Monday, December 12, 2016

The Walking Dead: Season 7 Episode 8 - Hearts Still Beating

Hello friends and welcome to our mid-season 7 finale coverage of The Walking Dead! I think I can speak for the majority when I let out a sigh of relief and say, "FINALLY!!!"  I think we know how show runner Scott Gimple works now.  He has 8 episode groupings and he uses them in strategic fashion.  We got a lot of stand-alone stories that all consolidated into "almost" one by the end of this finale.  So, the next 8 will have a completely different feel to them while still sticking to the theme of season 7.  This episode was another showcase of how awful a person Negan is (yet continually still charming due to the actor playing him).  But, this episode had something that the 7 that preceded it didn't have.  HOPE.  But, sometimes you have to earn a chance to see that hope.  This was a painful run of episodes to get through.  But, like some of the other slowest and grueling parts of the series, it increases your investment in the payoff episodes like this.  Whether it was a good enough payoff for everyone?  I can't answer that!  But, I enjoyed the episode and am excited to start kicking some Savior butt!  Let's dive in!

Discussion Points

I was going to recap each character's individual story.  But, let's summarize with a bullet each and move on to the main conflict. 

Character Catch-Up
  • Maggie and Sasha have become "famous" at hilltop and people are lobbying for Maggie to run for president.   Gregory had a side chat with Maggie telling her not to let it go to her head.  
  • Enid called BS on Sasha taking to Maggie about Jesus leaving Hilltop.  Sasha wants to protect Maggie and thinks it's only her that wants to take the fight to Negan.  Enid assures her it isn't. 
  • Daryl took advantage of his escape note.  We didn't find out who helped him.  Had to be an insider. Dwight or his ex-wife.  I don't think it was Jesus because Daryl told him he had the key to the motorcycle.  Daryl killed Fat Joe.  RIP.   It was kind of rough as Joe said he's just trying to get by.  It's a hint at how most of the saviors are just following Negan because they have to.  At the same time, after what Daryl has gone through you can imagine he wasn't taking any chances.  He also found Rick's python bolstered in Joe's pants.   Fun fact from Talking Dead: Norman Reedus hates peanut butter.  So, he did some amazing acting in this episode! 
  • Rick/Aaron made their way to the supplies in the biggest walker event of the night.  Seemed like a little nod to the Star Wars Trash Compactor scene when Aaron fell into the walker infested waters only to appear unscathed later on.  (I'm sure it will be pointed out to me that many films and TV shows use this bit other than Star Wars...but come on guys.  It's ROGUE ONE week!)  Rick and Aaron get the supplies which apparently were a lot of guns with no ammo.  There was also a friendly "F U YOU LOSE" note for them when they got there too.   And we caught the first glimpse of a mysterious boot.  Someone is stalking Rick and the Alexandria crew!  (Robert Kirkman says this is a setup for a big part of the 2nd half of the season) 
  • Carol is trying to keep a low profile outside the kingdom.  But, Ezekiel and Morgan are having a hard time leaving her alone.  Morgan said he tried not to get caught but he did.  Everyone is bringing her fresh fruit.  Richard, Ezekiel's right hand man, came to talk to both of them about striking against the Saviors.  He gave some backstory on how Ezekiel was approached and how it has been kept a secret to the Kingdom.  Basically, as long as they comply the saviors will never set foot in The Kingdom.  But Richard thinks it's only a matter of time before that truce ends.   Carol does not want to get involved.   Great line here about Richard thinking Carol has never been in a fight. Hilarious!  So, things are left open here, but if anyone watched the clip for the 2nd half premiere it seems pretty clear that the Kingdom will be pulled into the fold pretty soon.  
  • We had a brief scene with Richard in some hidden RV full of supplies.  He mentioned he lost his family and other people he met along the way since the apocalypse before finding the Kingdom.  Maybe this is his home away from the Kingdom to reflect.  But, he took a moment to let out a cry and some frustration. 
  • Michonne was enroute to Negan with the captured Savior, or so she thought.  Michonne confided in the girl that she didn't plan to kill Negan today.  She just wants to find a way to win.    To change how this ends for her.   The girl eventually stopped the car to show a large hoard of walkers (or maybe it was Saviors.  I don't know.  It was something to convince Michonne they don't have the numbers.) at the bottom of a hill.  She said that THAT is Negan.  We are ALL Negan.  The woman then was convinced she was going to die and gave Michonne some advice on what to do to hide/burn the car after retrieving the silencer from the glove compartment and killing her.   I assume this is so Negan doesn't start looking for it or the girl.  

