Natania, the leader of the settlement, who refused to join Rick in his war against Negan.
The relatively peaceful theft (what else can you call it?) of guns does mean that there’s a chance that we’ll see more extended visits to Oceanside. I’d love to see this particular settlement again. The Walking Dead has no shortage of strong female characters, and I have a feeling like Oceanside will soon be looking for a new leader. Oceanside might be the kind of place where Carol would thrive, for example.
A note on the Oceanside zombies: they’re really gross and awesome. Greg Nicotero never ceases to amaze when it comes make-up effects, and tonight’s barnacle zombies were just great. I kind of wish they’d posed a larger threat to Oceanside, but it was just great to get these particular horrors just the same.
Alright, so The Walking Dead continues its streak of episodes that don’t make me want to get mauled by walkers. Can the show keep it up in the finale? I honestly don’t know how next week’s episode is going to go. There isn’t really a sense that anything BIG is going to happen. I would expect at least some kind of scuffle between the Alexandrians and the Saviors, just enough to ignite next season’s war. And what of the Kingdom? Will we see all of these settlements join in on the bloodshed in the finale? The only wrong thing the show could do is draw things out until the season 8 premiere. Give us a fight. Make it only the beginning.
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