The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 12 review – Say Yes
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead follows Rick and Michonne on a supply run in an effort to find guns to deliver on their promise to the Junkyard group. Back in Alexandra both Tara and Rosita are struggling with moral decisions. Although there were some endearing moments, exhilarating action sequences, and the episode demonstrates a more hopeful tone than usual, the narrative still plods along with only four episodes left of the season. Furthermore, the series well renowned for it’s remarkable special effects manages to display the most unforgivably poor cgi it’s exhibited to date, as well as some downright ludicrous writing decisions. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
Rick and Michonne’s journey to find supplies and guns is admittedly endearing. It’s refreshing to see the pair interacting as a happy couple, and their optimism regarding the future is certainly welcome and a much needed theme for the series, especially this season. However, as with any instances on the show when things are going well, it was impossible not to anticipate that things are about to go horribly wrong at any moment. This where things begin to get muddled.
The pair happens upon a fenced in building with a nearby carnival, where the walkers enclosed are both civilians and military personnel who are conveniently still carrying their weapons. I can’t imagine a scenario in which this makes sense, because no carnival I’ve ever been to had a slew of armed forces on hand, but to top it off there are no child zombies anywhere in sight at any point during these scenes. I don’t know who all those adults were trying to win teddy bears for, but whatever. Rick and Michonne take all this in from the roof of the building, which they ultimately end up falling through. It’s a grim moment until you hear them laughing and learn that they’ve landed on a mattress. Then they discover that the building is advantageously stocked full of canned goods and ready to eat military rations. Planning to take out the walkers and retrieve the weapons the following day, they engorge themselves on the food and imagine reinventing the new world with themselves as the leaders, working amiably alongside the other communities after they’ve defeated the Saviors.
As if aspects of this scenario aren’t preposterous enough, the events that transpire the following day are downright insulting to the audience. The pair decide they need to close a gap in the fence by blocking it with a car, but overshoot due to the car not having functional brakes. Michonne, who was pushing the vehicle, hops into the open trunk and shuts it, with Rick trapped in the driver’s seat. As luck would have it, the car has a sunroof and Rick climbs out and starts taking out the walkers that have surrounded them. For a moment we’re left wondering how he’ll handle them all without Michonne and manage to rescue her from the trunk, then suddenly there she is, also climbing out of the roof. Now, admittedly I don’t know shit about cars, but I don’t know many older vehicles in which you can exit the trunk from the backseat. But let’s just pretend that’s a normal thing (and maybe it is, like I said I’m clueless here). We’ll let this detail slide, because things get more ridiculous from here on.
They continue to dispatch walkers while also trying, and failing, to block them off with various items to create distance so they can handle them carefully. Deciding to split up so they can manage smaller group separately, Michonne ends up at a slide with a gate between her and the dead and is handling herself like the pro that she is. Rick takes refuge behind a gate at a ferris wheel, and all is going well until he spots a deer nearby that they’d been following earlier in the episode. Now, this scenario is completely inane, because anyone with the most basic knowledge of wildlife knows that deer are incredibly skittish. With all the commotion they’d caused in the moments leading up to this scene, there’s no way in hell that deer would have stuck around. We’re talking multiple gunshots, crashing, banging, walkers growling, yelling, etc. And that’s not even the worst part. The deer itself is exasperating because it’s absolutely the worst special effects the series has ever exhibited to date. If they’d photoshopped Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in there instead (yes, the classic animated one from the ’60’s), it would probably have been more convincing. This thing looks like it was…idk…somehow maybe airbrushed in there by an ameture as an afterthought. Moreover, the deer shown previously in the episode was actually real, so why the need for the shittiest cgi animal ever created? Oh right, because no deer in existence would actually stay put in that situation. I’ve made my point here, let’s move on.
Rick then makes the foolish decision to climb the ferris wheel to try to kill it, because he told Michonne he owed her a deer (since he gave the one she killed earlier in the season to the Saviors). Walkers are closing in on the goofy looking animal, which is still just hanging around grazing despite all the growling stinky dead coming at it. As Rick raises his gun to aim, the critter runs off and he somehow manages to fall off the ferris wheel to the general location of the deer. Seeing this, Michonne runs in his direction, and upon getting there sees the walkers huddled on the ground consuming a messy pile of guts. Not knowing about the deer, she naturally assumes it’s Rick they’re devouring and goes into a state of shock, dropping her Katana and more or less paralyzed from shock.
