THE WALKING DEAD RECAP: S7EP8 HEARTS STILL BEATING

Paul Mendoza

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We finally reached the midway point of the Negan Season. It has been hit and miss so far. Tonight’s episode didn’t feel as momentous as previous mid-season finales. There are just so many characters and locations now that tying them all together means you don’t get to spend enough time with the characters you really like. That being said, there were some good moments in ‘Hearts Still Beating’ and a final scene that made me feel good about the second half of the season.

MAGGIE

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The extra long episode (86 minutes) was book ended by Maggie’s daily visit to Glenn’s grave and then her climbing the wall to have a look around. In the beginning, that weasel Gregory comes by holding an apple and letting Maggie know that he still doesn’t want her there despite the fact that everyone else has warmly welcomed her and Sasha. Maggie is unfazed and even gets him to give up his apple. She’s hungry! She’s pregnant!

We get a scene with Enid and Sasha about keeping Maggie in the dark about Jesus being sent to find where Negan lives. Enid wants to tell Maggie but Sasha is trying to protect her. OK.

RICK AND AARON

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Rick and Aaron board a bullet riddled boat and make their way through the ‘walker moat’ to get to that houseboat. Aaron falls in the water and I thought that was it for him for sure! But somehow he escapes unscathed! Mad water skills, Aaron! They make it to the more sound kayak and reach the houseboat. It’s filled with goodies and more warnings from the previous occupant; “

They get the boat to the shore and load up their truck with all their new found booty including guns but no ammo. In the distance we see a pair of legs walk into frame wearing some funny looking boots. Could be the owner of the boat? Whoever it is it won’t be good.

By the time they arrive back at Alexandria, they find Negan already there and his people loading up trucks. While they load up Rick and Aaron’s haul they find those warning notes that the original owner left and think that Aaron left them. They proceed to give him a terrible beating and there is nothing Rick can do about it. When they finish Rick picks up Aaron and helps him off.

MICHONNE

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Michonne gets the red headed savior to drive her to Negan’s camp. Michonne realizes that there are just too many to try and do the job herself. The red head advises her to make the car disappear, burn it. She also tells her to use the silencer in the glove compartment. She kills the red head and turns the car around to head back to Alexandria.

CAROL, MORGAN AND RICHARD

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Carol seems to be enjoying a quiet life in her little house. She hears a noise and sees that Morgan has left her some supplies and started leaving. She opens the door and calls after him. He’s trying to respect that she wants to be left alone but wanted to bring her some fruit and produce from The Kingdom. Ezekiel’s been doing the same thing. Love Triangle anyone? Things get busier at Carol’ Cottage when Richard stops by. He tries to explain how dangerous The Saviors are and that eventually things are going to go bad so why not do a pre-emptive strike? Carol and Morgan have been down this road before with Rick only they don’t know yet just how bad things went. Ezekiel likes both Morgan and carol so Richard asks them to convince Ezekiel to agree to strike The Saviors. Carol wants no part of it and again tells everyone to leave her alone. Morgan also balks at this idea which pisses off Richard.

DARYL

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Daryl makes his getaway, stopping in a room for a change of clothes and a jar of peanut butter. He grabs a pipe and makes it outside where he tries to start a motorcycle when along comes fat Joey! Fat Joey tries to explain to him that he can leave and he won’t try to stop him, he’s just trying to get by just like him! But Daryl goes all Negan on poor fat Joey and bashes his head in. Jesus comes running in and looks stunned to see what Daryl has done. “It ain’t just about getting by, it’s about getting it all,” Daryl says. He grabs a gun off of poor Joey before he and Jesus ride off.

ROSITA AND SPENCER

Spencer tries to endear himself with The Saviors, even flirting back when a cute little Savior comes on to him.

Rosita and Father Gabriel have a heart to heart in the church. He tires to dissuade her from trying to kill Negan. He says he knows that they will win eventually but they have to pick the right time and this isn’t it. Rosita seems to feel that she is disposable. Rick has Michonne and Carl, Eugene can make things, Maggie can fight. She has no one now. Father Gabriel tries to convince her that she is needed.

