The Walking Dead

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7: 10 Questions Raised By Episode 4

Via: AMC

We’re now four episodes into The Walking Dead’s latest season and it’s safe to say that things have never looked more dire for the good guys. Negan swung by Alexandria to collect his first tribute from his new ruled settlement and it was pretty much a disaster on every level for Rick and his group. Alexandria now has no way of defending itself against the likes of the Saviors, let alone a group of walkers, and with many now questioning whether they should have placed their faith in Rick to begin with, things are bound to get even worse before they get better in the coming weeks. Overall, not much actually happened in “Service” other than Negan lording his power over Rick at every opportunity, but the episode does raise a bunch of questions about how things will proceed over the next few episodes leading into the midseason finale (and not just whether Carl will get his hair cut, which needs to happen ASAP).

10. Will Spencer Try To Oust Rick?

You know things are bad when you find yourself kind of rooting for Spencer, who has barely registered as a character worth giving a damn about up to this point. The main B-plot of “Service” revolves around Rosita and Spencer venturing out to grab Daryl’s bike for Dwight (and pick up a gun along the way) and it turns out that Spencer was stowing away a few guns for himself because he lacks confidence in Rick’s ability to lead. The episode concludes with Rick threatening to break Spencer’s jaw and knock his teeth out if he ever brings up Glenn and Abraham’s deaths again, so it’s fair to say that their relationship is rather contentious right now.

Will Spencer be able to lead a successful uprising of Alexandrians unhappy with the new Negan world order against Rick? While it’s hard to see Spencer’s plans actually working out the way he might want them to (it feels like a safe bet that he’s not going to survive the season), a rebellion against Rick could be the catalyst needed to wake Rick out of his subservient stupor and actually start trying to formulate a plan to get out from under Negan’s rule.

Via: AMC

9. Is Michonne Lying About Not Hiding Weapons?

Rick’s decision to let Negan take every firearm in Alexandria could very well end up being his undoing as a leader and it doesn’t help that nobody else seems to support his decision, including Michonne. When Rick asks her if she has any other weapons hidden away, she tells him no, but in a totally unconvicing tone that suggests that she is no being entirely truthful. We see that Michonne has been practicing her sharpshooting (with limited success) and it’s hard to think that in all this time, she hasn’t prepared a contingincy stash somewhere in case things went south.

Whether or not Michonne is telling the truth about not hiding weapons, it’s likely that Rick’s insistence on giving them all up to Negan could drive a wedge between the power couple. Then again, Rick may not end up being all that mad if it turns out he has been duped, as Alexandria is going to need to replenish its weapons supply somehow if there’s going to be any hope of retaliating against the Saviors in the future.

Via: AMC

8. What Happens When Negan Finds Out Maggie Is Alive?

While Rick was all too willing to give Negan whatever he wanted during the Saviors’ inaugural visit to Alexandria, he and Father Gabriel were at least able to pull one over on Negan by faking Maggie’s death. We know that Maggie is hiding out at Hilltop with Sasha and presumably getting over her life-threatening illness, but it feels like only a matter of time before Negan finds out the truth of Maggie’s fate. Obviously, if and when he finds out, Negan is going to be incredibly pissed off and probably march right on down to Alexandria to confront Rick.

Come to think of it, one has to wonder why Rick would go through so much effort to make sure that Negan has every single gun — even the undocumented ones — but is still willing to boldly lie right to Negan’s face about Maggie. Perhaps Rick truly believes that Negan won’t find out? It’s hard to say but Rick is definitely taking a pretty big risk with his false grave ploy, so hopefully by the time Negan finds out about it, it will be too late for him to do much about it anyway because he’ll be dealing with an All Out War situation. Source: TV Guide

7. What Are We Supposed To Make Of Dwight?

After last week’s episode painted Dwight in a somewhat sympathetic light and even seemed to hint that he could potentially turn against Negan down the road, “Service” returned the burnt faced Savior to being a unrepentant jerk. He bullies Rosita into fetching Daryl’s bike for him, takes away all of her weapons, her water, and even her hat (although he at least returns that one to her later on). While this characterization of Dwight is in keeping with what we saw from him last season and even in the premiere a few weeks back, it felt like a full 180 from the Dwight we met last week at the Savior compound and it was a bit jarring to say the least.

What exactly is the show trying to do with Dwight? Flip-flopping between having him be a villain who may still have some humanity left and just another one of Negan’s callous henchmen feels like a strange move, given that The Walking Dead was trying to align viewer sympathies with Dwight just one episode ago. It’s hard to be invested in a character when we don’t know what he’s going to be like from week-to-week and although there’s still plenty of time to course correct with Dwight and present him as an intriguing character, this episode’s characterization felt like a step back and a missed opportunity to do something interesting with him.

