SPOILER WARNING: This article will discuss The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 6, 'Swear'; as always, if you're not caught up, stop reading now and come back later.
When we were left with that cliffhanger at the end of Season 6, The Walking Dead's showrunner Scott M. Gimple promised it would all be justified when Season 7 brought a 'new beginning' to the show. Apparently, by 'new beginning', Gimple meant that we'd be treated to a series of introductory subplots — one per episode, I might add. This season of The Walking Dead has offered nothing but low-burn episodes — with the obvious exception of the premiere — and, if the ratings are any indication, fans are not quite excited about it.
This week's episode, 'Swear', continued on that one-community-per-episode vein, showing us what happened to Tara and Heath on their supply run. It was good to catch up with them and see them both celebrate Glenn's legacy in their own ways. The Walking Dead deviated a lot from the comics this week and, although the producers were quite light on the callbacks, there are still some worth talking about. Let's check them out...
In Loving Memory
Tara and Glenn started their relationship back in Season 4, when he found her in the prison after the Governor attacked. She helped him find Maggie, paid her dues by being extremely loyal and trustworthy, and soon Tara and Glenn — along with Maggie — were the greatest of friends. It's obvious that Tara had a lot of respect for Glenn and his way of thinking — especially since she considered herself to be somewhat responsible for following the Governor's orders — and she's strived to live up to his standards.
This week, she proved just how much she took #Glenn's advice and teachings (why not?) to heart, when she used a direct quote from Glenn's "first rule of scavenging":
It was a bittersweet moment seeing Glenn live on in the people who survived him — much like Glenn believed it should be — while knowing that Tara wasn't aware that her friend had his head bashed in by Negan. Heath also showed how much of Glenn was imparted onto him, when he and Tara shared their thoughts on killing everyone in the satellite outpost in 'Not Tomorrow Yet'. Back then, Glenn spared Heath from having to kill for the first time, hence why Heath is now so disgusted by what the Alexandrians did — he continues to live by Glenn's moral standards.
Seeing Lucille at the handle of another gun was a nice nod to last season's 'East', when Carl grabs a gun with a baseball bat carved into its handle. That was one of the many guns the Alexandrians took from the Saviors when they killed everyone in the satellite outpost — the same gun Negan took back from Carl in The Walking Dead Season 6 finale.
This week, it's Tara who held a gun with Lucille at carved in the handle, but there's more to it than the Saviors' symbolism; much like Carl last season, Tara has no idea what that baseball bat represents. So, in many ways, although she and Heath have been away from Alexandria for over two weeks, it's as if time hasn't passed for them — in an "ignorance is a bliss" kind of way.
The Doctor Is In
When Tara managed to escape the women chasing her, she took refuge in a shop. Much like Denise wanted to surprise her girlfriend with the orange pop, Tara got her beau a bobble head figure of a doctor.
Denise herself had the opportunity to spend some time in a shop, when she went with Daryl and Rosita to the apothecary last season. Although not exactly a souvenir like Tara's, Denise took a key chain with her late brother's name on it as a reminder of him — which #Daryl kept as proof that he'd failed the Doc.
"Some People Are Just Bad"
You would think that, in a universe like The Walking Dead, people would be more cynical and disbelieving of others, but that's not the case with Tara. She may put on a tough act, but she's still able to see the good in people — even though she's seen her share of bad people:
Tara had her first contact with real evil through the Governor. He was someone she believed in completely, and who proved to be a heartless and cruel man when he attacked the prison with the sole objective of killing all the Survivors inside. Tara lived through it and, although she's been scarred for life by Phillip's actions, she still chooses to believe people like him are the exception — much like Glenn did.
This season of The Walking Dead has been nothing if not extremely different from the others in terms of flow and the types of episodes we've had so far. While some fans might have an issue with the episodes being slower-paced and focused on a single community every time, it's obviously quite the clever ploy to highlight what this season is really about: #Negan's new world order.
No more Rick calling the shots; no more living in harmony or going on simple runs; this season is all about oppression, fear and obedience. Those who don't follow Negan's script, like the ladies in Natania's community, either escape or die trying — like the Santuary runaway that Dwight shot. 'Swear' also made a great point that, no matter how far you travel, Negan is everywhere. And that also sticks to the premise of this season, which is to make everyone — including us, the viewers — uneasy and isolated.
I may be totally off here but, if using a new community — with never-before-seen characters — to illustrate Negan's real power was Mr. Gimple's goal, I'd say he's nailed it.
More on #TheWalkingDead:
- Did You Notice All These Callbacks & References In 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Episode 'Go Getters'?
- Did You Notice All These Callbacks In The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 'Service'?
- Breaking Down The Promo Posters For 'The Walking Dead' Season 7: How Many Have Been Revealed So Far?
We've grown accustomed to seeing all our Survivors — or at least most of them — in every single episode and, when a episode breaks that format, we usually don't like it. However, the key is that, when those Survivors and those communities actually get together and unite against Negan, that's when we'll see the tables turn and revenge will finally happen. More to the point, everyone standing together — and the episodes featuring more than one community at a time — will be The Walking Dead's cue to the comic book's 'March To War' and 'All Out War' arcs, where Negan finally gets what he deserves.
How are you liking this season's episode dynamic of The Walking Dead? Are you cool with seeing only one community per episode? Sound off in the comment section below.