**Full Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7A**
As a huge fan of The Walking Dead, I had very high expectations for this season. I was looking forward to the resolution of the “Who did Negan kill?” cliffhanger. I was also looking forward to how this crew is going to deal with living under Negan’s control. Now that the first half of Season 7 has ended, I have to say that this season left me pretty underwhelmed…
I hate to say it, but I have to be honest.
Before I go into the negatives, I want to talk about the start of this season.
The premiere episode was a standout. That episode really had to only answer the one question we had throughout the summer, and it gave us the most brutal and heart-wrenching answer. We had all summer to prepare for one death, but this episode was like “Nahhh, watch this!” and killed off TWO huge characters. The design of this episode and pacing was wonderful. It was cool to see Negan really toy with Rick and break down this character that we all thought, at this point, was unstoppable. I did hate that the episode continued to tease us on who Negan killed before we found out. It felt more like a gimmick to mess with the audience, than an actual use of story-telling. My biggest concern with this episode was how they were going to capture the emotion and tension that they left us with in the Season 6 finale. They succeeded though, and right before Abraham was chosen, I was on the edge of my seat. When Daryl punched Negan and I saw Glenn in the background, I was sitting in the fetal position, begging for this episode to be over. It was tough to watch, but that was the point. I think people who say they hated this episode really just had a hard time dealing with their emotions. We all hated the episode, because of Glenn and Abraham’s deaths, but that doesn’t mean we actually HATED the episode. I thought it was a horrifically wonderful episode that sets the stage for a potentially great season.
Unfortunately, the incredible story of Negan ruling over Alexandria and how Rick and the group are going to deal with this situation, was dragged down by awful pacing and storytelling. This season spent more time world-building than it did focusing on the characters. Having more than half the season’s episodes focus on just one place slows the story down drastically. Because the season focuses on telling the stories separately each week, there is so much time in-between each character’s story. After the heart-breaking premiere, I wanted to check up on these characters, particularly Rick, Maggie, and Daryl. But the way this season was designed, you have to wait till episode 3 to see Daryl, and episode 4 to see Rick. Want to know what happens to Maggie and the baby after her husband died? Find out on episode 5 of an 8 episode season!
Seriously, these characters are what keep the fans watching, not the locations. This season we have two episodes that tell us of how and where the Saviors live. Episode 3 has Dwight and Negan show Daryl around the place, and episode 7 has Negan show Carl around. It’s repetitive. Now, I’m not saying those episodes are awful. Daryl being tortured and breaking down in his cell was powerful. Seeing his character be so vulnerable and still not giving-in to Negan was great to see. Negan’s relationship with Carl was also really cool to see. It’s a twisted concept and something that really adds to both characters. However, there’s parts of these episodes that feel too similar, and if you cut pieces out and focus on other characters, then I think you have some really great episodes.
I think this show should be set-up similar to a show like Heroes. In season 1 of Heroes, the show had to introduce all these new characters and bring them together to tell an incredible story. They pulled of the story-telling flawlessly, because they never devoted a single episode to one character’s story. Each episode focused on several character’s smaller stories, while also building on the overarching story. If this season of The Walking Dead was formatted like Heroes, I believe this season would have been one of the best.
This season introduced a unique character that I was really excited to see, and that is King Ezekiel. He is a wonderful, charming addition to the cast, and I loved everything about him. However, we only get one episode with King Ezekiel in it. One. Yet, we get 3 episode featuring Fat Joey!!! (Don’t get me wrong, I like Fat Joey, but King Ezekiel is a much better character.) I wanted to see more of King Ezekiel, especially his relationships with Morgan and Carol. Speaking of Carol and Morgan, the conflict between those two has not changed since the last time they spoke in season 6. You know why? Because there has been no real time addressed to this conflict. Yes, the two didn’t get a lot of time together in episode 2 because they were doing different things. But weeks of time has passed this season, and we don’t get to check-up on these two until the mid-season finale!
It’s a shame this season spends so much time on unnecessary filler and world-building. The Tara/Heath episode could have spent some of its extended time on other characters, like Maggie! Maggie has made a huge transition as the “leader” of Hilltop. Gregory is still, somewhat, in control but it’s obvious that Maggie has that title pretty much locked down. However, Maggie becoming leader feels like it happened so fast, because we don’t really see it! In episode 5, we see Maggie stand-up to Gregory and take charge, and then in the mid-season finale everyone just treats her like the leader! Really? Everyone? No one is on Gregory’s side? I wanted to see Maggie going around Hilltop, meeting people, and convincing them to side with her. I wanted to see her “campaign” for the spot of leader. But, I guess because she drove a tractor over a car (which WAS REALLY COOL), everyone is like: “Yes! You are our new leader!”
Now it’s time to really talk about Negan. He plays the biggest role this season, and I believe he has more screen-time than Rick does. Jeffery Dean Morgan kills it as Negan. He adds a ton of charisma to this horrible, HORRIBLE man. Negan is very different than the other villains of this show, because he is such a huge threat to the team. The Governor had a freakin’ tank and he still fails in comparison to Negan and his Saviors. I hope to learn more about Negan and who he really is in the next half of season 7 because he is starting to become really repetitive. Apart from his emotional scenes with Carl, he just feels like a one-note villain. A powerful, but somewhat predictable villain. Negan really needs to be more fleshed-out, otherwise I’m going to want him to die just because I’m bored of his character not because he is the villain.
The mid-season finale really worked for me. We got to check-up on all our characters (except King Ezekiel) and see how they are all set on the same conclusion: Rise up and kill Negan. I thought Spencer’s death was a really cool moment, and I liked that Aaron and Father Gabriel had some nice character development. This may sound like a joke, but Father Gabriel has quickly become one of my favorite characters. I think I might write a piece on Father Gabriel and why I like him so much just to explain myself. It was really relieving to see all these characters come together at last. Seeing Rick hug Maggie and Daryl did bring a tear to my eye.
I didn’t hate this season, I was just really disappointed with it. However, I’m looking forward to the next half. The overall story is great, and I can’t wait to see how these groups are going to come together to fight Negan. The ending of the mid-season finale reminded me of how much I love these characters. I think when the show focuses on the characters is when the show is at its best. I know this season caused a lot hate, and I hope the writers are listening. I’m staying optimistic and I hope the show can improve and tell a great story.
I’m going to give The Walking Dead Season 7A an Okay out of 10.
What do you think of The Walking Dead Season 7A?
What’s your favorite season of The Walking Dead?
Let me know below!
Thanks for reading!
**Next review is: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!**