Reviewed by John Hussey

After a couple of episodes that didn’t really add anything significant, other than pushing things forward for the finale next week, it was refreshing to have an episode that I could actually give a damn about. Lots of great stuff happened (which is very important) which stood as meaningful elements, not just a simple tease towards the finale but actually progressing the fucking plot.

The most important aspect was Tara coming to terms with her decision of telling Rick about Oceanside, to which she promised not to mention upon returning to Alexandria. But with things getting really tough it seemed only right that she broke her promise in order to think about the bigger picture. “What does one little promise mean when it comes to helping your friends stop the very evil that has not only plagued them for the last two seasons, but also cost you the love of your life?”

In spectacular form Rick organises an attack on Oceanside in which not a single drop of blood is spilt. Though there was some indication that Rick was going to storm the community all guns blazing and take every poor sap out without remorse. But then again that would seem kind of drastic, and extremely cruel, especially when you consider they’d be acting no better than the cruel bastards they want to take down.

I suppose in this world of survival nobody can be deemed the true better person because everybody is now shitty people, ready to do what is necessary to live another day. I guess it’s simply down to how that goes down and how much humanity is still shown in the moment of need.

Natania is very stubborn when it comes to listening to Tara. The stupid bitch essentially nearly puts her entire group in danger all for the sake of pride and blind beliefs. It’s interesting to see the reaction of Cyndie who feels betrayed by Tara’s return, and the fact that she brought her people to steal their weapons. But it’s not like it can be deemed an entirely bad thing, but at the same time Tara has crossed the line. I guess it’s a question of “what would you do in that situation?” It’s clear that Oceanside has no intention of changing their ways, especially when it comes to facing the Saviors, whom Natania is still frightened of through the memory of what they did to every single male member of their community.

But this fear blocks any real progression to her people, leaving them trapped within a bubble where freedom is an illusion. Plus it is beginning to look like that Rick is still no better off than where he was last season. Since declaring his scheme to build an army he has managed to recruit one army, and that’s only on the basis that they collected enough weapons for them to possess. In doing so they have now scared away another army because they had to ransack them of all their goods. Though it does seem like the Kingdom is more likely to join them now that King Ezekiel has seen the bigger picture. But it’s still unknown as to how well the Hilltop will do due to their lack of experience and resources.

Things just don’t seem to be in formation at the moment, leaving me with serious doubts that Rick can possibly pull off a successful attack on Negan. I did like the fact that Tara was faced with the idea that she would feel “bad” about taking from Oceanside, but things became very clear to her by the end. They had tried to kill once before, and they refused to fight for their freedom, and thus revoked their rights within this new world of conflict. But I suppose it was still nice to know that Cyndie didn’t hold a grudge for long, with her and other members of Oceanside feeling ready to join Rick but for some reason or another this didn’t happen which was a shameful waste if you ask me.

Elsewhere, we have the continuation of Gregory’s decent into cowardice as his chains to the Saviors tighten. It was only a matter of time before he turned on Maggie and this began to show here. But I never thought he would attempt to kill her, which seemed low even for him. But of course the coward couldn’t go through with his desire and backed away. This only made the following moment all the more shameful as he tried to prove himself as a “man” in front of the pregnant Maggie by taking out a Walker. But this only resulted in him making an arse of himself and needing to be saved (which to be fair could’ve got Maggie, and her baby, hurt).

It seems like Hilltop is pretty much run by Maggie now as the community follows her guidance in building a new tomorrow, whilst Gregory skulks around like the spineless bastard that he is. I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt intimidated by her, and judging by his obvious sexism, he probably hates the idea of being told what to do by a woman. That, and he probably prefers being the centre of attention.

Clearly he holds no real leadership skills and it makes me truly wonder how the fuck this man stayed in-charge of Hilltop for as long as he did. Hopefully soon this will be rectified. In the meantime we have to uneasily wait and see what Gregory plans to tell Simon (my bets are on informing him of Maggie’s presence, or worse, Rick’s schemes).

The rest of the penultimate episode concentrated on Sasha. It’s left rather vague as to what happened between the end of last week’s episode and her capture in this episode, but either way Sasha’s now Negan’s prisoner. I was really glad to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan back in the spotlight, and once again he delivers perfectly (though his performance seemed a little off due to his voice sounding croaky – whether intentional or the fact that Jeffrey had a cold during filming).

I really like how his character is progressed every time he’s onscreen, as we learn something new about his strange, and erratic, behaviour. It’s really interesting to try and understand his code of conduct and what makes him snap. In this case he really doesn’t like the idea of rape, brought up when one of his own attempts to seduce a restrained Sasha after she requests water. The sick sexual predator is stopped by his leader who promptly puts him in his place and declares how unimpressed he is, and that the member broke the rules. With that his apology is not excepted and a knife is plunged through his neck.

One of the reoccurring themes within Season Seven is Negan’s attempts to break Rick’s crew, starting with Rick, followed by Daryl, and finally Eugene. Each time he has applied different psychological games of torture in order to break their will power, thereby making them his slaves for his ever-growing twisted clan of followers. In Sasha’s case he leaves her with a knife and the corpse of her attacker, offering her three simple choices in order to determine her fate. This is added by Eugene’s pleas for her to join Negan, believing it’s her best option in order to have a better future.

It’s kind of sad seeing Eugene broken like this. The moment is made worse when he admits his reasoning for joining the Saviors. He looked up to Abraham and wanted to be like him, prompting him to be the hero in “Last Day on Earth”, but upon being captured and then forced to see two of his brave comrades killed before his very eyes he vowed not to live through that again. He realised that he was a coward, nothing more, whilst the brave were taken from this earth in an undeserving manner.

It’s clear that Eugene deep down knows his actions were wrong, to which he hesitates after using Abraham as a means to justify his actions (knowing full well he wouldn’t have wanted this) but his fear has ultimately pushed him into a dark corner out of a need to survive by picking the securest option.

Of course Sasha has no intention of joining Negan. Instead she tries convincing Eugene to help her by fooling him into believing she wants to commit suicide in an attempt to prevent herself from being used by Negan against the others. Unfortunately Eugene’s fears sway him from giving her anything useful, and instead is left with poison. Though I will admit it was a convincing lie that even had me fooled. However, her hope soon dies as she begins to run out of ways to take out her target.

“Something They Need” was a great penultimate story for this tension-filled season. It allowed enough things to happen in order to make me excited as to where the finale can go. I’m not expecting an explosive finale (as it seems too soon for warfare) but I have heard that there will be bloodshed. I’m interested in seeing how Negan reacts to Rick’s disobedience and what he will do in order to put him back in his place.

Plus there’s the implications of Gregory and how he will affect the safety of both Maggie and the Hilltop, along with how the Kingdom will join the battle properly, and of course the fate of Sasha. Plus, what will Rick do now that he possesses Dwight? Can he truly be trusted or is this some kind of ploy? And can Rick keep Daryl from killing him long enough to discover the truth, or use him to get to Negan? I really can’t wait to find out. Bring on next week!!


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