TV Review: The Walking Dead 7.10 “My New Best Friends” (dir by Jeffrey F. January)


wd

Oh my God!

Is it possible that we’ve actually had two good episodes of The Walking Dead in a row!?

Indeed it is.  In fact, I would say that tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead was the high point of the season so far.  I don’t know if the show’s production team has been listening to the complaints that many fans had during the first half of the season but, with both this episode and last week’s, it’s hard not to feel that the show is trying to correct some earlier mistakes.

For instance, there was no Negan in this episode.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Negan can be an intimidating bad guy.  But, like many great villains, Negan is at his most effective when he’s off screen.  The big mistake that the Walking Dead made during the first half of season 7 was going for an all-Negan, all-the-time format.  With each appearance, Negan became just a little bit more cartoonish and, as a result, he became less and less intimidating.

However, though this episode largely dealt with people trying to figure out what to do about the Saviors, Negan was still kept in the shadows.  As a result, Negan’s becoming a threat again.

Tonight’s episode followed two storylines, which is a definite improvement over the plodding pace of the first half of the season.  Both storylines were equally interesting, though I think everyone’s heart was invested in Daryl and Carol.

So, let’s get Rick out of the way.  Last week, I assumed that Rick had come across the Oceanside community but it turns out that I was wrong.  (And that’s not a bad thing because the Oceanside community kinda sucked.)  Instead, this is a community of people who live in a junkyard.  In many ways, they’re just as ritualized and borderline ludicrous as Ezekiel’s Kingdom.  The only question is whether or not the Junkyarders, like Ezekiel, realize how silly their little community is.  Are all of their rituals designed as an escape from grim reality or are they all just crazy?

The Junkyard is run by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), who seems to have a permanent smirk and who speaks like an evil Queen in an Italian Hercules film.  But, and this is largely due to McIntosh’s performance and her chemistry with Andrew Lincoln, Jadis is still likable.  When she and Rick finally formed their alliance, I was happy because Jadis looks like she’s going to be a valuable ally in the inevitable battle with the Saviors.  Seriously, who doesn’t want to see Jadis kick Negan’s ass?

Of course, before Rick could talk to Jadis, he had to defeat an armor-covered walker that the Junkyard crew appeared to be using as a gladiator.  That was exciting and it’s nice to see that The Walking Dead is trying to think up new things to do with their undead.

But, ultimately, this show was all about Carol and Daryl.  Daryl has been hiding out at the Kingdom.  When Richard told Daryl that he had an idea for how they could convince Ezekiel to go to war with the Saviors, Daryl was all ears until he discovered that Richard’s plan involved leading the Saviors to Carol.  “She’s going to die anyway!”  Richard exclaimed.

Obviously, Richard doesn’t know Carol!

After giving Richard the beat down that he deserved for underestimating Carol, Daryl went to Carol’s cabin and seriously, their time together was everything.  For once, we got a moment of joy in this relentlessly grim series.

I always love the scenes between Carol and Daryl.  I love the way that both Daryl and Carol drop their guard when they’re together.  At its best, The Walking Dead has always centered around the question of how people can keep their humanity, even in the worst of circumstances.  Tonight, Carol and Daryl provided that humanity.

This was a good episode, one that reminded me why I watch this show in the first place.  Let’s hope that the rest of season 7 is just as good!

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9 responses to “TV Review: The Walking Dead 7.10 “My New Best Friends” (dir by Jeffrey F. January)

  1. My Sunday night plan is now complete. Watch WD.. watch TD… Read Lisa’s review. Add my nonsense in comments! 🙂

    I also liked the episode. Yes. there were some rather ridiculous moments (like Gladiator Trash Walker… that gets taken down by a few light garbage bags falling in him.. which Michonne had to tell Rick to do)

    But I also want to concentrate on the good. The closing 2 scenes were great. Carol & Daryl together… and the most interesting moment to me is when Daryl decided to lie to Carol and tell her everything and everyone was ok. I didn’t realize until watching Talking Dead that this was more about Daryl knowing what actions Carol would take if she knew the truth than being about Daryl just wanting to protect Carol from reality.

    I also enjoyed the final scene with Daryl and Morgan.

    I haven’t been watching Talking Dead much lately.. but this episode was good enough that I wanted to see what they said. That is a step in the right direction.

    Sadly… looks like Negan is back next week. All we can hope is they keep it to a minimum and don’t over-do those scenes so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t get to watch The Talking Dead last night so thanks for filling me in on that. I can understand Daryl’s logic and I’m sure he’s thinking that it’s totally possible that she’ll never even see Rick and the original crew again. But when she finds out about Glen and Abraham, everyone better watch out…

      The last two episodes have been really good so I hope the trend continues next week! 🙂

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  2. The part with the Junkyarders reminded me of the medieval section in Neil Marshall’s DOOMSDAY. A very underrated and underappreciated genre mash-up film.

    Glad to see Pollyanna McIntosh join the cast as the Junkyarders’ leader Jadis. She can be a force of nature on any film or series. Two stand out works she’s done are two indie horror films: THE WOMAN and LET US PREY.

    Seeing her on the Talking Dead just another reminder that she’s one tall, gorgeous woman. As ZZ Top would say, “She’s got legs.”

    Liked by 1 person

        • Honest question… because I don’t follow the comics other than seeing spoilers from time to time online.
          What do you mean by “for now”?

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          • The show’s writers and the comic book’s creator have in the past combined new characters to create a pastiche of the original comic book’s version. So, the Junkyarders is original now, but they could also become something else down the line if the writers decide to go that route.

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          • Good thing there isn’t another layer of replies here… this comment strip is getting pretty narrow! LMAO
            Ok,, thanks for explanation. That makes sense. Original now but if they use them in the future to fill somewhere else… then not so much.

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  3. Pingback: What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: FANatic (dir by Jean-François Rivard) | Through the Shattered Lens

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