The 6 Best And Worst Things About The Walking Dead Season 7 So Far
Disclaimer: There will be spoilers!
The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale is behind us and hardcore fans may find themselves asking one question: what the hell?! The slow pace of the current season of the zombie apocalypse drama has shaken the confidence of viewers, leading some to ask: is the show running out of steam?
Luckily there are still a few bright moments to save The Walking Dead from total failure. The following is a breakdown of the strengths and weakness of the first 8 episodes of Season 7 of The Walking Dead.
Flop #1 – Bottle episodes
A "bottle episode" is an episode that uses as few cast members or locations as possible. They focus on character building at a slower pace than regular episodes. The Walking Dead has used bottle episodes in the past, like Season 6’s “Here’s Not Here.” It was a strong episode giving us an in-depth look at Morgan. It showed his progression from crazy homicidal dude to someone that likes to talk about how "all life is precious."
Season 7 has had 4 bottle episodes. They have shown different groups that will play a role in the war with the Saviors. The episodes aren’t terrible, but they have ground the plot to a halt. The Saviors are the most dangerous group the survivors have faced yet, but the show has given viewers a lull instead of action. Bottle episodes should be a break in pace, yet Season 7 has seen them become the primary method of storytelling.
Success #1 – The show feels more epic in scope (when they do it right)
The last two episodes of Season 7 have moved away from the bottle episodes to show us that the creators of the show still have a few aces up their sleeves. Episode 7 shows the Sanctuary and different groups of Alexandrians. Episode 8 also adds our friends from the Hilltop and the Kingdom into the mix. Every scene is meaningful, as opposed to bottle episodes where we get a couple of minutes of Tara walking around (but hey, at least she found a cool pair of shades). In its best moments the show made me think of Game of Thrones, a series that has a large cast that is well used. Is that kind of epic scope the future for The Walking Dead? It might be, but that doesn’t make Season 7’s stretch of bottle episodes any less painful.
Flop #2 – Asking viewers to suspend too much disbelief
Realism is hard to ask of a show that centers around a zombie apocalypse. Even still, characters and their motivations should at least feel real. There are times this season where The Walking Dead feels more campy than dramatic. Take Ezekiel, the man who calls himself a king, who talks in Shakespearean English and has a pet tiger to boot.
Another example is Spencer’s note in Latin from Episode 7. He finds a note written in Latin on a walker but he’s in luck because guess what – the guy just happens to know Latin. Forget that he had just left the priest Father Gabriel, who could reasonably know some Latin from his religious education. Why did the letter have to be in Latin in the first place? The situation felt contrived, hinging on the statement that "his mother thought it would be useful in the future." Couldn't the writers find a better way to communicate that he thought his mother was a better leader than Rick (and apparently a psychic)?
Also, don’t give the characters so many opportunities to kill Negan if they aren’t going to take them! Carl went to the Savior’s base, the Sanctuary, with the sole intention of killing Negan. When he has a loaded assault rifle pointed at the man, he decides not to go for the shot? The show needs to be dramatic but some of the situations are asking a bit much of the audience.