Meanwhile Spencer cleans up and finds a bottle of white wine and heads out. I thought he was going to meet that cute Savior but he had a date with someone else in mind. Along the way he runs into Rosita who apologizes for using him and they seem to make up. He asks if she would have dinner with him later, no strings attached. She smiles and agrees. That’s when I knew he was dead.

MR. NEGAN’S NEIGHBORHOOD

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Negan shaves! “Against the grain, kid, always against the grain”. He tells Carl.

He sits down to supper with Carl, Olivia and Judith. He’s getting tired of waiting for Rick but not of Olivia’s delicious lemonade!

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Spencer walks up to Rick’s house with his half bottle of white wine and asks to see Negan. Negan agrees to meet him and they sit on the front porch and enjoy the day. “I’m going to get a vacation home here!” Negan says. But he wishes they had a pool table. Negan’s wish is Spencer’s’ command. He says the house across the street has a pool table in the garage. Negan beams. He has the pool table brought out in the middle of the street and he and Spencer play a game. By this time most of the community have gathered to watch to see what happens.

Spencer starts complaining about Rick. He says that his mother was in charge of Alexandria before Rick came along and that soon after she and his whole family wound up dead. He says if he were in charge things would run much smoother. It seemed a logical proposal but it was one that Negan didn’t take kindly to. “So you want me to kill Rick?” Negan asks. Spencer tries to backtrack but the damage had been done. Negan said that if he wanted to take over he should just do it but that he didn’t have the guts. Then he pulled out his knife and guts Spencer! He disembowels him! His guts came spilling out! “I guess I was wrong! You did have guts! There they are!”

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Well, this was too much for Rosita. She pulls out her gun and shoots her one bullet. Somehow she hits Lucille instead of Negan! Now Negan is really mad. He sees the bullet casing and knows it was handmade. Rosita says she made it but Negan doesn’t believe her. He tells Arat to cut up her face if she doesn’t tell the truth. Rosita still doesn’t give up Eugene. “Alright. Arat, kill someone.” With that, Arat stands, wheels and shoots Olivia who was standing on the porch next to Carl.

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Rick and Aaron amble over by this point to witness the carnage. Tara tries to take credit as the bullet maker but Eugene finally mans up and admits to it. I was worried that Negan was going to take out Eugene but he takes him prisoner instead.

Negan tells him that he is owed a ‘thank you’. He tells him that Carl paid him a visit and tried to kill him but instead killed a few of his men. But he brought him home safe and sound. Then he took care of Spencer for him and gave him one less mouth to feed by killing Olivia so he felt he deserved some thanks. It took every once of self control Rick could muster to say “We got you your stuff now leave!” Negan tells that no matter what they had for him it wasn’t going to be enough. :You are still in a serious hole”, Negan tells him before leaving.

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Later that night, Rick seems to be meditating in the cell that Morgan made. Michonne walks in and tries to give him a pep talk about how they have survived through so much and they need to fight. Finally, Rick was ready to agree. They embrace.

REUNION AT THE HILLTOP

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Maggie pays her daily respects to Glenn and ascends the wall. Only this time she sees something. She looks very happy! I’m thinking it’s Daryl and Jesus but when the gates swing open we see it’s Rick, Michonne, Carl, Tara and Rosita. Rick and Maggie warmly embrace. Rick tells her that she was right all along and that’s he’s ready to fight. Then, it was tissue time. He sees Jesus and Daryl walk out. He rushes over to Daryl. Daryl tears up and they embrace! The bromance continues.

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Then, Daryl hands him a revolver, the one he took off of Fat Joey. Turns out it was Rick’s good old python. Well, now. Rick is whole again. They march up to the main house and start making plans.

“I think it’s time you met Ezekiel. King Ezekiel.” Jesus tells them. It’s about damn time!

Post Credits Surprise

The guy with the funny boots finds his way to Alexandria and is watching them. Could it be Robert DeNiro’s Max Cady from Cape Fear? That would be awesome!

SIDE BITES

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I love the look Rick gives Carl when Negan tells him what his son has been up to.

I felt bad for Fat Joey but you can’t take any chances. Daryl going Negan on him, though. Daryl may have some PTSD to deal with in the second half of the season.

Why did they only make one bullet? They didn’t have supplies for two or three?

It was a good episode but, like the rest of Season 7 so far, they could have tightened it up a little.

I’m ready for all out war in 2017!!