Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Walking Dead S7x12 Say Yes

The Walking Dead Say Yes review
Photo Credit: The Walking Dead / Gene Page
Rick’s crew is on a deadline to gather supplies and secure their weapons deal with the Scavengers. With Michonne by his side on a solo run, the couple encounters exactly what they need, but is it all just a sign of something worse to come down the road? This recap includes spoilers for the latest episode - you've been warned! Hope you enjoy!

Who knew scavenging for supplies and weapons could turn into a fans' dream date night in the apocalypse? Well, AMC delivered with Say Yes. They were truly doing the Lord's work if you believe in that sort of thing. The episode was slow and filled with character development, typical filler during this time of year, but it was packed with plenty of walker killers, a death scare, and let's just say, Richonne hotness.

Bubbling the story around Rick and Michonne's relationship and sexcation, the episode explored the humor, compatibility, and love they offer each other. Rick was determined to keep looking for a few more days, while Michonne half-heartedly points out they should get back. They came across golfing Saviors and killed them for the batteries. They secured food and at least fifty plus guns, which is a previously unimaginable win.

The opportunity to see Rick and Michonne on their own let us see them in their natural elements, not just as warriors and leaders but partners and people in love. Their trek out in the middle of nowhere spanned more like a dream state, a place that they nor so many of us fans wanted to leave (though Rick – come on, you were almost pulling a Lori not watching Judith…). It was also filled with callbacks, a collage of previous moments that have been important to Rick during the apocalypse.

Before and after Rick and Michonne discovered an abandoned school with a carnival, littered with armed soldier walkers and civilians brought back important memories.

From the pilot Days Gone By, Rick trying to climb out of the tank surrounded by soldiers was mirrored when Rick was trapped in a car and tried to climb out of the hood. Even the soldier walker Rick was trying to pull out of the cracked windshield resembled the one he shot inside the tank. A deer, which caught Michonne’s attention, was a nice throwback to the one that Rick cost her to give to Negan earlier this season, but also played a similar peaceful distraction from chaos when Carl was shot in season two. Also, the several dumpsters set up around the buildings acted as a shield for Michonne and Rick as they were surrounded by walkers, just like Glenn in season six with the fake-out death. Perhaps one of the most important, symbolic moments of the evening was when Rick and Michonne walked across the school roof, laughing at their good fortune when the literal ground caved in and they miraculously landed on a soft-enough surface.

With the exception of this season’s mid-season finale, it’s been a while since we’ve seen couples or individuals so happy. Their adventures were filled with joy and misery, love sprinkled with a reminder of loss.

Not to mention all of the sex they were having, but sitting by the candlelight to eat imperishable chili with mac and cheese was pure apocalyptic wedding bliss. Rick and Michonne began talking about the future, and who would lead people after they kill the Saviors and bring order back to the world. It was the first time Rick omitted that he wouldn’t really mind not leading, at least if it wasn’t with her.

Though I thought Michonne’s speech in Heart Still Beating acted more as a marriage proposal, you could say that the first half were her vows, and Rick’s confession of wanting a future with her and lead with her, and if he ever died or got killed she could lead with him, were his vows.

Next to Maggie and Glenn, Daryl and Carol, Richonne has a way of reading each other’s moods and thoughts without having to say a word. How far they’ve come since the beginning when Michonne wouldn’t even let Rick touch her, to coming to terms that they both had to vanquish their inner monsters, to teaming up as the leaders. They have each other's backs. Their companionship is so much richer when they can actually share with each other their worries and thoughts, fears of losing each other and facing the possibility of having to go on.

They’re like two halves of a whole. Moving across the school and carnival dealing with the walkers, they were king and queen of the chess board being able to protect each other. They’re lethal in a battle, but melt when they’re with each other.

As great as it was to see them together laughing and living in the moment, there was also a strong ‘pride before the fall’ atmosphere. Before Alexandria attacked the Hilltop Colony, Michonne and Rick laid in bed eating a ‘forbidden fruit’ claiming that the world was theirs for the taking…before the world revealed itself to be much bigger, dangerous, and deadlier than anyone of them could’ve imagined. By pinning all of their experience and determination their enemies, they suffered a massive loss.

One example was their candlelight discussion. They talked about the future, but they haven't ironed out the details of restoring order once they kill Negan. The hierarchy of his compounds are probably a lot more powerful, even in a fragile sense, that isn’t going to make that transition smooth.

