The Walking Dead returns from its mid-season finale with a much more hopeful tone. Check out Josh’s episode recap for Season 7 Episode 9 of The Walking Dead, where the Alexandrians work on their Negan problem. We both also provide our thoughts on the episode below.
- His thoughts on Rock in the Road, Episode 709 of The Walking Dead
- Her thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 7 Episode 9: Rock in the Road
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead had a bit more of an uplifting tone to the episode. The Aleaxndrians look like they are working on getting some allies, and while they don’t have any yet, it looks like the group might be changing minds.
The episode begins in Hilltop, where we left Rick and company, who have just reunited with Maggie, Sasha, Enid, and Daryl. They are discussing with Gregory that they need to stand up to Negan, as their way of life right now is not how people should be living.
Gregory, however, is not seeing their side of the situation, and asks Rick and company to leave out the back so that none of Negan’s men see Rick and company leaving the area. Rick seems to give up on Gregory for now, and turns to leave. The good news is outside, there are people in Hilltop who seem to want to join the fight, but they want some assurance that they would be able to win. This seems to spark some hope with the group, but Rick knows they need a lot more than these people. This has Jesus come up with an idea: visit another group we have recently become familiar with — the Kingdom.
On their way to the Kingdom, Jesus announces they have arrived, but what they find doesn’t look like much. The group, consisting of Rick, Daryl, Tara, Sasha, Rosita, Carl and Michonne are greeted by a guard and Richard from the Kingdom. Richard demands their weapons before entertaining the idea of having them meet the king. The group reluctantly agrees to disarm themselves.
They are escorted to the main area of the Kingdom, and Rick and company are reunited with Morgan. Morgan tells Rick about what happened with Carol–mostly. He says she was injured and brought here, but now is “gone”. Rick and the gang are then given an audience with Ezekiel, who has his tiger close by. Ezekiel hears the group’s proposition out. Richard also puts in his two cents, saying that they will have to deal with Negan eventually, but when Ezekiel asks Morgan his thoughts, Morgan is reluctant to go to war, given the amount of life that will be lost. Rick seems frustrated and plans to head back to Alexandria, but Ezekiel tells Rick he will make his announcement in the morning, and the group should stay for dinner.
Meanwhile, we see Carol, who is hanging out in the forest for some reason, and comes across Benjamin. She gives him some advice about staying alive out here, and tells him to get home before it gets dark. Upon arriving home, Benjamin talks to Ezekiel, and he tells Ezekiel he thinks that if they are asked to be the hero, they should try to be the hero, referring to providing help against Negan.
The next morning, Ezekiel tells Rick that they won’t be able to help, as he would rather keep the uneasy peace with the Saviors than risk so much death, given what the Kingdom already sacrificed to be where it is now. Ezekiel does offer Daryl asylum though, allowing Daryl to stay in the Kingdom so that Negan doesn’t find him back at Alexandria.
Rick and the group decide to head out, and Daryl plans to come with them, but Rick tells Daryl to stay behind. Not only to stay safe, but so that he can work on convincing Ezekiel to change his mind about the alliance.
Rick and the gang then make their way towards Alexandria. They overhear radio chatter about Daryl’s escape, and they learn that a group of Saviors is heading to Alexandria to search for Daryl. The gang know they have to get home before the Saviors get there, but they come across a roadblock of cars. They move the cars, but then discover a trap of cabling stretched across the highway with explosives attached to it. The group determines these explosives could be valuable, and Rosita apparently has some bomb-disarming knowledge, and is able to diffuse the primary fuse for the bombs. She then instructs the group to carefully cut the TNT and other explosives from the cabling.
Unfortunately they are on a time crunch, though. A massive horde of walkers has begun making their way down the highway. The group continues to work, and the horde gets closer and closer. Carl, Rosita, Tara, and Sasha get separated from Rick and Michonne as they are getting the explosives loaded, so Michonne and Rick have to improvise. And improvise they do. They use the cable, which is tied between two cars on opposite sides of the highway to clothesline dozens of walkers while driving back towards the vehicle that Carl, Rosita and Tara are in. Michonne and Rick both have to break through the crowd of walkers to get back to the vehicle. They manage to unharmed, and they head back towards Alexandria. Meanwhile, we see an explosion behind them in the horde of walkers, due to a piece of TNT that Rosita said didn’t look good. I have to imagine that Negan’s group saw/heard that. One other thing about this hoard of walkers–Rick said he wanted to keep them on the highway because they might need them. Hmm…I wonder what this means?
