The Walking Dead: ‘Hearts Still Beating’ Review (S07E08)
Your reaction to this week’s THE WALKING DEAD mid season finale will depend entirely on how much confidence you have in the show. If you believe that that the show consistently makes the right narrative decisions and will progress down a path that will improve the show — you will be pleased. If however, you think TWD has no idea what the right thing to do is, consistently drops the ball on character decisions and doesn’t know what is in its own best interest — you will be looking at episode eight with way more trepidation.
Only one of these conclusions is the correct one.
On one hand, this instalment saw the death of two characters, neither of them major, but regardless, in Spencer and…. urmm…. that woman… now being dead, there are two less annoying/bad/’who gives a crap’ characters left to worry about. In that respect the Negan rampage continues, the Don Quixote quest marches on and TWD will be a slightly — very slightly — better place for it. This is good news. There is no doubt about it. On the other hand, any chance missed to slay a major character in this show is a chance that is missed. When there are characters of relative worth like Carl, Carol, Morgan, and to a lesser extent Sasha or Eugene, available to be eradicated, wasting valuable time on killing characters that people wouldn’t remember existed if they never showed up again, is extremely annoying.
Given that this week’s victims are actually people that needed to die, that these are characters that the show will be better off without, this wasn’t an entirely heinous decision. Or rather it won’t be an entirely heinous decision if during the rest of the season we now build to more and bigger character deaths. If the show now uses the time it has, and the situation of the big looming battle between the Saviors and the Alexandrians, to further trim the fat and dispose of the unwanted, then this will all be fine. If by the end of the season we have these two characters dead, Glen, Abraham and perhaps two other main stays gone, along with some other nobodies, then Season 7 will have been a mighty success — at least in terms of this crusade.
However, I personally have no confidence this will happen. And I have no confidence this will happen because I am somebody who watches this show. People with eyes know what this show is like and know they will let us down. Can they prove us wrong? Sure. Will they? I doubt it. The show has created itself the opportunity to allow change to occur. The stage has been set after this week, after Rick finally took the steps to fight back following Negan’s bullying and arbitrary murders of his friends. There is a fight coming and there should — I stress ‘SHOULD’ — be plenty of casualties. One can only hope.
Asides from the aforementioned, this week was a pretty tame episode. The vast majority of proceedings were dull, uneventful, clumsy and clunky. So it was a pretty routine affair for THE WALKING DEAD. Rick and Aaron got some guns for Negan which didn’t impact the story at all. Carol was boring and annoying when she told people to leave her alone when confronted with the chance to fight the Saviors. Oh and Daryl escaped… it was a letdown and made no sense that he was able to flee so easily. It was all very meh and it was all very disappointing for what we expect from a mid season finale. The best moments (relatively) came when Negan gutted Spencer for trying to usurp Rick which then led to Rosita trying to shoot Negan, which then lead to Eugene being taken away to make bullets for the Saviors. This episode could have and should have been twenty minutes shorter. It wasn’t though and we got what we got.
So, when looking forward to the shows return in the New Year, things are pretty hard to predict in terms of plotting. What should happen probably won’t happen. The storylines that seemed interesting will probably be forgotten — i.e. Negan’s seduction of Carl (already over?). What is predictable though is that TWD will continue to be TWD. We can only hope for the best and hope to come out slightly on top — on top being more character deaths than character additions. All fingers will be crossed. What a ride.
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