The Walking Dead - Hearts Still Beating | Review
The Walking Dead - Hearts Still Beating (S07E08)
Full spoilers ahead.
As the late Abraham Ford would say, this episode was (eventually) the "bitch nutz!". The gang, or whats left of them is finally back together and they've even got new squad goals that just about everyone is invested in!
The episode in general was a little all over the place, and probably a bit long in parts. At the end of the day though, they managed to tie-up lots of loose ends and get most of the characters refocussed on a joint goal of defeating Negan and The Saviours (even if we won't see that start to come to fruition until next year).
After having largely character-driven episodes for most of the season it was almost a bit of a shock flicking through all of the different Walking Dead characters I haven't seen in a while. Even though this shouldn't be possible, I almost forgot about Maggie and Sasha being at Hilltop and that Morgan was still hanging out with Carol at The Kingdom.
As anticipated though, we had a couple of mid-season character deaths, some expected and others not so much:
The first casualty was the rather likeable, but unfortunately on the wrong team, 'Fat Joey'.
Joey is one of Negan's men and unfortunately came across Daryl as he was trying to escape. I have mixed feelings about Joey's death. I didn't think he had to die, especially the way that Daryl killed him. It was a pure retribution kill, but did Joey really deserve that? As he stated, he's "just trying to get by like everyone else". I think the reason I'm not sure about this death is because this is what separates the 'good guys' from the 'bad guys', but I guess this is kind of the point of The Walking Dead, it's just one giant grey area. RIP Fat Joey.
Spencer has had it coming since we first met him a few seasons ago. Negan was 100% right to kill him. Rick may have that grim look on his face when he's in Negan's presence, but he's out there earning. Spencer is practicing pick-up lines in the mirror while ironing his favourite chinos.
If it wasn't Negan killing Spencer it was going to be Rick.
Old Negan is pretty hard on Oliva - she can't help being big-boned. It was a little bit of a shock to have two character deaths in Alexandria so closely together, but it's another no love lost situation. Olivia is way too #cryface to live in a zombie infested world.
Daryl managed to escape The Saviours base after being held captive and forced to listen to Easy Street and eat dog food sandwiches for the last seven episodes. It does beg the question though - at what cost?
If I was Negan, I would be driving straight back to Alexandria/Hilltop and start raising hell until Daryl surrenders himself. I don't think it's quite as simple as you get away and everyone forgets about you. This is going to come at a cost and probably a high one.
Much respect for Daryl managing to not only escape, but also have time to; (A) eat a tub of peanut butter (B) get his best friends gun back! and (C) find the keys to his motorcycle.
Positioning The Kingdom
I don't know what it is, but it gets me every time. Carol's persona of the helpless woman is great. It's good to see that's still a thing.
Although we didn't get to see Ezekiel again this season, we already know that The Kingdom isn't happy with The Saviours 'tax' system. Although Carol wants to retire to her cottage in the Orchard, it's probably only going to take a few lines of dialogue between Rick, Morgan and Maggie to get Carol re-activated as the groups number-one badass.
I would say the introduction of Rick & Co to The Kingdom will happen early next year but this fight/war/uprising with The Saviours might come to a head sooner than expected with Daryl's escape.
Rosita & Eugene aka Haircut
I really didn't want to like Father Gabriel, but his role as the voice of reason is really starting to pay-off. He's still creepy AF but his general annoyance level is much lower than usual.
Unfortunately for all the good intent behind Father Gabriel's message to Rosita, she still decided she needed to kill Negan, a move that cost Olivia her life, and cost Alexandria there number one mullet owner and bullet maker, Eugene.
I don't think Eugene is going to hold-up quite as well as Daryl back at The Saviours Camp.
Final 10 minutes
What shifted this episode of The Walking Dead from a three raven rating to a four really only happened in the final ten minutes of the episode.
I was genuinely excited to see Rick get his purpose and passion back. It's almost like the writers felt like they had to break Rick before they could rebuild him.
Secondly, having Rick, Michonne, Carl and Rosita turn up at Hilltop was fantastic. It really reminded me of how important these characters are to one another. Then they roll out Daryl and Jesus! And Daryl has Ricks gun, and that bro-mance hug between them... sheesh it was great!
I've said it at the start and I'll say it again, it might have been a rocky season so far but I think we're in a good place to move forward!
- Did Michonne kill her hostage? 'Silencers in the glove box'". Michonne has a katana sword, she doesn't need a silencer!
- Whose boots did we see on the river bank watching Rick? Was it the group of old sea crones from the earlier episode? Was it one of Negan's men making sure than Rick wasn't hoarding supplies. Was it the original boat owner? Is it a new threat? So many possibilities.
- Are there Saviours who would turn on Negan? I'm starting to think there might be...
- What's the deal with that Prison Cell in Alexandria (the one that Morgan built). Whose going in there? Negan? I feel like that end scene with Rick and Michonne was filmed in that cell for a reason.
The Walking Dead has officially hit that mid-season break point and won't be returning to our screens until February 2017. Keep it locked on Night Gathers as Hilltop, The Kingdom and Alexandria prepare for war with Negan and The Saviours.
The season started strong, got the speed wobbles midway through and has now mostly course-corrected. Can't wait to see where The Walking Dead takes us next.
- Turns out Spencer Munroe does have guts
- One less mouth to feed - sorry Olivia, you're not cut out for The Walking Dead Universe
- Daryl's escape (even though that will come at a cost)
- That last scene with Rick & Daryl reuniting #demfeels
- Rick got his gun back!
- Clean finishing point for the mid-season break
- Slow start to the episode, but eventually all the story lines gained a shared focus point
- Fat Joey didn't need to die
- We saw so many characters tonight I actually forgot some of them existed