TV Review: The Walking Dead 7.14 “The Other Side”


Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead was the type of episode that drives me crazy.  It was an episode where hardly anything happened and what did happen played out very slowly.  In fact, I eventually ended up getting so bored that I started trying to imagine how The Walking Dead could ever come up with an episode slower than “The Other Side.”

After giving it some thought, I decided the only way it could happen would be if Terrence Malick agreed to be a guest director during season 8.  As I sat waiting for something to happen in the episode that I was actually watching, I found myself imagining what the Malick-directed episode would be like.

I envisioned Rick standing alone in a vibrantly green field.  The grass is high and the blowing wind creates gentle waves of nature.  Rick looks up to the incredibly blue sky and sees one extremely white cloud floating over.  Rick looks down at the ground.  An egg hatches.  A bird is born.  Rick stares at the bird.  The bird stares at him.  They both flash back to prehistory.  A sabre tooth tiger eats a caveman who looks suspiciously like Norman Reedus.  Rick blinks.  Rick’s back in the field.  Christian Bale walks by, dressed up like a 1930s Oklahoma dust bowl farmer.  He looks at Rick.  Rick stares back.  Christian Bale walks on.

On the soundtrack, we hear Ben Kinglsey’s voice.  “What is this nature of man that refuses to accept that death begins with life and life ends with death?  Will the grass blow for an eternity?”

Rick looks off in the distance.  Walkers are approaching.

On the soundtrack, we hear Jessica Chastain’s voice: “I will wait you at the other end of the river, where the two waters meet in life and diverge in death.”

“Shane, Glenn, and old Dale Horvath,” Rick mutters, “Always you are at war within me.”

The walkers calmly walk by Rick.  Rick notices that a man in animal skins is with the walkers and yet, the man is not eaten because he has returned to a more innocent and primitive state….

And so on and so forth.

Anyway, as for what actually did happen during tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, I guess this was a pretty good example of why I should be careful what I ask for.  For weeks, I’ve been defending Rosita and saying that people should let her attack the Sanctuary.  Well, tonight, she and Sasha finally made it to the Sanctuary and that attack did not go quite as planned.  First off, Eugene refused to go back to Alexandria with them.  (A better name for the Sanctuary would be Stockholm because Eugene’s got a huge case of Stockholm Syndrome, am I right or am I right?  Thank you, I’ll be here all night.)  Then Sasha announced that Rosita needed to go back to Alexandria and ran into the Sanctuary to create a diversion.  With Sasha undoubtedly getting shot up by Negan’s goons, Rosita ran off but then stopped when she saw someone in the shadows.  I’m assuming it was Daryl.

(By the way, I know we’re all supposed to get mad at Rosita for potentially messing up Rick’s plans but seriously, can you blame her?  Rick only has one plan: Do nothing until that’s no longer an option, sacrifice half of your people on a suicide mission, and make sure Carl survives to lose another eye.)

This all happened in the final ten minutes of the episode and it was pretty good and exciting.  But to get to that point, we had to sit through a seemingly endless slog of scenes that mostly felt like filler.  The Saviors showed up at Alexandria and, once again, we had to watch Simon bully Gregory while everyone else stood around and shook their head in disgust.  Because Negan set his last doctor on fire, he decided to take Alexandria’s doctor.

“OH MY GOD!” the audience was supposed to shout, “Maggie’s pregnant and Alexandria has lost their only doctor!”

(Maggie’s been pregnant for a while now and she’s still not showing.  Trying to figure out how much time has actually passed in The Walking Dead is almost as much fun as trying to figure out how long they were actually on the island on Lost.)

And yes, Negan arbitrarily taking someone else’s doctor because he stupidly killed his own does reinforce the fact that Negan is a jackass and something needs to be done about him.  But seriously, it all played out so slowly.  And it’s not like Gregory was going to refuse to hand over the doctor or anything.  Other than Daryl almost coming out of hiding to attack someone, nothing unexpected or particularly interesting happened during all of that.  It was all just more Savior bully bullshit.

When we weren’t in Alexandria, we spent an eternity watching Rosita raise and lower a rifle.  At one point, I was scared that the whole rest of this season would just be Rosita raising the rifle, looking through the scope, and then lowering it.

Fortunately, this episode ended with some action but it took forever to get there.  There’s only two more episodes left in this season so hopefully, the show will pick up the pace a little.  Because, seriously, if season 7 ends with Rick announcing that it’s finally time to attack as he stares at the Sanctuary in the distance, I’m going to throw a fit.

 

 

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5 responses to “TV Review: The Walking Dead 7.14 “The Other Side”

  1. Just finished watching (a bit late because of that damn pause live tv feature to get some snacks!!)

    At least I knew not much would happen going in since I read the first line of your review on the Facebook link. So somehow it doesn’t seem so bad when my expectation are lower. So this episode was basically the calm before the storm… part 4.

    I liked seeing Rosita acting human again. It’s bee quite a few episodes since we’ve seen that from her. Lately, she has just had a scowl face like a teenager being told to turn off the Playstation 4 and do their homework. So that was a welcome change for me.

    I wanted a bit more from the sniper plan though. I know it’s not interesting to watch them raise and lower the gun that much… but some “Enemy At The Gates” type tension would have been good. Love that movie.

    I don’t quite understand Sasha’s original plan.. and then what it turned into.
    Sasha convinced Rosita that it was best to stay outside.. and wait for a good shot on Negan. That way they could take him out and live to fight another day. Sounded good to me.

