Gilbert Speaks on “The Walking Dead” S07 E08: Hearts Still Beating

12 Dec

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Well, here we are at the mid-season finale and Team Rick is still struggling with their demons. While Rick and Aaron try to maneuver through pond walkers to reach a houseboat, Michonne hijacks one of Negan’s trucks, and Daryl is given a “Get out of jail” monopoly card. On the last episode of “The Walking Dead” we left Olivia and Carl dealing with the houseguest from hell. What do you give the man who controls everything?

Dinner

Negan is such a bad boy. He is really enjoying his stay at Rick’s home. Why he’s a regular little Susie Homemaker as he teaches Judith and Carl the art of shaving and cooking. I never expected Negan to make his own gravy…yes, that’s what pasta sauce is called in South Philly… but there he was holding that wooden spoon and we are left wondering how someone so bad can be so sexy. We can thank Jeffrey Dean Morgan for making us all gaga over his Negan character. Of course, Olivia and Carl are not enjoying this unwanted houseguest. They are forced participants in a game of cat and mouse, but unfortunately for Negan, the mouse is late for dinner.

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While Olivia waits for Tara to find the can of lemonade, Carl sets the table. Negan is becoming impatient for Rick’s return and decides to eat without him. Olivia, bless her heart, is scared shitless of Negan, but she stays at the house even after Tara offers to take her place. Olivia has become a hero of sorts because of her promise to Rick to keep little Judith safe for him.

Daryl has used the key to get himself some clothing and a jar of peanut butter. Fat Joey never had a chance. Negan wasn’t able to break Daryl, but he did remind Daryl that sometimes killing is the only way to guarantee another day of living. Jesus certainly came through with a miracle when he slipped that note and key into Daryl’s cell. They ride out of town and the world lets out a collective sigh of relief.

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Maggie and Sasha have earned the respect of the Hilltop people and Gregory does not like it. Maggie takes Gregory’s apple and later enjoys a whole apple pie. Pregnancy has its benefits. But while Maggie wolfs down the pie, Sasha and Enid talk about going after Negan. Sasha’s not alone. Michonne wants to kill Negan too, but she’ll need to decide if she has to fight a war all by herself.

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Back at the Kingdom, the focus is still on food and while Carol just wants to be left alone, everyone is bringing fruit and food to her hideaway. The tension between Morgan and Carol is palpable and it’s sad. They are both Ninjas, but they don’t trust each other or themselves. Richard wants them to fight the Saviors, but Morgan wants no part of a fight. Morgan needs to keep a tight control of his green hulk. What would happen if Morgan decided to let loose? Remember that although Carol and Morgan said no to Richard, they don’t know about Glenn and Abe. When they do find out…things will change.

Pond Walkers

I love Ross Marquand’s character, Aaron. It’s not easy being gay in this time and age with all the hate the new administration is spewing against anyone who doesn’t meet their specifications of what is normal…so imagine how hard life must be for gay people during the apocalypse. The creators and writers of the show have done such a wonderful job of showing that the true character of a hero doesn’t depend on his or her sexual preference or color. Aaron is not afraid to take risks and he is someone that Rick can trust.

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Aaron and Rick must get the bullet riddled boat across a pond of waterlogged walkers. There are tense moments when Aaron falls overboard, but luckily for us, he and Rick make it safely to the houseboat. Along with the supplies on the boat, Aaron finds a note from the former owner. Aaron understands what Rick is going through, probably more so than the others on the team. Rick has been emasculated by Negan and has lost the respect of his friends and maybe his son. But, as Aaron explains to Rick, “Either your heart is beating or it isn’t. As long as they are alive, they can make plans.” As they load the truck, someone with mismatched boots watches from the other shore.

Gutless

Spencer played excellently by Austin Nichols blamed his family’s death on Rick. Everything was fine until Team Rick showed up. Now, Spencer wants to play nice with Negan even going as far as suggesting that he would make a better leader. In tonight’s episode, we realize that Spencer did have feelings for Rosita even though she tells him that she was using him to forget Abe. They make plans to meet for dinner.

Conclusion

This was definitely the turning point in the season. Everything that has happened over the first seven episodes has finally brought us to that proverbial line drawn in the sand. Spencer made the fatal error of thinking he could sway Negan into killing Rick. That little mistake cost him is life and his bowels. Rosita used her bullet even though Father Gabriel tried to deter her from doing so earlier. This foolish act caused Olivia her life.

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While Rick is forced to watch Aaron get brutally beaten by Negan’s men after they find the note from the boat, someone on Team Rick finally finds his mojo. Eugene steps forward and admits he made the bullet. All this time, Eugene was quite content to play the role of coward. Was it to save Rosita? Maybe, but I think Eugene was tired of being afraid. Negan doesn’t kill Eugene, but he takes the bullet maker with him.

Michonne comes back to Rick after killing the woman in the truck. They are outnumbered, but it’s time to fight. Michonne was willing to take on this battle alone, but Team Rick is at its most lethal when the team sticks together. The mid-season finale ended in a much needed upbeat manner. After the horror of episode one, the bad taste of Glenn’s and Abe’s death are a bit easier to handle. Team Rick, except for Carol and Morgan, are all reunited after they visit the Hilltop. Rick has his gun back thanks to Daryl and Jesus wants to introduce them to King Ezekiel.

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Things are looking good for Team Rick, but why is the man with the mismatched boots spying on them? We’ll have to wait until February 12th to find out. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

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