The Walking Dead 7.14 Review – ‘The Other Side’
Hey all, Wednesday Lee Friday filling in this week. We’re nearing the end of this 7th season of The Walking Dead. Things are beyond insane at this point. In The Other Side, we watch Sasha and Rosita prepare to avenge their fallen lover. Maggie and Daryl have a long overdue conversation, and the Saviors continued making life hellish for everyone they meet. The Hilltop lost a prized resident, metallurgy was employed, Enid provided a distraction, and we debated the benefits of gin versus tequila. Many old and new favorites took the week off, which happens when your cast becomes so expansive. No word this week from Rick, Michonne, “Coral,” Carole, King Ezikiel, or Morgan—who is probably sitting in a corner thinking about what he’d done last week. There are also precious few zombies this week. Expect spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 14 “The Other Side” follow.
The Other Side begins with a montage of the major characters we’ll be seeing this week. Maggie and the baby appear to be doing well. Sasha teaches Hilltop residents the finer points of knife work, while Rosita makes ready to move forward with her plan to assassinate Negan. We see that even though Maggie has approached him several times, Daryl can’t even meet her eye. I’d remind Daryl that the guy who is actually responsible for Glenn’s death is the one who kept hitting him with a bat. Jesus stays near home more than he used to, but that seems okay.
Speaking of Jesus, he’s gay. I just told you that with exactly as much flair and vitality as The Walking Dead used when they told me. So no, it’s not Daryl, the only character they’d been hinting at for years. Norman Reedus supports the idea of Daryl being gay. Not being in the comics means they can do anything they want with Daryl. I hold out hope that Jesus and Daryl will get together eventually. They’re good looking dudes, so it’s totally possible. One could make a case that it doesn’t matter who’s gay or who isn’t—especially if you’ve been screaming at your screen since the Lori-Rick-Shane love triangle that you don’t care about relationships. Remember though, that The Walking Dead has always been less a horror show than a character-driven drama that also has zombies.
Rosita finds the stash of bullets and takes them. When caught by Jesus, he’s surprisingly cool with it. Once we get our bearings as to what this week’s main players are up to, the Saviors are on their way. As expected, they’re looking for Daryl. He’s hiding in the cellar larder, which is kind of stupid. We know the Saviors want our Mr Dixon, but they usually also want food and supplies. So why hide with the food? Was it a fast choice of convenience? Did Daryl want to ambush and kill at least one of them? Or is it simply something we’re better off not examining too closely?
Gregory’s exchanges with Simon were hilarious in their awkwardness. Gregory is no diplomat, and everyone seems to know it but him. Watch for Simon to manipulate him beautifully. Gregory offers Simon gin as if they’re old chums, reminding Simon that he remembers his favorite drink. Simon rebuffs this attempt at a connection by saying he lost his taste for gin and only likes tequila now. This is not a message about booze. It says clearly, I’m taking your shit if I want it, and I’m not your buddy, guy. Gregory tries again later to explain to Simon what a great friend Negan has in the Hilltop—and that if Gregory got overthrown, who knows how the next leader might act? Again, Simon is not moved to kindness. Rather, he reminds Gregory that if anyone tries anything like that, to tell Simon so he can come murder them. Well duh. Readers already know who runs the Hilltop next, and it’s good news.
I’d been hoping that Rosita could put aside her hurt feelings and form a friendship with Sasha—even as I totally understand why she wouldn’t want to. Abraham’s breakup line was one of the coldest things I’ve ever seen, and Sasha never appeared to acknowledge how much that all hurt Rosita. Come on, Rosita never should have had to see that Sasha had Abraham’s necklace—the one she made for him. In The Other Side, Rosita comes to terms with her feelings while describing them in the blandest and most predictable way possible. Being a cliché isn’t exactly the worst thing someone can be though. Enid and Jesus do their best to talk Sasha out of going on Rosita’s mission to kill Negan. As expected, she is not persuaded. One of these women (I won’t say which, but it’s easy to find online) has a new series next year, so they’re not going to make it out of this mission alive.
Speaking of not being alive, Negan needs a new doctor. Why does he need two doctors? Um, he doesn’t. The old one was accidentally thrown into an oven. Oh, and he was also Hilltop Dr Carson’s brother. That sucks. But that’s what the Saviors do. The score here is super tense and screechy. Luckily, we have plenty of aspirin. Ha! I usually try to listen closely for Bear McCreary’s contributions to the show, but sometimes the show is too engrossing and I can’t. This week though, he enhanced the tension significantly. Hilltop were not pleased to see their only doctor driven away by the Saviors. Jesus confronts Gregory about it, in a conversation that ends with threats and a declaration that Jesus is not Gregory’s friend. Luckily they can’t also block each other on Facebook.
Enid’s odd attempt to distract one of Negan’s men was short and strangely uneventful. He’s not having it, and I’m not entirely clear why we needed to see that. Maybe it’s supposed to illustrate again that Negan’s people don’t want to be your friend. Perhaps she was trying to dissuade them in the search for Daryl. Daryl was not found by the Saviors, so that’s awesome. Finally, Maggie pointed out that he hasn’t looked at her since he returned. Nobody likes to see Daryl crying, but I think we can expect fewer memes about salad this time. Of course he blames himself for Glenn’s death, and of course Maggie doesn’t agree. Telling him that Glenn thought he was “one of the good things” should help. Given where Daryl came from and where he is now, the only character to make a greater transition is Carol (though Morgan is up there). We can be glad that Daryl and Maggie finally talked it out, but it’s clear that there’s still plenty of sadness to go around. She’s right though, they have to win.
When Sasha and Rosita set up to stake out Negan, they see that Eugene is a person of respect and influence in the compound. The Saviors put his foundry idea to use, as we see walkers stuck to the fence with metal or silver. Rosita seems sure Eugene is faking his allegiance to Negan, as am I. We’ve underestimated him in the past, but no longer. Listening to the new chief engineer give instructions over the radio was chuckle-worthy, for sure. “This is per Negan, who I also am.” Certainly more interesting than hearing Rosita talk about her exes. Negan finally shows himself, but not so anyone could get a clean shot. The main takeaway of their discussion is that death should mean something, and that Sasha and Rosita have each other’s backs. Well, that’s what they say anyway.
In reality, Sasha makes it into the compound and then locks Rosita out—because they’ve seen that Maggie now has no doctor. So, Sasha goes in, we hear a hail of machine gun fire, and men ran out. That might mean an off-camera death for Sasha; or worse, it might mean that they kept her alive to question her. Rosita offers to release/rescue Eugene. His response to this is tears, terror, and refusal—a complete change in demeanor from what we’d heard from him moments earlier. What the hell is that about? Surely Eugene is not really Negan now, surely he’s faking to stay alive. It’s probably a long con so he can be the mole once the revolt begins in earnest. Right? RIGHT?!? Why do we want to believe in Eugene so much? Maybe we just hate Negan so much we want to make sure every available person is on our side.
Rosita leaves, alone and crying and furious. She doesn’t get far before we see that someone sees her…someone with a crossbow. Time was, that would have been great news. But no. That’s Dwight, AKA Negan, AKA a complete jerkbag. Wow. This episode did not contain the revelation we wanted, but it was by no means ineffective. The Other Side moved the plot forward considerably, and I’ll be stoked to see how it plays into the final two episodes of Season 7. Props to AMC for having so few commercial breaks this week, though I imagine they’ll “make up” for that later. As for me, I’m reviewing Legion every Wednesday night here at 411Mania.
See you’s then!