Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Finds ‘Something They Need’ to Tee Up a Busy Finale
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Something They Need”:
I’m probably running out of ways to express my inability to picture The Walking Dead with a prolonged conflict on its hands. It certainly isn’t keen to start one, seeing as Season 7 has employed the same stalling tactic as Season 6, to run up its major endgame development into the last possible second. If nothing else, “Something They Need” at least got to check off the Oceanside return and gun boxes, though the reveal that Sasha survived her kamikaze assault on the Sanctuary last week somewhat cheapens its value.
Even then, it’s odd to look at either of those major threads tonight, without wondering if perhaps The Walking Dead’s moral compass isn’t a tad out of alignment. Everyone in Rick’s camp seems strangely comfortable holding dozens of Oceanside women hostage – potentially even killing a few – in order to take their weapons and leave the community entirely defenseless. It’s all in services of the greater good, sure, but by contrast, Sasha ran screaming into an enemy stronghold and killed multiple men, only for Negan to shrug it off, and offer her a position on their team. What a guy, right? It’s downright reasonable how often Rick’s people kill his, compared to the five-or-so lives he’s taken in return.
As far as the visit to Oceanside itself, we’ve known this shoe needed to drop since early in Season 7. The invasion itself was pretty exciting to watch as a reminder of their tactical proficiency, and it was especially cool to see the various women of Oceanside taking up ranks alongside Rick and the others to repel a zombie herd; another case of cannon-fodder characters proving more interesting and diverse than some of the main ones. The mission itself didn’t leave much room for character work, beyond those bizarre running conversations with Carl and Enid, or the check-in on Aaron and Eric’s relationship, neither of which seemed to have any significant payoff beyond filling in some of the quieter moments.
And where the mission to Oceanside at least had a tangible value to the story, I’m less optimistic with the handling of Sasha’s incarceration. The cheap, uncomfortable nature of that attempted rape scene aside, this is now the fourth occasion someone from Rick’s group has been captured and invited to join the Saviors, raising the question of how many outcomes this version could possibly have. Either Sasha tries (and fails) another attack on Negan or winds up with some other inglorious death, and – if we’re losing Sonequa Martin-Green to CBS regardless – the blaze of glory last week was much more fitting. At the most, we learned that Eugene doesn’t have any kind of long con to joining the Saviors, and only made the “correct select” out of his inability to face Negan’s wrath again.
Meanwhile, dancing around all of this was the continued power struggle between Gregory and Maggie, which now looks to be turning violent by the way he held guard over her with a knife, and visibly pondered shoving it into her back. As I said last week, a political power struggle is hardly the crop in need of cultivation with these latter episodes, especially when the most that came of it was Maggie embarrassing Gregory further with his inability to kill walkers. Not to mention, next week will only complicate matters further with whatever bizarre scheme Gregory cooked up that involves a map of Virginia, and a long drive with his assistant.
Obviously, Dwight confirming his intent to defect offers a solid takeaway for “Something They Need,” and I’m not sure why they’d bother with a fake-out of Rick about to execute him. Either way, we’re likely in for one long, and busy finale next week, especially with no major kills under Season 7B’s belt.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Was that tanker always washed up on the shore? Let’s go explore that! Anyone wanna bet on a Fear The Walking Dead connection, while we’re at it?
- We now have the phrase “beach ball-sized lady-nuts.” Thank you, Negan.
- Am I losing my hearing, or were entirely too many scenes inaudible tonight, between Sasha and Eugene speaking through a cell door, or Gregory and Maggie hearing walkers offscreen?
- Exactly how much time was Tara supposed to have to convince Natania to surrender?
- Negan’s totally conning Sasha, right? Let’s just hope she doesn’t wind up with Holly’s fate from the comic.
- I don’t particularly remember Rachel’s rivalry with Tara, but flipping off children is never not funny.
The Walking Dead Season 7 will conclude Sunday, April 2 with “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” airing at 9:00 P.M. on AMC.
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