Six episodes into The Walking Dead Season 7, it is certain that Rick Grimes and his friends are facing the most difficult test of their lives since the start of the zombie apocalypse. They've fought for their lives before, against both the dead and the living, and they've been out on the road with little to eat and even less hope, but they'd never found themselves subjugated before #Negan and the Saviors made their presence felt.
Now, Rick sees little alternative beyond doing exactly as Negan says. Surely, this is Rick at his lowest point. In spite of this, as we get over having stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving, we find that our heroes still have much to be thankful for.
Despite the way Season 7 began, Rick has more to be thankful for beyond what Negan suggested in his sexually explicit quip from "Service." For starters, although he feels helpless against the Saviors, Rick is thankful he hasn't lost anyone since Negan killed both Abraham and Glenn on that fateful night. No one, not even Rick, honestly expects that to last, but it's a nice track record for the time being.
Rick also is better for his relationship with Michonne. She is more than just a lover. After the loss of Dale, Hershel, and now Glenn, Michonne is the one who now acts as his moral compass, the one whom he's most likely to confide in and seek advice from. More than anything else, Rick is most thankful for that which motivates him to continue on in spite of all the hardship: Carl and Judith. Rick will do anything for his children. Even though Rick recently aired Judith's true parentage, it doesn't change his love for Judith, nor his desire to see her grow into adulthood.
After all that she has lost, no one would fault Maggie for being unable to look on the bright side of things. Having endured one too many family tragedies, it is her unborn child by her late husband, Glenn, which gives Maggie reason enough to be thankful. Whether or not she plans on naming the child after her father (like her comic book counterpart) should it be a boy remains to be seen.
Maggie is also thankful for the friendship shown to her by Sasha during these trying times as they each deal with their personal grief together. Having a roof over her head has to be a plus, although I'm sure she'd prefer not to have to deal with the likes of Gregory while at the Hilltop. That's where Paul "Jesus" Monroe comes in. Were it not for the compassion (and a growing sense of loyalty) that he shows toward her, it is likely that Maggie would find herself in the unwanted company of Negan once more.
Where #DarylDixon is concerned, there's not much for him to be thankful for in Season 7. Held prisoner at the Sanctuary by Negan, our favorite redneck with a heart of gold is left with the constant reminder of the mistake he made of punching Negan in the face, indirectly causing the death of his friend, Glenn. You could say Daryl is thankful the Saviors haven't decided to kill him just yet, but that's not much to hang onto. Daryl hasn't been this down on himself since Season 2 when his efforts to find Sophia turned out to be all for naught.
Daryl is simply in no position to pull off a jailbreak by himself. However, since it is unlikely for his story to end at the Sanctuary, that would have to mean that someone will eventually spring him loose. That at least would be something to be thankful for. Until then, it sucks to be Daryl Dixon.
Everyone Who Wasn't In The Lineup
Only a select few set out from Alexandria to transport Maggie to the Hilltop. Those whom they left behind were fortunate enough not to have to witness with their own eyes what Negan did. As soul-crushing as it is to have to stand by and watch the Saviors take half of their stuff, none of these people are burdened with the permanent mental image of Abraham and Glenn's skulls being crushed. Some, like Tara (who is just getting caught up to speed), or Morgan and Carol (who remain blissfully unaware), were away long enough to miss the entire thing. That's not just something to be thankful for. That's a blessing.
Speaking of Father Gabriel, the former coward now seems to be the lone optimistic soul left in the Alexandria Safe Zone. Even as morale sinks and schisms form within the group, Father Gabriel maintains his faith that everything will work out for them in the end. Father Gabriel is someone whom every resident in Alexandria should be glad to have around.
With 10 episodes remaining in Season 7 (two before we reach the mid-season break), there is time enough for things to take a turn in either direction. Either we continue down the path of pain and misery, or Rick and crew finally figure out a way to fight back. There is also plenty of time left for them to find something new to give their thanks for. Like Father Gabriel, I tend to think that all will proceed as it should. I am personally thankful for another vastly entertaining season of The Walking Dead.
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What are you thankful for this season — of The Walking Dead?