The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 5 review – Go Getters
Season seven of The Walking Dead is well underway, and characteristically most of the episodes have been bottle episodes that focus on one specific group. This week finally stepped away from that, showing characters from both Alexandria and The Hilltop. We finally learn how Maggie and Sasha are holding up the brutal loss of their significant others, and Carl and Enid have a heartwarming adventure to The Hilltop. While I’ve been rather critical of previous episodes this season, this week’s installment reminded me that the show is still capable of greatness. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
Admittedly, this episode wasn’t perfect. Occasionally the dialogue felt forced and there were moments that were mawkishly sentimental, but I loved every minute of it. Maggie and Sasha have taken refuge at the Hilltop, and despite being devastated by the loss of her husband and complications with her pregnancy, we learn that Maggie will be okay. Hilltop resident Doctor Carson informs her that she needs to take things easy, and suggests that she remain there until her child’s birth so he can be close at hand if needed. Sasha is understanding and decides to remain in the community with her. The pair have several heartwarming scenes together, bonding over their mutual loss and being supportive of one another. Positive female interactions, or any at all for that matter, is something the series has been seriously lacking since it’s inception, so it was stimulating that they finally delivered on that front. Jesus is kindly toward both women and encourages them to stay, however the community leader isn’t as readily given to the notion and spends the entire episode being a cocky and cowardly jackass. The fact that I can’t stand the sight of Gregory pays tribute to actor Xander Berkeley, who was perfectly cast in the role.
After mumbling on about plausible deniability in regard to the possibility of The Savior’s finding out about the deal he made with Alexandria, Gregory agrees to allow the ladies to stay until morning. During the night, The Saviors sneak in undetected and wreak havoc on the community by opening the gates, lighting fires, and blaring music in an impenetrable vehicle to draw walkers in. Waking to the commotion, Sasha and Maggie aid in containing the situation. The two combined with Jesus have some seriously bad-ass moments, but the most epic part of this sequence occurs when Maggie drives an enormous tractor over several walkers and crushes the vehicle in an effort to stop the music. Why she would risk her pregnancy to commit such an act is questionable, nevertheless she’s grieving and her heart is in the right place, so we’ll cut her some slack.
The following morning The Saviors arrive and a one on one meeting between Simon, Negan’s right-hand-man, and Gregory transpiers. The scenes that ensue aren’t worth getting into, as it’s politics apocalyps style. As usual Gregory plays the smarmy but clever politician, and The Saviors are reminding everyone who’s boss. It is worth noting that Simon is entirely captivating and one of the most delightful villains I’ve ever witnessed on the small screen. Hat’s off to Steven Ogg’s performance, as I actually prefer his character over Negan. His sense of humor is actually comical, whereas Negan perpetually being enamored with himself is dreadfully boring. Gregory proves just how low he really is when he gives he gives up Maggie and Sasha’s location. To his frustration, Jesus expected as much and hid them elsewhere, so all Simon discovers is the leaders stash of high-end liquor, which he takes as a gift for Negan. Once they’re absent, Jesus steps up and threatens to reveal the deal made with Rick’s group so that Gregory can no longer argue plausible deniability. Without any viable options, Gregory agrees to allow the women to stay. Maggie is confrontational with him and her leadership skills really stand out in this episode, insinuating that the series plans to have her take on her comic role as leader of the Hilltop at some point in the future.
Meanwhile in Alexandria, Carl refuses to join Rick and Aaron on their mission to gather supplies for The Saviors. He’s not shy about the fact that he’s unaccepting of their new lifestyle, and he later confronts Michonne, insisting that she knows his dad is wrong to give in to their demands. She admits that she may think he’s wrong but declares that she doesn’t know for sure, and heads out on an undisclosed mission of her own. Soon after, Carl spots Enid climbing the wall, as she’s been known to do, and tells her it’s not safe and that he won’t protect her anymore. Determined to get to the Hilltop to check on Maggie, she leaves anyway. Later Carl catches up with her, crashing the car he’s driving in an effort to save her from a walker attack. The pair began walking to the community, until Carl finds two pairs of roller skates in discarded luggage and they skate the rest of the way there. Let’s ignore the unlikeliness of this scenario and just enjoy how sublime it was to see the two of them laughing and being kids for awhile. They also discuss what happened to Glenn and Abraham, and Carl discloses that he’s glad he saw it and didn’t look away. When Enid asks why, he declares that he needed to see it so that he’ll never forget, and reveals that when he has the chance to kill Negan he won’t feel he has a choice. She replies that she thinks she would kill him too, and that she didn’t need to see it but that’s how things are now. When they arrive at the Hilltop, members of The Saviors are outside the gates loading supplies. Enid tries to convince Carl to stay, and he lies to her by telling her he’ll just going to go home. She says she doesn’t want him to go but can’t stop them and they share their first kiss.
After parting ways, Enid visits Glenn’s grave. Maggie is pleased and comforted by her presence, and Enid plans on staying to help out. At this point it’s evident that she’s serving as a replacement for Sophia on the series. For those who don’t read the comics, Sophia survives and is adopted by Glenn and Maggie after her mother’s death. Since she was killed off very early in the series, having Enid play a similar role is a lateral shift, and it’s nice that Carl has someone close to his age that he can relate to. Speaking of Carl, he’s being granted one of his most important arcs from the comics, which should be a fascinating narrative between him and Negan. We last see him hiding out in one of The Savior’s trucks when he’s discovered by Jesus, who’s also hiding out in order to learn the location of The Savior’s compound. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, as Jesus was not a part of this scenario in the comics. However, the Negan and Carl dynamic has always been one of my favorites and one that I find very compelling.
Overall I found this to be an entirely enjoyable episode. While many viewers aren’t very fond of the slower paced scenes, they tend to be among my favorites as they’re necessary to further develop the characters in interesting and meaningful ways. Furthermore they are building new and compelling relationships, which bring a much needed balance to the darker themes of the series. Additionally, I’m always pleased when comic arcs are utilized on the show and fascinated by the unexpected differences.
Image credits: AMC, FOX TV