So, AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped up its lackluster seventh season last night and while most media outlets are using adjectives like “explosive” and “shocking” to describe the episode, I have an alternative descriptor: dumb.
I’m all for suspension of disbelief when it comes to entertainment; it’s necessary for viewing pleasure. But some of the choices made by the characters last night were so braindead it made the walkers look smart. Lets discuss a few of them.
The entirety of season seven has revolved around Rick’s attempts to recruit neighboring communities to fight the Saviors, yet our hero hasn’t displayed a single ounce of foresight when it comes to these loose alliances. His handshake deal with those weird garbage people was a red flag from Day 1 (Side note: why the hell do these weirdo’s talk in abbreviated sentences? This is Virginia and we’re just a few years into the apocalypse, we haven’t yet reached whatever si-fi dystopian era The Walking Dead is going for here). Obviously, Rick has few options but to trust these zombie punk rockers, but perhaps he could’ve taken a few precautions in the worst-case-but-plausible scenario that they betray him. After all, they did push him down a garbage mountain to fight a gladiator zombie; maybe that should’ve clued Rick in to expect the unexpected. He placed a lot of faith in a group that he didn’t have a preexisting relationship with, as he did (somewhat) with the Hilltop. So color me unsurprised when the punk rockers drew their guns on the Alexandrians to help Negan.
Then there was the choice to trust Dwight. I realize he was unaware of Negan’s plan, but listening to him was still idiotic. Rick, Daryl and company really only know him as a double-crossing murderer and Negan’s right-hand man. I know his information – Negan is coming tomorrow – scared the Alexandrians, but their strategy the entire season was to mount a joint attack with multiple groups. Expediting that plan with little manpower and without alerting the Kingdom or the Hilltop was stupidity at its fined. If Rick has learned anything from his run-ins with Shane, The Governor, Nicholas, Dawn Lerner, Tomas and every single other villain it’s to not believe a word they say. Better safe then sorry, even if Dwight was trying to help.
Negan absolutely deserves credit for thinking ahead and cutting a deal with the garbage people. Unlike Rick, he’s playing the long game. But his decision to let Sasha out of his sight and into the coffin was questionable at best.
The leader of the Saviors prides himself on his judge of character. To the naked eye, Eugene is a coward and easily controlled but Sasha, as Negan observed himself, is a hardened and dignified badass who has been resistant to his plans. She’s also been a prisoner locked up in a closet for several days. Don’t you think it’s kind of odd that she would request to be locked in a coffin for several hours? And given that this is Sasha’s first assignment under the Saviors regime, wouldn’t it make sense to keep a closer eye on her until she earns their trust? The whole sequence seemed like a haphazardly put together plot convenience.
I’m glad Maggie, Ezekiel and everyone came to the rescue, but couldn’t AMC have given showrunner Scott Gimple a bigger budget for this climactic battle? More importantly, couldn’t they have staged a better action scene?
The entire garbage clan had the drop of the Alexandrians, but allow them to pick up their weapons before firing because…reasons. The Hilltop/Kingdom forces ride in to save the day, but are shooting in open fields and running around without any cover or plan of attack. They looked like a group of sixth-graders at a paint ball party. The action in this pivotal episode was uninspired and poorly crafted. On top of all that, it still seemed like The Saviors had more than enough manpower to clean the good guys out.
This entire “fight” was just like this entire season: boring.
I acknowledge that, overall, I’m nitpicking with my complaints. But The Walking Dead has never been a clever or subtle show with quality writing and fully formed characters. It’s at its best when it’s operating at a frenetic pace of pulpy noir action (and not lazy and poorly choreographed action like last night). It’s not the type of show that can afford serious creative misfires like this bloated and dragging season finale.