The Walking Dead S7E6 Thoughts: Wrong Timing & Suspense Buildup Can Be The Worst Killer
It appears that the showrunners are trying to thin out the storylines as much as possible with The Walking Dead. This is the fourth episode we’ve seen that follows an individual storyline instead of tackling them down at the same time in one episode.
This time, the focus is on Tara and Heath, two of the characters who didn’t really have any real danger of falling into dangerous category—until of course, they managed to stumble into the zombie-infested collection party.
Everything was supposed to go smoothly enough. Tara seems to have charmed her way into the heart of the leader of the female survivors. She eats with them as a family, shares her stories of her own encounters, and learns what the tick of the new group is.
They’re a bunch of female warriors because of a reason. They had encountered a group that had killed their men. It’s not surprising that this group is none other than what Negan leads. To escape, the women fled, and have been trying to create their own little world just by themselves. True, their approach is very inefficient—staying away from other groups and basically shooting everyone on site and in sight.
Then during her stay in that camp, the leader asks her to stay, because she knows Tara will be a strong addition. Being the mainstay cast that she is, Tara is obviously looking at how she can go back to her own people.
Rewind a little: the show makes use of an interspersed exposition. While we were shown how Tara has stumbled in to the Amazon-like community, we also slowly learn what happened with her previous companion Heath. It appears that they were on a mission to go on a hunt and bring back some supplies. They were also forced apart by a band of zombies that were hidden away at a very odd place and time.
This particular part of the episode made me wonder why deus ex machina seems to be the showrunners’ favorite way of exposing or propelling things. You can only do so much intervention, and what Tara did, especially when they’re supposed to be careful is just plain, well, not.
That one line from one of the female villagers was a little gem. That sometimes, turning bad and becoming evil isn’t someone’s choice. It wasn’t some rather option. However, Tara talks back and tells her that some people were evil, referring obviously to Negan.
It would have been a nice anchor, as far as some philosophical thinking is concerned. They’re in trying times, and as much as we want to say that people are essentially god and are changed only by their environment, the reality is that there are people who are evil.
Just when we thought that Tara was finally getting a little bit close with the new female survivors, they gave us this odd scene: she just starts to run from them. They’re out in the woods, and when it was her turn to kill a walker, she ran for it. The odd thing though was the dynamics between her and another one of the female survivors. It’s like she’s torn between wanting to help Tara and just wanting to put a bullet in her head.
Tara as a character is surprisingly fluid with this episode. While I was personally not looking forward to another in-character focus, we do hope that this will be the last of it. After all, you can’t introduce too many focused-episodes without going back to a single one of them during the season, right? But as far as Tara as a character goes, she’s all right.
The episode is not without its bumps, albeit a little less harsh that the previous ones. Her situation with Heath is pretty normal. You have two survivors on a hunt for supplies. One goes missing, the other goes in search of him. Early on, we’re left to wonder if Heath survived when he and Tara got separated, since there were a lot of zombies involved.
At the end, we see Tara almost hallucinating Heath in the middle of the zombie pack. And I say this, because that’s the only way you could explain that. For one, for a zombie like that—one with the same hairstyle and top-half portion of Heath’s outfit—to be in the same place is just overwhelmingly coincidental. Between her slowing down and slow ragged breathing, it felt like the kind of suspense you’d see in cheap trick zombie flicks.
And the sad thing is, we’ve been seeing a lot of those in The Walking Dead. It’s not like we expect very seamless transitions, but when there are moments like that, we just wonder what exactly is going on with the showrunners’ heads.
My wish for The Walking Dead is for it to find its pace back. We’ve already arrived in Alexandria, where the gang is still desperate to find ammo, thanks to Negan’s looting. Even Tara sticks to stating that she didn’t find anything that could help them—when you had her entire all-girls survivor team. It makes me wonder though—does that mean that group will never play a role in the series again? Because if that’s the case, why did we watch that entire episode in the first place?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.