By Madyson McGill
Warning! This review contains spoilers for the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead.
Grab your favorite baseball bat and hold it dear because I’m about to take mine to the premiere. Don’t worry: it won’t end in as big of a mess as the season premiere. R.I.P Glenn and Abraham. You are still missed.
So, the episode starts right where the mid-season finale left off, with good old Father Gabriel standing on the walls of Alexandria. Then the man freaks out, steals all the food (Negan will not be pleased) and abandons the joint. But wait, there’s a mysterious figure in the car with him. More on that to come because then the show shifts to another, not-so-favorable character, Gregory, and the rest of the group.
Rick’s group is arguing with the leader of Hilltop, trying to get him to agree to fight alongside them against Negan. I’m going to be honest: I can’t wait for this epic battle. Anyway, Gregory says no, but the people of Hilltop are all like, “Hell yeah, let’s fight Negan!” They don’t actually say that, but they want to fight. Also, Jesus somehow magically has a long range walkie talkie to track Negan’s every move.
The whole episode is basically Rick’s group trying to convince the others groups to join him and fight Negan. Rick hits a wall when he tries to convince the Tiger King Ezekiel, who is like “No, I don’t want my people to die in a slaughter.” Understandable. Keep that tiger safe! I mean, I would say no as well. Rick only has three guns, one of which is in Carl’s hands and the kid only has one eye, and he’s good at Carl-ing people (This is where Carl does something stupid which gets other people killed). The only one I trust is Michonne, with the sword.
But hey, on the bright side, the gang has found Morgan, who lied about Carol. My favorite part about this episode is the group’s faces when they see the tiger. All their faces are like “Is that a tiger? I think it’s a tiger? Why does he have a tiger?” At least I hope that’s what they’re thinking.
Basically, at the end of the day, Rick’s group wants to avenge their people, but every other group is making it hard by refusing to cooperate. That might be the smart move, because no one dies this episode. However, the lack of death and the discussions that drag on is what kind of makes the episode boring; there isn’t enough action to make it an engaging premiere. Maybe they set the bar too high with the season premiere, and they used up all their fuel, but the only redeeming quality of this episode is when they decided to steal the Saviors’ explosives from a steel wire as a zombie herd approaches.
As everyone waits on the edge of their seats to see if the group gets blown sky high, news of Negan looking for Daryl, who they left with Ezekiel, reaches them. They scramble to put the cars they moved in place, and Jesus and Sasha make a mad dash back to Hilltop, while Rick pushes the limits trying to get all of the dynamite. Stingy, I tell you. The predictable thing happens and the herd gets too close, causing Rick and Michonne to hotwire the two cars the steel wire is attached to and drive it through the herd, causing a zombie slaughter. As a result, they have to fight their way to the car to drive back to Alexandria. Of course Negan’s people show up looking for Daryl, the group plays dumb, and no one meets an untimely demise. The end.
Oh, but wait. Now they’re off looking for Father Gabriel, who I’m going to assume was forced to flee, since he leaves a note in his Bible, which he never leaves behind. The group goes to a boat that Aaron and Rick visited earlier in the season. Then they just happen to stumble upon a new group who wants the dead. What?! But, of course, we won’t know till the next episode.
Overall, this episode just falls flat, despite the one action scene on the highway with the herd. It just wasn’t a premiere-quality episode for me. It didn’t say “welcome back, we know you’ve been waiting.” No, it was more like, “here’s this filler episode.” The acting isn’t anything special and there were sections they tried to be funny, but the humor doesn’t really work, and it is just boring for the first 45 minutes.
As a mid-season premiere episode, I would only give this episode a three out of five. I was not impressed. It may have set the rest of the season up, but it did so in a slow, non-exciting way.