REVIEW: The Walking Dead S7 E9 ‘Rock In The Road’ sets the stage for an epic season 7B
After what seemed like the longest two-month midseason break ever, The Walking Dead returned to our screens on Monday with little fanfare.
‘The Rock in the Road’ was not the thrilling follow-up that ‘Hearts Still Beating’ deserved. We left Rick and the group in the Hill Top – exhilarated by the decision to return to the fight against Negan. It was a surprisingly heartwarming finale, but ‘The Rock in the Road’ returned to the daily grind instead of maintaining that wonderful optimism.
What is was was perfectly fine and – unfortunately – necessary. As much as fans of The Walking Dead want the oft-criticised slow pace of 7A to end, ‘The Rock in the Road’ was about setting the stage for what is to come. This will hopefully include action and revenge and Rick’s group finally coming out on top.
In ‘The Rock in the Road’, we returned to two communities with the request for aid in the help against Negan. The contrast between leaders – Gregory of the Hill Top and Ezekiel of the Kingdom – was beautifully done. Gregory is intransigent. The Saviours are not his problem, and he cares for nothing outside of his territory. It’s a shame that his people care more for Maggie than him. On the other hand, Ezekiel is willing to listen and consider the counsel of others. He ultimately reaches the same conclusion, but it is clear the right words from the right candidate (Morgan, I’m looking at you) might sway his hand.
We also returned to a mystery of the midseason finale. In all that happened, it was easy to forget the owner of those boots who watched Rick and Aaron scavenge supplies from a hut surrounded by water. We still don’t learn exactly who that was, but Rick and Aaron do return to the scene – this time, with backup – and find themselves surrounded by a group of mighty angry people carrying weapons. Hopefully, their negotiations with this new group over teaming up to beat Negan will be more successful.
Despite a lack of action, ‘The Rock in the Road’ began doing exactly what season 7A hinted at. It finally began to join the links between each community. Full scale war is definitely coming, and it could be amazing.