Well this episode of The Walking Dead was one giant load of WTF.
Am I watching Fear The Walking Dead? Am I watching a dodgy apocolyptic The Beach remake? Is this SERIOUSLY what I’ll spend my next hour watching? All these questions went through my mind as I knuckled down to watch S07E06. I didnt actually expect that the whole episode would revolve around Tara/Heath, I thought upon seeing previews they would only take (at least) half an episode. How wrong I could be.
I did actually quite enjoy the first scene between Heath & Tara in the RV. Heaths dialogue really turned the Negan V Rick perspective around to allow us to see the enormity of what Rick & co did initially do to the saviours. Some time ago on Talking Dead, it was discussed that if the show had followed Negan from the start, we would have a total different opinion. We would see Rick come in and kill a load of saviours on the road and in their sleep. We would easily think that Rick is the bad guy. Heath in this scene really exemplifies this and lets us see a bigger picture. He also shows us the difference between the mindsets of the newer members of Alexandria and Ricks OG crew.
From there, the episode takes a tumble. Elements of it, I did really enjoy such as Taras initial persuit through the woods to the camp leading to her capture. I also enjoyed the mirroring between Lizzie/Mika and Rebecca which gave us an insight into the kind of mindframe that kids growing up in the new world have seemed to adapted. This was all cruely tarnished however by the episode as a whole.
Firstly, since when was Tara this ‘quirky and random’ character? She’s had the odd moment in which she has delivered an ounce of humour in the past but certainly nothing to this scale. It made very uncomfortable viewing considering they’ve basically done a Westworld and seemingly injected her character with ‘be more random’ ‘be more socially awkward’ ‘increase attempted joke output.’ We have NEVER seen her act like this throughout all her time with both Rick AND The Governer. It wasnt even just her personalisation of things that seemed so out of place but her dialogue and delivery as well. None of it was in line with TWD’s usual style therefore the episode will stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to the rest.
Secondly, another example of the cheap writing in the episode was when we see the ‘could be Heath walker.’ Like ARE YOU ACTUALLY KIDDING ME!!! I honestly was gobsmacked that they had tried to get away with that. I don’t come to watch TWD for a cheap thrill with mediocre suspense at best, but to view intelligent and complicated drama so to have that thrown at us amidst a terrible epsiode was extremely disheartening.
Another moment that I didnt enjoy was when Tara was led out of the camp and was supposed to be guided back to Alexandria. One of the guides appears behind her with a knife which Tara takes as a threat (which it was) but the moment was very lost amidst Taras cartoon like reaction. I dont know whether it’s me being apocolyptically dumb but I didnt see that coming, so her jetting off reaction seemed as ‘random’ as they’ve tried to make her character. It was a very bad attempt at executing an attempted ‘Adriana scene’ and I expect a lot better from Scott Gimple. Especially when it comes to using The Sopranos as a point of reference.
Prior to this scene, we watch the women eat dinner whilst they allow Tara to divulge into the saviour slay at the satellite station story. Again I found myself asking R U FKING KIDDING ME that they havent just turned it into ‘Oh well they were the men we were referring to that were all killed in unison’ I claim to be no screen writer but you surely don’t disagree that that would have been a preferred and more fitting plot twist? I 100% get that the reason we are being introduced to this settlement is to A) provide Rick with guns down the line, and B) reinforce how big bad and scary Negan is but I really think that this could have been handled a different way.
I really don’t enjoy pulling the episode apart like this but I feel as though I’ve been left with no option. Ratings are at the lowest they’ve been since season 3, and you would think that this would be the season they’d really want to try and grab your attention with as the comics did from episode 100. I don’t think it’s necerssarily the plot that’s to blame but the execution of the episodes. They’ve been entirely disjointed this season and when we finally get something good (Ezekiel introduction, Daryl focus, Carl leaving Alexandria) we’re thrown back to square one again. There’s been no examples of good continuation and it’s becoming very trying to get through! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let’s hope that next week everything is miraculously knitted together again. I mean, we haven’t even seen The Kingdom for four episodes now. Why introduce a whole new world and promising characters only to ignore them for 4 more hours of screentime. I have no doubt that next weeks episode entitled ‘Sing Me A Song’ is going to be a fantastic episode because of the nature of this story arc, but it’s not enough when in between each good episode, we are given a very poor one.
I don’t want to come across as if I’ve been slating Alanna Mastersons performance or her as an actor, simply the story she has been given. I think she did really well of holding the episode on her own considering her status as a minor character. See her instagram post below in regards to how she has handled the hate she got for it. I will never ever support the cruelty that actors and actresses have to deal with in terms of their physicality & I’m glad she decided to address this publically: