The Walking Dead SN7 EP04 -‘Service’

Negan again proved just who’s in charge during a tense and unsettling episode.

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If there were any qualms about the status-quo of the show going forward, I have a feeling this episode will have allayed them. This was a solid episode of The Walking Dead, however it felt very similar to the season premiere. Essentially it was the same episode. Luckily no one died, although someone sure came close, but the whole purpose of the episode was about crushing the hopes of all the Alexandrians that didn’t witness the brutal murder of Glenn and Abraham. It was about reaffirming Negan’s status as top dog, both to audiences and the characters. As a result, the episode played out much like the season premiere, only with less chunks of head flying all over the place. It was certainly tense, and I think we ultimately needed another episode like this to solidify how broken the group is, but hopefully we can now move on from episodes that are all about emotionally crushing us.

Because the group truly is broken, and we see a lot of that this episode. Some want to fight Negan whilst others, most notably Rick, are choosing to obey. Rick is likely just biding his time until he has a decent plan, but the group is quickly turning against him. It was interesting to see all the different characters at play, dealing with the situation in their own way. Whilst characters like Michonne and Rosita were drumming up ways to get a hold of more weapons, others such as Father Gabriel were fighting Negan in their own, subtler way. So while everyone is begrudgingly following Rick’s lead, he still appears to be the only one ready to conform to Negan, and as we find out it’s because he has the most to lose.

Rosita, Spencer, they’ve lost everything now so wouldn’t have anything to lose from fighting Negan, whereas Rick has his family to think about. To fight Negan is to risk losing Carl and Judith, and after coming all this way, accepting Judith as his own even though he knows she isn’t, he’s not about to do that. Still, Rick isn’t about to be best buds with Negan. There were small moments throughout the episode where his hand tightened around Lucille, clearly willing to give Negan a taste of his own medicine. Alas, nothing came of it, but it’s encouraging to know that there is a spark of the old Rick left.

The majority of this episode really revolved round one surprising character, Olivia. I’ve always felt that the Alexandrians deserved more screentime. Even Aaron, who’s the most prominent character from Alexandria, hasn’t been given his due. It’s hard with so many characters, but it’s always a good time when we get to learn some more about a person. Unfortunately for Olivia, seeing her some more meant threatening to kill her off, which is really par for the course on The Walking Dead. This tied into a huge deviation from the comics as well. In the episode, Negan and the Saviours take all the group’s guns. This was something that never happened in the comics and could end up being a game changer. We know the Hilltop has nothing like that, so it looks like The Kingdom will be the group’s saving grace in more ways than one.

There was some interesting insight into Negan through how he handled the missing gun situation. He made a point of saying he doesn’t like to kill women, and was willing to give the group time to fix what turned out to be Spencer’s mistake. He kept saying he was a reasonable guy, and given how much of a loose cannon he’s been up until now, it was a nice change of pace. In the end though Negan was his usual cruel, vulgar self, but little does he know he’s likely sown the seeds of his own destruction. Taunting Rosita, burning the mattresses, pissing off Michonne. Every move he makes causes the entire group to hate him that much more, I just wonder how much time there will be before the tension inevitably boils over.

Of course in an episode as tense as this one there was plenty to see, so other notable highlights include:

  • Father Gabriel was just the best in this episode. His whole first scene with Negan was just hilarious, and it was great to see him imitating Carol’s sweet and innocent act so as to not appear a threat. His quick thinking in regards to Maggie was a stroke of brilliance, and points to an even better more cunning Gabriel to come. He’s already miles better than his comic book counterpart, and is a character I hope to see more of.

  • Unfortunately, whilst Father Gabriel was off being awesome, Spencer was doing the exact opposite. As Rick said, he’s weak, and he’s one of the few characters remaining who is still only alive because of the walls. Yes he can handle Walkers, and he’s somewhat dealt with a human threat before, but he’s not really built for this world. It’s likely that other characters feel the same way he does about Rick right now, but he doesn’t really appreciate everything Rick has done for them, and likely never will.

  • Looks like Eugene’s gonna start up his bullet manufacturing business for a very angry Rosita. I love that we’re getting more of her character, but she was really hard done to this episode. Ever since the incident on the rail tracks, Dwight seems to be really obsessed with her and Daryl. I understand about Daryl since the two have a bit more history, but the way Dwight is with Rosita is just infuriating. In any case it looks like she’ll have bullets soon, to put in the only gun the group has left.

  • Rick certainly gave a great speech to the residents of Alexandria. Just a shame it was to convince them to conform to a psychopath whilst said psychopath was threatening to bash in the head of one of their friends. Tough times in Alexandria.

  • Carl’s big moment this episode was merged from two equally big moments from the comics, and unfortunately much of the effect was lost in the adaptation. It was a much more impressive moment when the usually quiet Denise threatened the Saviours, but of course that couldn’t happen here. Furthermore, Carl’s lines are taken straight from a different part of the comics, during which he was much younger than he is on the show. Seeing a tiny 10-11-year-old Carl threaten Negan directly was a much more impactful event than old TV Carl doing so.

The 4th episode of The Walking Dead Season 7 offered much of the same as we saw in the premiere. The episode was all about further destroying the group, with the only difference from the premiere being that he was crushing a whole lot more people, oh and yeah nobody died. Whilst I did feel it was necessary to have one more episode like this to really prove what a horrible place the group is in now, it is now time to move on. As charming as Negan is, it’s not enough to disguise the fact that the character is becoming increasingly one note, so either he should be given some time off for a few episodes, or we need to see a different side to him. Now that The Walking Dead has well and truly drained us emotionally it’s time to move on, but with an episode focused on a likely distraught Maggie and Sasha coming next week, we might have to wait just a bit longer.

 

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