Tuesday, March 21, 2017

(TV) The Walking Dead: The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 14 TV Review by @garrettweets


(Photo Credit: AMC)
The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 14
By Garrett Yoshitomi 
@garrettweets 

The Walking Dead enters the homestretch of its seventh season with this week’s episode, “The Other Side.” We’ve officially left behind the filler-filled fun of the past three weeks, as “The Other Side” focuses more closely on the group’s central conflict with Negan. We get to see the culmination of Rosita’s season-long quest to hitch a one-way ticket to Savior Town, as well as the current state of the Hilltop Colony, including another run-in between Simon and Gregory.

After several weeks of build-up, Rosita’s incredibly well-thought out plan to assassinate Negan, finally gets put to the test. Rosita’s been a pretty unpleasant character this season- angrily berating anyone who isn’t onboard with her mission to storm the Sanctuary and shoot Negan in the face. This “my way or the highway” attitude has quickly transformed her from a forgettable side character, into a rather unlikeable antihero. As stupid as her plan is, it’s really her selfishness that makes her storyline so hard to embrace. It’s difficult to believe that a character would willingly commit to such a flawed plan, knowing full well that when it fails, Negan will take his vengeance out on the innocent people of Alexandria.

(Photo Credit: AMC)

With all that said, I don’t particularly mind the way Rosita’s arc plays out this week. It probably helps that this is a pretty well-balanced episode, featuring an enjoyable B-plot with Maggie and Daryl. If this episode had been entirely dedicated to Rosita, the pacing would have undoubtedly dragged, especially around the character development parts. Now, the character development that we do get for Rosita, this week, is fine. It’s not particularly groundbreaking by any means, but it gets us invested enough in her storyline for the episode, and she’s been enough of an unknown for the past several seasons, that any insight into her background is more than welcome.

It’s kind of poetic that after all of Rosita’s verbal chest-puffing, it’s Sasha that ends up swooping in and stealing her long-awaited moment. Some fans might call it lazy writing, yet another example of one of The Walking Dead’s heavy-handed misdirects, but I think it kind of works, given the context of the episode. Rosita’s spent a good portion of her life (and this show) being taken for granted, but if there’s one thing she’s proved over the course of this season, it’s that the eclectic mix of skills she’s gleaned from her former flames, actually makes her one of the most valuable members of Rick’s group. Sasha understands this, and acts accordingly. It’s a quick gesture, a sacrifice that focuses less on bloodshed and bullets (as most Walking Dead sacrifices do), and more on the subtle character dynamic behind it. It’s pretty easily my favorite (and probably last) Sasha moment, though, it’s fair to say that it’s a little out of character for her.

(Photo Credit: AMC)
If this week’s Daryl and Maggie scene doesn’t stir something up deep down inside of you, then you’re probably not a fan of The Walking Dead. We’ve had very few shared scenes between characters reacting to Glenn’s death, and this moment between Daryl and Maggie beats them all. It’s short, but sweet, as Daryl is finally forced to face Maggie after indirectly causing Glenn’s death. Of course, Maggie holds no ill will towards Daryl, and the way she reassures him is everything that The Walking Dead should aim for, in terms of scenes like these. It’s a little disappointing because it shouldn’t be this hard for The Walking Dead to manufacture these types of character moments. There’s so much potential for great drama baked into this show, but it’s constantly wasted on the nth conversation about “doing what needs to be done to survive” between Rick and character X.

Rounding out the rest of this episode are some enjoyable appearances from several supporting characters, all of whom I hope we see more of in season eight and beyond. First and foremost, we get another encounter between the enigmatic Simon and the still slimy Gregory. Simon has popped up in a handful of episodes, though the only thing we really know about him is that he’s a high-ranking Savior with an ever-changing taste in alcohol. Still, he’s probably the Savior lieutenant I enjoy the most, especially when compared to the paint drying personalities of Dwight and Gavin. Enid displays her usual amount of precociousness, although it’s against a much more formidable opponent than we’re used to seeing her face. She’s certainly come a long way from the Enid who was basically willing to abandon Alexandria and take her chances on her own, and it looks like she’ll be settling into a permanent position by Maggie’s side, for the foreseeable future. Finally, Jesus continues to demonstrate that he’s right at home with our ever-growing ragtag group of survivors. He’s always been an easy character to like, but he’s also had a surprising lack of major storylines to work with. Hopefully this changes in future episodes.
(Photo Credit: AMC)

We’re just two weeks away from the season seven finale, an episode that Andrew Lincoln says will be one of the most exciting, yet. It does feel like we’re running out of time for some of these lingering storylines to come together, although based on the preview for next week, it looks like this season’s penultimate episode will see the return of the Oceanside community. It’s been made pretty clear that this year’s finale won’t end on a cliffhanger, which makes it even harder to believe that things will all come together in a satisfying way. I’m thinking we’ll see something similar to this year’s mid-season finale- a fairly standard episode, with multiple storylines all converging onto one, non-cliffhanger point that gives us a clean starting point for next season.

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