The Walking Dead- Season 7 – Ep. 15 “Something They Need”: A Review

Posted: 03/30/2017 in Uncategorized

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Season 7’s fifteenth episode brought with it the revelation that Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is as brilliant as he is lethal. Some character’s motivations are given greater depth, Rick’s return to his former status as a leader and not a necessarily benevolent one is proffered. Maggie’s Hilltop leadership is both assured and threatened. Basically, a lot of stuff happened and it was all good. My review follows to present my case.

Sasha’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) fate is revealed within the opening moments. David (Martinez), whom Negan brilliantly renames, more or less explains his part in her capture. David’s real role however is as an enabler to Negan’s will. Negan’s premise/offer to Sasha is that “we aren’t monsters”. This is preceded by “what kind of place would we be if we allowed things like this to happen?” referencing the attempted rape by one of his men. The thing is, Negan is all about manipulation. Despite his charm and cleverness, he is indeed guilty of rape as well via his harem of ‘wives’, women who barter themselves sexually to prevent harm from coming to their husbands or loved ones. However he plays it, his actions are horrific. This is kind of the point. Negan is evil, but multi layered complicated evil. He would be too easy to hate openly if he were a tropeish straightforward villain. In his twisted world, he is ahead of the curve. His offer to Sasha, though twisted, is sincere. He needs people, warriors, to help keep the order he brutally maintains. This very brutality is mired by further cruelty as he must bend unwilling people to his cause. His offering her a knife to either kill herself, her imminently un-dead attacker, or choose to join him is no real choice at all. Morgan’s Negan as always is incredibly watchable and disturbingly entertaining.

The moment of the night however goes to Josh McDermitt’s “Eugene” who pretty decently explains his actions and decisions. Cowardly, awful, but honest. Could any of us do any better were we in a similar situation? Negan as much as says so as he barters with Sasha, attempting to gain some empathy. Negan adjusts his game dependent on who he is working on. With Eugene, he is well….a savior, with his own awful men, he is supremely awful. With Sasha, he treats her as a contemporary. Some incredible amounts abound in this run. The notion that Negan is adjusting to the times and that Alexandrians aren’t all that different is ably demonstrated in the secondary plot arc.

Tara’s (Alanna Masterson) confession to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) yields a meeting in/invasion of Oceana. Cyndie (Sydney Park) acts as mediator/life saver  during Tara’s attempt at brokering a meeting  between Rick and Natania (Deborah May)- versus a full out takeover by the Alexandrians. The manner in which the Oceanans are herded when matters decline, as we knew they would, hearkens to the Saviors’ own herding techniques leading to last season’s devastating conclusion.

An opening earlier sequence provides the manner in which the groups are able to at least temporarily come together. An offer to the Oceanans to join Rick and his group in their fight against the Saviors offers some potential but regardless of participation, as promised, the group with more power gets what they need. This fact is not lost on us and the show runners again must be lauded for their seamless presentation of the shifting dynamic of the new post apocalyptic world.

Two moments of betrayal are inadvertent which makes them all the more galling. Negan’s advising Sasha that “a little bird has advised him Rick and his people are up to no good” is bait. With her lack of response which still spoke volumes, she confirms his query by not refuting it. The most powerful villainy however occurs again without intent via Sasha’s machinations to obtain a weapon to “end” herself being met with an unsuitable alternative by Eugene. Dr. Porter is proving to be as helpful an ally to Negan as any of his willing acolytes.

The Hilltop sub arc was equally tension inducing as Maggie (Lauren Cohan) attempts to extract a plant for the garden within the walls as she speaks with Gregory (Xander Berkeley) who attempts to ‘mend fences’. His cowardice is in full display and his false attempt at gallantry results in even more of his residents being exposed to his true nature. This sequence ends in the only manner it can.

There are so many angles in play, each one engaging. The penultimate episode served to build anxiety in splendid fashion. A moment at the denouement could present either salvation or damnation. The season finale which essentially will be a war between rising factions against the army that is the saviors will unquestionably be something remarkable. Season 7 remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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