The Walking Dead – Season 7 – Ep. 6 “Swear”: A Review

Posted: 12/01/2016 in Uncategorized

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The latest run of WD allowed for further expansion of the WD universe. The slow burn individual adventures of Rick’s group make for some solid storytelling. This latest run featuring the whereabouts of Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Heath (Corey Hawkins) is no exception. The ever present shadow of Negan is allowed to properly loom in the background. My open salvo delivered, on to my review.

We open with the above mentioned duo foraging for Alexandria and Hilltop. Tara remains her hopeful, optimistic self unaware of all that has gone on between her group/family and the Saviours. Heath now demoralized continues down the path of despair referring to taking the lives of others as “us now”. She pushes for hope but after his time in his fool’s paradise via Deanna Monroe’s (Tovah Feldshuh) false Eden, he is demoralized. The ep was poised to be another “thinker” before quickly switching into different gear via Tara becoming separated from Heath in a cool Nicotero “sand-walker” sequence that paid off in creep factor in what is more often offered in visceral presentation. In any case how and why the two become separated is left to the viewer’s perspective which favors a more negative view of Heath putting his current view of the group morality into play.

Enter Oceanside. The ep utilized the plot device of “broken perspective” showing us Tara washing up on shore and receiving both aid and near death from the inhabitants of a hidden community. The disjointed aspect has worked before and succeeded once more as like Tara, we as viewers are left confused and hazy about how we got to where we are. A young girl, Rachel (Mimi Kirkland) attempts to kill her, lumping her in with walkers and we come to learn…any body who is a stranger –  before the intercession of Cyndie (Sydney Park) whose presence and role are bound to expand with this season.

Tara naturally wanders and stumbles on to a heavily armed town populated only by women. The first encounter goes as expected with Tara running afoul of the stranger, new group before inevitably meeting their leader, Natania (Deborah May). Tara’s excellent b.s. skills which were a nice touch, hearkening back to her time with the Governor (David Morrissey), serve to disarm the group, at least enough to earn her a parley. Her first encounter with Beatrice (Briana Venskus) though violent works in her favor as it illustrates she is not like the foe the “Oceansiders” are hiding from.

Though more plot driven, the momentum eventually builds toward some powerful revelations including a feint at the dinner table when Tara confesses her role in the elimination of the saviors at their outpost. The group explains plainly, as we have already seen, that this was not all of them.” Natania’s offer of a place to stay to Tara, though initially seeming to address only her, expands to include Heath from whom she admits she was separated. A later moment gives us greater depth into what happened along with a full perspective of how Tara ended up on the Oceansiders’ shoreline. The reach of the Saviors is presented via a second meeting between Tara and Beatrice. Sydney’s act of mercy is her attempt to set an example to her people and to Tara from whom she elicits the action for which the episode is named.

Another feint involving Heath yields an holy eff moment before opening the field to his own story arc. The encounters with the Sand Walkers proved as anxiety inducing as any of the more standard walker encounter depictions. The notion of not having to kill and being what one should be- not what one allows oneself to become- is at the heart of the story.

The end sequence in which Tara joyfully picks up a keepsake for her lover, Dr. Denise (Merritt Weaver) is duly heart wrenching as is the scene involving Eugene (Josh McDermitt) which greets her upon her return. The template of this show is surviving a zombie apocalypse. The soul of it is a true exploration of human nature and the show runners must again be lauded for inciting us to care about each of these character’s respective journeys. “Swear” proves yet again why Walking Dead is simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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