The Walking Dead Recap is written by guest features writer Brad Morris.
Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog. After a roller coaster season of ups and downs, we were once again rewarded with an astounding episode. TWD was able to show every single major storyline and have them come together in a staggering manor. I’ve tried to focus on nothing but the characters while reviewing TWD for you out there in TV land, and last nights “Hearts Still Beating” could be my greatest challenge yet. So many people, so little time. I’ve got the guts to do it, so let’s press ahead, knife at the ready.
We’ve not seen much of our samurai this first half of the season, and this episode wrapped up her small story arc into a nice, pretty bow. Basically Michonne was finding her way in this new world with the Saviors and discovering a way to fight them. She was shown just how large a force the Saviors can be, and this made her realize she couldn’t do this alone, but only with her family. A return to Rick’s arms felt like the right end to this little side trip for Michonne.
I think it’s safe to say that we know that Daryl was helped in his escape by Jesus, with a key to his cell and not breaking bread with him. After a new set of clothes, and some finger licking good peanut butter, Daryl finds his home built motorcycle and manages his escape, with a massive beat down of Fat Joey in the process. We’ve seen Negan and Dwight try to break Daryl down with dog food sandwiches and horrible, mind numbing music, but Daryl never broke. And he’s a survivor in all sense of the word. A Hilltop reunion with other members of the group has brought him back into the mix and at just the right time. He even brought Rick a “sorry I’ve missed you bro” present.
TWD seems to have stumbled upon the old Terminator 2 wardrobe. This week Maggie got Linda Hamilton’s uniform from the great early 90’s movie, and it definitely suits her. A quick tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte with Gregory at the beginning shows her waiting for someone on the walls of the Hilltop. Later of course, she’s rewarded with Jesus and Daryl making it there in time for dinner. Maggie is set up to be the new leader at the Hilltop, and the people there appear to be all for it.
Unfortunately for Spencer, this is his last appearance with us, as Negan decided to see if he had any guts. Turns out Spencer did have them, but spilled out on the ground now. Walker Spencer was dispatched by Rick, which leaves no one from the original leadership at Alexandria. Not happy to see many characters leave from the show, however we’ll make an exception for you dear Spencer. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Eugene and Rosita
This was a rough one for both of these heroes. After Rosita’s shot hit Lucille, she gets some unwanted plastic surgery. This also leads to the death of Olivia, and the capture of Eugene for his bullet making prowess. Eugene appears to be barely hanging on. Let’s hope he has an affinity for Alpo and a love for being on Easy St.
Carol, Morgan, and Richard
We’re treated to a meeting of the minds at the Kingdom, or at least on the Kingdoms front lawn. Richard comes across as very strong, determined, and concerned about the Saviors. Because he’s dealt with them during food runs, he’s no dummy, believing sooner rather than later, the Saviors will take the Kingdom down. Richard begs Carol and Morgan to help him in this endeavor. Due to past questions with their own conflicts, Carol and Morgan reject this idea rather quickly. I think some visitors in the near future will convince them otherwise.
I could go on and on about every single character from “Hearts Still Beating”. A A Ron had it rough, but survives on. Gregory continues to be a dick, but his time is short. Carl stared out of his good eye in horror a lot. Father Gabriel attempted to convince Rosita to not kill Negan. Sasha and Enid want what’s best for Maggie. Jesus just wants to help bring people together. However, we must end with the two big guys.
Once again, Negan just being Negan. Threatening. Menacing. Theatrical. Smooth. And pretty damn sadistic. While last week was his true awakening, this week Negan firmly supplants himself as arguably the best villain on TV today. Even more so than Stefano, R.I.P. The only flaw I’m sensing is the bravado may come back to haunt him. He’s so full of himself and his Saviors numbers, Negan may never see the resistance coming. Appears to be a great cook too. Great work again by JDM.
Speaking of guts, Rick gets his back. After a few weeks of dealing with the aftermath of Glen and Abrahams deaths, losing Eugene, and seeing Negan’s boot on top his people’s throats, Rick is finally ready to fight. Rick was broken. Rick was beaten. But thanks to Negan, it appears the Sheriff is back in town. Reunited with Daryl was the highlight of the episode, and he even got his Colt Python back.
Whew! That was tough. There’s so much more to discuss. And this will be on the mid season podcast. Who is the mystery person following Rick and A A Ron? What’s up with Richards RV in the woods? Will Ezekiel rally his people for the greater good? Every question we will attempt to answer. Such an up and down season has reached its halfway point, but to end it with our heroes back together, ready to fight, was the perfect note to end on. The Walking Dead returns on February 12th, and we’ll be ready. Until then, Ta Ta…