Air Date: Sunday, February 12, 2016 at 9/8c on AMC
“You’re either with us or you ain’t.” – Daryl Dixon
After a few months’ hiatus, the most anticipated show is back on the air. I’m not wowed or blown away by “Rock in the Road” because it isn’t supposed to be one of those episodes. Yet. I will admit to being confused by the opening scene with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). “He found his courage, you know? I thought he would have held onto it.” His actions remain a mystery to me as well as the group, and it hurts knowing how much I praised his bravery and new outlook on life in “Hearts Still Beating.” So what in the world has happened; Gabriel appears to abandon his post and beat feet with no hesitation? There’s something else going on here. The Walking Dead (TWD) returns for the second half of its seventh season with a little bang for its buck.
Where Has All The Dynamite Gone?
To get back to Father Gabriel for a second, I think I know what’s going on with him. He has reacted to his current situation the way all of the survivors in Alexandria want to. In his mind, he keeps seeing the Saviors maim, kill, and steal, with no one doing anything to stop them. After watching Olivia (Ann Mahoney) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) be killed, on top of Rosita (Christian Serratos) breaking down in front of him, there is nothing more he can bear. He hears the word ‘run’ in his mind and heeds the call.
While our folks might have crashed and burned in their plot to amass an army to take on the Saviors, they’ve found something better. Dyno-mite! *said in my JJ from Good Times voice* Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is back to himself and is proving to the group he is their leader for a reason. The story he tells about a rock in the road is fitting to everything going on in the current storyline. The Saviors are that rock in the road; the communities being terrorized are the little girl who digs it out; and the reward awaiting them is peace. But how long will peace last when the Saviors are vanquished? What new evil will rise up in their place? You know once one big bad moves out of the way, another steps in to bring chaos and mayhem.
As an aside, I love how Michonne (Danai Gurira) coordinates her outfits. Even though it’s the zombie apocalypse, she makes sure her headband matches her shirt, matches her pants, etc. I’ll have to upgrade my costume if I plan to do anymore TWD cosplay at Comic Con.
Aaron (Ross Marquand) impresses the hell out of me. I feel bad for doubting his intentions when we first met him back in season five. His belief in Rick and what their future holds gives me hope. Aaron could give up and no one would blame him. They’ve been through so much in Alexandria; it would be understandable if anyone there decided to quit fighting and simply give up.
Carol (Melissa McBride) may want to be left alone but she hasn’t lost her spark. This woman is always in badass mode, and that is why I love her so much. The gang needs her fire behind them. If anyone can get King Ezekiel (Khary Peyton)―and Gregory (Xander Berkeley), for that matter―to man up and join the fight, it’s Carol. Ezekiel isn’t the coward we know Gregory to be; he’s cautious and tries to keep his people safe the best way he knows how. Maybe Carol can shed some light on what he doesn’t know is going on out in the real world.
Moments That Give Me Life:
Sasha’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) face when she sees Shiva for the first time.
Rick and Michonne holding hands.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) wanting to stay with the survivors because that’s where he belongs.
Morgan (Lennie James) bypassing Rick to hug Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Sasha. Oh, all is not forgiven there.
Rick and Michonne mowing down walkers on the highway with a steel cable. Cinematic genius at work.
Funny and Interesting Quotes:
Gregory to Rick: “Sometimes we don’t get to choose what life looks like. Sometimes, Ricky, we have to count the blessings we have.”
Gregory to Maggie: “We? I don’t even know how many people we have, Margaret, and it doesn’t even matter. I mean, what are you gonna start a platoon of sorghum farmers, ‘cause that’s what we got. They grow things. They’re not gonna want to fight.”
Gregory to Tara: “Let me stop you before you break into song.”
Gregory delivers some hard-hitters in one scene. I love his dialogue and the comic relief he brings to “Rock in the Road.”
Rosita to Sasha: “We both had sex with same dead guy; doesn’t make us friends.”
Damn. Rosita read her. Sasha is seeking some type of kinship with Rosita because of their shared connection with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Rosita is too angry with what’s happened to him to even go there. I’d like Rosita to realize that even though they may not be friends, Sasha isn’t her enemy.
“Rock in the Road” is an interesting mid-season premiere. I might have wanted a bit more action with the Saviors but I know it’s coming in due time. What I would like to experience is more time spent at the Kingdom, strategizing and planning on how to take down the Saviors. I’d also like to know what it will take to get Carol back in the game. She may want to be left alone but she has to know it isn’t going to happen. And I’m still undecided about Jesus (Tom Payne). He seems too perfect and too in the know for his own good. I only hope I’m wrong about the vibes he’s giving me. I’ll leave you with this: Rick’s smile when he sees his group is outnumbered speaks volumes. Do you think he smiles because he knows he’s lost or because he knows he’s finally got an edge up? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Let me know what you think about “Rock in the Road” by dropping me a line in the comments section below or tweet me @ellemoe.
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Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC © 2010-2016 American Movie Classics Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
© 2017, Elle. All rights reserved.
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