The Walking Dead S7.04 review: "The burning anger of being on the receiving end of indifferent cruelty"

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Just in case you'd forgotten, this episode is here to remind you that Negan is a very bad man.

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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.

He said he’d be there in a week to collect half their stuff, but he shows up to Alexandria early and then tells a furious Carl that “Half is what I say it is.” Carl, bless his heart, is furious that the Saviors are taking all the medicine, and threatens first a Savior, and then Negan with a gun. We feel ya, kid, but bad move, because now Negan is going to take all your guns. In fairness, he was maybe always going to take all the guns anyway, because he and his people are taking just about everything else, including everyone’s mattress and Rosita’s hat, just to prove they can. In case you haven’t sussed it yet, Negan’s people are Very Bad and they do Very Bad Things to people. I know, it’s subtle subtext, but it’s important.

While the Survivors are combing the town for whatever they feel like taking, Negan starts asking after Maggie, saying widows are all empty inside, but “Not for long!” See, that’s a dick joke. He makes a lot of those. Some fast thinking (and digging) on Father Gabriel’s part convinces Negan that Maggie’s dead, and hey, look, here’s the grave to prove it. Relax - Maggie’s back in Hilltop getting medical attention, remember? But the deception is enough to put Negan off the scent, though you have to wonder how he’s going to react if and when he finds out she’s still alive. 

As they’re rounding up all the guns, they check Olivia’s manifest and discover that two handguns are missing. Nobody has any idea where they are, but someone clearly stashed them. No problem, says Negan, who keeps reminding Rick that he’s a reasonable man once you get to know him. Find the guns or I’ll kill Olivia. No biggie. 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. Eugene finally clocks that not everyone is there; Rosita and Spencer have been sent off to retrieve Daryl’s motorcycle, and Michonne is missing, as well.

Rick finds the guns tucked away in a hidey hole in Spencer’s house, along with some food and booze. He hands them over to Negan, who goes on his merry way, but not before telling Rick that “I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it.” Oh, good, so the rape imagery is going to continue, then. Swell. After they’re gone, Rick takes out his frustration on Spencer, calling him small and weak for stashing stuff in his house. 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. He’s not wrong, but maybe now isn’t the time to point that out, sporto. 

Michonne did, in fact, have a gun, but it’s wasn’t one of the ones Negan is looking for. She has a rifle, and she’s out in a field practicing with it. She, uh, needs the practice because hooo boy, is she a lousy shot. She manages to take out a deer entirely by accident, but she finally has to use her katana on the walker she was trying to pop because she can’t hit it to save her life. But, hey, venison for dinner is a decent consolation prize. Or would be, if Negan didn’t claim the deer - and the gun - as soon as Michonne gets back to town. Rick begged her to hand the rifle over, even though it wasn’t on the manifest, because he simply can’t bear to lose anyone else. He practically comes to tears trying to explain to her that all he wants to do is keep everyone safe, and if that means eating Negan’s shit on a regular basis, then that’s what he’s going to do. In other words, Rick’s become one of those people that he used to sneer at. 

Michonne recognizes how broken Rick is and leaves the matter for the time being, helping him lay out their blankets on the floor, now that their bed is gone. The next day, she discovers the town’s mattresses dumped and burned on the side of the road. Anyone who’s ever been bullied knows that feeling of knowing you’re being messed with for no particular reason other because you can’t fight back. The burning, seething anger and frustration of being on the receiving end of indifferent cruelty. That feeling is why 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.

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Susan Arendt

Susan was once Managing Editor US at GamesRadar, but has since gone on to become a skilled freelance journalist, editor, producer, and content manager. She is now 1/3 of @Continuepod, 1/2 of @BeastiesLl, co-founder of @TakeThisOrg, and Apex Editor, Fluid Group.