The one that could have been great, but nah

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People are saying that AMC’s top zombie show isn’t what it used to be, and I largely agree. After that brutal premiere, we got a couple of okay episodes and then a couple of disappointing ones. The Walking Dead’s episode 6 picked up the pace but only focused on Tara’s adventures. Maybe too much. Which makes episode 7, which aired last night, too crowded. It’s also an episode that could have been great, but AMC writers didn’t go for the kill. Beware, major spoilers follow.

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Carl is a reckless teenager, a serial killer in the making, as Negan correctly labels him. And AMC could have made his daring attack a lot more exciting than they did. Carl was able to sneak outside of Alexandria and fool Jesus into leaving the truck. But when it comes to pulling the trigger at Negan, he failed to do so.

Yes, he killed two men in the process. But just imagine how much cooler the episode could have been. Imagine Carl shooting at Negan, with bullets either flying around the villain, grazing his skin, or even piercing an arm. That’s all AMC would have needed to make this episode amazing. Start everything with an unexpected bang, then just leave the entire episode as it is, with Negan surviving the whole incident partially harmed by Carl’s assault.

But no, AMC decided not to be daring. Instead, we got to see Carl playing it safe — why bother to get there if you’re not going to act? But at least we got to see Negan’s massive kingdom.

It’s fairly clear to anyone watching that Negan’s got a tight grip over his people. It’s also clear that he doesn’t have real friends in there, and that all it takes is a spark to ignite a dangerous mutiny.

Speaking of mutinies, Spencer may start one in Alexandria. And he might be entitled to do it, considering that he’s partially right about Rick. The former policeman isn’t always taking the best decisions for his people. At the same time, though, Spencer isn’t in a position to claim any moral high grounds.

Father Gabriel’s evolution is an amazing one. We may have not seen much of him, but he proved to us he’s one of the best additions to the gang. He convinced Negan Maggie was dead, and now he showed tremendous loyalty to Rick in his fatherly chat with Spencer.

Getting back to Rick, I’ll point out that there’s a severe lack of leadership in Alexandria. Let’s recap: Rick and Aaron fly off to a secret mission that nobody knows about, Michonne leaves on her own quest to kill Negan. Carl meanwhile does the same thing, Maggie is still at The Hilltop, and nobody tries to make contact with her. Morgan and Carol are missing in action, and nobody is looking for them. Rosita is on a revenge path of her own. Eugene is broken and worse than he’s ever been.

In other words, Alexandria is in disarray. They may have talked about the way things are, but they did not come up with a cohesive plan to survive the new world order. Why is it that nobody else goes after supply? Why is it that nobody is tasked with reaching Maggie? Why is it that people can leave the town whenever they please without nobody knowing it happens – I’m looking at you, Carl and Michonne.

It doesn’t help us that the writers do not help us understand the Alexandrians. How much time did it pass since Negan killed Glenn and Abraham? A few days? More than a week? Because we’re always switching back and forth between plots and subplots that only focus on a few characters, it’s getting harder and harder to keep a timeline.

Time is an important element when it comes to dealing with traumatic experiences such as the encounter with Negan. It’s only natural to assume that everyone is in shock after that night. But the more time passes, the clear the mind should be, and the clearer the following actions. There’s no clarity in what Alexandria is doing as a group. Negan shouldn’t be afraid of a riot anytime soon. Well, aside from Carl’s outburst.

Also, who on earth goes through the trouble of creating massive stashes of supplies and writing about them in Latin, while also trying to survive in this particular zombie-filled environment? That’s something else the writers will hopefully explain in greater detail soon.

Unlike other episodes in season 7, this episode has plenty of characters in it, and it’s certainly better than last week’s unexpected ode to Tara.

Episode 7 also does a great job showing us the Saviors in their element. They’re all utterly afraid of Negan. The scene where Negan scars a man who didn’t obey the rules with an iron practically explains what happened to Dwight. And shows us why Negan is so respected, as he likes to describe it.

One other thing that’s clearer and clearer about Negan is that he’s a great judge of character. He knows how to make people do his bidding, and he recognizes great potential. Rick, Daryl, and Carl all have potential for him. But they all need to be broken.

Alexandria, might not be that organized at this point in time, but the Saviors are a force to be reckoned with. But that’s as long as Negan lives. And make no mistake, there’s something brewing too with the Saviors. Dwight is clearly unhappy with his life but sees no way out for the time being.

As I said a few episodes ago, Daryl might be the way out for Dwight. And I can’t but wonder who sent Daryl that “go now” message. Is it Jesus? Dwight? Or Dwight’s ex-wife Sherry?

All in all episode 7 was a lot better than other episodes and sets us up for what could be a great mid-season finale. I just don’t want to get my hopes up.

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See the original version of this article on BGR.com



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