Monday, February 13, 2017

The Walking Dead: Season 7 Episode 9 - Rock in the Road

Hello everyone and welcome back for some more season 7 of The Walking Dead!  It's no secret that the 1st half was a slog to get through.  But we all assumed they were laying tracks for an eventual uprising.  The mid-season finale certainly pointed in that direction.  While things were still not perfect for Team Rick in this 2nd half kickoff, there was an aura of optimism in the air with each task they came across.  Let's not waste any time and get right into the discussion.

Discussion Points
  • Long story short, Rick and his crew went recruiting this episode.  He met with Gregory at Hilltop and Jesus introduced him to Ezekiel at the Kingdom.  Both are essentially still scared into submission.  And while things are less than ideal, the fact that they're surviving is still enough.  
  • The people at Hilltop are thinking differently.  Gregory may see farmers, but Rick's crew sees people willing to learn to fight.  Enid took things into her own hands and started hyping them up for Maggie's lead.  They're willing to be trained to fight.  
  • Ezekiel is fighting a different battle since they're still playing with a whole facade at the Kingdom.  Not many know of their deal with the Saviors.  He was offered good advice from Morgan's protege Benjamin that the good fight is always worth fighting.  But, in the end, Ezekiel is not willing to offer troops.  He was willing to offer Daryl a secret place to stay since the Saviors do not enter the Kingdom.  (It should be noted that Daryl didn't think that deal would last)   Rick wasn't happy, especially after his awesome "rock in the road" story was so inspiring to Zeke's hype man, Jerry.  But, he rolled with the punches.  Ezekiel's top solider/advisor Richard is ready for the fight.  Daryl reluctantly is staying there since it's the "smart move" with Negan about to be after him.  There are enough seeds planted that can eventually change Ezekiel's mind.  Who knows?  Benjamin may even talk Carol into helping convince Ezekiel.  
  • The positive progress kept pouring in as Rick and crew faced a roadblock set up by the saviors.   Sanctuary could be seen in the distance.  This roadblock seemed to be set up to blow up a walker herd.   Rick did not want to waste all those explosives when they could use them.  Teamwork at its best was seen here as they all worked to disarm the dynamite, C4, RPGs and whatever else was there.  Jesus has a long range radio to keep tabs on Negan's whereabouts.  As they were disarming they find out that Negan is sending his crew to Alexandria to find Daryl.  This had to speed up the process.  Rosita was the explosives expert and observed that she didn't like the look of one grouping of dynamite.  She placed that in the middle of the road. Sasha and Jesus were tasked with heading back to Hilltop on foot since they didn't have time to drop them off.  Rick and Michonne finished getting the dynamite and then hot-wired 2 cars on either side of the tripwire.  It was a pretty crazy scene watching them tear down the oncoming herd of walkers with the tripwire.  Looks like AMC loosened the purse strings a bit for this ep! They eventually were overrun but the van with the rest of the crew was there to pick them up and drive away.  In their rear-view that abandoned dynamite spontaneously combusted Doc Arzt style and confirmed Rosita's suspicions.  NICE.  
  • Back at Alexandria, Simon (I think that's his name) came with the Saviors to test Rick and crew on their knowledge of Daryl's whereabouts.  They didn't crack.  They tore up the town looking for him and observed that the supply shelves were barren.  They weren't there for a tribute, but warned them that it was coming soon.   More on this in a second.   Simon warned that there's no statue of limitations on if they find out Daryl had returned to Rick's crew.  They'd all be in trouble.  
  • Aaron and the Alexandrians update Rick on what's been going on in town since he left to "scavenge".  We saw in the beginning of the episode that Gabriel randomly grabbed the supplies, gassed up a car and left town.  (Note: I read in an EW article that supposedly someone popped up in the passenger seat on that ride.  So he wasn't alone.  Perhaps this was the infamous BOOT we saw stalking at the boathouse and arriving at Alexandria?)  There were people on both sides of the fence on whether Gabriel was truly converted as one of them or just one short fuse away from losing it again.  But, there was evidence in his dropped bible scribblings on where he went.  The word "BOAT" was written.  Was it a breadcrumb for them to follow?  
  • There was a one off scene between Aaron and his husband/boyfriend and his distrust of Rick's true intentions.  The rivalry against Negan is not public knowledge yet.  Aaron seems to be in the now, but is only invested in helping the crew since he scavenged with Rick at the boathouse and feels he could help.  Not sure if this scene was character development, or foreshadowing that something bad is going to happen to Aaron.  Guess we'll see! 
  • Rick and crew make it to the boathouse (quite quickly I might add.  This seems to be the first time I remember this show covering various settings in short time.  They're season 5/6 LOSTing things.  Or Season 6 Game of Thornesing things.   But hey, there's story to tell and they have unlimited supplies of gas!).   Rick observes footprints and follows the trail giving silent commands to the team.  But in the end, they are outnumbered by some black clad ninja-like quiet soldiers.  ANOTHER crew!  They were armed with shovels and guns and surrounded Rick's crew.  Most people would give up defeated.  Not Rick.  He actually SMILES!  Things may seem down for Team Rick, but Rick smells opportunity. He knows of at least 3 groups of potential soldiers.  He just needs to make them see the way!  
So that's about it for this episode.  The Gabriel stuff is a bit of a mystery and I'm sure it will be unveiled over the next couple episodes.  I skipped some small character things that are worth noting. 
  • Everyone is aware of what happened to Carol now.  Carol is still trying to stay out of things, but there's no way she won't get involved in the Rick/Ezekiel stuff. 
  • Morgan, once again is advising against a fight where deaths on both sides will occur.  You could see an eye roll from Rick this time. 
  • Rosita and Sasha have some bad blood due to their shared dead man, Abraham.  It's more on Rosita's side though.  She said they are absolutely not friends.  
Okay, now I think I'm done!  Should be a crazy 2nd half here.  It's nice to see the team working together again and hopefully the upward climb will continue.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


