Five Points from "Say Yes"
Guest Blog by Robert Mills, Destrus76's Mind Debris
The Walking Dead; Season 7, Episode 12
Five Points From Episode 7.12
**Beware SPOILERS in our discussion**
The group is getting a little comfortable in the world of the Walking Dead. The narrative is sleep walking with them. With Negan as our big bad, the environment has been relegated to a neutral threat. This may have been a pivot by the creative team in response to the very heavy drama from Negan's entrance and a little fall off in ratings on his heels. Regardless, the effect on the suspense and drama of the show is measured throughout this episode.
Another fake death? This attempt at raising the stakes was so transparent that Michonne was the only one on "planet TWD" that bought it. I don’t think anybody else really thought that Rick was dead. When will the show stop doing the ‘OMG is BLANK dead?’ Trick or bad (lazy) editing and writing? This time around it was almost laughable. They have neutered the danger with their tone on these supply raids and in the environment. Even if this was real foreshadowing, like we killed Glenn after faking you out so get ready...it didn't come off as serious in the least. We at least debated Glenn.
Rick and Michonne seem to be having a lot of fun. Our main characters are having fun exposed in the wilds of the zombie apocalypse yet can't sleep at night because they live under the boot of a ruthless dictator that killed their good friends in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Something is a little out of balance. Still, they expect us to jump at them killing off the lead character in such a whimsical way. He could have slipped on a banana peel and had a clown horn go whomp whomp and it wouldn't have been any more silly. I don’t know very many people who didn’t think that Glenn was under the dumpster last season. At least, thankfully, they didn’t allow us to think that Rick was dead for multiple episodes. The conversation this "drama" facilitated between Rick and Michonne at least explores their current emotional states. However, we could have got there without another lame fake out. We get Michonne can't live without RIck. That is a new development but his being in danger could have come from something that carried more weight than a silly and poorly done ruse.
Also, who is keeping watch when Rick and Michonne are fooling around? Seriously. It’s a dangerous world out there. Rather, it was a dangerous world. And who is mowing the greens at the golf course in the opening pre-credits sequence? It’s been 2 years since the apocalypse. This is a quick scene with some of The Saviors. But to be honest, it’s a total miss in terms of continuity. I hate to be that guy, but come on...nobody has been mowing the grass in the last 2 years while they’ve been trying to stay alive. I get that they want to illustrate that some parts of normal life are returning, but golf is a pretty labor intensive thing for The Saviors to be doing.
This episode is evident of something that has been missing since the group has come to a world seemingly teaming with communities. Mystery and suspense. Alexandria was a whole new weird closed off world. The Saviors were a whole new threat. The show thrived narratively and dramatically when mystery was rampant. We didn't know who was Negan and we watched the group kill who we knew wasn't Negan. From the beginning, there has been a sense that each mission they went on or each area they entered carried some weight. Meeting other survivors was an event and carried massive ramifications with it, friend or foe. The environment was wrought with suspense you could feel and danger you could sniff out around the corner. There was mystery and suspense in every location. When someone was trapped in a vehicle or a room, you could feel the tension. People died this way. That suspense has dried up right now. Rick and Michonne get trapped in a car and their plan goes awry to have it produce very little angst. Their tone was far too laissez faire for us to feel any different.
"Say Yes" also had the opportunity to solve a single episode environmental mystery and give the episode some real weight while pushing the plot forward by getting the supplies they needed. Instead, they merely kicked the can down the road and used some cheap tricks to "toss the leaves around" a bit.
Why were the soldiers still wearing their guns yet turned? What happened there? How come others didn't stumble upon the area before and what stopped them from getting in or being curious? Something small would have sufficed. Something creatively around the corner that felt fresh. The deer didn't even carry any real weight though it hinted it might. It led them to the area and then popped back up as if it was going to show us something interesting. It didn't. Really, nothing did and we're limping towards the Negan conflict rather than building suspense.
What lurks around the corner is a hallmark of the series and yet this suspense is dry.
The Big Score
The big advancement in the plot was the find they fell upon. So, Rick and Michonne finally found everything that they were needing to find. They found tons, literally, of food and all the weapons that they need. Military automatic rifles no less! That's huge! We can rest assured that they’re going to keep that food hidden and far away from falling into the hands of Negan and The Saviors. The group is sitting pretty considering, but you have to question their new allies if that haul of guns didn't even raise an eyebrow. Anyway, they are more well supplied than they have ever been. What was with that weird ladies negotiations? That group is "off".
Seashells and Promises
Is Tara going to go back on her word to keep the group of women and children at Oceanside secret? It's clear they still need a lot more weapons to arm their large army. It certainly appears as though Oceanside is the next stop. Tara said it though, they'll get their guns. Somehow we don't see a strong arm coming from Rick, since that would be awfully "Negan" of him right now.
Rick is wearing down and wearing out. Rick’s confession to Michonne in the closing sequence brings up what was hanging out there throughout the episode. Rick wanted to stay away. He keeps wanting to drag this search out. We assume that there is something more going on in his psyche than just teenage hormones or feeling like they have time. He wanted to get away, with just him and Michonne. He has come full circle to not wanting the power and responsibility, again. But, he is at least still committed to doing what they need to do survive as a group, if not as individuals. He doesn’t appear to want to be the person to tie all of the different communities together. This may be foreshadowing or just a mechanism to create some tension where there really isn't much. The end of the season will definitely explore what is behind this door. It's still all about Rick.
The well laid plans are starting to come apart as we come towards what looks like an inevitable conflict.
Rosita and Sasha certainly seem poised to get in the way of Rick's plans. They can't seem to wait and impatience is usually foreshadowing of an upcoming calamity.
Carol is not sitting still, apparently. Does Morgan give in to her questions?
The King doesn't seem to be able to keep the peace. His lieutenant is still plotting to force his hand.
Rick's new allies don't look to be rock steady, far from it. Too many groups are promising support but seem to have much more natural inclinations to hide before fighting. If their forces scatter, Rick's group will carry a heavy burden, especially if they are prematurely forced into a conflict.
"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." -Robert Burns