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TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 7, Episode 10

Season 7, Episode 10: New Best Friends

PLOT: Trouble is brewing at The Kingdom while Rick tries to form an alliance with The Scavengers.

REVIEW: I'm a George Romero devotee, so part of the reason why I was so hyped for The Walking Dead in the build-up to its premiere on AMC was the fact that then-showrunner Frank Darabont showed so much reverence for the creator of the zombie sub-genre. Darabont had even decreed that no zombie on the show should ever move faster than Bill Hinzman's Cemetery Ghoul at the start of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. When we were introduced to members of The Kingdom at the end of season six, I had to laugh at the sight of these modern day knights - the Romero influence had gone beyond the DEAD films and they were now working in a touch of KNIGHTRIDERS.

I was all for it. When I saw those first knights appear on screen, I thought this group was the answer - these guys were going to save our main characters from Negan and his Saviors. I built this group up as badasses in my mind, building myself up for a letdown. Letdown from the fact that King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) isn't really as regal as he seems, and that the group is so servile to The Saviors. In fact, one of the only good things about The Kingdom at this point is that one of its residents is quickly joining the ranks of my favorite characters: the jovial Jerry, as played by Cooper Andrews. I just love this guy's attitude, he always brings a bit of fun to any scene he's in. So I better not get too attached to him, because he's probably not long for this world. Fun he may be, but the character also seems rather expendable.

I hadn't imagined that talking The Kingdom into fighting The Saviors would be so complicated, my greatest wish tonight was that the knights would just decide to go ahead and wipe out the junior Negans they had their messy meeting with. Instead, they just take their licks and give up Morgan's stick. Just when Morgan (Lennie James) finally showed a willingness to use it, too!

Sure, this is all good drama, building anticipation until the big blowout that is sure to come, but it gets frustrating. Kingdom resident Richard (Karl Makinen) is one of the few people there who knows what needs to be done, and he wants to hit the fast forward button to that big blowout, so much so that he is even willing to sacrifice Carol (Melissa McBirde) to get Ezekiel to be proactive. Unfortunately for Richard, but fortunately for Carol and the audience, he picked the wrong person to help him set this up. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has to give him a talking to about that... But I'm not sure Richard really learned his lesson. I have a feeling Carol is still in danger.

Whatever the future holds, this episode did give us the sight of Carol and Daryl being reunited, sharing the screen for the first time this season. I have to admit, as Carol talked about her reason for leaving Alexandria, and as Daryl held back from giving her devastating information, I kind of got a little choked up watching these two interact again. That was a good scene.

Speaking of Alexandria, we did get resolution to last week's cliffhanger of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company getting captured by the junkyard-dwelling group we were calling the Garbage Pail Kids but now know are The Scavengers. In the pages of the comic, the group called The Scavengers were just six people who rolled around in a van. This version of The Scavengers is something very different, a group of like-minded weirdos who apparently gathered up every stitch of black clothing from the stores in the surrounding area. This group teeters on the edge of seeming completely absurd, coming off as even sillier than a group of knights led by a man with a pet tiger. There's something hive mind about them, like they all share the quirks of their leader Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh of THE WOMAN and TALES OF HALLOWEEN).

Jadis herself displays an unwillingness to speak in complete sentences, and her habit of dropping words, cutting her dialogue down to the bare minimum, and the special way she and her followers have of referring to things - like calling the top of a trash heap the "up up up" - reminded me of a MAD MAX film, like these people have been living in the post-apocalypse so long that the language has evolved. They're a goofy bunch. Maybe they'll be some help in the long run, but man they're goofy. They were also a pain in this episode, but now that Rick has proven himself by defeating their pet zombie maybe they'll be more agreeable next time we see them.

So, in the aftermath of New Best Friends I'm feeling iffy about The Scavengers, and I still want to call them the Garbage Pail Kids. I'm feeling touched by the Carol / Daryl reunion. I'm eager to see the next stages in the build-up to war with The Saviors. I'm worried about the trouble Richard might cause for Carol. I want to see Carol become the warrior everyone fears she'll become if she hears that Glenn and Abraham were killed. And I'm wondering if Tara (Alanna Masterson) is going to tell Rick and the others where they can find a lot of guns...

New Best Friends was a decent episode. Nothing mind-blowing storywise, but it pushed things forward a couple more steps and introduced us to a group I'm not sure I wanted to be introduced to.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Of course, this episode was owned by Winslow, the pet walker of The Scavengers. This guy was a formidable opponent for Rick and looked really cool while at the same time being a ridiculous concept. Looking at him, I could only wonder how much time The Scavengers had wasted sticking those spikes into him and making that helmet. It's incomprehensible, but it was fun to see Rick trying to fight Winslow off while getting cut by his spikes.

GORY GLORY: There wasn't a whole lot of gore in here, but Rick having to impale his own hand on a spike to hold Winslow back was a nice moment.

FAVORITE SCENE: I'm tempted to say the scene where Jerry happily hands Carol a cobbler, but I have to give "favorite scene" honors to the Winslow fight. Just like last week's episode, the best zombie moment was also my favorite scene.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of New Best Friends?

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