As AMC’s The Walking Dead marches towards its season finale, we have to take stock of the plot thus far and remember that TWD is a show where payoffs eventually come – even if they take an age to arrive. While the premise and build throughout left a lot to be desired, “The Other Side” at least committed to an interesting idea. Sadly in the vain of the season thus far, it seems that getting to that point proved more of a chore than anything else.
Part of Season 7’s problem thus far has been its stop-start pacing and unfortunately it was present again in this weeks Walking Dead episode. Granted the final ten or so minutes jacked up the tension; but really we were left with yet another cliffhanger and slow-build to reveals that aren’t all that impressive.
The main crux of this episode took place in Hilltop, arguably the least interesting destination on the show right now. There was a heap of political chess moves going on as Gregory and Maggie circled each other for control of the community. The episode also allowed a number of other characters to get some development – such as Daryl apologising to Maggie and Jesus moving to firm his hand around the reigns of control. Honestly though, the training scenes feel somewhat pointless given how we know most of these faceless characters will probably end up becoming cannon fodder during the finale.
The best parts of the episode were almost exclusively reserved for Rosita and Sasha, who embarked on their suicide mission to take out Negan. The logic between the pair seemed incredibly dense at points – they had a great sniping position and the potential to wait out Negan. But alas, the plot dictated that the pair confront things head on and to the shows credit, the tension throughout these scenes was palpable. I find it hard to hate on this whole thing (dumb as it is) if only because its something that’s happening. Even if it’s not great, it’s action in a show that’s been severely lacking in it thus far.
I also don’t know how to feel about the ending of the episode. The big “WTF” moment came from the reveal that Eugene has totally downed Negan’s coolaid – becoming a full card-carrying member of his stooge club. Rosita’s reaction was on point and at least offered some emotional gravitas to the scene. “Chief Engineer” Eugene seems to finally be getting some character development – the big question is if he’s playing the audience or if he truly had flipped to the dark side. The ending of the episode teased we’ll find out sooner rather than later (My money is on Eugene being the shadowy figure) but given how awkward the ending cut was – we may not find out for another two weeks (As focus shifts back to Alexandria).
Sadly though this episode was yet another meandering, foot-dragging mess that ultimately will only serve to frustrate more than it entertained. The ending of the episode with Rosita and Sasha fulfilling their mission to kill Negan was nice, but there’s a feeling that the producers are spinning the wheels intentionally – knowing there’s very little for the show to do until that epic finale battle. I’m not a fan of the location hopping that Season 7’s indulging in, and I feel that with so few episodes left before the end of the Season – it’ll only serve to hurt more as we move forward. It also doesn’t help that nothing’s really happening in all these locations we’re jumping to.
File this one under “filler” – a sadly consistent theme with this season of The Walking Dead.