Her reaction is indeed moving, credit to Danai’s acting skills and also to composer Bear McCreary whose score here is as brilliant and effective as ever. Unfortunately what could have been an impactful moment is entirely lost on the audience. What are we supposed to feel here? We know Rick is fine, because unlike Michonne we saw the deer. Unless we’re presumed by the writers to have fallen for another bait and switch and think Rick had actually died here? Not a chance. Maybe, had this scenario happened to less prominent characters, that might be the case. But there’s no real sense of danger here, because certain characters do have longevity, and no half assed bait and switch will ever convince me or any longtime viewer otherwise. What had been a really entertaining sequence completely fizzles out, and seconds later Rick busts out of his hiding place and tosses Michonne her katana and they take out the rest of the walkers, collect the weapons, and head toward home. Much to Rick’s frustration, who throughout the episode keeps declaring that they should stay out longer. I’m not sure what his logic is supposed to be here, knowing how bad off Alexandria is for supplies and that Negan and company could show up whenever. Anyway, Michonne is still in a state of shock, and having thought she lost Rick seems to begin questioning whether or not they should be gearing up for a fight. Rick has to convince her that she’s the one who convinced him that this is the right move. Round and round we go, it’s all so redundant, really.
The group winds up back at the junkyard, delivering 63 weapons to Jadis and her crew. Turns out this isn’t nearly enough for their liking, and they demand twice that, soon. Rick insists they need to keep ten of the weapons so they can go out looking for more, she says five. And they go back and forth like this for a minute. Then here’s where it gets truly nonsensical. He’s talked her up to nine, but she wants the cat sculpture he stole back. Rick’s not about to give the cat he stole for his lady back, so he says “Twenty, and I keep the cat. Say yes.” And, I kid you not, she actually says yes. So he’s doubled his original request, he’s not giving back the cat, and somehow this is a resolution. Go figure. I sure as shit can’t wrap my head around it. So now the group has to more than double the amount of weapons they’ve found so far, just for the Garbage Pail Kids alone, not even including what they’ll need for themselves. This obviously puts Tara in an awkward situation, realizing she’ll have to tell them about Oceanside, which she’s about to do in a later scene. I guess the heart to heart she had with baby Judith earlier in the episode really ironed that decision out, because toddlers are really great for helping with moral dilemmas. Especially when you have a priest living right there in the community whom you’re friendly with. But nope, that heart to heart was left for Rosita.
Well, not so much a heart to heart as her being hella pissed at him because…he talked her into living? And that’s bad because she didn’t get to kill Negan. She seems to have entirely forgotten the fact that she bullied Eugene into making a bullet for her and took the shot at Negan and missed. But whatever, Gabriel manages to be the only person in the episode with any sound logic. He tells her “You can certainly blame me for having a life, but after that what are you going to do with it? How are you going to make what needs to happen happen? Anything is possible until your heart stops beating.” Her answer to this is disappearing, and we later find her approaching Sasha at the Hilltop. Frustrated with how long it’s taking to remove the rival group, the women make a pact to go to the Savior’s compound kill Negan, knowing that it’s likely a one way trip for both of them. In all likelihood, it’s only a one way trip for Sasha, and Rosita will have to live with that on her conscience too. I’m willing to bet that Sasha will get Holly’s comic death. And they obviously won’t actually succeed in killing him, so we have all of that to look forward to in the remaining episodes.
This episode started out great and had a unique feel and tone, but quickly went downhill with some really absurd choices. That’s not to say that it didn’t have good elements, as I really did enjoy the hopeful aspect, and in all honestly I adored the carnival sequence more than I’d like to admit. It was some of the most fun walker action we’ve been granted in ages. At least up until the failed attempt at portraying a cgi deer. Which isn’t by any means the only poor cgi moment this season, it’s merely the only completely unforgivable one. Especially when they get Ezekiel’s tiger so right. Regardless, the carnival itself was a really unique set and could be a nod to the fair that takes place in the comics, and that may not be the last we see of it. It was also hinted that something major went down there, and I have a feeling we might learn more about that soon. Perhaps it has something to do with the Kingdom group and how Ben’s father died. What’s coming in the remaining episodes is anyone’s guess at this point, however I do hope they feature characters we haven’t seen in ages, such as Maggie, Carl, Enid, and Jesus, among others. The series does well with adapting characters when it takes the time to do so, but always at the expense of completely ignoring others. As ever, there’s no balance there. They’ve moved away from bottle episodes for the most part, however they still manage to only focus on specific characters. My expectations for the rest of the season are low, due to the fact that it’s been mediocre at best so far. But I’m always open to being pleasantly surprised, so here’s hoping. Should they actually succeed at making quality episodes, I’ll be more than happy to give them credit where it’s due and start writing favorable reviews instead of ranting.
Image credits: AMC, FOX