REVIEW: The Walking Dead S7 E15 ‘Something They Need’ is a rushed disappointment
The Walking Dead is hurtling towards a violent confrontation with alarming pace. The only problem now is it’s doing it with too much pace. One episode before the eagerly-awaited series finale, The Walking Dead rushes, skips and avoids unnecessary storylines in its eagerness to get to the finish line. The result is a disjointed and disappointing experience.
Last episode, we saw Sasha lock co-conspirator Rosita out of the Sanctuary and head to kill Negan with all guns blazing. This episode we saw… none of it. We’re left to guess what happened to Sasha after we learn in the opening moments she is captured by the Saviours. Did she go down with a fight? Did she take anyone out before she was captured? How close did she get to Negan? All of these questions remain unanswered, which is annoying, because they would do a great deal to answer questions of Sasha’s mental fortitude at this trying time. Negan makes Sasha an offer to join the Saviours, and Sasha later manipulates Eugene into giving her a weapon, but none of this is interesting if we’ve been denied the opportunity to see exactly where Sasha’s head is. Instead, this storyline feels rushed and wasted – and that is the opposite of the way we want a prominent character like Sasha to meet her (probable) end.
Elsewhere, without any sort of rhyme or reason, Rick and the Alexandrians rush to Oceanside to seize their weapons. There seems to be no thought and minimal planning involved, and indeed including the whole Oceanside community feels like an oversight. Suddenly, the incredibly protected and capable Oceanside community are reduced to screaming, defenceless women as the Alexandrians plant bombs to herd them to a location where they can be surrounded. Nobody fights back. It all seems awfully convenient and, honestly, bad writing. Rick presents them a choice that is not a choice: it’s my way or the highway. The Alexandrians leave with the guns. It’s a terrible shame and a waste of a potentially interesting community.
The third major storyline of the episode involved the Hill Top, and true to form, it was the least interesting part of ‘Something They Need’. Gregory tried briefly to put up a united front with Maggie but planned to stab her in the back. He did neither. He left humiliated in front of members of the Hill Top community after it was revealed this post-apocalypse leader has never so much as dealt with a walker personally. The only way this storyline can be heading is Gregory’s death or incapacitation as leader, and frankly, it can’t come soon enough.
Such was The Walking Dead‘s rush to get into position for its season finale, it skipped past important narrative points far too carelessly. Sasha’s imprisonment and interactions with Negan and Eugene would hold more weight if we knew where she was coming from. Even without the capture scene, Sasha’s feelings on Abraham’s death this season have been largely overlooked in favour of Rosita’s more visible struggle. Alexandria seizing the weapons from Oceanside was embarrassingly easy. Instead, more time was devoted to presenting Gregory as a feeble, spineless, self-interested leader – which is something we have been clear about for a very long time.
All of these mistakes might be forgiven if the season finale is as good as what has been promised, but for now we are disappointed about the ignored opportunities. The Walking Dead creates so many interesting characters and scenarios that it is a shame to shrug them off in favour of rushing towards a finish line. This is a matter of too much, too fast – and oddly reminiscent of last year’s critique over poor pacing.