The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 10 review – New Best Friends
This week episode of The Walking Dead explores the Kingdom community more thoroughly by means of Daryl’s interactions with key members. Richard has a strategy he believes will convince Ezekiel to take on the Saviors, but finds that Daryl is less than enthusiastic about his approach. Meanwhile Rick and company attempt to recruit a new group in their fight against the saviors, however they want something in return.
Things become uneasy between the Kingdom and the Saviors during an pick-up when Richard yet again causes conflict, and it’s made clear that their peaceful exchanges aren’t going to endure much longer. Upon returning, Daryl questions them has words with Morgan, declaring that Carol would want to fight the Saviors if she hadn’t left and knew what they had done. He then gets recruited by Richard to aid in a plan that will convince King Ezekiel to make a stand against the Saviors.
It seems like a promising union until Daryl learns that his plan involves getting Carol killed in an effort to trigger a response in Ezekiel. This is a really tense scene and both actors really stand out here, furthermore Bear McCreary’s composition really sets the tone impeccably. The two come to blows over the situation, resulting in Daryl bailing on Richard, though this doesn’t seem to deter him in the least. His resolve is impressive and he’s a compelling character, I only hope they reveal why he’s so determined to take on the Saviors before he inevitably gets killed off (I do hope I’m wrong here, as Richard is quickly becoming one of my favorite new additions). It would be great to know what motivates him, as he clearly sees the opposing group as more of a threat that his companions. With any luck we’ll find out his story in the coming weeks.
Back at the junkyard, Rick and company are told by the new group that they own their lives and asked if they want to “buy them back”. He tells them that the Saviors already own their lives, and should anything happen to them they’re likely to come looking. This is his means of trying to get them to join their fight, but the group’s leader is less than impressed and flat out refuses. It’s not until Gabriel, who had been taken hostage by them (this is loosely explained, more on that in a moment), holds one of them at knifepoint and tells them if they join them and win they could have much of what the Saviors have. Low on supplies, this inspires the group’s leader to consider their request, but first she wants Rick to prove himself. He’s taken to the top of one of the walls consisting of junk and pitched to an enclosed space with a walker covered in spikes. With Michonne’s guidance, who is watching through a pipe, he’s able to defeat the zombie by pulling junk down onto it and then killing it once it’s immobile. But not before injuring himself by getting a spike through his hand. One really has to wonder how many more times they’re going to give Rick a hand injury without actually cutting it off like it is in the comics. Although they’ve stated time and again that they’re not doing so on the show, it seems somewhat inevitable given that Rick’s current physical state in the source material is a key component to his character. But I digress. He wins over the new group, who agree to join their fight…so long as they’re given guns. A lot of them. Soon.
They’re not much for words, this new group. A refreshing change from Negan’s endless dialogue in my opinion. And as much as I feel the show really suffers for having far too many characters, I admittedly find the leader rather intriguing and want to know their story. Where Rick’s group is supposed to find guns is a mystery, given their recent searches for supplies haven’t exactly panned out. I’m lying, it’s not at all a mystery. Tara is inevitably going to have to break her promise and tell the others about Oceanside, and that group will get dragged into the war against the Saviors, as if they haven’t suffered at their hands enough already. But hey, they have a lot of able bodies and even more weapons, so it’s inescapable.
Now, back to the reason Gabriel ended up taken hostage by the new group. Things here are a little muddled and could have been explained a lot better, but the gist is this: the Junkyard group had been watching that boat full of supplies for a long time, waiting for someone else to risk their lives to get them so that they could take them for themselves. They evidently followed them back to Alexandria, saw the Saviors take half the supplies, and waited around to jump Gabriel in the night and take the rest, and then decided to take him as well. Gabriel took a chance at writing “boat” as a message, hoping the group would know what it meant and would find him. What the Junkyard group intended to do with him isn’t exactly clear, and we know very little about them so it’s anyone’s guess at this point. Perhaps they had planned to feed him to the spiky walker? We may never know, but they did state a couple of times that they take and don’t bother. Despite the odds of finding the guns they’re demanding, Rick seems oddly optimistic about their new found friends. Gabriel asked what made him so sure under the circumstances, and Rick states that someone, meaning Gabriel, showed him that enemies can become friends. Despite finding the newcomers riveting, I’m far more skeptical.
Later in the episode Daryl manages to find Carol’s cottage and the two have a heartfelt reunion. She explains to him that the reason she left is because if she has to continue to kill for those she cares for that it will take what little humanity is left in her. She then asks tearfully what’s happened with the Saviors and if everyone is okay “back home”. Seeing how broken she is, he chooses to lie to her, telling her the group is fine and that they made a deal with them like the Kingdom has. Carol accepts this explanation and he leaves her in peace. This was an admirable and selfless act on Daryl’s behalf, though I have to wonder what’s really left for Carol’s character at this point. It seems certain that she’ll eventually discover the truth and be forced into doing exactly what she fears. From there I have to wonder if she’ll ultimately meet a similar fate to her comic counterpart after all this time. Morgan commends Daryl for lying to Carol, who states that he knows this is the case otherwise Carol would be there ready to fight. Deciding he doesn’t have a place in the Kingdom, Daryl sets off on foot to return to the Hilltop. This seems like a terrible decision given that the Saviors are out looking for him, not to mention disrespectful to Rick, who told him staying was the safest option. Daryl doesn’t seem to grasp that it wasn’t merely the best option for him, but for anyone he interacts with as it puts them in danger. We’ll see how that plays out in the weeks to come, though Daryl himself if sure to be safe from any real danger.
Overall this episode was a little underwhelming, though it did have some really great moments. Moreover, it was very character driven, which I always appreciate. With only six episodes left of the season, it will be interesting to see how the world builds and in what ways the groups converge in their effort to defeat the Saviors. What do you think will be the catalyst for getting Ezekiel to join the war? My money is still on Ben.
Image credits: AMC, FOX