  • We find out what Spencer's ultimate plan was.  Well, there was what he said and then the actions he took.  He said he was going to get in close with Negan and build some trust and then take action eventually.   One of the Savior girls flirted with Spencer and Eugene was caught watching.  Classic multi-season build up line when she asked Eugene if he likes watching and he says, "Yes."  Instant callback to him watching Abraham and Rosita. 
  • Spencer and Rosita had a moment to call back on their quick love affair (Which I totally forgot about and still can barely remember).   Basically Rosita said she used him.  And then he asked her to dinner to which she complied.  
  • Rosita was earlier in the church with her bullet and Gabriel tried to talk her out of using it.  He said they need to wait for their moment to strike.  And it shouldn't be just her.  Rosita had worked it out in her head that she was the only option because she has no one who depends on her.  She would take herself out for the group. 
  • Meanwhile Negan did some shaving with a knife (that he'll eventually use in the episode) and then made some spaghetti to go with his lemonade.  He was all smiles the whole time.  Carl made rolls (they looked like biscuits but we'll go with it).  Tara tried to tell Olivia to go home and she'd take over.  Olivia promised she'd watch Judith so she said she'd stay.  (bad choice Olivia!)  
  • Negan was upset Rick wasn't home for this wonderful meal he cooked for everyone.  
  • Spencer showed up to take to Negan and they shared a drink together and eventually played a round of pool out on the street.  (Negan wanted a public scene and didn't want to be indoors)  
  • The whole townsfolk gathered around while Spencer sold out Rick to Negan.  He talked about how his mother was running things fine here, Rick showed up and lots of people died.  He warned Negan that it'll happen to him too.  Spencer wanted Rick taken out so he could be in charge.  Negan played along, but eventually he turned the tables.  (I mean come on, we all saw this coming right?  We had Spencer on the top of our lists of next to go!)  Negan said he knows Rick hates him but he's still doing good work for him.  Meanwhile Spencer waited for Rick to not be there to make his move.  Negan accused Spencer of having no guts and then too his knife and sliced Spencer open so all of his guts fell out.  EWWWWWWWW!!!!!    
  • Things escalated quickly after that.  Rosita pulled out her gun and shot at Negan.  But, the bullet hit Lucille instead.  This set Negan off and you just new he'd want to know who made the bullet!  And since Rosita wouldn't tell he asked one of his henchman to kill someone.  And we just knew it would be Olivia!  RIP Spencer and Olivia.  Just like that.  
  • Meanwhile Rick and Aaron got to town.  Rick found out Negan was in his house and was furious, but the saviors found excuses to stall them while they recovered the "FU" note from Aaron and used it as an excuse to beat him to a bloody pulp.   Aaron survived the beating and used a callback to Rick about still breathing (or maybe he said "Hearts still beating" like the name of the episode) as he discussed with why he's going along with the Negan controlled world.  Rick heard the shot and rushed to the action. 
  • Rick wanted at Negan.   He said that they had a deal.  Negan, of course, was asking for gratitude for all the work he has done for Rick.  Carl gunned down some of his men and he brought Carl back to Rick.   Spencer wanted Rick dead and he gutted Spencer.  And then he brought up rosita trying to kill him so he had someone killed to give Rick one less mouth to feed.  He still wanted the name of who made the bullet.  Tara tried to say it was her.  But Eugene came clean. 
  • Negan told Rick he's going to take the supplies AND Eugene.  I'm sure he's going to put Eugene to work making ammunition for him.  
  • It's clear Rick is not happy with Negan as he tells him to leave.  And while I'm sure he wasn't happy Spencer wasn't dead it might have been therapeutic for him to take out Walker Spencer. 
  • Later on Michonne finds Rick in the Alexandria prison cell.  They hug.  Michonne gives a big speech about how she didn't want to go it alone anymore.  She wants them to have a plan together and that they've faced some tough odds and always survive.  And they need to find a way to take out Negan.  Rick tells Michonne he knows that now.  They cry and kiss.  DAMN RIGHT!!!  Let's take this punk out!!  (As we say this in our minds, we remember that JDM is signed on for multiple seasons.  This is going to be one long war!)  
  • Maggie ends the episode as it started.  Visiting Glenn's grave and then going up the guard tower to check out the scene.  What she saw this time brought a smile to her face and everyone watching.  Rick, Michonne, Carl, Tara and Rosita coming to visit.  They all get the "you okays?" out of the way.  Rick told Maggie that she was right from the beginning.  He didn't listen.  He couldn't.  He can now.   We find out Daryl and Jesus are there.  Sasha and Enid show up and there's lots of smiles and hugs.  Most importantly Rick and Daryl give a bro hug to end all hugs.   And Daryl gives Rick his gun back.  Nice. 
  • EVERYONE IS BACK TOGETHER!  Everyone is going to fight!   Well, we still need Carol and Morgan but it's going to happen.  
  • That boot we saw following Aaron and Rick made its way to Alexandria and is inside!  Who is this person??!?!!?  We'll find out sometime after February 12th! 
I'm ready folks, let's take out Negan even if it takes years to do it!  It was a slog of an 8 episodes to get through bet the setting has been set.  Lots of communities under Savior control will most likely unite against Negan for a big fight.   Possibly even people within the Sanctuary.  People who fear Negan but cared enough to get Daryl out.  I look forward to our continued discussions in the comments.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next year! 


