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‘The Walking Dead’ Review: ‘Something They Need’ Has A Lot Going On, But Little To Show For It

Season 7, Episode 15 moves towards the finale, but is there anything to build to?

Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Gene Page/AMC

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: Everyone Gets a Chance To Bury The Hatchet In ‘The Other Side’

Whose Episode Is It?

It’s the penultimate episode, so it’s time to check in with just about everybody (the Kingdom excluded). That makes “Something They Need” a busy episode, but not a particularly compelling one. The issue is that while the back half of Season 7 has been a vast improvement over the first, its plotting has been overly predictable, since it’s mostly been about Rick assembling his army, a mission that will obviously succeed because the show doesn’t have anywhere to go, otherwise. The all-out war is clearly being held for next year, and there’s not enough time left in this season to build up any specific stakes or narrative steam to make the Season 7 finale worth looking forward to. What does happen this episode is completely expected: The Ricketeers gets Oceanside’s guns, Gregory looks like he’s ready to rat out Maggie, and Dwight wants to help with the war on Negan. The Sasha plot is the only one with any current intrigue, and that’s mostly a coin flip to see if she’ll live. Disappointingly, this episode threatens a twist with Sasha and then pulls back. None of this is terrible, but it mostly feels like the show killing time so it can get to the (hopefully) good stuff next year.

A Shred of Humanity

Last episode’s exciting cliffhanger is completely deflated, as we join Sasha in a Savior cell, having been overwhelmed and imprisoned between episodes despite vowing that the Saviors wouldn’t take her alive. She nearly gets raped by her jailer in a thoroughly unpleasant scene until Negan shows up to Negan around a bit. He kills the attempted rapist and offers Sasha a job, because as we all know there’s nothing that impresses Negan more than someone murdering a bunch of his guys. Negan’s explanation for how he wants everyone to work together is a little better than his reasoning for not killing Carl back when he pulled the exact same stunt, but it still feels like Negan is completely neutered as a genuine threat at this point.

Sasha feigns acceptance of the offer in order to try and convince Eugene to sneak her a weapon, presumably so she can finish her mission. She lies to Eugene, saying it’s so she can kill herself because she can’t bear the thought of being made to hurt Rick and the others, but she clearly has other plans. Eugene gives in and gives her the poison pill he developed for the wives back in “Hostiles and Calamities,” which isn’t exactly what Sasha was looking for. And that’s where we leave things this episode. It’s all pretty perfunctory, save for the brief moment where Sasha’s loyalties are in doubt, but that’s undone in the very next scene. Sasha’s obviously not going to kill Negan in the finale, so the only tension going in to the finale is whether she’ll survive, and that seems to be a question of Sonequa Martin-Green’s scheduling more than anything. At least Sasha didn’t kill herself (yet) which would be a pretty depressing anti-climax.

Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The one bright spot in all this is Eugene, who gets a moment to explain why he was eager to join Negan. He thought he could be brave, until he saw Abraham and Glenn, two strong survivors, murdered in front of him. He was never more scared than he was that night, and couldn’t bear feeling like that ever again, thus his embrace of the Saviors’ stability. The explanation actually makes sense for those of us who were bummed about Eugene’s backsliding. There’s no denying that this heel turn has been great for the character.

READ MORE: ‘The Walking Dead’ Star Andrew Lincoln Maps Out The Unexpected Way He Wants His Character to Die

Obligatory Zombie Action

Gregory and Maggie decide to bury the hatchet, until a zombie shows up and Gregory doesn’t have the sand to kill it. While Maggie is occupied with that zombie, another one pops up to attack Gregory and Maggie has to save him just as some Hilltoppers are walking by. This scene features one of my least favorite “Walking Dead” peccadillos: the zombie that doesn’t make noise until it’s right on top of you. Those things growl non-stop until they’re needed for a jump scare and it drives me crazy every time this happens. Anyway, as everyone on Earth predicted, Gregory decides to head to the Savior compound to presumably snitch on Maggie to Simon. Fingers crossed that there’s more to the story, but it’s not like Gregory’s had any depth so far.

The Ricketeers also see some zombie action this week, as a ship full of zombies crashes on Ocenside’s beach and everyone has to team up to fight them. There’s zero suspense but at least the zombies look cool, all barnacles and water-logged flesh. The makeup department clearly had a good time.

Man Is The True Monster

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Rick’s been pretty cheery lately, but it was only a matter of time before we got “my way or the highway” Rick again, and here he is with his treatment of Oceanside. He gives Tara approximately five seconds to convince Oceanside’s leader Natania to join them before they simply take all of their guns by force. Natania resists, so the team sets off the explosives they got back in “Rock In The Road” (shouldn’t they save those for the Saviors?) and wrangle all the Oceansiders together. They don’t kill them, but they do strip them of every single gun they have, because hey, if you’re not with Rick, you’re against him. Tara was hesitant at first, but by episode’s end is glad to leave the Oceansiders defenseless. “I don’t have to feel bad,” she chirps, as Natania wonders why she didn’t kill her when she first showed up. As usual on “The Walking Dead,” mercy is punished and ruthlessness prevails. Hooray?

The Remains

  • This week in terrible Negan lines: “You got some beach ball-size lady-nuts on you, coming in all kamikaze like that.”
  • At the beginning of the episode, Enid asks Carl if he thinks about the people he’s killed. He says yes. At the end of the episode, he adds that he thinks about the people he didn’t kill, too. Another great arc for Carl!
  • Turns out it was Dwight Rosita saw at the end of last episode, and he wants to help Rick with his rebellion. Rick takes out his gun and orders him to get on his knees. Okay.

Grade: C+

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