    But then at the end… Sasha is locking Rosita out and going in Rambo style?
    I suppose Sasha came to that conclusion after her & Rosita had their long heart to heart. So I suppose I can make some sense of it in that way.

    But just because Sasha put a lock on the fence… doesn’t mean there was no way for Rosita to get in there. They did use a bolt cutter to get in there in the first place. A few more snips and Rosita could have been right in there at Sasha’s side. But I guess that didn’t fit the dramatic story line.

    It also made little sense to me that they blew their whole plan to try to get Eugene out. The key was to kill Negan. That was the entire point of their mission.
    That would be like aborting your plan to blow up the Death Star to let Jar Jar Binks out of a cage. Ok.. I get it.. they wanted to save him. But didn’t they just say a few minutes before that that Eugene “had some angle”. So wouldn’t they decide that Eugene would be ok and that killing Negan was still priority ONE??

    Seriously though.. Rosita.. use the same bolt cutters that got you into the fence to cut a new opening… go help Sasha.

    I don’t think Sasha is dead… not yet anyway. She got into the building and is hiding somewhere… working her way to try to find Negan. So I see some potential good drama still there. But… you could be right that she got shot up right after entering the Sanctuary… sorta going out like Butch & Sundance. I hope not.. wanna at least see her sneaking about in the place and taking out a few goons on her way.

    IDK who that was that Rosita saw at the end. It sure looked like Daryl. But then in previews we saw Daryl with the rest of the group. Maybe Rosita & Daryl go back and round everyone up to get this plan in motion.

    LMAO @ your line about the season ending with Rick off in the distance looking at the Sanctuary announcing it’s time to attack! That is certainly possible… but I do think the attack will at least get underway.
    It certainly wont be over this season though… I’d be willing to bet someone’s farm on that.

    Final thought. Reading about your mind wandering off hits home with me. When things are really slow.. my mind wanders too. The bad part about that is I often miis some key info sprinkled in those slow times. Then when I find myself wondering why “that” is happening or how we got from A to D… I have to go back and see what I missed. But luckily, your reviews fill in some of those gaps for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since I get myself back in night shift mode by staying up all Sunday night… I casually watched this episode again at the 2am time.

      You might be right about Sasha. I heard gunfire and goons running out that I somehow missed the first time. Plus Rosita falling down and crying like she knew what happened.

      If so… I’m even more angry. There was absolutely no reason to run into that. A diversion? … a diversion from what? If Sasha just ran into some bullets… then that didn’t really slow down anyone. Seems to me both Sasha & Rosita could have made a run for it. Unless the thinking was Negan’s goons would stop looking after killing Sasha? I suppose that could make some sense. But still… the better plan would have been for both to escape IMO.

      And still upset the whole plan was botched in an attempt to save Eugene. They heard Eugene on the radio. So either he was really with Negan….. or he had a good enough cover to be safe for now. Either way, Eugene should not have even been on their radar.

      The whole sequence makes little sense to me. I’d like the writers to walk me through the thought process from the time they decide to go in… to the time that Sasha runs into the building.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The more I think about it, the more I have a feeling that Sasha’s going to be the new hostage. Her being held prisoner — especially considering her relationship to the late Abraham — will give Rick a reason to finally launch his attack. I just have a feeling that, if Sasha had been killed, they would have shown in. It’s rare that a semi-major character ever dies off-screen. Still, as you said, there’s no logical reason for Sasha to have run into the Sanctuary like that.

        I hadn’t considered that about Eugene but you’re right. There was no reason for them to try to get him back, other than Rosita feeling guilty for him being taken to the Sanctuary in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I also have to admit that my mind does tend to wander while watching The Walking Dead, especially during the slower episodes. I almost always have to go back and search for all the little details that I missed. I’ve been watching the show since it began and I still sometimes struggle to keep straight how everyone’s related.

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      • I’ll reply to me comment just to avoid slipping into one word per line territory 😆

        I thought of that latter too and agree 100%. If Sasha had been killed there would have been more made of it. As you said, and as I realized after my initial comments, WD has pretty much always gave their main characters a sort of “send off”.

        So with that in mind, if Sasha had died, there would have been some slo-mo “Scarface”-type scene. Sasha soaking up bullets as Rosita made her escape. UNLESS… they do a bit of a rewind to that moment in the next episode. And WD has had a history of showing events… then later going back a bit and showing things leading up to that. I don’t think that’s the case this time… but was just another thought. Either way.. if Sasha dies (or is already dead), I think they’ll pay more tribute to her than an off screen death.

        Eugene – Sasha & Rosita had pretty much decided their only option to get Negan was to go into the Sanctuary. Seemed unlikely to get a clean shot at him from the book depository window (no clue what that building actually was). And they may have starved to death before getting that shot. So I suppose when they went in… then maybe trying to save Eugene was just a “bonus”. But still, they shot the guard next to Eugene rather than waiting a bit til they could get access more quietly.

        I also forget a lot of the details. It doesn’t help that I lose some interest during the many slow parts. It also doesn’t help breaking seasons up with Winter breaks to knock me off track.

        For example, I hadn’t even considered Rosita’s guilt. But that is a very good point. It had totally slipped my mind as to the reason Eugene was there in the first place. I hadn’t forgotten… just filed it away so far in the back of my mind that I didn’t think about it. That is true of many points in this show for me.

        And seriously, …..how is Gregory in charge of anything?

        How long were the characters on Lost on the island? I have to believe they were never there at all… otherwise my mind might blow up.

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