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‘The Walking Dead’ Review: ‘Say Yes’ Is A Good Old-Fashioned Zombie Fight

Season 7, Episode 12 is a pretty typical "Walking Dead" episode, but it has its moments.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Gene Page/AMC

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: Two Characters Arrive at a Moral Crossroads in ‘Hostiles and Calamities’

Whose Episode Is It?

If you were hankering for some Rick last week, worry not, because he and Michonne are the focus of “Say Yes,” as they try to scrounge up the guns that the Dumpsters demanded in “New Best Friends.” Meanwhile, Rosita is still stewing about blowing her shot at Negan (as she should, he was right there) and Tara expounded her moral conundrum to a baby. It’s hardly a barn-burner of an episode, but it gets the job done, and there are a few deft touches here and there that set it apart from other by-the-numbers “Walking Dead” installments.

Obligatory Zombie Action

For the first time this season, the main plot centers exclusively on a zombie operation, as Rick and Michonne find a school carnival that was turned into a military outpost during the breakout and discover it’s rich with guns and supplies. It’s also overrun with zombies, and when their initial plan to clear them out goes sour, they’re able to improvise and overcome the odds.

Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

None of this is stuff that we haven’t seen before, but what’s most striking during the zombie action is how confident Rick and Michonne are. They treat zombie fights as just another day at the office rather than an existential threat, taking the time to banter along the way. (“You’re leaving me eight?” “You can handle eight!”) There’s even a goofy bit where Rick tries to pull a zombie out of a windshield, but just keeps ripping off body parts. “Walking Dead’s” new, relatively sunnier approach in the back half of Season 7 still seems like writerly course correction from the season’s dire first half rather than fully organic character development, but it’s a welcome change.

READ MORE: ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Most Shocking Death Isn’t Who You Think

A Shred of Humanity

Before trying to take on the zombies, Rick and Michonne hole up in the school to feast on government rations, and — in a rarity for “Walking Dead” — talk about the future. Michonne wants to know what happens after they beat the Saviors. “Negan ordered the world his way. It’s up to us to reorder it once he’s gone, right?” She thinks Rick should organize the communities once the dust has settled, but Rick is resistant. Considering the leaders of the other communities are a slimeball, an art school drop-out, and a guy cosplaying as a medieval king, Michonne probably has a point. I’m probably in the minority, but I’m much more interested in “The Walking Dead” being a show about rebuilding society than about fighting whatever pack of psychopaths show up each season, and I’m happy whenever the show throws a bone like this my way.

Things do awry at the end, when Michonne mistakes a deer getting swarmed by zombies for Rick, and immediately plunges into despair, only for Rick to pop up a few seconds later. She’s still in a funk despite their success, and Rick confesses that despite the good time they’ve been having while scavenging, he’s having trouble sleeping at night, consumed with guilt about his failure to save Glenn. He knows that fighting the Saviors won’t cure what’s happened in the past, but it’s still important to ensure the future. Michonne thinks she can’t lose him, but Rick reminds her that she was the one who suggested resisting when Rick was giving in to despair at the top of the season, and if Rick died, she would need to lead in his stead. “Because you led me here.” We’ve seen so little of Rick and Michonne as a couple that it’s nice to see moments like these, even if they’re just reflecting their own pep talks back at each other.

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes; - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Man Is The True Monster

Despite the large quantities of guns Rick and Michonne were able to find, Jadis and the Dumpsters still want more — twice as many, in fact. This is enough to set off Rosita, who spends the episode stewing in her guilt about failing to kill Negan and the deaths she directly caused by doing so. She decides to take another crack at Negan, and heads over to Hillside to recruit Sasha, presenting her with a new sniper rifle so Sasha can have her own shot. Each woman agrees that this is probably a one-way ticket for both of them, but they’re still willing to try. Ladies, you’re gonna blow this whole deal for everybody!

The Remains

  • Tara seems to decide to tell Rick about Oceanside (the well-armed community of lady survivors) after a heart-to-heart with baby Judith. I support Tara in all her endeavors.
  • Father Gabriel councils Rosita that she shouldn’t give in to despair about surviving, since if she’s still alive, she can change things. Taking another shot at Negan is probably not what Gabriel had in mind.
  • Seriously, how dumb does a deer have to be to get caught by zombies that stumble towards it while constantly growling?
  • Honestly, chili and mac & cheese combined sounds kind of disgusting.

Grade: B-

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