The Walking Dead S7E8 Thoughts: Rick & Company Finally Made Our Hearts Beat Once More

Author Thumbnail BY Gel Galang - - December 12, 2016
9/10

This is the kind of storytelling that should’ve happened the moment we saw Glenn and Abraham get beaten and bashed. While we’re nursing our broken hearts, we should’ve been given an interwoven story of people picking up the pieces, even if they are in different communities.

Instead of being shown one by one how they were in their little worlds, we should’ve felt that each one was trying to do something about them, all together. Because for this one, we finally get to see similar threads in the story—similar heartbeats, so to speak—that signal the end of grief and the start of a stand to arms.

At the very least, I’m happy that The Walking Dead finally got an episode right before we’re plunged into some weeks of will-we-or-won’t-we-watch-the-rest hand-wringing.

In the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead’s seventh season, titled Hearts Still Beating, we finally get to see some nice storytelling that ties in everything together and makes us feel that a “final stand” against Negan and the Saviors has to happen once the latter half of the season finally debuts in February.

The opening scene already had me satisfied in just a few seconds. Maggie with moxie—a lot of it. She has that balance of innocent pregnant lady and warrior princess down pat. I just wish they had shown us how concretely this came to be, because their episode made it feel as though her leadership had come to pass so suddenly and randomly.

Even Rosita’s anger finally got some closure. During the times that she’s appeared this season, all we see is her huffing and puffing, all angry and distraught. While we understand the reason for this, it doesn’t come off as meaningful as it did during her talk with Father Gabriel. We finally get to see that the anger is fueled by pain and guilt—that it should’ve been her instead of Glenn or Abraham. Because Daryl had tried to save her from Negan’s abuse, which in turn caused Negan to bash in Glenn’s head.

It was a great moment, the kind of silent realization for the audience and also for Rosita. And even something as simple as a pseudo-confession with a priest made me feel that I was finally watching a poignant scene for the first time this season.

Then we also have Daryl. Oh Daryl, the man who gave us a lot of suspense during this episode. After a lot of push and pull and back and forth motion, we finally get to see him spring back into action and escape. And we finally get to see him break. He had always kept his cool, and when he rarely lost it, he would usually still have a lot of reason as to why he did.

But seeing Daryl just attack that man who didn’t seem to have any fight in him at all, and then hear him say that it’s about “getting it all,” we finally get to see what that torturous pop music did to him.

Plots are also running amok within the different communities. Over at the Kingdom, Morgan and Carol are also warned that about a very important thing: the status quo can change soon enough. It can be as easy as the Saviors no longer honoring the deal or as random as what had happened in episode 2, where a wrong look almost sent one of them to the hospital. It’s funny how someone outside of the group is actually the one who plants the seeds that can help Rick and the gang finally take up arms, let the hearts beat once more, so to speak.

There’s also Spencer. He and Rick had been having a lot of odd moments. He had always been opposed to Rick because of the whole “attack the Saviors” fiasco. And up until that moment when Negan just gutted him, I actually thought he was planning something big to turn it around.

The last 15 or so minutes actually had me at the edge of my seat. I’ll leave to you know who it is. Negan’s speech afterwards is just amazing—how do you even twist the situation to make it seem like he was a reasonable guy? But I guess in Negan logic, he is.

Even with all of the guts and thwarted plots scattering the episode, it did end up on a good enough note at the end. Funnily enough, it feels like Rick summarized the entire struggle of the season in just a few lines: Maggie was right about wanting to fight, he was wrong about trying to live it Negan’s way. Now we fight.

It’s a nice wrap-up to the season, and I have to say that this is, in fact, how you set the mood for the things to come. The season premiere had given us a cliffhanger that set the bar too high and the hype too strong with no real emotional feelings that tumbled down to the scattered episodes.

Now, amid the little reunion with few words—Daryl and Rick, Sasha and Rosita, Maggie and the gang—the swelling music, and that little hope that Daryl brought with him, you know something will happen next season. And you know that I’ll be watching again when it returns.

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Gel Galang When she’s not writing about comics, games or the latest gadgets, Gel spends her time indulging in them. She knew that Japan is her spiritual home the moment she set foot in Osaka’s Animate and Jump stores. But until she gets to write her own Gintama, she will remain an avid fan. When she’s not being a nerd online or in her head, she either writes fiction short stories or works on her second passion: Psychology.
@Gel Galang | gel@epicstream.com