NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Walking Dead” are present in this review
The Walking Dead once again managed to defy Season Seven’s many struggles this week, with an entertaining and clever episode that put the spotlight mostly on Rick and Michonne. After catching up with Eugene, Negan and the Saviors last week, “Say Yes” went back to the Alexandrians preparing to honour their deal with Jadis and the Scavengers, with Rick and Michonne going on an extended scavenging mission to find lots of guns.
On paper, this episode doesn’t sound terribly exciting, since it’s very par for the course for an episode of The Walking Dead in concept. Where this episode excelled however, at least for Season Seven’s standards, is in the writing and tone, as this was another effective opportunity to give the show a bit more light-heartedness in the main plot. The more optimistic core plot with Rick and Michonne not only made for lots of fun little moments, but also further raised the stakes of the climax, as the two inevitably find themselves having to escape quite a few Walkers before making it back to Alexandria.
Things begin with the two initially not having much luck finding any kind of supplies, let alone guns, with Michonne wondering if it’s time to return to Alexandria. Rick, however, wants to stay scavenging for just one more day, and eventually convinces Michonne to keep on looking with him. Thankfully, the show doesn’t feel like it draws itself and wastes time here either (especially since it’s another welcome Season Seven episode that resists the urge to have an extended runtime!), since the two quickly discover a military outpost, one that has Walkers shuffling about, but also inevitably has guns to scavenge!
After trying to spot where the guns might be located, along with goofing off with a nearby carnival stand, Rick and Michonne literally fall into a whole warehouse full of food, which nicely makes up for what the Scavengers stole from Alexandria’s pantry! After enjoying a few meals, they take out a few Walkers at the nearby carnival-like area, though this is when their over-confidence nicely leads to a few troublesome situations, such as when they both become trapped in a car, and have to crawl out through the sunroof, amazingly not being grabbed and eaten by Walkers along the way.
The only annoyance with this otherwise very entertaining and effective core plot is the main catalyst of the climax, which involves Michonne spotting a deer, and Rick eventually spotting the same deer, before trying to climb a rickety ferris wheel that inevitably breaks and nearly makes him Walker chow. Rick and Michonne literally just discovered a whole building’s worth of appetizing food! Why the hell do they need to kill a deer then, least of all when they’re surrounded by Walkers, who would inevitably get to it before they could? The ensuing moment of Michonne believing Rick had died, and being too stunned to react, was at least effective, and thankfully avoided feeling like another cheap death fake-out for Talking Dead to gush about, but that doesn’t change the fact that Rick going after that deer was very objectively stupid. As amazing as it is to see a deer after so much time, isn’t that all the more reason not to kill it, especially with a full stomach?
Fortunately, the episode’s subplots more or less entirely went down without a hitch. Rosita got a fresh chance to gripe and want revenge, and her confrontation of Gabriel was truly a great scene. Gabriel actually managed a genuinely effective priestly moment here, when he tells Rosita that he’s free to blame him for how her botched attempt to assassinate Negan went, but even if she’s alive against her will, it’s still up to her to decide how to make a difference with that. This seemingly inspires Rosita to go to The Hilltop and take a sniper rifle, which she hands to Sasha before proposing a one-way mission to finish the job of assassinating Negan, something Sasha quickly agrees to. This is a cool team-up prospect for two scorned women mourning the loss of Abraham, even if it does feel like a transparent excuse to kill off Sasha in particular, now that Sonequa Martin-Green is the lead actor in CBS’ upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series. Sasha’s thus more or less marked for death at this point, but it will be interesting to see if Rosita survives her supposed one-way mission.
The remaining subplot, albeit a very small one, focused on Tara, as she does some babysitting of Judith, and wonders if she should tell Rick about the settlement that she found. It felt like a large chunk of this subplot was cut out for pacing, but the result of Tara asking to see Rick at the episode does seem to suggest that she’s going to tell him about the settlement, giving Alexandria a way to keep dealing with Jadis, after she decides that Rick and Michonne need to find twice as many guns.
Honestly, this was a bit contrived, since Jadis turning her nose at literally a whole army outpost’s worth of guns is obviously a means to drag out the season so that it can fit AMC’s requisite 16-episode order. Even the aggressive negotiation she has with Rick over the guns feels annoyingly forced, especially when Rick somehow goes from haggling for less than ten guns, to somehow jumping to twenty guns for Alexandria, and getting to keep the cat ornament that he took for Michonne after Jadis demands it back, with Jadis suddenly agreeing to that for some reason. Uh, what? Considering that Jadis is so direct and harsh especially, that generosity really came out of nowhere, and was pretty poorly justified. It felt like the negotiation only went that way because the episode was almost over, and it just had to end.
Still, one should be thankful for small successes on this season of The Walking Dead, and, “Say Yes” represented a better standard for the series, which was very much appreciated. The main Rick/Michonne plot made for some of the most entertaining storytelling all season so far, even if the climax was a tad forced, plus the subplots with Rosita and Tara generally went over really well. Like I said, I seriously doubt that Sasha is going to survive another likely failed assassination of Negan, but I hope that Rosita’s character is allowed to linger and move on with a new storyline. It’s satisfying when the show finally serves her well, and I want it to continue doing so, as more than the late Abraham’s squeeze.
- Sweet, entertaining Rick/Michonne storyline
- Gabriel's effective priestly moment with Rosita
- Tara seemingly fessing up about the settlement she found
- Rick's unrealistic stupidity in chasing that deer
- Jadis' inexplicable negotiation demands