“The Walking Dead” picked back up on its seventh season this past Sunday with episode nine, titled “A Rock in the Road.”
As most fans of the show could probably have seen coming this episode was entirely a set up for a bigger all out war.
Rick has changed his mind about being subservient to Negan and basically wants to fight back. So he and the group spend most of the episode trying to persuade everyone they know to rise up against Negan. It sort of works.
The Hilltop leader, Gregory, continues his obnoxious fanfare and seems to have even stepped it up a bit from previous episodes. The level of pomposity from Gregory is enough to match even the most prominent of political figures.
We also saw more of the Kingdom in this episode, thanks to Jesus making the introduction of Rick’s group to King Ezekiel. It is perhaps the best part of the episode, and Rick gives a surprisingly moving speech about a rock being in the middle of the road. The story may have been enough to inspire the name of the episode, but it certainly was not enough to inspire Ezekiel to take action against Negan and his Saviors. He will need at least five more episodes to ruminate on that.
Of course, no episode of “The Walking Dead” is complete without at least one satisfying walker scene.
This episode’s gimmick almost seemed straight out of a video game. As Rick’s group leaves the Kingdom, they happen upon two cars on either side of the highway connected by a long steel cord that is rigged with explosives. It is apparently a trap for walker hordes set up by the Saviors. After the group removes most of the explosives at Rosita’s request, and saves them for later use, Rick and Michonne each drive one of the cars and clothesline a horde of zombies with it. However, I feel that those type of outlandish zombie kills are sometimes the only thing keeping the show fresh and engaging.
The show closes yet again on another cliff-hanger with Rick and the crew being surrounded by a large number of armed women. Rick starts laughing for some reason, but I guess I would stop taking other threats seriously too after someone happily bashed in the skulls of two of my friends with a baseball bat.
Other stuff that’s happening
Father Gabriel is up to some unexplained shenanigans. The episode opened on good ol’ Gabe stealing supplies and making off with them in a car with someone else,we don’t see who. So expect that subplot to take up a whole episode sometime soon.
Carol is still trying really hard to be a recluse, but Morgan and Richard, Ezekiel’s top soldier guy, because I forgot his name too, are not letting her. She wants nothing to do with anyone, and honestly the writers are starting to make me a little annoyed with her character.
Daryl is hiding out in the Kingdom because he escaped from the Savior compound and killed Fat Joey while he was at it. We find out on Jesus’ stolen Savior walkie talkie that this is something that really upset Negan because Skinny Joey is now just Joey. Because of this, Trevor from “Grand Theft Auto V” shows up again at Alexandria to see if they’re hiding Daryl. Sorry, Trevor, but Daryl is now part of the plotline to convince Ezekiel to go medieval on your ass.
Should you watch it?: Maybe.
In essence, the mid-season premiere was nothing to write home to mom about. It was a lot of setup for a war with Negan that will probably happen next season if the show’s current pace is anything to go by.
Oh, and Tara is still an annoying background character.