MJ said...

Hey - Rick smiled ! Don't know why but was nice to see. LOL Don't know why he was happy to see all these strangers - guessing it was just that he is looking at them as more bodies for the upcoming fight. Their faces were hysterical when they met Ezekial. Jesus should have warned them. But they are all so odd - the way the 'sentries' even greet the goup. And hey - hilltop actually has people ! And Enid organized them! Funny - a few weeks ago they released the pic of Enid standing there and every one looking at her - and everyone online assumed that she'd done something wrong and was in trouble.

Damn you Morgan ! You are still not on the same page as everyone else. I can see not telling that Carol is there - she requested that so lying to Rick is honoring his word to Carol - but to tell Ezekial there is another way ! Doh !

One of the most awesome herd/zombie kills yet ! LOL But have to say - slightly ripped off from a movie called Ghost Ship. But still awesome. LOL on Arzt reference !

I never liked gabriel but have come to not hate him like I used to - but damn ! What is he up to ? I am sure it will be for the town's good in some way but it def does not look that way now. Yeah - I wondered if he was with the boot person, and also thought BOAT meant oceanside.

Aaron - felt like foreshadowing to me. LOL Why give his partner face timenow otherwise. Or the partner dies and Aaron becomes ninja warrior to avenge him. LOL j/k

Sasha/Rosita -- huh - felt they'd buried the hatchet so that scene took me by surprise.

Mike V. said...

Aaron - I could see the ninja warrior route. lol Well more the path of vengeance.

Sasha/Rosita - I really did too, but maybe they didn't share much screentime since the premiere. Sasha was with Maggie and Rosita was brooding in Alexandria.

Gabriel - good point on ocean side! That would be a good way to pull them in. So Rick may have gone to wrong place but stumbled upon more help anyway.

Kingdom folk are definitely odd. Granted, it's all an act with Ezekiel, but his people don't know that. lol It was hilarious when they weren't aware of the tiger.

don't think I ever saw Ghost ship, but the show does like doing homages too so it may have been intentional!

Rick smiling - Yeah EW did a whole article based on them promising Rick will smile. We have rarely seen it so when it happens it's surprising and welcome. lol

MJ said...

So - did Gabriel bring food to the folks we see at the end ? To get them to meet with Rick and join us ? Maybe that is why Rick is smiling - he sees what we didn't - Gabriel with these people and realizes what he did.

Sasha/Rosita - I only remember them having a look and nodding at each other - like we are ok with eachother - but no words spoken. Guess it did not mean what we thought

Mike V. said...

I guess that's another possibility. I really just thought the smile was that he sees opportunity for more soldiers against Negan. After facing Negan I have to imagine these people don't intimidate him.

I liked where you were going with the Ocean Side / Gabriel thing. Maybe someone followed Tara back to Alexandria. And then somehow talked to Gabriel. I dunno. But we apparently do know that Gabriel was not alone in the car. I still have to watch again to see someone pop up.

