TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 7, Episode 12

Season 7, Episode 12: Say Yes

PLOT: Rick and Michonne enjoy each other's company and lay waste to a whole lot of walkers on their quest to gather guns for the Scavengers.

REVIEW: I remember back when, in the wake of GRINDHOUSE, Eli Roth was planning to make a movie called TRAILER TRASH, which would have consisted entirely of faux trailers for non-existent films. Roth said he planned to have special effects artist Greg Nicotero contribute a trailer to the movie because Nicotero had been itching to direct. TRAILER TRASH never happened, but Nicotero has gone on to gain a hell of a creative outlet in the form of The Walking Dead, which he has directed nineteen episodes of over the last six seasons. You can usually expect a Nicotero episode to offer up something special, especially since he tends to direct premieres and finales. The fact that Nicotero plays such an important role in the creation of a zombie show seems perfect because the first movie he ever worked on was George A. Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD.

Nicotero doesn't just direct the big episodes, he directs random ones throughout the seasons as well, like tonight's episode, which seemed tailor made for someone with makeup effects experience to take the helm of, because it featured a ton of zombies.

Say Yes finds Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) on the road alone, searching for the "a lot" of guns they agreed to deliver to the junkyard-dwelling Scavengers in exchange for the Scavengers helping them in their upcoming war against the Saviors. The couple raids homes, gathers supplies, has sex a couple times even though they both must smell awful, finds no guns. Until they come across a school carnival where something very bad happened. It's left up to our imagination, but whatever occurred at that carnival involved the expenditure of many rounds of ammunition and has left the place crawling with zombies - civilians, soldiers with their guns still strapped to their bodies, walkers who have their hands tied together. Being several years into the zombie apocalypse at this point, Rick and Michonne are so confident in their abilities that they decide to roll right into the carnival and take on dozens of zombies by themselves. They need those guns the soliders have.

The tone of this episode was a complete 180 from those that made up the first half of this season, which some viewers felt was too dark and bleak. Here Rick and Michonne are having fun, smiling, laughing, cracking jokes, taking down walkers like it ain't no thing... until it becomes a thing. There comes a time when it appears that Rick may have been killed by a group of walkers. But come on, we know that Rick isn't going to die at this point. There's no question, the only question is how long are they going to draw out the moment before we get the reveal that he's alive and well. This is like the Glenn dumpster thing all over again, but thankfully it plays out in minutes instead of over multiple episodes.

There were a lot of makeup effects in this episode and a good amount of gore. Nicotero and his FX crew often pay homage to Romero with the designs of certain walkers, and Say Yes was no exception. I wouldn't have caught it as a reference if Nicotero hadn't pointed it out on his Instagram account, but a shot of a zombie inside a ticket booth was supposed to be a nod to the CREEPSHOW poster art.

But this wasn't all about action and zombie kills, there was also a strong essence of heart and soul. We had Tara (Alanna Masterson) debating whether or not she should tell our heroes about the well-armed community she encountered, confiding in the only person around who couldn't tell anyone. We had Rosita (Christian Serratos) advancing her plans for revenge and complaining to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), who had a line that I loved: "Anything is possible until your heart stops beating."

And we had the deepening romance of Rick and Michonne, which allowed for some very emotional moments, including a scene where Michonne echoed the first half of my favorite exchange of dialogue in THE CONJURING: "I can't lose you." Rick's response was much different than the CONJURING reply, but effective in its own way.

Speaking of dialogue, we then have a scene with the Scavengers, and wow. This group does not need to be given much screen time, because their unique way of speaking with their abbreviated sentences is already grating the second time we hear it. People are going to die in the battle with the Saviors, and hopefully all of these knuckleheads will be among the casualties.

The Scavengers aside, Say Yes was a really good episode, both touching and fun. The war machine keeps chugging forward.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: There's plenty to choose from in this episode, but I have to go with Rick's messy removal of the zombie who is stuck through the windshield of a car. It's not just the gore that gives it the win, either. The makeup on the zombie and his reaction to feeling Rick pulling him apart but not being able to get to him reminded me of the first zombie movie I ever owned a copy of, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II.

GORY GLORY: The windshield zombie wins again. He had guts.

FAVORITE SCENE: The emotional scene in which Rick tells Michonne he hasn't been able to sleep, tormented by the loss of Glenn, and in which she tells him "I can't lose you."


Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Say Yes?



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