How ‘The Walking Dead’ Manages to be Great & Frustrating at the Same Time
The Walking Dead has always had a problem with consistency. The AMC series vacillates between major moment episodes and complete time-wasting episodes in equal measure. And, sometimes, we get a taste of both in 40 minutes. That was the case last night in the 14th episode of season seven, “The Other Side”
The good part of “The Other Side” begins and ends with Daryl. He’s been beating himself up since Negan killed Glenn in the season premiere because he blames himself. Negan swung the bat, but it was Daryl’s punch that may have cost Glenn his life. After killing Abraham, Dwight lunges at Negan, clocking him once before the Saviors take him down. For not obeying him, Negan turns and bashes Glenn’s head in. Would he have done it anyway? My feeling is Negan does what he wants, but many TWD fans blame Daryl and think if he stayed on the ground, Glenn might still be alive.
Daryl certainly thinks that.
Last night, Daryl finally talked to Maggie about Glenn, something the show has been avoiding since the premiere. He crumbles when he makes eye contact with her, crying and telling her Glenn’s death was his fault. Maggie, of course, doesn’t see it this way and tells him he’s “one of the good things in this world.” She hugs him and he sniffles his feelings back up. Hopefully, Daryl breathes a little easier now.
This was a crucial moment for the show to ensure Maggie doesn’t hold anything against Daryl. Now we can move on and, hopefully, Daryl returns to his old self.
As for the rest of the episode, well…
The Walking Dead seems to revel in wasting time. The show has more pointless plot diversions than any other series I’ve ever seen. Ever. I’ve been over this, but it would benefit the series greatly if they learned how to edit the saga more fluidly.
Last night, we were treated to Rosita and Sasha’s ill-conceived plan to assassinate Negan like Bourne Identity characters. However, the show never cut to the chase. Instead of skipping their journey through the woods to the Sanctuary, viewers were forced to wait even longer for this silly subplot to unfold. The episode spends 20 minutes watching the two women find a car to hot-wire. When they finally get to their destination, Sasha can’t get a shot off and they decide to move in. The episode ends with Sasha leaving Rosita behind a fence and going in herself. This has happened in dozens of movies over the years. Armageddon comes to mind.
It’s frustrating enough for viewers to endure Rosita and Sasha’s selfish, reckless plan to go after Negan. Do the writers really have to string it out for so long? Walking Dead fans are savvy. We’re familiar with the source material. We know Negan won’t be killed in some quick way by rogue assassins. So we wait. We’ll wait while Sasha is captured, probably killed, and post-apocalyptic war comes to Virginia. It’s obvious the showrunners are intent on slow-rolling the big fight between the Survivors and the Saviors so they’ll have a gangbusters episode. I just hope it’s the season finale in two weeks and not the premiere in the Fall.