The Walking Dead: season 7 episode 7 review – Sing Me a Song
The Walking Dead‘s seventh season has been hit or miss so far, however this week they finally delivered a decent episode that is likely to please even the most loyal fans of the comic. Carl finally gets more screen time and one of his major arcs from the comic books. Meanwhile, Rick and Aaron are on a mission to find supplies for The Savior’s, Rosita bullies Eugene into making a bullet, Michonne is on a journey of her own, and Spencer convinces himself that he should be leader. Below is our spoiler-heavy review
If you’ve been reading my reviews for this season, you know by now that I’m a dissatisfied viewer more often than not. I even wrote an article recently exploring five critical flaws with the series with suggestions for improvements. The irony of enjoying this episode isn’t lost on me, however I feel that it ultimately confirms some of my complaints as a couple were improved upon this week. My biggest grievance for some time now has been the shows seemingly endless use of bottle episodes, which they finally moved away from with this installment.We were also granted development for characters that we haven’t seen much of for some time.
While we did see several characters on varying missions, the main focus was on Carl for a change. After sneaking into one of The Savior’s trucks at The Hilltop, he finds himself in the company of Jesus. When they seem to be getting close to their compound, Jesus suggests they jump out and continue on foot at a safe distance. Carl is hesitant at first, but then requests that Jesus show him how to do it without getting hurt. Once his companion is safely out of the truck, Carl simply waves and remains where he is until The Savior’s unload the truck. At that point he unloads several bullets into the unsuspecting men, killing two of them. He then declares that he just wants Negan and that nobody else needs to get hurt. The fearsome leader steps around the corner and Carl hesitates, resulting in him being tackled by Dwight. Negan insists that Carl be treated as a guest, and the following scenes that ensue are both intriguing and entertaining.
This sequence is taken directly from the comics with very little difference. Carl is shown around the compound and introduced to Negan’s many wives, and later has a one-on-one conversation with the Negan, who is trying to decide how to punish Carl for killing his men. During this time he makes the teenager remove his bandages and show him his wounded eye and then makes fun of him, causing Carl to cry. He offers what seems to be a sincere apology, but one can never be too sure with Negan. He then makes Carl sing him a song, and the lad chooses “You are my Sunshine”, as it’s one Lori used to sing to him. When Negan inquires what happened to his mother, Carl confesses that he had to put her down before she was able to turn, and Negan seems genuinely fascinated by the kid. Ultimately he decides to bring Carl back to Alexandria, but Rick is still out on a supply run so Negan makes himself at home. Literally, and in Rick’s house. He even rocks baby Judith to sleep on the front porch while waiting for his return. Furthermore he shares scenes with Olivia that are taken directly from the comics, one of which is likely to be a fan favorite. It’s worth noting here that Negan was much more compelling in this episode. While he did have a lot of dialogue, nearly all of it was interactions with other characters so it didn’t come across as his usual endless banter and we saw a more intimate side of him than we have previously.
Daryl is nearby throughout the scenes at the compound and bears witness to much of what transpires between Negan and Carl. He timidly asks why Negan has the boy there, and later makes an idle threat should anything happen to the kid. Despite having spoken up, he’s repeatedly redirected by Dwight and seems to be pretty broken and submissive (I’ve already started calling him Reek). Despite his effort to help Carl being meager, he gets punished for his actions by being locked in the closet again. Toward the end of the episode someone slides a note under the door that tells him to go and contains a key to what is presumably a motorcycle. It’s not revealed who left this for him, and in all likelihood it could be another test to see how he reacts. If it was indeed someone trying to aid him in an escape, it could be either Dwight or Sherry, who both had a lot of screentime this week. Dwight is seen following Negan’s every command, including a dejavu moment when he is made to punish one of The Saviors by putting a hot iron to his face. Sherry seems to be the frontrunner out of Negan’s wives, looking out for the other women and operating as a buffer zone between them and Negan. It’s clear that both her and Dwight resent their current arrangement, though they both seem smart enough to avoid doing anything risky. Which makes them unlikely suspects for helping Daryl. Another possibility is Jesus, who is revealed to have made it into the compound by the end of the episode.
Meanwhile Rick and Aaron discover a camp displaying a warning sign that declares all the weapons the individual residing there has, and how efficient he is with them. It also states that if they’d gotten that far into reading it without being killed that he’s probably dead. Seeing no sing of the person, they ignore the warning and continue onward to discover that the supplies are located inside a boat which is in the center of a pond and surrounded by walkers (props to the special effects team for continually doing new and interesting things with the zombies this season). They’re certainly going to have to work to get the pay off this time, but the scene ended there so I guess we’ll find out another week. Although their scenes were brief, it was enjoyable to see Rick and Aaron get some much needed screen time together, since this has barely since the latter was introduced in season five.
Michonne is on her own journey this week, which consists of walking down the road and drawing walkers out by whistling. She then dispatches them and forms a roadblock with their remains. Later in the episode, a lone female Savior comes upon them and is caught unaware by Michonne who had evidently been waiting for this very scenario. How Michonne knew that any of the Savior’s would travel this specific location or that they would be in small enough numbers for her to manage alone is unclear, not to mention unlikely. Regardless, she gets into the vehicle with the woman and demands that she be taken to Negan. It seems Michonne and Carl are more or less on the same page here, which is of course understandable although there methods are horribly shortsighted.
Speaking of which, Rosita is operating in the same spirit as Carl and Michonne. She insists that Eugene leave Alexandria with her, and they head to the location where he’d planned to set up a shop to make ammunition. She then uses emotional leverage to bully him into making her a single bullet, which she intends on using to singlehandedly eliminate Negan. She later apologizes for her behavior, however Eugene isn’t in a forgiving mood and says he prefers the awkward silence.
Elsewhere Spencer and Father Gabriel are out scavenging until the latter ditches the former due to his unfavorable opinion of Rick’s leadership skills. Spencer seems to believe that he can do a better job and suggests that the community would be better off if Rick didn’t make it back alive. Gabriel tells him that his opinion doesn’t make him a sinner, but it does make him a “tremendous shit”. He then tells Spencer to pull over and ditches him, choosing to walk the distance back to Alexandria over continuing in his company. This is all leading up to an arc Spencer has in the comics, which should play out similarly in the next episode. He intends to disclose to Negan that he would be a better leader than Rick, and the Savior’s leader finds out how much guts the man has.
Overall this week’s episode was more or less what I expect from The Walking Dead but rarely receive. It was absolutely delightful to get screentime and development for several characters, as well as an abundance of content adapted for the source material. If the series could manage this caliber of episodes every week, I just might find myself about fifty percent more into it.
Image credits: AMC, FOX TV