The Walking Dead, S07E15

The Walking Dead, S07E15

“Something They Need” Ignores its Audience’s Needs,

Suffers Wildly For its Rampant Stupidity


Let’s get the obvious out of the way: there’s no way for this to be a satisfying episode of television on any terms, least of all those set by The Walking Dead. When we left off last week, Sasha had entered the Saviours’ compound on a whim that it would be an insult to call a suicide mission, because at least there’s some implied nobility to those. Then Rosita, who has made the assassination of Negan her singular goal in life, ran away crying from said mission, a few moments after Eugene had refused both her’s and Sasha’s help, leaning into his new role as a Full Negan acolyte. Also, the real Negan was still alive. So, you tell me, what’s the best case scenarios here?

That Negan does this to all of us before the end of the season. (AMC)

In my reading, the absolute, 100% most satisfying way – from a plot and character standpoint – this episode can go is the have Eugene kill Negan. Now, that would still be pretty lame, as I can’t think of a method cunning enough that would excuse Negan’s invulnerability up to this point while still having it make sense to kill him off now. That said, Eugene being the orchestrator of his death is almost undoubtedly the only manner this episode could conclude that wouldn’t be a total fucking misfire. At least in that instance, you have these dynamics to play with:

  1. The “cowardly lion” archetype finally proving himself (perhaps sacrificially…?) to the rest of the main group.
  2. Negan, the Big Bad, being undone by the one person he truly underestimated, a bumbling, craven whelp that he drew closest in a misguided attempt to sway his loyalty.
  3. The limits of Negan’s exploitative system of control – whereby fear begets more fear – are realised, as one of his most unassuming would-be followers rises up and rejects his tyrannical hierarchy.
  4. Most significantly, Eugene making the choice to perpetuate this world’s cycle of violence on its most active proponent, essentially fighting fire with a molotov loaded with fucking lava, refusing to be crushed under the wheel but complicit enough to give it a spin himself.

Once again, that’s a lot of thematic reaching to say that Eugene extinguishing Negan’s arse-reeking flame of existence would be kinda ok, I suppose. What’s more likely? Either Sasha (yawn) or Rosita (too catatonic to yawn) pull the trigger or, what might even be worse, Daryl swoops in from nowhere to save the day because, y’know, he has a fucking crossbow and gets paid $550,000 per ep, so he better earn that paycheque dammit! Even more likely, someone makes a frustratingly half-arsed pass at it and dies – an outcome I’ll include Dwight in as a wildcard – though, to be fair, nothing could be as groan-inducing as Rosita shooting and hitting his fucking bat last year.

Remember how badly this went? I remember… (AMC)

So, onto the actual episode: hup, there’s an out of focus zombie, possibly reflecting the nature of– Nope. Noooope, I am not doing this. It’s a blurry fucking dead thing, and that’s it. Some grizzled voice over tells us that Rick and co. are headed to Oceanside (the sanctuary of women that Tara stumbled on last year), either to recruit them or kill them and take their weapons. You know how when your doctor takes a look at your test results, the last thing you wanna hear at the outset is, “Oh, boy!” I literally just said that out loud.

A quick check-in at Hilltop shows Gregory stalking Maggie like Trump did Clinton at the 2nd Presidential Debate last year, full of menace but gassily ineffectual. Then Jesus and Daryl (who, unless this is a time jump, isn’t the figure Rosita saw at the end of the last ep) are getting all chummy in the woods. Oh and, aaah, there we go: Sasha got caught, and she’s in Daryl’s old cell at the Saviours’ compound. Dude, fuck that shit. What’s the point of that, honestly? Is there anyone watching this show who got any degree of pleasure in watching Sasha run into the compound, eyes ablaze, fully ready to die for the cause of killing Negan and as many Saviours as she can… and then she’s immediately been captured? Fucking seriously? It’s like if every episode of Law & Order ended halfway through, with a DA walking in abruptly and announcing, “Oh guys, no sweat: dude totally confessed, he’s going to jail. So, shots?”

“Yeesh, even my show isn’t this devoid of tension.” (NBC)

Ugh. So Negan kills one of his guys who tries to get gross with Sasha (what a goddamn hero) and says she should join ’em ’cause, meh, what the fuck else is she doing with herself? Eugene follows, making a case in one of the most finely-acted scenes this season – with all credit to the often overlooked Josh McDermitt – that she needs to join him and become Negan, to forfeit the noble struggle Rick and everyone else has thrown themselves into and simply let herself exist without the constant threat of the Saviours. There is, I suppose, a kind of interesting discussion buried deep somewhere in this scene, where Eugene argues for the practicality of accepting the Saviours’ easy immorality and Sasha retorts that the only purpose remaining to them is the choice to remain better than what the world has wrought. Yeah, it’s the sort of conversation we’ve heard about 4,932 times, but at least it’d be more engaging than Sasha’s stern insistence that Eugene just leave. God, this shit’s gonna make me pass out, it’s so uneventful.

