Death and hope on the mid-season ender of The Walking Dead

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Question: How can a mid-season finale consisting of a kidnapping, a brutal beat down and a couple of good guy deaths result in a warm and fuzzy feel-good episode?

Answer: When the players in the game end up getting their mojos back.

And that’s what happened in the last episode of the year (“Hearts Still Beating”) of The Walking Dead.

Of course both deaths – Spencer’s and Olivia’s – were instigated by Negan. And the former’s wasn’t even that much of a tear jerker, jerkwad that he’s been throughout the last couple of seasons. Poor Olivia, though – the victim of a knee-jerk, random, off-the-cuff decision. Yeah, that was unfortunate.

But with the return of Daryl after his escape from The Saviors’ camp along with the reconnecting of most of the major characters on the show, the positivity and “get up, dust yourself off and buck the hell up” -itiveness has reinvigorated the group. And that will work some fuel into the fire for the final eight chapters of the season. Tune in February 12th when things ramp up once again

A couple episodes ago (episode 6, “Swear”) I noted TWD had nowhere to go but “up” from that point forward having hit a low point in the series. Obviously I have no delusions that post I wrote had any influence on the outcome of the mid-season ender, or the previous episode “Sing Me A Song,” both of which were head and shoulders above most of the first half of season 7. But I’m damned glad things took an upswing as the show closes for the year.

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Notes:

  • Flub #1: Did you notice the positioning boner when Maggie was on the wall at Hilltop as Gregory was chatting her up? I know you noticed it, too. It bugged you just as much as it bugged me, didn’t it?
  • Think about it: Carol and Morgan don’t know about the deaths of Glenn and Abraham yet. Their discussion and subsequent spurning of Richard’s request to take up arms against Negan could very well see them both turn table when they discover the fate of those two.
  • Would a baseball bat really really stop a bullet as Lucille did when Rosita shot at Negan? Deflected it maybe. Demolished a bat in a hundred splintered fragments? Yes. Given shrapnel wounds to Negan’s face? Absolutely. But lodge in a bat itself? The odds would be astronomically against such an event … unless the bullet was homemade and faulty as was the case of the one used.
  • Flub #2: Did you see the shoddy effect of Carl’s missing eye when he looked up from being bent over Olivia after she was shot? It looked like a drawn on piece of paper glued over his eye socket. Completely unconvincing. Shabby effects from a usually top-notch effects team.
  • Did you find the savagery of Daryl and Michonne as they killed their respective foes a bit unusual? I did … but just a bit. After witnessing the inhumane actions of Negan with regard to Glenn and Abraham, it’s little wonder they did what they did so callously.
  • Who is the mystery man in the decorative boots? Odds are he’s a wily survivor, probably the owner of the lake bunker Aaron and Rick raided, looking for like-minded allies to combat Negan.
  • Remember Hershel’s “Spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday” tradition? Apparently, it lives on …

On the next episode of The Walking Dead

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Is The Walking Dead at a low point? Can it be redeemed? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear from you!

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