MJ said...

Who the heck is this guy with the boots ?? I was afraid for Aaron - it was like they were leading up to him being killed. First falling out of the boat then getting the snot beat out of him. Spencer - you will not be missed ! But boy - Negen saw right thru him too. Awesome guts scene too LOL. Boy the dead sure turn to zombies very quickly these days. LOL I'll just go with it. But Olivia had grown on me lately - I will miss her. Loved Maggie with the Hilltop leader.

It's funny - I don't think the stand alones are slow - rather I think they would be more interesting to have more story in them then just the one. The Tara episode wasn't boring - but just too much of one character at a time really.

Yeah - Fat Joe seemed like an ok guy - but I can see that Daryl couldn't trust him and let him live. Doesn't seem likely that Negen wouldn't have Ricks gun - cause he's the type that would do that cause he would understand that it would kill Rick to see in on Negan - but I'll go with it.

LOL on Compactor/Rogue One week. Richard is not wrong ! Keeping the Kingdom people in the dark is probably a mistake. Richard is also smart to have a plan B in that RV - cause he knows one day he might have to high tail it out of there.

Very funny with Eugene watching again. But ugh - they took him ! Nooooo! Don't know how Rosita missed - maybe the bullet wasn't that good ? And yeah - I also forgot Rosita and Spencer had bumped uglies.

Yeah - I have read that he is signed for next year too - but of course that could mean he's gone in the premier next October. LOL But I doubt it. I think alot will die in this upcoming war - on both sides.

But seeing Rick and Daryl hug like that - I have to say I got very choked up. I didn't realize that the boot was in Alexandria ? Or I forgot since I was watching very late (had to watch NYG beat Dallas afterall). ALso I think it got cut off - so I re-recorded it and will watch again. Didn't get to Talking Dead - got to bed 1am after TWD. LOL

Mike V. said...

In this day and age, I didn't want to even assume the boot person was a guy! I figured once I mentioned GUY there would be a twist and it's a girl. lol We'll see!

