***Spoiler warning: don’t read this blog until you’ve watched The Walking Dead season 7 episode 9, Rock In The Road***
Finally, Rick Grimes and his merry gang of walker-slaughterers are back on TV. The Walking Dead season 7’s midseason premiere offered up gory guts and important plot developments aplenty, pushing the Alexandria community into exciting new territory and far out of their comfort zone. The days of Rick’s residence under Negan’s thumb are done – it’s time now for an uprising. Or it would be if King Ezekiel were playing ball.
Ezekiel’s decision wasn’t the only shock in the episode either. In fact, the twists and turns of The Walking Dead’s comeback episode left us with seven sizeable questions...
Who were the group at the end?
As this show is wont to do, it left us with a cliffhanger this week. In the closing moments of the episode, well-armed aggressors surrounded Andrew Lincoln’s Rick and some of his very best buds. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn!
Who were these people? Are they linked to the mysterious shoe-wearer that stalked our heroes in the previous episode? And did Gabriel knowingly lead his chums into their clutches? So many questions. And for now, so few answers.
If I had to take a guess, though, I’d say that these gun-toting enigmas are linked to the Oceanside community that Tara met last year. There were certainly a lot of women among them. (You can remind yourself about the Oceanside by checking out our blog about them.)
Who is James Heltibridle?
You probably noticed that the episode ended with the words ‘in loving memory of is James Heltibridle’ appearing on screen. If you were wondering, James Heltibridle worked on The Walking Dead in the props department. Tragically, he died in a car accident in November. Our thoughts are with his family.
What the hell was Gabriel playing at?
Stealing all the food and an awful lot of weapons before running off in the night is not cool. What the hell, Gabriel? What was the morally murky priest thinking? Have his allegiances shifted over the midseason break?
Hopefully, we’ll find out what motivated Gabriel’s bizarre behaviour next week. Has Gabriel formed an alliance with that cliffhanger-supplying group without anyone else knowing? And was his cryptic ‘boat’ note intended to lure Rick into a trap? We’ll have to keep watching to learn more.
When will the explosives be used?
It’s an old adage of filmmaking that a gun being shown in the first half of a movie signals that someone’s getting shot later on. Here in the world of The Walking Dead, a massive pile of explosives being found strongly suggests that stuff will blow up in the near future.
But when, and why, and how? It remains a mystery at this stage, but everyone’s expecting Rick to use his newly acquired explosives in a play against Negan. Could the season finale feature Rick blowing up Negan’s main camp? Talk about going out with a bang!
What next for Daryl?
Norman Reedus’ Daryl was big talking point in this week’s episode: the Saviours want to find him, and they plan to kill him if they do. Thankfully, Khary Payton’s Ezekiel was willing to offer a helping hand: he offered the motorcycle enthusiast a place to stay, within the boundaries of his Kingdom that Negan is yet to cross.
What will the next set of episodes hold for Daryl, then? It’s doubtful that he’ll be happy to sit around and do nothing. He’ll surely want to help train the Kingdom’s fighters, find a new bike, get his hands on a crossbow, reunite with Carol and – if possible – change Ezekiel’s mind about the Saviours.
Who will die next?
“We’re the ones who live,” intoned Danai Gurira’s Michonne, after the car stunt, sounding every bit like a horror film character fated to be brutally murdered in the next scene. No such grisly fate occurred, though. But Michonne’s words did cause that age old Walking Dead question to bubble to surface once again: who will die next?
As ever, the options are manifold. Daryl is public enemy number one, but he’s well hidden for now. Rick stole loads of explosives from Negan, but he’s the main character and seems sure to survive until the show’s bitter end. Michonne made a show of mentioning survival, but she’s such a fan favourite that they surely couldn’t kill her.
But what about Tara, Father Gabriel and Aaron? They look far less safe.
Are the walkers getting weaker?
I can’t be just me that noticed Rick and Michonne casually wandering through a giant horde of walkers, without getting so much as a scratch to show for it. Are the eponymous undead adversaries of the series starting to slow down? And if so, why? Can the gang exploit this somehow?
Maybe Rick and Michonne might’ve just got lucky, but it did seem a little weird that they scuttled through the herd so easily. Maybe those walkers were just especially dumb?
What did you think of The Walking Dead season 7 midseason premiere? Head over to the forum to let us know...