The Walking Dead Review: “Say Yes”

Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.

In the latest episode of The Walking Dead, we didn’t move the plot forward very much at all. Sure, Rick and company managed to find and deliver some guns to the trash people, but it wasn’t enough to kick off the fight. It feels like we’re spinning our wheels again. On the other hand, the episode itself was largely enjoyable and did a pretty solid job building up and selling us on the relationship between Rick and Michonne.

The Walking Dead Review - Say Yes

I’m honestly conflicted about what to think about this. I’m a fan of character driven fiction, but The Walking Dead just isn’t that kind of show. Sure, it has characters, and sometimes even does interesting things with them, but that’s never the thrust of the story. Character traits and autonomy are constantly being sacrificed to move the plot forward. I can’t think of how many times an otherwise intelligent, capable character did something stupid just to get us to the next set piece.

While I liked the moments with Rick and Michonne, I can’t help be feel that they will prove to be largely meaningless in the bigger narrative.

Bearing that in mind, I was fairly happy with “Say Yes” because it further developed Michonne into a well rounded character. When she was originally introduced her character irritated me. She seemed like little more than a fan-service beautiful badass woman with a sword. And not just a sword, a katana, the most irritating of swords due to their mythological place in the geek pantheon.

I started softening on her with The Walking Dead started pairing her up with Carl and the cracks started showing in her taciturn demeanor. She still doesn’t have the nuance of some of the better developed characters, but at least she doesn’t seem like a cartoon anymore.

The Walking Dead Review - Say Yes

While most of the show centered around Rick and Michonne bumbling into a huge cache of food and weapons (and an utterly unconvincing CGI deer), the real plot development was taking place elsewhere, focusing on Rosita and Tara.

Rosita is still singularly focused on taking out Negan. And, while she appears fairly capable, she’s clearly not considering anything on a strategic scale. She’s focusing all her energy on solving this single problem, and not considering even for a moment what else might come of it. And I really, really like that. It’s motivating a character to do something that will likely play out as stupid and destructive, but the audience can actually see and appreciate her thought process. That’s halfway decent writing there.

Tara, on the other hand, is deeply conflicted. She knows they need guns, and she knows exactly where they can get a whole bunch of of them, and possible some allies too.

The Walking Dead Review - Say Yes

On the other hand, she might just start a fight between her people and the Amazons, which she is clearly not comfortable with. Again, I liked this conflict. It seems very in keeping with Tara’s character. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s one of my favorites.

All told, “Say Yes” was a fairly strong episode despite not making a lot of forward momentum and several irritating moments. The “Rick’s dead” fake out was particularly stupid. We’ve only got a few episodes left of the season, so hopefully we start moving toward the end game next week.

Grade:
4 zombies heads out of 5

7 Comments

Pi3rK

That was nice from the show to remind us it was a zombie story with some gore/surrounded heroes moments.Been quite a while since last saw stuff like that.

I’m not a big fan of Rick and Michonne relation, but after all why not.

I like that all secondary characters (Gab, Rosita, Eugene, tara to name a few) are smoothly stealing the show from others like Darryl, Carl. Good move IMO.

I really love the fact that Sasha and Rosita will team up. Definitely looking forward to this !

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Dave

“I like that all secondary characters (Gab, Rosita, Eugene, tara to name a few) are smoothly stealing the show from others like Darryl, Carl. Good move IMO.”

Oh man, I couldn’t agree more. Daryl is great and all, but the show definitely needs a bigger group of draw characters

I’m curious why you don’t like the Rick and Michonne relationship. Is it because it doesn’t feel earned? No chemistry? Not realistic?

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pi3rk

Chemsitry… Well Why not… they’ve been through a lot and stuff.

Earned ? They deserve it obviously, still fine with that…

It’s more like I’m not buying it, doesn’t feel true.

Don’t know if it’s the acting or maybe not the right time for the show… I mean Rick falling for the blond Alexandria mother was great… Good time, good situation.

I feel like here it’s more “well the story needs this so…”. You see, no more Glen/Maggie, no more Abraham/ Rosita, Bob/Sasha, Shane/Lorie,…

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Dave

Fair enough. It works for me, but I can definitely see how it might not for others. It does seem very narratively convenient, after all.

TheBeefThief

1) The Walking Dead makes Michonne more unrealistic every time they feature an episode with her as a main character, specifically with the sword.
In this episode, several of the walkers she slices were wearing helmets and body armour.
The katana ought to have snapped in two by now, regardless of whether it cost $50 or $5000

2) It’s laughable that the two most capable survivors on the show nearly got killed by a zombie that was stuck on a spike 30 metres away

3) I spotted a mistake in this episode- if you look carefully in the scene where Rick climbs the big wheel, you’ll spot a deer that came out of a PS2 game

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Mick

The last two episodes my not be moving the plot forward much, but at least we know that there’s a destination – the big battle with Negan and the Saviours. As opposed to when we were stuck on Hershel’s farm and the show seemed to have no direction.

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