I think they established in season 1 that the walker change is random for each person. Could be fast, could be slow. But yeah...they certainly were teasing Aaron and then they went with the more minor characters. Yes...Olivia did grow us more because they gave her more time this season to make the death more impactful. lol Maggie talking to Gregory was great with the apple. lol

Fair point on the standalones. I don't think they're slow either. I guess the point is to get invested in each character story. But LOST did that effectively while still exploring multiple storylines in an hour. It's possible to have a character centric episode and keep other stories going too.

Right...I guess if Negan was a gun guy...but he isn't. He likes his people to enforce with guns...but he uses Lucille.

I totally agree with Richard too. I think they're laying the groundwork for the eventual alliance with Rick.

Well technically Rosita didn't miss. She just hit Lucille instead of Negan. I'd have to watch again to see if he had the bat up when she shot.

Yeah...true with JDM's contract. Governor had a multi year contract too and he was gone in the 1st half of the next season. I agree with the war for both sides. I have a feeling that Rick will be building alliances while pretending to play nice with Negan. That could be a chunk of the next half...building up to a conflict in the finale. They could have mysterious attacks on the saviors to weaken their forces but somehow keep it from tracing back to Rick and crew. We'll see how they go with it.

There was a post credit scene after the previews for February. And it cut off. I had to catch it on the beginning of talking dead. That's where the boot was. Agree on the Rick/Daryl hug!

As for Talking Dead. I can only handle maybe 20 minutes then I fast forward to the clip. lol

MJ said...

Boots - well if that is a chick then she got some big feet ! LOL I will have to look at them again but you have a point. I'm sure the comic readers know who it is. But I will wait. Wonder if its the person (girls name but think was a guy) who left the guns but no ammo and that crazy sign and note ??

Of course JDM technically appeared in last season - if they were trying to be tricky.

My recollection is that the camera was on Rosita - not sure if we saw the bullet strike. But not sure.

True - he is not a gun guy - but he'd be the type to wear it when he knew he'd see Rick.

Mike V. said...

I'm sure it's a dude...I just was hesitant to call him/her one! I thought about it being the person that left the note. Yeah...makes sense since it said "YOU LOSE". Like it was all a setup.

ahhh touché on JDM appearing in last season!

We didn't see the bullet're right. But I meant if we saw where Lucille was in the shot right before when he was asking if anyone wanted to finish the game with him.

Yep..fair point on Rick's gun and Negan. I have no further arguments to defend the writing! :)

Jason B. said...

The boots guy/gal is very interesting haha. I have no clue because they are almost definitely not a comic character. The funny part though, is that they are kind of getting Jesus' comic book introduction. Rather than Rick and Daryl finding Jesus out on the road like they did in the show (especially since Daryl doesn't exist in the comics haha), Jesus found Alexandria and was spying on them through binoculars just like we saw in that post-credits scene. There was nothing with a boat house in the water and all that though, so no idea there. I'm just wondering what they could possibly need another character for, especially after introducing Oceanside super early haha.

Spencer's death was a big comic book one, but Olivia was killed off super early. Not that she was ever a big character, but it still surprised me. In fact the whole Rosita trying to shoot Negan surprised me big time. When she pulled the gun and shot and it went to commercial, I couldn't help but for a second think that it couldn't have actually happened haha. But I see that they needed all of that on the show in order to make Rick understand that they need to fight, whereas in the comics he was planning to fight from the beginning.

And yeah, I feel about the same way with the bottle episodes. I enjoyed the in-depth introduction of the Kingdom and felt that it was a good change of topic and pace after the premiere, but it would have been nice for most of the others to be combined in some way. However, someone mentioned a really good way to look at it, whether it was the writers' intentions or not. The events of the premiere split up the group, and the separated episodes and stories reflected that split, making the audience feel it a bit more. So the reunion at the end of this episode and them working together in the second half feels even more rewarding. At this point it is already done, so that's just a more positive way to look at it haha.

