The Walking Dead is back on our screen for its seventh season and we’ll be watching every single episode so you don’t have to. Ok, you probably want to because you like it, but once you’ve watched each instalment you’ll no doubt want to read our reviews, right? RIGHT?
Plus, if you’ve got the memory of a goldfish we’ll be recapping each episode here because let’s face it, by the time we get to the finale, who the hell will be able to remember what happened in episode 1?
The Walking Dead S7.09 - Rock in the Road
This one's pretty easy to sum up: Rick and the gang try to persuade The Hilltop and The Kingdom to join them in the coming war against the Saviors, but both communities decline. Father Gabriel cleaned out Alexandria's supplies and took off, leading Rick et al to walk right into an ambush when they go looking for him. Taken event by event, there really isn’t anything terribly wrong with Rock in the Road; the events make sense and lay the foundation for what’s to come. The problem is that it’s all handled as clumsily as possible. If you’ve ever asked a child to explain a story to you, this is basically how they would do it: “And then Rick went to the tiger man, but the tiger man said no, so Rick went home but he found some explosives and then zombies were gonna eat him but he cut up the zombies and then they blew up!” Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.08 - Hearts Still Beating
Even if it wasn’t the dramatic cliffhanger you’d expect for a mid-season finale, Hearts Still Beating got stuff done, and trusted the audience to be able to follow more than one thread at a time. We can visit with Carol and Morgan while watching Jesus help Daryl escape and witness Negan’s latest tete a tete with Rick and keep it all straight, and more importantly, see how something happening in one location potentially impacts another. By pulling the various disparate threads together, The Walking Dead has created a far more interesting picture. With luck, the second half of the season will continue that trend. Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.07 - Sing Me a Song
Finally, the drudgery of putting up with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s one-note portrayal of Negan has paid off. In Sing Me a Song, we finally see behind the grinning, lanky facade and understand not only that Negan is far more than just a bully, but also why he manages to stay in power despite the fact that those around him clearly despise him. We’ve been told over and over again how terrifying Negan is, and now, finally, we begin to actually feel it. Those declarations that he can “do worse” than kill you become very, very clear as Negan brings Carl home to Alexandria, takes a tour of his house, and discovers baby Judith. None of his up-close conversations with Rick come close to conveying the feeling of menace he creates simply by drinking lemonade on the porch, bouncing Judith on his knee. Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.06 - Swear
Tara and Heath get separated while out on a two-week scavenge, and Tara ends up washed up just outside of Oceanside, a settlement of survivors we haven't encountered before. The episode is a bit of a non-starter, revisiting well-worn Walking Dead themes. Tara wants Oceanside and Alexandria to work together, while the leaders of Oceanside are quite content to kill any outsider they see to maintain their camp's secrecy. While it was pleasant to visit a new location, Tara simply isn't a strong enough character to carry the episode on her own, and so Swear ends up being utterly skippable. It's rather like the supply run that Heath and Tara were on in the first place: a meandering journey that ends up back where it started with nothing to show for it. Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.05 - Go Getters
First things first: Maggie and the baby are fine. Sasha did, in fact, get her safely to Hilltop, where the doctor learned that her placenta was separating from her uterus. Now that she's awake and somewhat mobile, Gregory wants Maggie to shove off out of town; he's afraid the Saviors will suss that he tried to have them wiped out. Which they do. Simon comes a-calling and has a chillingly friendly conversation with Gregory about how Rick and company slaughtered a Savior outpost, but now work for Negan. Gregory gets the message and tries to rat out Sasha and Maggie, but Jesus intervenes and hides them, semi-deposing Gregory as Hilltop's leader in the process.
Carl and Enid make their way to Hilltop on foot (and roller skates!) so that Enid can see Maggie and Carl can track Negan back to his lair. They bond on their mini road trip and share a smooch before Carl sneaks into a Savior truck. Jesus sneaks into the same truck at Sasha's request, while back at Hilltop Maggie finds new resolve to move forward and do right by Glenn's memory. What more? Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.04 - Service
Having completed our whistle stop tour of The Kingdom and The Saviors’ camp, it’s time to rejoin the sad sacks of Alexandria, who are not adapting overly well to their new roles as Negan’s employees. It’s hard to blame them, though. As Rick points out late in the episode, most of them weren’t kneeling before Negan’s bat, so they don’t really know what fate could await them, should they step out of line. The problem, as Negan and his posse demonstrate with all the delicacy of a brick to the head, is that the line keeps moving.
Negan's crew decides to take all of Alexandria's guns, but two come up missing. Rick calls the town together and pleads with them to turn over the guns. There’s no plan to get out of this, there’s no move to be made. This is the new normal. “I’m not in charge anymore, Negan is,” he says, and his desperation is clear. The guns are eventually found, Negan is satisfied and the Saviors clear off. Alexandria is safe, at least for the time being. Spencer voices what a lot of people must be thinking - that maybe if Rick had made better choices, Glenn and Abe would still be alive.