Maybe Sasha was the one that nodded and Rosita didn't?? I dunno...

Plumbarius said...

Someone definitely popped up in the passenger seat. I missed it, but my wife caught it and I rewound to see it myself. :)

I wonder if the young girl who saved Tara managed to follow her back to Alexandria?

Loved the smile from Rick!

Something tells me that the Saviors will enter the Kingdom, do some bad stuff and this will be the catalyst for them entering the war. I really hope and expect Morgan to eventually do the right thing and join the fight 100% committed.

Good first episode to the start of hopefully a strong 2nd half to S7.

Nice LOST reference with Dr. Arzt!

Mike V. said...

Good to see you around here Plimbarius!

that makes a lot of sense about The Kingdom. Daryl basically foreshadowed it with his comments. But it being a catalyst makes a lot of sense. Agreed on Morgan.

Thanks on the LOST reference. Couldn't let it go by. All that dynamite handling reminded me a lot of it. lol

Possible on the young girl who saved Tara. and nice on the passenger seat!

Leslie said...

Hey guys! Loved this episode! It was nice to have a few little laughs in there and the gang all together! Great scene with them meeting the King and his tiger! Their faces were priceless! Loved the mowing down of the herd!

I saw the passenger pop up with Gabriel, and my first thought was that it was the mysterious boot person who I think is a girl.

I get that Morgan is trying to keep his word to Carol, but after he learned about Glenn and Abraham and all that happened, I figured he would tell them.

As for Rick's smile, I took it that he was seeing all these people as more potential fighters against Negan.

Note on Talking Dead....if the NFL guy they had as a guest is such a super fan, he obviously had never watched Talking Dead if he was surprised that Morgan and Rick had accents!

Mike V. said...

Hi Leslie, welcome back!

Let's all remember that I suggested after episode 8 the boot person might be a woman/girl!! : )

Yeah...Morgan is loyal to a fault! Morgan may tell Carol what happened and that might inspire her to get involved too.

Yep...that's the only thing I saw in Rick's smile. He's found people to recruit for the cause.

I thought it was funny that Deangelo Williams didn't know about the accents. lol But, you can be a hardcore fan of the show without watching interviews with the cast. He had just binged it recently I think!

PS: Leslie, did you see the rumors of NBC talking to Idol producers? I mentioned it on the big thread last week. Doesn't sound like it's gonna happen, but I'd be torn if it did. lol I felt like I closed the book on that blogging effort! :)

Leslie said...

Thanks Mike! Yeah, I saw that about Idol. I kinda hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, I'm sure I would be curious enough to check it out. I don't have the added pressure of blogging about it! :) I'm surprised they would bump half a season of The Voice because I thought it was a good ratings performer for them.

MJ said...

Talkig Dead - Ha! i said same thing Leslie - how could you not know by now they are brits if such a great fan ?

I don't think he recently binged - his wedding was modeled after being a walker afterall.

Mike V. said...

Sidenote on Reality shows - I'm sure The Voice is starting to track down in the ratings. I have no background info to support this. But it happens to all of these shows eventually. And it would help them to have less exposure of it. 2 seasons per year is overload. I watched the first season and then pretty much stopped after that. Couldn't keep up.

TD - good point about the wedding. I don't know when he got married, but yeah he would've had to know a lot about the show to prep for that. STILL, he may have known they were british, but is not much of a public speaker and was just trying to think of something funny to say on live TV. lol

Jason B. said...

Yep, that dynamite was definitely freaking me out after all of the experiences with it on LOST haha!

My guess with the whole Gabriel thing is that we didn't see the entire story in the opening sequence. I think that at some point he was threatened by the boots girl/guy (maybe when that loud crash happened off screen?) and forced to take the food and weapons and leave to the location that the group finds at the end of the episode.

None of that was in the comics by the way, including this new group, so I have no idea other than that guess. ANOTHER new group is quite a surprise, after they already introduced Oceanside super early as I've mentioned before.

Yeah, it appears that Rick is already looking at them as potential allies. And the next episode is titled "New Best Friends" haha, so unless they're trying to throw us off I am thinking it'll go that way somehow.

Mike V. said...

Good point SuperJ - There was a loud crash. That would make sense. But yes I think it was intentionally vague and they'll fill in the details when appropriate for the story. Interesting that this new group wasn't in the comics.

lol on the title of next week.

MJ said...

occurs to me - if Carl and rick were out and about, Olivia is dead - and Gabe left - who the heck was watching poor little Judith ?? LOL