As far as it goes, the Alexandrians’ full scale takeover of Oceanside is marginally (like, by a flea pube) more interesting. Tara goes in first, does a shitty job of convincing the town elder of her idea to join forces, and then Rick and the others storm the place using explosives and warning shots to gather everyone together. If the point is that it’s like herding sheep, the level of visual excitement reflects that. Then that same town elder arrives with a gun pointed at Tara’s head and everyone spends about four hours discussing the finer points of the situation:

Town Elder: I’ll shoot her!

Rick: No you won’t!

T.E.: Oh, I totally will!

R: Bet you won’t!

T.E.: I’m gonna!

R: Nuh uuuuuuh!

Random Oceansider: Hey, maybe we should join up with these gu–.


Do you see how bored even Tara is by this shit? (AMC)

Then she takes a few more hours telling the crowd that she’s definitely, totally, for-realsies gonna kill Tara but they need to understand what a huge deal that is, so she’s gonna spend a little longer telling them before she does it. Then her granddaughter slugs her in the mouth (I hate using this, but truly LOL) as zombies attack the main group. I don’t know, I just… don’t give the teeniest, greasy fuck about these sort of setpieces anymore. Outside of one person stupidly going out by themself and getting snuck up on by a zombie, these hordes are now the single most empty way to generate tension the show has at its disposal. Even en masse, these creatures are more of a nuisance now than a genuine threat, so having everyone leap into action and the score swell dramatically only reminds me how insanely unstimulated and lacking in imagination someone would have to be to find any of this even moderately thrilling.

Meanwhile, Sasha has – at least nominally – acquiesced to Negan, though it’s clear her heart isn’t in it. Then she gets a closed-door visit from Eugene and pleads with him to find her some implement with which she might kill herself. Now, fool me once show, shame on you – unless it’s The Walking Dead, in which case there’s plenty of shame to go around – but I’m not for a second gonna believe that Sasha has any intent other than to murder Negan, and wants to manipulate Eugene into helping her get it done.

Should it be shockingly stupid for Eugene to believe her, when this very same thing happened to him a few episodes ago when Negan’s wives wanted to kill the dude? On a certain level, yeah, that is pretty dumb, but it’s also a semi-interesting place to leave off this week: Eugene is blinded, by a con he should be able to spot a mile away by now, because he trusts Sasha and he wants the best for her. Even if that means helping her kill herself, that’s what he’ll do. There’s probably some decent parallel to be drawn there on a better show about trust and the nature of the Alexandrians accosting Oceanside of their weapons, or Maggie and Gregory’s weird relationship, but let’s just pretend we all got there. And thank fuck there’s only one episode left.

And hopefully we’ll get some more of this guy, amirite?! (AMC)


Quotes & Random Thoughts


  • Carl and Enid talking solemnly in the woods is just a smidge below “The idea of licking a dead man’s taint” on the list of things that make me want to kill myself.
  • Maggie is teaching the Hilltop peeps to garden. It’s as compelling as anything else that happened this week.
  • Yeah, so, the henchman Negan kills talks about tying Sasha up and raping her, then offers her water in exchange for getting his dick sucked. Maaan, I’m beginning to think these guys aren’t on the up and up…
  • “You were trying to rape this woman, weren’t you? Rape is against the rules here.” Negan, who has clearly never had a real conversation with any of his wives.
  • He then proceeds to call the dude he killed “Rapey Davey”, before complimenting Sasha’s “beachball-sized lady nuts”. It’s official: Negan is really a tall seven-year-old with a shitty grasp on when to emphasise… words!
  • “Full disclosure: the pillow is not hypoallergenic.” Eugene, you magnificent cunt, where have you been?
  • “I want greenery, I eat a salad.” Gregory, forgetting that absinthe is always an option.
  • Oh, hey look: Gregory thinks about stabbing Maggie, but then a zombie sneaks up on him(!) and she saves his life. I… I can’t, with this shit.
  • There is not a single word, let alone line, in the entire exchange between Tara and the Oceansiders that was worth listening to. Oh, but her gun wasn’t loaded. Soooooooooooooooo…
  • Legit, I had to clasp both hands over my mouth to muffle my scream of laughter when that one Oceansider punched her grandma!
  • Y’know what, I’ve changed my mind: Carl and Enid having conversations one sentence at a time, thirty minutes apart, is probably the best version of them.
  • The creepy cut to Sasha smiling in her cell while still talking like she was in tears was actually really effective.
  • Of course Eugene gives Sasha that poison pill from a few weeks back. She seems disappointed, but Chekhov’s gun and all that…
  • Oh, it was Dwight with Rosita. Cool. Or, wait, no… the other thing… Stupid. Yeah, that’s it. Stupid.

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