Walking Dead – Season 7 – Ep. 10 “New Best Friends”: A Review

Posted: 02/21/2017 in Uncategorized

rick

With an ep that picks up moments where we left off last week, we encounter a new group whose alliances and motivations remain to be seen. Looking like cross between Mad Max denizens and Matrix leftovers, this new bizarre group is propped up to tip the balance in the war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors. The Kingdom sees action via a more personal arc involving Daryl (Norman Reedus), Richard (Karl Makinen) and inevitably Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). A lot went on and it was good. My volley delivered, on to my review.

Enter Jadis (Pollyana McIntosh) and her ‘Heapsters’. This is an odd show, but this crew brought a new level of weird with their impassive faced collective and woman of few words leader. They almost seem out of place in this post apocalyptic world but as this season has striven to open expand the reality of both the Alexandrians led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the viewers as well, the junkyard panorama kind of works. This main arc got lots done as we learn both the whereabouts of Father Gabriel (Seth Gillam) and that Rick’s faith in the man is not misplaced. Father Gabe incidentally rose to the occasion; backing Rick up both physically and with strong spiritual/emotional encouragement. This is a different Gabriel and this is a very good thing.

Everything about the Heapsters is strange, from their walking in circles until they encapsulate Rick’s crew, to their odd manner of speech. Jadis asks if they are ‘collective or led”. One word answers abound as she attempts to rule the meeting with this new crew. Her advising Rick that their lives belong to her and that they must buy them back opens the door to Rick’s own counter plan. His telling Jadis that she has one of theirs, namely Gabriel, reveals that he was in fact captured and his manic actions of hording and absconding were under duress. Rick’s advising her that they have nothing to offer them and really don’t ‘belong’ to the Heapsters to begin with, plays well. Rick’s advising her that his crew  actually ‘belongs’ to Negan and his Saviors begins a philosophical debate in which he learns the Heapsters do not engage. They simply wait and take with the mantra “we don’t bother, so one bothers us…” The manner in which the nearly gleeful Rick manipulates the conversation into “we can pay you but you have to help us oust these guys” is fairly brilliant.

Her manner of ‘testing his mettle’ or perhaps ‘metal’ is just brutal. She advises Rick to join her ‘Up-up-up” and we gain a better understanding of the scope and hive like build that is the Heapster domain. The potential of this area as a battle field is enormous. Jadis allows him to survey their land from atop a heap of junk before nastily pushing him downward to prove himself as ‘real’. The encounter that ensues is surreal, featuring a “gladiator walker” and some incredible, yet expected, work from Greg Nicotero and his crew. After the bizarre sequence, an agreement of sorts is reached with the Alexandrians promising the Heapsters a third of the spoils and the assurance that they “will win”. McIntosh does a solid job at playing a character that is aloof, whimsical and unreadable. The sequence beginning with a grinning Rick and concluding the same way is darkly funny, particularly in the later condition he finds himself in. The hope ignited in the last run continues to spark.

The secondary storyline features Daryl prominently as he butts heads with Morgan (Lennie James) and later Richard for completely different reasons. An early meeting with Saviors outside the Kingdom led by King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) takes a bad turn when one of the men attempts to disarm Richard and an altercation ensues. Morgan’s involvement through pure instinct is followed by Benjamin (Logan Miller) almost as effortlessly ‘assisting’. The King takes control but the inevitability of a crumbling arrangement is assured. Daryl’s calling out Morgan for not helping to guide the Kingdom is followed by his asking a question long pondered by viewers of the show:  “What’s wrong with you?” Morgan’s fall back of holding on to things worthwhile loses more weight with every utterance. Richard’s attempt to broker an arrangement with Daryl goes abysmally and you honestly feel bad for Richard who “gets it” at least even if the path of sacrifice he opts for is not attainable. He is desperate and while Daryl’s actions toward him are understandable considering the subject, one has to empathize with a man willing to die in defense of his people.

The follow up reunion between Daryl and Carol delivers as one knows it would. The moments are beautifully acted and the bond between the two is ably demonstrated without a surplus of dialogue. Daryl’s lie of omission to Carol illustrates both his love for her as well as the notion that he too has a failing of holding onto things worthwhile. The traction toward the rising rebellion however moves forward with DD starting another journey. WD remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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