Yeah I re-watched the scene with Rosita shooting; just before the camera switches to her pulling the gun and shooting, it shows that Lucille is really close to Negan's face.

Mike V. said...

Super j I'll comment when I have more time tomorrow!

Just wanted to let everyone know I watch out for casting announcements for other anticipated shows. Might be /probably is a result of what will happen on twd lol

MJ said...

I'll say it - LOL Actress who is Sasha on TWD cast in Trek reboot ? Hmmmm. They say she is still on TWD though

No from the books ! Great to know. hate it when others know things that I don't LOL

So maybe it is a chick and she is from Oceanside - cause Super J is right - introduce other group is crazy.

For the show they have to keep the cast down - a possible reason for Olivia dying early

Mike V. said...

Okay as promised I'm back! Yeah that is very true on separating characters. Viewers hate it, but everyone loves a good reunion episode! Every time it happened on LOST there were waterworks! lol And it happened often.

Nice observation on Lucille and the shooting!

As for the new character and the comic book stuff...all interesting! Trying to remember if there are any characters lingering out there that we have lost touch with and didn't die. Could always be one of those. But I don't think there's any loose threads like that.

Mike V. said...

Yeah Sasha. lol She is cast as the LEAD and making a big deal out of it. Maybe the shows won't conflict but with her being the lead I can't imagine she'll be on both. There was an actress on The 100 that is also on FTWD....and when they killed her off of the 100 a certain demographic of fans have gone nuts and have started trolling IMDB ratings and anywhere they can downvote stuff about the show. Anyway, I can't imagine there being time for both, but we'll see. Sasha will definitely be in this 2nd half of episodes....but if she knew she was no longer on the show that would've allowed her to audition for Star Trek. She's definitely going to die! lol

Ahhh Oceanside girl....good call!! Didn't think about that.

I just assumed they had to satisfy death quotas for TWD and added a few more scenes with Olivia so it wouldn't be AS meaningless as it would've been if it happened to her last year. Same with Spencer. This is like padding the cast with people you know you're going to kill off to preserve your original cast. (The LOST method lol)

Jason B. said...

So true about "The Lost Method" hahaha. I do appreciate that TWD has recurring background characters that show up every now and then without needing stories. I remember the first time that Paulo's face was shown on Lost, I was like "wait a minute... they showed that guy's face for far too long, I bet he's going to become a bigger character." And sure enough haha. Not for long, but that was often what happened with background characters that suddenly appeared and got some story haha.

Man I hope that they aren't killing Sasha. I made a comment on reddit when the season started about how I really hope they put more spotlight on Sasha this season, without killing her soon after haha. That's how it always seems to go. She hasn't been in a lot of episodes, but I've been liking her character more than I ever have before. Although I did meet the actress that plays her earlier this year at that Walker Stalker Convention, and she was so nice! So maybe that has something to do with it haha. And Sasha isn't a comic book character, so I have no idea. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Those casting announcements are kinda sucky IMO, I wish that they would have to wait to announce it until the person is off the other show, if they aren't going to continue with both.

MJ said...

It's possible she will be on both. TWD is only 16 eps and Star Trek is probably not the standard 22 so it could be done. But probably not.

And we just saw her make her peace with Rosita ! LOL But they didn't know months ago when they filmed this that she would get Star Trek.

Thing is - they all have contracts. So for her to be taking Trek (if not doing both) hers has to be up - maybe the show told her she'd not be back already.

Mike V. said...

That's what I'm saying. They may have already told her and/or filmed her death. This happens all the time when there are casting announcements before their current show can air the episodes. So they have to go with the "she can do both" line. But it most likely means she's done. We'll see! Technically it's feasible but I feel like twd is a year round commitment.

Jason B. said...

Yeah I agree that she most likely took the roll after finding out that she won't be on TWD anymore, if that's the case. I couldn't see her just deciding to leave for something else. Whereas with a small character like Heath I can understand the actor's choice to do that haha.