The Walking Dead - Rock in the Road | Review
On one hand, I'm glad The Walking Dead is back, it's pretty exciting. On the other hand, we're really no further ahead story-wise than where we were in episode eight back in 2016. You know, before Trump was officially President.
The episode started with an interesting scene staring the much loved (or the opposite to that) Father Gabriel. For a micro-second I thought he was going to meet his demise while patrolling the wall...but it was not to be. He did however manage to do a pretty good job cleaning Alexandria out of supplies and taking a vehicle, whilst paying everyone the courtesy of closing the gate before he left (which is a little out of character). The big question is, did he know someone was in the back seat? Was he under duress? Does anyone actually care? Probably not.
On a side note, I did think Father Gabriel was in sole-charge of baby Judith? It really is hard to get a good babysitter these days.
Anyone down for a Col-lab?
Rock in the Road focuses it's energy on Rick & Co. trying to convince his 'allies' that they should team-up and face Negan and The Saviors head-on. As expected, Gregory from Hilltop is a complete coward and not interested in helping. King Ezekiel isn't keen on starting something that puts his people at risk, and even though he definitely has his people's best interests at heart, we all know that he's eventually going to have to change his mind.
What I did appreciate about this weeks episode was (A) seeing the whole gang back together, and (B) how quickly Rick moved around Hilltop > The Kingdom > Alexandria and then to the swamp/junk yard. They really could have dragged that out if they wanted too. Thankfully that wasn't the path chosen and the set pieces were quickly aligned to focus on the bigger story at-play this season - Going to war with The Saviors.
As much as I expected Gregory to be a coward and more interested in self preservation, I almost forgot how painful it was to see the theatrics of King Ezekiel and The Kingdom. I get why he calls himself a King but due to the pomp and ceremony around it all (which is indulged by his people) means it doesn't really feel at home for me in The Walking Dead universe. What it does feel like to me though is a terrible filler episode of Star Gate: Atlantis i.e. there's some left over props from a few years ago, do you think we could make a medieval community that's never really developed...
I don't know, maybe it's the theatrics, or maybe it's the cheesiness. You literally have one story arc where a man is bashing peoples brains out with a baseball bat, and another where a man pays homage to the local community theater by pretending to be an old-timey King. However, when Ezekiel isn't putting on this weird-pedo persona I actually think he seems like a legit nice guy. I could actually empathise with him about why he didn't jump at joining Rick's crusade. My hope is for a less 'cheesy' Ezeikel and more 'let's at least try to be normal' Ezeikel (while the dead walk the earth).
While Rick and Co. were en-route back to Alexandria they did however come across some dynamite set up on a motorway to take out a herd of zombies. Unfortunately I have more questions than answers as to: (A) why anyone would leave that dynamite out for anyone to take and (B) when did herds become so common. Even though we're not here to discuss the rediculous-ness of this plot point because it leads to maybe one of the best zombie killing scenes ever created in The Walking Dead.
If you haven't seen the episode picture this... if you have seen the episode, picture it again...
Two cars. Rick's driving one, Michonne is driving the other. One giant steel cable tied between the two cars (don't ask how, it's not important). A herd of zombies. Both cars driving at pace through the herd cutting hundreds of zombies in half. Blood, guts and more guts everywhere. It was great.
On a serious note though, Rick was pretty careless getting back to the pilot vehicle. It was a 'close' dash between zombies for Rick and Michonne before they made it to safety. Rick did genuinly seem shaken post the event which I think is playing into the whole 'you need to play it smart if you want to win approach'.
Meanwhile back at Alexandria
Meanwhile, thanks to the radio that Jesus supplied to Rick and Co. they only just made it back to Alexandria before Negan's men turned up looking for Daryl. I don't believe for a moment that Negan wouldn't have shown up in person to look for Daryl. In fact it almost felt like Alexandria got off light.
The main reason I think that Negan would have turned up personally is because Daryl was a pet-project during the first half of the season. At the very least, Dwight should have led the search through Alexandria? Also, this guy who works for Negan is also in Westworld. Which begs the question, is this another Westworld universe?
Next week on The Walking Dead
The episode ends with a new faction from the swamp / junkyard surrounding Rick and Co. which felt like the time the Ewoks surrounded Han, Luke, Chewie and C3PO on Endor. More like an annoyance than a real threat.
If you didn't catch it, be sure to check out next week's promo for episode 10.
So that's what I thought about tonight's episode. It was good but it wasn't a standout. Although we're still early days in the second half of the season, I think we've got some big things to come. What did you think? Enjoy it, hate it, love it? Would love to hear your thoughts.
The Walking Dead returns from it's mid season break with an O.K. episode that confirms everything we already knew from the first half of the season.
- I didn't realise Ginsu also made metal cables - RIP that Herd of Zombies.
- The slow return of old school Rick Grimes - The Rick Grimes who stands up for himself and doesn't take crap from anyone. Including smiling when a new gang tries to capture you but you see them as future soldiers in the RG army.
- Despite not a lot of new things happening this episode, lots of ground was covered.
- It was smart leaving Daryl at The Kingdom (even if he did look like a puppy dog saying goodbye to his owner). Plus a Daryl / Carol reunion is fully on the cards.
- The theatrics of the whole King Ezekiel experience. It feels like a terrible Star Gate Atlantis sub-plot.
- We all know King Ezekiel is going to help Rick - Painful.
- I honestly couldn't care less if we didn't see Father Gabriel again - Evil me was hoping he was going to get "no scoped" while he was on look out duty.