Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from Sunday night's The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere, "Go Getter."
Contributing Editor Tara Bennett breaks the return to Hilltop, directed by Darnell Martin and written by Channing Powell.
Overview: The story finally returns to Maggie and Sasha in the aftermath of Glenn and Abraham's murders. A traumatized Maggie has survived the threat of miscarriage with the help of Hilltop's doctor who recommends she stay with them for the duration of the pregnancy. However, Gregory, the pompous leader of the enclave, wants the women out because of the threat they pose to the community's safety when it comes to the Saviors. Meanwhile in Alexandria, Carl is very unhappy with his father's choices regarding Negan so he follows Enid to the Hilltop to undertake his own mission.
After four hours of one-shot stories focusing on singular narratives all season, it was almost jarring to return to a standard episode that split its time between two locations: Hilltop and Alexandria, and then the road to Hilltop for Carl and Enid. It certainly let the story focus on characters that needed some time to breathe on their own (well, maybe not Enid because I still can't get behind that kid). Experiencing Maggie and Sasha's dual grief post the events of the finale was very much appreciated because this season has really not allowed the characters, or us, to grieve those two massive losses to the cast. Glenn was Maggie's world, and Abraham was a potential future in Sasha's life again, especially after such hopelessness in the wake of Tyreese and Bob's deaths. That the pair were allowed to bond so deeply in their joint losses this hour, and cling to one another for support that was braced in strength and resilience was very much needed.
It's also the obvious start of a storyline for Maggie that the comic book traverses be having her come into her own as an independent leader out from Rick's shadow. Glenn and Hershel's wise counsel and belief in Maggie over the seasons already helped her get past her modest farm girl origins. Having her move on that potential really ignited in earnest with Deanna's mentorship of Maggie in Alexandria, so it's not going to be a surprise if (when?) Maggie ends up becoming a far better leader than Gregory for the Hilltop community.
I like the new triumvirate of Maggie, Sasha and Jesus. Granted, Sasha is already fracturing it a bit by asking Jesus to find out where Negan lives without Maggie's knowledge, but I get there's a major axe to burn there, and an unborn child to protect. The three work well together, and the ladies have obviously elevated Jesus' own engagement and moral compass more than anyone else has at Hilltop. I'm curious to see where that goes in the series.
Carl has some crazy guts, or stupidity, depending on how you see his actions this episode. Let's be honest, the lack of an eye is a problem as he proved with his lousy round of no-depth perception darts in Alexandria. He's got a lot of healing, and a lot of anger to deal with. However, he's decided to take matters into his own hand despite Negan's own warning that the kid needs to step back for his own good. He wants to ground the Savior's goon which is admirable in a weird way.
While I appreciate the change-up in storytelling this season, I feel like we lost the actual grief that a drama lives by when it kills major characters to this season's narrative shuffle. Aside from Daryl's tears over Glenn in episode three and some restrained grief from the women tonight, Glenn and Abraham's post mortem has really been relegated to their horrid moments of death and not much more. Yes, stories are being born from their ashes, but I feel like the writers provided more cathartic mourning for characters of lesser importance in seasons past than this pair have gotten so far.
Enid is still a rough character to get behind. Maybe it's her general air of petulance, or that she's been written as obtusely obstinate over her entire arc, making her too prickly to root for overall. That being said, I did appreciate her journey to Hilltop for Maggie in honor of Glenn as the most humanizing thing she's done in the series. I'll even say it might open the door for me appreciating her more if she invests in Maggie, Sasha and Hilltop. We'll see.
Is it just me, or is it really tiring for others too watching the Saviors loot and pillage weekly? Maybe if they didn't come off as generic biker reject thugs every time they collect their half of Negan's stuff, I'd be more afraid, or concerned, or just engaged. Instead, it's been rinse/repeat every episode with their arrival at a community, their schoolyard bully shtick, and then their U-Haul M.O.. Be it Dwight or this week's Simon, or even Negan frankly, it's about as boring as watching someone move.
I'm not a huge fan of Gregory either. He's a paint-by-numbers, oily misogynist that I'm hoping becomes more well-defined in a future episode to make him more of an interesting threat. Right now, he's a stereotype that seems like one that will be incredibly easy to overthrow. I'm looking for a twist to make this a far more intriguing fight for Maggie and Sasha.
"Oh S--t!" Moment
Maggie going Monster Truck rally on the Savior's Gremlin of Doom with the farm tiller. Give it up for the creative team to still come up with brilliant ways to squash walkers...and even ugly cars.
Then later, she followed it up with a perfect upper cut to Gregory's pasty, weasel face after he'd tried to banish her, almost sold her out to the Saviors, and insulted her with countless dismissive terms. Her declaration of call me "Maggie Rhee" was a cheer-worthy moment.
Some praise for Jesus. The guy has always been wily but when he used his Parkour moves to slay some walkers, color me impressed.
The final shot of the Negan-bound truck carrying a hidden Carl and Jesus towards the Savior compound what a great cliffhanger moment. Those two might be Daryl's Lone Ranger and Tonto, and that is certainly unexpected.
It was a good night for the ladies, who are a true force in the series. Hopefully, we're laying the groundwork for an empowered uprising against Negan that will feature retribution for fallen heroes, and rub it in to the creep that women aren't just useful to build a harem in the apocalypse.
What did you think of “Go Getters"?