The Walking Dead: 7.12 Say Yes

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After our less than joyous return to The Sanctuary in last week’s Hostiles and Calamities, this week’s The Walking Dead was a world away as Say Yes took a more lighthearted approach. The episode focused mainly on Rick and Michonne as they were out scavenging for guns, but also featured small amounts of Tara, Rosita and Sasha.

Rick and Michonne’s relationship isn’t something we’ve seen much of thus far. Aside from the occasional moment of emotional intimacy and swift kisses, their dynamic as a couple has remained something of a mystery until now. Though I love both of them as individual characters, I’ve never particularly felt like the pair had much chemistry. I therefore haven’t been that invested in their romance until now, but this episode finally sold me. To me, they’ll never replace Glenn and Maggie as the couple whose future I REALLY cared about, but it’s really nice to finally see Rick be happy and involved with someone again, especially someone like Michonne that has been through all the same stuff, knows the fight they’re facing, and can handle herself (in fact thanks to a few steamy scenes, it’s evident that they enjoy handling each other). Their dynamic is also interesting and inherently different to the one Glenn and Maggie had, as Rick and Michonne both have more overt leadership roles within the group.

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The start of the episode depicted the pair hunting for supplies and guns, Rick clearly wanting to draw out their isolated time together as he pleaded “just a little more.” It seemed like they were finally getting to enjoy what was essentially the honeymoon phase of their relationship in the calm before the approaching storm. The two had little luck until they stumbled upon a carnival crawling with dead soldiers. After climbing onto the roof of a nearby building for a better view, there was an ominous creaking noise and the water damaged roof gave way beneath them. The comical scene showed them falling, followed by the sounds of hysterical laughter, and honestly, it was adorable. Even better than the comedic value was the fact that the room they’d fallen into turned out to be a storage space for the food that belonged to the dead soldiers, which is especially awesome given that the last time anyone found a massive amount of food supplies, that van ended up sinking beneath water and out of reach (thanks Jesus). The two took the evening off in celebration, eating and talking over candlelight about what would happen after Negan was gone, and the idea of shaping the future together.

The following day they worked together to clear the carnival of walkers and take the guns that the dead obviously didn’t need any more. It’s worth noting that I know we can’t get every backstory of every new place where it seems like something serious happened, but the whole scene was really intriguing. Along with the dead soldiers there were dead civilians with their hands tied, and the fact that we’re not likely to find out what went down there bothers me. I’m really hoping that maybe a survivor the group meets in the future escaped that carnival and can fill us in on what went wrong, because my curiosity sure is piqued.

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Anyway, so Rick and Michonne took on a sizeable amount of zombies and it was super satisfying to watch as banter and weapons flew and they pretty much turned it into a game. Their brand of humour is really enjoyable and something I hope we’ll get to see a little more of in the show as time goes on, and the flawless teamwork they display just makes me happy on a deep level.

So everything was going great until Rick fell off a ferris wheel right in front of a bunch of walkers, leading to a fake out “death” scene that wasn’t intended for the audience, but for Michonne, who witnessed the dead apparently gorging on him and promptly dropped her sword and went catatonic at the prospect of losing her love. The point of this scene wasn’t to pull more Glenn nonsense, but to show Michonne’s reaction to the idea of Rick’s death, something she probably hadn’t yet considered the full reality of until now. Of course it was obvious to us that he was actually fine, and sure enough he soon sprung from a convenient box he was hiding in, and tossed Michonne her katana in a moment that was somewhat cheesy, but in a good way.

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On the drive back to Alexandria, they had an emotional talk about the possibility of either or them dying, in which case the other would have to carry on. It seems at this point Rick has come to terms with the idea of pretty much anyone’s death, including his own (possibly excluding his children), but Michonne has been deeply affected by the moment of thinking that Rick was gone. Danai Gurira has to be praised for perfectly conveying that gut-wrenching sense of vulnerability and loss. One of the clear themes of the couple’s adventures this episode was that time with loved ones is infinitely valuable, and that you have to savour the happy, precious moments with them when you’re fortunate enough to have them. Rick already knew this, which is why he was so insistent on drawing out their mission for just a little longer. Because soon they’ll have to return to the fight, and they might not both make it out (though to be honest we all know Rick’s safe, and if they kill off Michonne I for one am going to be pissed. Rick’s lovers dying would then be cemented as an extremely frustrating trend).

The Rick and Michonne part of the episode concluded when they (along with others from the main group) returned to the Junkyard to give Jadis the guns that they’d salvaged from the fairground. There was more emotion at the Junkyard than last time, in the form of the cheeky humour that the bargaining for gun numbers brought out. In the end it was decided that Rick and co. get to keep 20 (and he gets to keep the ornamental wire cat thing), so that they can be armed as they go out on the hunt for more (which will of course drag out even more time until the Negan showdown finally begins).

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Aside from Michonne struggling to come to terms with Rick’s mortality, the other main conflict of this episode was Tara’s internal struggle over whether or not to reveal the existence of the all-female Oceanside community. A confrontation with Rosita at the start of the episode involved Rosita in her now constantly frustrated state telling Tara “you don’t know anywhere we can find that many guns!” This was an obvious set up for the reveal to Rick at the end of the episode that she in fact does. Despite the trigger-happy nature of the women in that colony, I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to work something out peacefully. Whether or not to tell was an interesting moral dilemma Tara was faced with, but in the end of course she wouldn’t be able to keep such vital information to herself. I’m assuming spilling the beans to Rick will be something that happens off camera, which is a bit frustrating as I would’ve liked to see the ins and outs of the situation explained to Rick fully, but hopefully we’ll at least see the plan formulating process if nothing else, and it’ll be great seeing the rest of them introduced to yet another new group.

The final part of the episode involved Rosita sneaking off to the Hilltop to see none other than Sasha, who she’s been on less than friendly terms with lately. Rosita is still seeking immediate revenge for Abraham’s death, and has now has recruited Sasha to go on a sneaky suicide run with her. They’re surely not going to be any more successful in this assassination attempt than the last one, which makes the whole thing very ominous in terms of how exactly it will turn out, but their combined determination and secondhand knowledge of the Sanctuary is exciting to say the least. It’s also refreshing to see them working together again. So much popular media is full of woman/woman conflict, we don’t need that in The Walking Dead. It’s the apocalypse, people have other priorities. Rosita’s acting out is an understandable part of grief, but I’m glad she’s managed to put her bitterness towards Sasha aside in favour of teaming up.

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In conclusion, Say Yes was a really fun episode that despite being obvious filler, was definitely worth watching. It was a standout, truly enjoyable episode amidst the monotony that’s been most of this season so far. There wasn’t much focus on the activities of the group as a whole, which has been a frustrating quality of many of this season’s most complained about episodes, but this time it worked because of the excellent chemistry between Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira. Seeing their characters be really happy (before it all got a bit morbid, but even then the tenderness was great) was like a ray of sunshine among storm clouds, and worked really well. This week’s TWD was well-paced, with the slower moments being balanced out by gleeful action scenes, and was on the whole a great variety of smiles and seriousness, gooey walkers and dialogue. It managed to be both lighthearted and heavy, oh, and Rick talking about Glenn gave me feelings.

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