So far, season 7 of The Walking Dead has been pretty inconsistent.
Often times, I have felt like a lone voice in the wilderness, vainly defending the season premiere and continuing to hope that, at some point, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of Negan is going to become something more than a one-dimensional caricature.
Like a lot of people, I kind of enjoyed the second episode but, in retrospect, that was mostly because of the weirdness of King Ezekiel and the majesty of Shiva. The episode itself was extremely slow and featured one of those overly sentimental musical montages, the type of thing that never holds up particularly well on repeat viewing.
The Cell … oh, I tried to enjoy The Cell but basically, it was just an hour of Daryl not speaking and Negan doing his Negan thing.
And then there was last week’s episode, which appears to be going down in the history books as the consensus pick for the worst episode of The Walking Dead ever.
So, with all that in mind, I am going to cautiously state that I think that the latest installment, Go Getters, was a definite improvement over the last few episodes. It was hardly a classic. It certainly wasn’t The Walking Dead at its absolute best. But, at the very least, it held my attention for 60 minutes, it seemed to actually move the story forward (as opposed to just being a stagnant portrayal of doom and gloom), and it left me looking forward to seeing what would happen next week. Coming nearly halfway through an uneven season, Go Getters provided just a little bit of hope for the show’s future, telling us, “The Walking Dead‘s not dead and growling in Herschel’s barn just yet!”
Of course, it helped that Go Getters was centered on Maggie, the only one of the main characters who has not left me pissed off or disappointed this season. Following the deaths of Glenn and Abraham, Maggie and Sasha are hiding out at Hilltop Colony. Gregory wants to kick them out, Jesus wants to protect them. Eventually, the Saviors show up and we get to know Simon (Steven Ogg, investing the role with such menace that it’s hard not to wonder how different the season would be if he had been cast as Negan), who is one of Negan’s liuetenants. Simon collects his tribute, humiliates Gregory, and leaves. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid show up at Hilltop, having run away from Alexandria. One-eyed Carl has decided to take revenge on Negan and who can blame him? At this point, he has to know that his red-eyed, sniveling, neutered father isn’t going to do anything…
(Which brings up an interesting issue: we’re supposed to look down on Gregory for being so weak and subservient to the Saviors but really, he didn’t do anything different from what Rick did last week. We’re supposed to give Rick a pass but not Gregory, which doesn’t seem quite right. Gregory may be an ass but, as we should all know by now, nice guys don’t survive the apocalypse.)
So far, each episode this season has featured a different community being harassed by Negan. I’m assuming that these communities are eventually going to come together to take out the Saviors. If that’s the case, I can understand and even respect the deliberate build-up. At the same time, this season is moving so slowly (and has been so repetitive) that it’s hard not to get frustrated when you’re watching on a weekly schedule. One gets the feeling that Season 7 will be better when binge-watched but, for now, I find myself wishing the show would pick up the pace.
But, with all that in mind, I liked Go Getters. I love the fact that Maggie refuses to surrender. Despite all of the terrible things that have happened to her and the people that she loved, Maggie has not given up. She hasn’t turned into a weak shell, like Rick or Daryl. Nor has she retreated to a world of fantasy, like Carol. Instead, Maggie lives, Maggie fights, and Maggie endures. Glenn may be dead but Maggie the Cat is alive.