TV Show Review

TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD: Episode 7.09: Rock in the Road [AMC]

Andrew Lincoln The Walking Dead A Rock in the Road

The Walking Dead: Rock in the Road Review

The Walking Dead, season 7, episode 9, ‘Rock in the Road,’ might not have been the first, bold step to resistance (let alone a Battle of Five Armies styled commune war), but it was a necessary one, I guess, and shame on any of us who expected otherwise (he said, pointing at everyone else).

This first not-so-bold step started at the Hilltop, where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) attempted a diplomatic approach to getting Gregory (Xander Berkeley) signed on, for his joint declaration of war on the Saviors. Since diplomacy means Rick’s beard sits in the corner, Greg was free to be Greg; so even with Jesus (Tom Payne) as his co-pilot, Rick’s overture went nowhere, in typically Greg snarky fashion.

Greg’s wembling (look up Fraggle Rock – it’s a thing) has slowly become a borderline Mel Brooks impression; so I’ve forgiven myself for kinda starting to dig it, a little. He just needs to grow a pair, so we can get a clearer sense for when he’s going to die, is all.

Speaking of growing pairs, the episode actually started off with Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) taking off, and a sizable stash of Alexandrian stowable goods & non-firearm weapons going with him. Where to & why? More on that later.

Hilltop was officially left in the ‘nay’ column, with Rick’s Beard left biting his lip; but the Hilltoppings have been fancying a new drummer, since Maggie (Lauren Cohan) demonstrated what a little maternity muscle can do. We all kinda knew how the recruitment drive was gonna go, but there seemed to be a touch of naivete to some of the signing up. No time for reality checks – off to the next stop, on the Jesus junket.

That turned out to be the Kingdom, and a fresh round of oh-my-God-this-thing-I’m-seeing-is-actually-a-thing-that’s-happening (but with a group discount). Ezekiel (Khary Payton) may have let them off easy, shtick-wise; but that might’ve been due to the gravity of the matter. That might also explain why the Morgan (Lennie James) reunion didn’t seem to pack the kind of emotional punch it has had in the past. His consistency, regarding any prospective conflict, may have also dampened things, some.

As for Carol (Melissa McBride), no reunion, just yet; but she may have a new Cookie Monster to school. The Killer Queen’s still in there – it just might take a more worthy protege to draw her out.

Despite an effective titular parable, from Rick (who clearly adapted to Ezekiel pretty quick), the Kingdom stop would only provide a safe haven for Daryl (Norman Reedus), for the moment. A head-shakingly touching radio eulogy, back at the Savior’s compound, made it clear that his escape had put blood in the water. A Savior ransacking search of Alexandria underscored that point; but Ezekiel holding out on a coalition likely frustrated fans, eager to see the Beard have its way with the Bat (as promised by the end to the season’s first half).

Just a quick side note: I can’t be the only one lamenting the door being closed, on a Fat Joey vs Jerry (Cooper Andrews) boss fight – tickle, hot-dog eating, or otherwise. I just can’t.

It wasn’t all a total slow build episode, though. There was decent tension, at a dynamite-berry picking & Walker mowing festival (though why the road-block cars were left fueled, I don’t know – maybe to make a bigger booby-trap boom). The Savior visit, immediately after Rick made it back to Alexandria, upped the tension even more; but more importantly, it cast the first light on Gabe’s squirreling away.

While the answer to the Gabe question seemed like an unnecessary quest build, at this point (already got one of those, regarding Heath), it did actually kind of pay off. Clues led Rick & Co. (complete with cast casualty foreshadowing) into the hands of some well armed (I spotted a Luger, of all things), capable looking, serious types. The types likely to satisfy both Rick’s need for confrontational justice, and his Beard’s need for blood.

When Rick & his Beard agree, where they meet is where a wicked grin happens….

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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