The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 14 review – The Other Side
This week The Walking Dead finally returns to the Hilltop and gives much needed screen time to Maggie, Sasha, Enid, Jesus and others. Unfortunately the result is an absolute snorefest and the opening sequence, which is well over 5 minutes long, has absolutely no dialogue. Zero, zilch, nada. The episode gets mildly interesting when members of The Saviors show up for a surprise visit, but the truly redeeming scenes are between Sasha and Rosita when they form a two-woman-army to take out Negan. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
Maggie is really settling in and taking on a leadership role at the Hilltop, and among the opening scenes we see her teaching the community to use weapons that are made on site. She also spends time bonding with Jesus, who shares a bit of his past with her. We learn that he grew up in a group home and never felt like he belonged, which is why he was always out scavenging and recruiting people instead of remaining at the Hilltop. He reveals that he never felt close to anyone, even neighbors, friends and boyfriends. This confirms that his sexualaty is equivellant to his comic counterpart, something many comic readers have been wondering since his introduction into the series. Even this minor development is refreshing, since up until now we’ve learned very little about him despite his character having a fair amount of screentime.
Meanwhile Sasha prepares for attacking Negan’s compound by drawing a map, and Jesus later aids her by filling in what details he knows. Rosita shows up and we see a different angle of the scene in which she approaches Sasha about taking out Negan. Jesus realizes what they’re about to do and tries to talk Sasha out of it, declaring that Maggie needs her. Sasha can’t be deterred and states that Rosita’s going with or without her and says she shouldn’t go alone. Jesus and Enid both offer to go along, but Sasha insists that they’re the ones Maggie needs. They ask that she at least tell Maggie about the plan, which Sasha is reluctant to do in fear that Maggie will want to go along. Here Enid and Sasha share a heartfelt moment, and it’s clear that the younger woman is truly loyal to Maggie, as she tells Sasha that she’ll give her 10 minutes before she tells Maggie everything. She never gets the chance however, because Simon’s group of Saviors show up unannounced and things briefly get chaotic.
Since the Saviors think Maggie is dead (I need to reiterate what a terrible plan this was, and I still feel it will inevitably backfire) and are clueless to the fact that the Hilltop is harboring Daryl, the two have to be hidden. Enid aids them by hiding them in the cellar and trying to deter any Saviors from entering, which it turns out she’s not so great at. One of the Saviors ends up entering the cellar, but after a marginally intense moment or two in which Daryl nearly comes out of hiding and kills him, the Savior leaves just as clueless as he entered.
Maggie confronts Daryl about almost killing the man, and Daryl declares that the Savior deserves to die. She then asks why he hasn’t said a word to her since his arrival, and Daryl reveals that he blames himself for causing Glenn’s death. Maggie insists that it wasn’t his fault and tells him Glenn thought that he was one of the good things in this world, and says that Glenn would know because he was one of the good things too. And then the pregnant and grieving widow has to hug and coddle poor Daryl like some wounded puppy. I have to be completely honest here, I’m getting really sick of this show constantly making everything about Daryl’s emotional state when all of the other characters have been through at least as much if not more. The amount of fanservice the series grants to his character is downright nauseating. Clearly that’s not going to change anytime soon, but I had to get it off my chest. That said, let’s move on.
Simon and his gang have a chat with Gregory and reveal why they’ve arrived unexpectedly. It turns out they’ve come to take the Hilltop’s doctor back to the Sanctuary, since Negan killed theirs and they’re now in need of one. Dr. Carson from the Hilltop happened to be the brother of the doctor Negan killed, and this is how he learns of the death of his only remaining family member. He’s now forced to join the very group that killed his only brother, however he seems to take it all in stride and insists that Gregory find other arrangements for his patients. Hopefully this comes into play later, as it’s unlikely he’ll be a loyal member of the Saviors.
Gregory and Simon have a great moment in which the Hilltop leader insinuates that there might be people in the community who will try to take over and won’t be as cooperative as he is. In his own way Gregory is trying to make a case to keep their doctor as a means of keeping his people’s trust. But in the meantime he’s also forming a backup plan should he be removed from power. Simon isn’t about to leave the doctor behind, but states that he isn’t insensitive to Gregory’s concerns and gives him an address should Gregory feel the need to meet and discuss the matter further. It’s unlikely that Simon would give the location of the Sanctuary to Gregory, so it’s probably to an outpost that is run by himself. As unlikeable as both of these characters are, which is by design, their scenes are always fantastic and wildly entertaining. Both actors are truly captivating and do a stellar job at portraying their characters, and this is easily one of the best scenes of the episode.
During the commotion of Simon’s group arriving, Sasha and Rosita sneak out a hidden exit and make their way toward the Saviors compound. Tension is high between the ladies, and even with their shared mission they can’t manage to set aside their differences and get along. Even after deciding to only discuss the task at hand, they still can’t agree on how they want to go about it. Sasha wants to hide out in a nearby building and take her shot when she gets the opportunity, while Rosita insists that they need to enter the Sanctuary or they’ll never get close enough. Knowing she’s a good shot and hoping they might even make it out of there alive, Sasha has the better argument. She declares that if they miss from outside, they could still get another chance. However if they go in and get caught, there’s no way they make it out of there alive and their mission could fail. Rosita goes along with it for the time being and they hole up in nearby building where they finally have a heart to heart and form a mutual respect for one another. Rosita even opens up and reveals some of her past, explaining how she managed to become skilled in so many different areas. This is the scene I’ve wanted for them this entire season and it’s a very moving moment. By the time they’re telling one another they’ve got each others backs no matter what, I can’t help but root for them despite knowing better. However it’s bittersweet, because much like the last conversation between Abraham and Eugene, it feels very final.
Speaking of Eugene, the duo spot him giving orders within the compound and assume he’s making a play in order to stay alive. Listening in on the walkie talkie that Jesus took from the Saviors, they hear him make an order to acquire more walkers that are needed to protect the fence. Realizing they’re likely to be found, they decide they have to go in after all. Under the cover of darkness, they begin cutting their way through a fence where Eugene is walking with another man. After killing his companion, they declare that they’re rescuing him. Much to their surprise he states that he didn’t ask to be rescued and he runs back into the building. Once they’ve nearly cut through the fence, Sasha tells Rosita to be on the lookout while she finishes up. Here she tricks the other woman by clasping it shut so that Rosita is unable join her. Sasha tells her to go and that it’s not her time, then turns and runs into the building. That’s the last we see of her, though gunfire can be heard from inside. Rosita is furious but is out of options and forced to run. The last image we see of her finds her stopped in her tracks and standing before the silhouette of Dwight. I’m certainly curious to see how Dwight reacts in this situation, as we know he doesn’t exactly feel loyal to Negan. I would love for this to be the point in which we learn he’s willing to aid Rick’s group, but I might be jumping the gun there.
At least one of these women won’t survive the season, and despite the repeated theme that Rosita is more than willing to die to complete their mission, it’s pretty clear throughout the episode that it will be Sasha who doesn’t make it. As I’ve said before in a previous review, I feel as if they’re setting her up to receive an adaptation of Holly’s death from the comics. Since she embodied some of Holly’s characteristics and is in a situation that places her in a similar scenario, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch at this point.
While there were some really great moments in this episode, the pace was dreadfully slow and much of the content felt like filler. At this point of the season, with only 2 episodes remaining, I expected it to be more climactic. The series still has several storylines that need to culminate in the remaining episodes in order to finish out the season in a way that’s even remotely satisfying. Here’s hoping the penultimate episode and finale deliver.
Image credits: AMC, FOX