Michonne and Rick already killed two Saviors for batteries, so how much of them killing Saviors is an unprovoked or warranted attack? What will they do with Saviors who are guilty by association like Negan’s harems? Are they going to give them choices to join The Hilltop Colony, The Kingdom or Alexandria? Is it possible that some Saviors have Stockholm Syndrome and find their submissiveness to Negan comforting? There's supposed to be hundreds of Saviors, and I'm sure they'll probably just all die off camera, but still it'd be interesting to see different rebellions and the fall-out of Negan's system. Without realizing it, their plan is similar to the satellite outpost attack, assuming that they have the numbers to succeed this time.

As on top of their game as they are, they were knocked off of their high horses. While Rick was distracted by the deer trailing them and fell off a Ferris wheel, it looked like from Michonne’s angle he became dinner for zombies swarming in. She dropped her sword for a split second, disassociating from what she was seeing and almost became a feast herself before Rick sprung out from the clearing and they finished kicking ass together. (Probably not a good idea to throw someone a machete....)

As they were driving back home, Michonne finally realized how much Rick means to her and her full guard was knocked down in the threat of losing him again. And finally, Rick acknowledged the severe loss of what it was like to lose Glenn. He can’t sleep except when Michonne is sleeping because he can’t forget about how he failed his right-hand man, Abraham and others. But being together, and trying to make the good moments last helped him realize that if one of them were to die, the other one could and would have to go on in order to provide a future for Judith, Carl, and Maggie and Glenn’s baby, everyone.

Say Yes was a magical episode in terms of being a filler episode but still a significant one in pushing the characters forward. Matt Negrete, who wrote Consumed which focused on Carol and Daryl, has a great way of giving us everything we want with certain couples – also giving us sexy times, a little bit of walker action and tender moments of them finding peace.

In typical Walking Dead fashion, while some characters might be having the time of their lives, others are inadvertently threatening to bring the house of cards tumbling down. Namely, this time around Rosita.

She is not backing down from hunting Negan. She sees every decision Rick, Michonne, and the others are making as an excuse to delay the inevitable of killing Negan. Though I’ve been willing to excuse Rosita’s temperament as a part of her grief process, she’s finally reached a point where her anger is making her stupid, and stupid gets you and other people killed, as Michonne pointed out to Tyrese in season four.

Rosita went out on a scavenging mission of her own, to come to a house occupied by a Mama June walker, and a be-be-gun. She tried to take it out on Father Gabriel, who rightfully shut her down.

The church confrontation was an interesting contrast between Rosita and Father Gabriel, and Sasha and Gabriel’s fight in the season five finale. When Sasha went to him for help about her anger and PTSD, he rubbed Tyrese, Bob and other Termites deaths in her face, and she could never wash away her sins. She nearly killed him until Maggie intervened and they made up (though we haven’t seen that friendship develop since, which is quite a shame).

Here Rosita came to Gabriel ranting about him coming into people’s lives knowing what’s best for them, and ruining her plans to kill Negan when she was ready. But he drop-miced her, stating people visit him for help, which he gives, but if she's so anxious to do something about their situation, she's wasting a lot of time ranting to a fool.

The lecture didn’t deter Rosita at all and pushed her agenda forward to approach the one other person in the same headspace as she is: Sasha, wwho was interestingly wearing the necklace Rosita gave to Abraham. She was more than ready to go to the Saviors compound directly and kill Negan, and sacrifice themselves in the process.

It’s one thing for characters to volunteer themselves and sacrifice their lives, but Rosita’s anger mode is only going to escalate problems further. While Rick and Michonne have a few more days just as they wished to go out and find more guns, with the help of Tara, unfortunately, confessing her knowledge and encounter with the Oceanside colony, Sasha and Rosita’s rogue mission is going to be that exact same sign Michonne and Rick experienced before: it’s all going to come crashing down. Unlike leaving themselves vulnerable to the Governor's attack in season four, Rick might not have enough time to prepare for the war coming to his doorstep.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln asked for salary requests. I wouldn't put it passed AMC to be using crappy CGI like the deer to make a point.
  • I wished people would cut Rosita some slack until she got my Sasha involved. Thank heavens a post for her is all ready.
  • Sasha please stop for a second and just consider what's going on. Think about Maggie and how much you mean to her. MY GOD, POOR MAGGIE.
  • If this isn't your new favorite episode, you're lying.

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