Humiliated and angry, Rosita wades into the woods and takes out a bunch of walkers with her knife in the hopes that one of them has a gun - a gun with no ammo, as it turns out, but it’s a start. She finds a casing lying on the ground in Alexandria and brings it to Eugene, and asks him to make her a bullet. How much can be done with one bullet? More than nothing, and that might be enough. Read our full episode review here.
The Walking Dead S7.03 - The Cell
The Walking Dead’s premiere was all about Rick and the gang, the second episode was about King Ezekiel and the Kingdom, and the third is about Negan and the Saviours. Once again, we see nothing of the fallout for Alexandria after the death of Abe and Glenn. Instead, The Cell focuses on Daryl’s predicament now he’s Negan’s captive. Check out our full episode review here, or stay tuned for a short, but helpful recap.
Negan has put Dwight in charge of breaking Daryl so the poor guy has been kept in a cell, naked, living off dog food sandwiches, and unable to sleep as they play the MOST ANNOYING SONG ON EARTH over and over again. As Dwight tries to wrangle Daryl into submission, we get a look at what life is like in the Saviors’ homebase and get reintroduced to Sherry, Dwight’s wife who stole Daryl’s bike and returned to the Saviors with him in season 6. It seems she regrets that decision now as she was forced to ‘divorce’ Dwight and ‘marry’ Negan and now they’re trying to have a baby. She’s not the only one who’s unhappy. Negan’s rule may be ironclad but most of his people aren’t that happy living under him. They all talk about how it can get so much worse, but we’ve yet to find out how. Eventually, Daryl has an unsuccessful escape attempt and is punished before telling Negan he’ll never join him and being returned to his cell. And that’s kind of it. Although the episode is a good chance to discover more about Negan’s world, and both Norman Reedus and Austin Amelio give great performances, nothing really happens and we still don’t know how Rick and the rest of the group are fairing back in Alexandria. Hey AMC, we can handle more than one storyline per episode, you know.
The Walking Dead S7.02 - The Well
The second episode can be a tricky one. Especially after such a shocking premiere, but The Walking Dead handled it pretty well by deciding to give Rick and co a break and follow up on what Carol and Morgan were up to. For a full breakdown of The Walking Dead S7.02, check our review of the The Well. For a short recap - stay tuned.
We join back up with Carol and Morgan after they’ve been taken by the Kingdom. Carol’s been recuperating after her injury so Morgan takes her to see King Ezekiel who “does his own thing,” something which becomes apparent as soon as we spot the leader holding court in an auditorium, talking in old-timey prose, and yes, with a pet tiger named Shiva. Carol thinks it’s all ridiculous, but pulls out the old sweet and innocent routine and plays along while she gets ready to leave. In the meantime, Ezekiel takes Morgan on a supply run which involves feeding Walkers to pigs, killing the pigs with “their bellies full of rot,” and delivering them to Negan’s followers. Yes, that’s right. The Saviours already have an agreement with the Kingdom, but it’s anything but cordial. After that revelation, Ezekiel asks Morgan to train Benjamin, one of his younger followers, in the ways of the stick as he’s no good with a gun or a knife. Already Morgan seems content to stay. Carol however is on the move with or without him, but gets caught by Ezekiel on the way out. This is when he reveals that his personality is all an act, that he does it because people need someone to believe in. As both of them let go of the roles they think they need to play, we see the start of a very interesting new friendship blossom. In the end, they compromise and Carol leaves the Kingdom and moves into a home nearby. This episode is completely different from the first which is just what we needed. Hopefully, it’ll be back to Alexandria and action next week!
The Walking Dead S7.01 - The Day Will Come When You Won't Be
After what seems like an agonisingly long wait, the premiere of The Walking Dead season 7 has arrived. Check out our review for a full episode breakdown, but if you just want a short recap, stay tuned. Also, spoilers! We return to Rick and co. on their knees in front of Negan, but before we find out who he’s bashed into a bloody paste with his bat Lucille, he drags Rick off for a little chat.
After Rick proves he now serves Negan, we finally learn that both Abe and Glenn have met their heart-breaking ends courtesy of the vampire bat. Get it? Because it likes blood? The fact that this scene still manages to still shock and distress fans is impressive given the over-exposure we’ve had to deal with for the past year, but it’s mostly down to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s impressive performance as the big bad. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, Negan tells Rick to cut Carl’s arm off or he’ll have everyone shot and it’s here we see a change in Rick that’s most exciting. He was damaged before, but by the time Negan tells him to stop, he’s broken and you genuinely believe he’s no longer in charge. What will this show be without a revenge-seeking Rick? Exciting times ahead.
The Walking Dead season 7 airs every Sunday at 9pm on AMC in the US, and every Monday at 9pm on Fox in the UK.