Rick Grimes hits Rock In the Road in The Walking Dead season 7 episode 9 as the zombie thriller premiered after a mid-season break. With a dull spell of seven episodes in a row, fans were expecting action and drama upon the show's return. But has the episode delivered the promises it made during the hiatus?
Warning: Spoilers ahead from the mid season premiere.
Slow start again:
The goal of the show seems unclear, to the cast and to the audience who have been following it loyally since past seven years. The one villain-one season policy seems to have dried out and it needs a good script that might bring back the viewership.
Rick has risen up and nothing can stop him from beating the baseball bat wielding villain. He meets Gregory, leader of the Hilltop, to seek his support. But the obnoxious leader, who surrendered his heart and soul to Negan's terror, wants no relationship with the Alexandria Safe Zone and its people as he doesn't want any casualty from his team at the hand of the Saviors.
After a fruitless discussion with Hilltop Chief, Rick figures out he needs more alliance and thanks Jesus, who showed them the way to King Ezekiel's highly protected Kingdom. Richard escorts the pack to the King's chamber where Rick delivers a long speech about the noble duties of the Kings and how he can eliminate the killers from that part of the post-apocalyptic world.
"We came in to ask the Kingdome [sic], to ask you to join us in fighting the Saviors, fighting for freedom for all of us," the Alexandrian leader asks His Majesty.
"We have people and weapons. If we strike first together we can beat them," Richard replies in excitement revealing his eagerness to wipe off the threats from Negan. But Ezekiel is not amused by the offer as he cares for his people who are flourishing under his rule.
Even after a great speech on courage and wisdom by Rick, a hesitant Ezekiel denies their wish but offers asylum to Daryl who escaped the dungeons of Negan. However, the meeting between Rick and Ezekiel goes on for a good 30 minutes.
The slow pace of the first half of episode 9 only made fans wish to skip the part and move to some exciting action.
Rick is back with a bang, quite literally:
The mass zombie killing in the second part (comprising of 15 odd minutes) offers some nail-biting moments for walker fans. After leaving the Kingdome sans Daryl, the group comes face to face with a live zombie barrier created by the Saviors.
Rick sees a jackpot of weapons and Rosita tries to remove the live bombs from the wire to use against a herd of walkers. And after collecting all the ammunitions, Rick and Michonne flaunts their level of understanding by driving the two cars attached with the iron cable at the exact same speed and killing the gigantic herd of zombies by cutting them into halves.
He is successful as a leader and the love of his life couldn't be happier as she asks him to smile. However, the hero saves it for the final moment of the episode and fans can only guess why.
Father Gabriel's cryptic escape and another new society:
The seventh season introduces a new society in almost every other episode. The episode started with Gabriel leaving Alexandria with boxes of groceries and weapons. The only hint Rick has is: "BOAT". So, he ventures into the unknown territory only to be surrounded by a mysterious group, which has massive manpower and armour. Finally Rick smiles and one wonders why.
It might be the possibility that he has found the jackpot of man and weapon power or is probably thinking what a fool he was to roam for six long seasons with his troupe, killing hundreds of zombies, while there are people who remained self sufficient in the doomed world and are still flourishing.
The cliffhanger ending is definitely going to attract more viewership for episode 10 as fans are excited to learn what happens to Rick and why father Gabriel led the team there.