So Sasha and Jesus make their way back to Hilltop on foot while Rick and the rest head back to Alexandria. They make it back in the nick of time, as the Saviors pull up in their trucks and demand to know where Daryl is. Rick plays dumb, and Simon, Negan’s “main man,” has Alexandria torn apart looking for him. Simon also notices that the storeroom seems pretty bare and warns that they better be working on getting a round of supplies for the next pick up. Rick and the gang seem just as surprised to see everything gone, but Aaron plays the situation off as Alexandria not doing well at managing their resources. Simon seems to have had his fun, and the crew takes off.
At this point the Alexandrians are trying to figure out what happened. Tobin remarks that Gabriel wasn’t at his post when he came to relieve him, and there is a car missing. We the audience know some of what happened–Gabriel was acting erratic at the beginning of the episode, piled the supplies into a car, and drove off. As to why, is still up to plenty of speculation, but Rick is of the opinion that Gabriel did it for a specific reason, and is not just simply trying to run away. After doing some searching, Rick finds a notebook with the word, “BOAT” written on it. Aaron and Rick realize it must be the boat they had just been to. So the gang gets a group to go out to the boat to investigate.
Back near the boat, they don’t find anyone—until they find a bunch of someones. They are surrounded by a huge group of people, all seemingly being women, or at least a high quantity of women. We see Rick have a big smile on his face before the episode ends.
His Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 7 Episode 9: Rock in the Road
So this episode was a big improvement over the first half of the season. It actually felt like it was moving along, rather than treading water for an hour while we, the viewers, hope something interesting happens. We went from the Hilltop, to the Kingdom, to Alexandria, to the boat all in the course of an episode, and had some pretty big plot developments as it all went. Hopefully this improved pacing continues into the future.
As for what happened this episode, I am sure we will be seeing the Hilltop and the Kingdom join the battle. I am not sure what will be the catalyst for this–will Daryl convince Ezekiel to join? Will there be tragedy in the Kingdom to change Ezekiel’s mind? In Hilltop, it looks like the followers of Gregory might change their mind, and possibly follow the Alexandrians’ lead.
As for Carol, I am hoping that she and Daryl reconnect, as they seemed to have a good relationship until Carol decided to take off. Hopefully after Daryl tells her more about what is going on, she will decide to rejoin humanity.
As for this new group, according to EW.com, Scott Gimple teased a new group joining the show, and this could be that group. I thought it was going to be the women that Tara dealt with a couple episodes ago, but I guess we will have to see more. There are thoughts that Rick’s smile was because he recognized one of their captors, but when I first saw the episode, I thought maybe he was just excited to find some potential allies.
Overall, much improved over the first part of the season so far. Unfortunately, Walking Dead does have the tendency to have a pretty good start and pretty good end, but middling episodes tend to drag, so I am hoping that is not the case here. I guess we will have to see though.
Her Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 7 Episode 9: Rock in the Road
I thought this episode of The Walking Dead was pretty good and entertaining as compared to much of the first half of the season. What happened in this episode is more of what I like to see — many of the main characters working together and getting things done, including exciting scenes with walkers.
We knew it was coming, and have been hoping for it to happen, but finally Rick’s group meets King Ezekiel and discovers the Kingdom. The way they did so seemed a bit too convenient though, with Jesus not only already knowing about the Kingdom, but being friendly with them, making the introductions fairly easy. I’m wondering if Jesus is the only one at the Hilltop that knows about the Kingdom, or if everyone knows about it. In any case, the idea for the alliance is out there, and even though King Ezekiel has declined at this time, I’m sure that he will change his mind before the season is over. My guess is that Daryl will find out about Carol’s whereabouts and he will be the one to talk some sense into her, and that she will be the one to ultimately convince King Ezekiel to fight.
The big question for now is, what is Gabriel up to? I don’t think he cowardly ran off with supplies at this point in his development, though if this happened back when we first met him, I wouldn’t put it past him. Is he trying to hide them so that Negan’s crew can’t get them? Not really sure what’s going on with him.
Then finally, who is this new group that Rick and the others have run into, and why was Rick smiling at the end? I assumed it was because they have more people that could join with them to fight against Negan. But is it something else? If so, what? Looking forward to seeing how all this plays out, and hoping it doesn’t devolve into boring one off episodes again.