Battle lines have been drawn.
Returning after a midseason hiatus, “The Walking Dead” is well underway into the second half of its seventh season.
With the aftermath of another brutal attack from the Saviors fresh in the minds of our survivors, we mark the return of “Walker Weekly” as well as the return of AMC’s flagship series.
That being said, here are the most important points from the midseason premiere “Rock in the Road.”
When we last left Rick [Andrew Lincoln] and the others, they had just suffered through another visit from the Saviors, led by the always nefarious Negan [Jeffrey Dean Morgan].
Under the Saviors’ rule, Alexandria is responsible for giving Negan and his crew half of their supplies and resources in exchange for their ‘protection’ – which unfortunately came at the cost of a handful of important characters
This leads us to Gabriel [Seth Gilliam,] Alexandria’s resident preacher.
Gabriel at the start of this episode was seen raiding Alexandria’s food supplies, leaving it all but depleted except for the shelves they were stored on.
The problem with that is what will inevitably happen when the Saviors come looking for tribute again, but more on that later.
Back at the Hilltop, another colony under the Saviors’ rule, we see their leader Gregory [Xander Berkeley] coming to verbal blows with Rick and the others after they saved their town from a walker attack.
“I don’t owe you anything,” he says, clearly ungrateful for the mercy that Rick and the others just provided.
What’s interesting to see is he not only has complacency with the Saviors’ deal, but he’s also completely unaware of his own people’s needs.
This is all the more evident when Maggie [Lauren Cohan] is approached by some of Hilltop’s residents, who are in favor of an alliance to bring down the Saviors.
Rick and the others then travel to the Kingdom, led by the enigmatic Ezekiel [Khary Payton].
They reunite with Morgan [Lennie James] and intend to propose an alliance between the Kingdom and Alexandria, to no avail.
However in a manner of good will, Ezekiel offers asylum to Daryl [Norman Reedus] who had escaped the Saviors’ compound earlier this season.
What’ll be interesting to see in the coming weeks is how well these proposed alliances will turn out – especially if Negan catches wind of it.
During their return from the Kingdom they come across a roadblock set up to detonate, laid out intricately with a combination of steel cable, dynamite and makeshift explosives.
They thankfully diffuse the bombs before mowing down an incoming horde of walkers with the steel cable that was attached to the two cars.
While this scene was mind-blowingly gory, it seems almost out of place at this point in “The Walking Dead’s” tenure. It’s something that would be better suited for “Zombieland” or even “Dawn of the Dead,” it was way too flashy for the show’s current tone.
They return to Alexandria safely, only to discover that both Gabriel and their supplies had gone missing.
The Saviors, led by one of Negan’s right-hand men Simon [Steven Ogg], come looking for Daryl towards the end of the episode. They ransack Alexandria, finding nothing and threatening everyone – only prolonging the inevitable conflict that the Saviors will have Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom.
In pursuit of their lost supplies, Rick and the others are captured by a suspicious group of all-female survivors, who Gabriel presumably brought the supplies to.
What’s fascinating to see is if Gabriel’s intentions were good or not, or if they were to even bait Rick into finding another alliance to broker with in their war against the Saviors.
While “The Walking Dead” may be off to a rocky start in this half of season seven, especially after last year’s opening episode, there’s much to be desired going into the remainder of this season.
However, with Daryl under the Kingdom’s protection and Gabriel leading Rick and the others to a new potential ally, the seeds of a war with the Saviors have been planted.
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