Did you miss me? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But, I’m back. I haven’t blogged anything since November. I had a rough time of it while covering Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, and shortly after we returned to town my health took a turn. Within the month, I was having a PICC line inserted and administering medications at home via IV. Good times, I tell ya. Good times.
I then made the decision to remove social media apps from my phone, which isn’t exactly giving them up altogether. Oh no, it was more like a smoker switching to a vape or nicotine patch. I just made feeding the addiction a little more awkward. I lasted exactly 7 days. Such is life.
Now, I’m back. The Walking Dead is back. The Rotter Fodder podcast is being overhauled. And, many fun things are in the works. We are just weeks away from Charlotte Comicon’s Spring Show and Mad Monster Party.
Speaking of Charlotte Comicon…one of our favorite returning guests is Veronica Wagner. She is a ‘frequent flyer’ in the zombie rotation of TWD. And, I love searching for her on the show! It’s like a post-apocalyptic game of Where’s Waldo. You can spot her clearly in the mid-season premiere episode, “Rock in the Road” during the highway scene. Which, by the way, was a nice nod to 2002’s Ghost Ship, or as I like to call it, “Fun with steel cable”.
It’s time to prattle on. So, if you haven’t watched the episode yet (consider yourself spoiler-warned) or need a refresher, you can Click Here for a complete recap of the episode.
All set? Let’s do this!
Okay, we spent the first half of season 7 breaking everyone’s individual and group spirit. For those of you who can’t wait for Negan to get what’s coming to him, don’t hold your breath. Negan isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and with good reason. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Also, we examined the leadership roles of Negan, Ezekiel, and Gregory. Each just sort of showed up one day and for one unknown reason or another, assumed leadership. I imagine it was the same way with Shane back at the start. The original group of survivors began to band together and were met with a man who was, for all intents and purposes, an authority figure. Shane was a lawman who was trained to handle certain situations and it would seem only natural that ‘civilians’ would fall in line behind him, whether or not he was capable of leading (which he was at that point). Enter Rick. How did he so swiftly steal the title? Well, his appearance was nothing short of a miracle. He, too, was a lawman. He displayed an even keel and temper. He tamed Daryl. Yeah, that last one probably did the trick. I’d like to tame Daryl…or at least give him a haircut…sorry…derailing.
The important thing to remember is that no matter who is in charge of the Saviors, the Survivors, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, the Ocean Villages (for lack of a better term) or the newly discovered Junkyard Peeps, all of them are in for a world of hurt now that Fat Joey is gone. His death was tragic, indeed, for now Skinny Joey is just…well…Joey. But, Fat Joey filled many roles. If you listen to any of the Saviors talk about him during the first half of the season, you would know that Fat Joey had a lot of responsibilities on his plate that involved walker-control. Now that he is gone, who will fill that void? And with everyone so preoccupied about Daryl’s escape, will any Savior even think about replacing Joey? Rick and co. managed to work their way through dismantling a walker-booby-trap set by Fat Joey. But where were all those walkers being routed to or from? Rick stated he wanted to keep them on the highway for future use, but will it be that simple? There’s only so many times the same old walker invasion trick will work. I think Fat Joey was working on something else and we’re doomed to discover it in the coming weeks.
The Saviors took Eugene in the mid-season finale, and naturally, we saw hide nor hair of him in this episode. That was a letdown.
Someone else we didn’t see was the identity of Boots. Boots was last seen stalking Rick and Aaron by the pond and the houseboat that they ransacked. Later, Boots was seen stalking the walls of Alexandria while Gabriel stood watch. Episode 9 picked up right where that scene left off, with Gabriel keeping watch. Suddenly and without warning, we see Gabriel raid the pantry and what was left of the armory, load up on fuel and steal a car with a mystery figure rising from the backseat (presumably Boots). But we never saw them again. Who kidnapped Gabriel? Whomever Boots is, they had a copy of the pickup schedule used by the Saviors for each community. Stealing from someone who is already being stolen from is a dick move, just saying. Rosita thinks Gabriel just stole it all himself and bailed. She has sooo much faith in people nowadays.
Can I be honest for a minute? I’m so over Rosita. I reached a point in the last two seasons where I had really started to like the character. But this past few episodes…I just want to punch her in the mouth. Something will happen, soon, that will either knock that chip off her shoulder or she’ll die. Either way, things will settle down. I hope she doesn’t die yet, though, because (SPOILER) what happens to her in the comics is so much cooler.
Showrunners have been quoted as saying that, much to many a fans’ dismay, Daryl and Jesus will not become romantically involved. It’s a shame, really. Jesus is a gay character in the comics, though no partner has been introduced on the series. Daryl is a blank page since a) he’s not in the comics and b) they have avoided romantic entanglements thus far on the series. It would have been adorable, if you ask me.
This brings me to what has the potential to be the greatest love triangle since seasons 1 and 2: Carol, Daryl and Ezekiel. Carol and Zeke have begun the flirting game (last seen played by Carol with Daryl at the prison). During their first visit to the Hilltop, Abraham is asking Daryl questions about Rick and Michonne’s new relationship and he asks Daryl if he had thought about “settling down.” Daryl turns to walk away and replies, “You think she’d settle?”
Many have thought he was deflecting back on Abraham and was referencing Sasha. Some think he was implying that Michonne was just having some fun with Rick and isn’t settling down. Personally, I believe he was talking about Carol. I know in my heart he was talking about Carol. Did you see his face when Morgan told Rick that Carol was still alive? Made my toes curl! And now, Daryl has been granted sanctuary at the Kingdom to protect him from the Saviors. He and Carol have to get together. Stop teasing me, Gimple! Zeke can be jealous and accept that he and Carol will just be friends. But for the love of all things holy, if Daryl doesn’t grab her and kiss her like she deserves to be kissed before either of them dies, I will be so pissed! #TeamCarylForLife
I love that Daryl’s voice has returned, somewhat at least. He was so vocal and wild and angry the first few seasons. Between believing he had lost Carol the same day they lost Lori and T-Dog, then getting her back, then getting Merle back, then losing Merle…Daryl shut down inside. I’ve been saying it for years, the man is a ticking time bomb. That’s why he keeps crumbling into little bouts of weeping. The Saviors broke him mentally and physically and he is back with a vengeance. He will need Carol to ground him again as she did during season 2. And, with her mental state of late, Daryl-who knows her better than anyone-will need to be there for her. The dynamic duo shall rise again! (and hopefully hook up, too! wink!)
All in all, this was a decent mid-season premiere and a solid setup for what’s to come. If you paid any attention to the foreshadowing in the first half of season 7, or to Morgan’s comment in this episode, you’ll know that the prison cell he built back in Alexandria will have a resident before long. And, not only do things get super interesting from that point on, but the old adage “the enemy of my enemy…” will come into play as our group faces their worst threat, yet!