We’re the Ones Who Live
The time has come where we, the fans of The Walking Dead, must part ways with our favorite show for what seems like an eternity. Yes, it is that time of the year again – the dreaded midseason hiatus, but the midseason finale did not disappoint.
“Hearts Still Beating” has its focus centered on the Alexandria Safe Zone, and Negan is continuing to make himself comfortable. Spaghetti dinner, anyone? But as he settles in, he is completely unaware of the plots against his life taking place on not one, not two, but three different spectrums. First there is Scott from The Kingdom, who seeks out Carol and Morgan and urges them to convince King Ezekiel to fight back against the Saviors before the Saviors turn against them. Then there is Michonne, who has taken Isabelle hostage and forces her to drive them to The Sanctuary. And finally there is Rosita, who has guilt on her shoulders and a freshly made bullet in her hand. Negan is unaware of just how much danger he is truly in.
While some are making moves to take Negan down, Spencer has an entirely different idea. He still doesn’t like the way that Rick has handled things, and after receiving praise from the Saviors for bringing back a good haul, he takes matters into his own hands. He goes straight to the man himself and makes nice. There’s some drinking and some pool, and then some very serious talk. According to him, he should be leader of Alexandria and not Rick. Rick’s ego is out of control and he’ll screw things up. He proposes that Negan kill Rick and make Spencer the leader. It sounds like a good idea until Negan points out how Rick is swallowing his hate and doing what it takes to keep his people alive. After questioning if Spencer even has any guts, Negan finds out for himself by slashing his stomach with a knife.
The taunting that follows is what pushes Rosita over the edge, and she draws her gun and shoots, hitting Lucille instead of her target. Negan doesn’t take too kindly to Lucille being injured, and he demands to know who made the bullet. To prove how serious, he is, he has Arat shoot a person at random (RIP Olivia), and Eugene finally gives in and admits that he was the brain behind the recipe when Negan threatens to keep killing people.
The ordeal brings Rick to his senses, and it seems that for the first time since the premiere, he is considering fighting back. But there is still hesitance, and that hesitance doesn’t give way until Michonne speaks to him. She tells him that she found what she was looking for but realized that her way wasn’t the right way, that she couldn’t do this alone. She wants it to be their way. They’ve survived so much and they need to make that count. “We’re the ones who get things done. We’re the ones who live…That’s why we have to fight. For Judith. For Carl.” By the end of the speech, Rick admits that he’s ready to fight back.
Rick, Michonne, Carl, Tara, and Rosita make the trek to The Hilltop, where Maggie has become a sort of hero, someone that the community trusts. Jesus and Daryl are both there, too. The group is back together, and they aren’t going to sit idly by and let Negan walk all over them; they are going to fight.
The episode ends on a note that has become familiar: a coda. There is a person who has followed Rick and Aaron from the boathouse all the way back to Alexandria. They are watching from the woods with binoculars, wearing boots that seem too big. We are left with one lingering question to mull over for weeks: who is wearing those boots?
- Gregory wishes that he were one of the cool kids. I mean, he is totally jealous that Maggie and Sasha are getting so much recognition
- Maggie for president, anyone? She certainly has my vote.
- I really hope that it was a Wednesday in the TWD universe…I mean, they were eating spaghetti and the rule is “Spaghetti Tuesday every Wednesday.”
- The Great Escape: Daryl Dixon edition. Also, he ate a redneck brunch, just like he did with Beth. He started eating straight from the jar with his fingers, but then after a moment picked up a spoon. Callback to “Still” when Beth called him “gross” for eating straight from the jar like that.
- Daryl has his bike back!!!!!
- Spencer’s death scene was pulled straight from the comics!
- Eugene has his brain to thank for still being alive. But how well will he fare at The Sanctuary?
- Rosita was willing to die in order to stop Negan. She’s carrying so much guilt on her shoulders right now and that is only going to be made worse after Olivia’s death. But I have a feeling that she’s going to channel that guilt into revenge.
- The crew is back together and they are ready to kick ass! Somebody get Rick is murder coat, please!
- Who is the person in the boots?! The boots looked far bigger than the feet wearing them and the hands holding those binoculars looked awfully feminine. I’d put money on it that it’s a woman.
Boy oh boy did this mid-season finale not disappoint! If for no other reason than to see our Daryl finally escape successfully, as well as to finally see Rick come around and the gang (most of it anyway, as Carol and Morgan are still not reunited with them) all together again and READY TO RUMBLE. It was heartening to see a unifying determination and drive in their faces again. I can’t wait to see how their revenge and annihilation of Negan and his gang takes shape in the episodes to follow!
And yes I also could not help but remember Daryl’s finger-lickin’-good style of eating in the “Still” episode with Beth as he now devoured what looked to be peanut butter in that jar. So I may be stupid for still holding on to hope, but if the producers and writers do not still plan to bring Beth back, why keep alluding to her and reminding us of her…? Just sayin’.