Via: AMC

6. Would Negan Have Let Daryl Stay?

One of Negan’s more showy displays of passive agressive dominance this week was parading the captive Daryl around Alexandria and forbidding anyone from speaking to him. Before Negan departs, Rick requests that Daryl be allowed to stay and unsurprisingly, Negan refuses. However, he does give Daryl the chance to “plead his case” and although Daryl refuses to say anything, one has to wonder what Negan would have done if Daryl had actually asked to be allowed to stay. Presumably, Negan would have just laughed it off, told Daryl to get in the truck, and resume his torture regime back at the compound, but considering Negan loves theatricality and spur-of-the-moment decisions, perhaps he would actually let Daryl stay if he had asked him. Of course, we’ll never know because of Daryl’s silence, but there’s still the possibility that things could have ended differently.

Gene Page/AMC

5. How Does Negan Expect Rick’s Group To Find Stuff Without Weapons?

Alexandria officially had to give up all of its firearms this week, thanks in large part to Carl threatening a Savior thug at gunpoint (damn you, Carl). To be fair, it’s likely that Negan would have seized all the guns anyway, as it’s actually a pretty good idea to disarm the community that murdered dozens of your men with said guns. The only problem is that it seems like Negan went a bit overboard by demanding that every single gun be given up. In case he seemingly forgot, the world is still pretty dangerous outside of Alexandria’s walls, what with walkers continuing to roam the countryside.

Considering that Negan wants the people of Alexandria to go out and find cool things for him, it seems a bit counterproductive to not allow them to have any way to defend themselves against other attacks. Yes, it seems the everyone was allowed to keep their melee weapons, so it’s not like the people of Alexandria are completely helpless out there, but it does seem like a bit of an overreaction for Negan to take every gun when leaving a small pool would barely register as a threat.

Via: AMC

4. Why Is Michonne Suddenly A Terrible Shot?

While the Rosita and Spencer subplot wasn’t exactly riveting television, it at least made more sense than whatever the heck was going on with Michonne in this episode. On a surface level, Michonne’s trip to a rusted out car in the middle of some field makes sense—she’s trying to keep her skills sharp by taking shots at roaming walkers who happen to shuffle by. What doesn’t make sense is why Michonne is suddenly really, really bad at aiming a gun. We see her repeatedly miss shooting a walker in the head, to the point where it gets so close that she has to resort to chopping its head off with her katana.

The problem with this whole situation is that there is barely any indication given for Michonne being a lousy shot. It’s implied (maybe?) that it has something to do with nerves and one could chock it up to her still being shaken by the deaths of Glenn and Abraham, but since this is never addressed by her or anyone else, we’re left to puzzle over why she can no longer make a routine shot. The best part is that the whole thing is undercut by the fact that Michonne manages to hit an unseen deer in the process. Lucky shot?

Source: AMC

3. How Will The Hilltop React To Rick’s Failure?

Although we have yet to see any diplomatic relations between Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom since Negan took control of all three, it seems like things aren’t going to go over very well when these communities eventually talk to each other again. Last season, Rick famously declared that he was going to liberate Hilltop from Negan’s rule, but now that that plan fell through in dramatic fashion, how will the people of Hilltop treat Rick or anyone from Alexandria for that matter?

While we don’t know whether or not the Saviors will retaliate against Hilltop for throwing in with Rick’s group—although previews for next week’s episode do seem to heavily hint that this is exactly what’s going to happen—it’s going to be difficult to regain Gregory, Jesus, and the rest of the Hilltop community’s trust after such a gigantic blunder. And with Maggie currently hiding out at Hilltop, what’s to say that they don’t just betray her location to Negan as retaliation?

Via: AMC

2. What’s With Enid And The Balloons?

On second thought, who cares? Enid is still the worst and it looks like we’re going to be dealing with her running away again on next week’s episode. Exciting! Source: AMC

1. Why Did This Episode Need To Be 90 Minutes Long?

The Walking Dead generally features a few extended episodes each season and for the most part, these episodes have been able to justify their length. For instance, last season we got the Morgan-centric flashback episode that told a compelling backstory. Unfortunately, “Service” did little with its extra runtime besides pad things out with filler such as bad Negan quips and many, many close-ups of Andrew Lincoln’s tortured, sweaty face. Honestly, this entire episode could have been a third of the length and still gotten its point across. Instead, we had to endure Negan’s agonizingly slow and methodical pillaging of Alexandria; an event that should be riveting but instead was almost sleep-inducing.

There’s simply no reason that this episode needed to clock in at the hour and a half mark, as barely anything of consequence actually happens. Yes, Negan takes all of Alexandria’s weapons, threatens a few people, and generally makes Rick feel about as worthless as possible, but other than that, there was almost no forward momentum. “Service” is the definition of an episode that wastes its audience’s time and would have been much better suited as a regular length episode.

Via: AMC
Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)

Nick Steinberg (@Nick_Steinberg)