Television

The Walking Dead: The Well & The Cell (Review)

I’m not sure how many Walking Dead S7 episodes I will continue to review, I may do all of them. I may do some in chunks. Like this one, which covers episodes 2 and 3. Because after that first bombshell of an episode, the next couple of weeks have been quieter character-based looks at the new situation we all have to deal with in Season 7. Of course, be aware that there will be liberal spoilers coming up for these two episodes.

This was the sort of episode I was loving when marathoning through the series earlier this year to catch up to Season 6 at some point during the zombie attack on Alexandria, for example, I loved the Morgan episode in that season, but with two of these episodes in a row and no progress on the storyline with how our main characters are coping with the loss of those Lucilled in episode 1, it has felt like the momentum has ground to a halt. I had noticed this being the case when speeding through other seasons but until now it had not really affected me. Now, as someone who personally does not often follow shows week to week, in fact, I’m only doing it at the moment because I am watching it with others, this is going far too slow for me. But I think there’s hope that the season will shape its direction proper with episode 4, as we finally move back to the main cluster of characters – Alanna Masterson hasn’t even appeared in this season yet despite being in the main titles now and as I love Tara (the lesbian character always appeals to me), I have been noticing. Stop teasing me.

The pacing aside, let’s move on to the actual content of the episodes. And they were pleasant episodes, if just a bit scene-setting, the Well to give us an idea of the new good camp of survivors, and at the moment, the closest thing this show has to any hope now Alexandria is gutted out (just remember it was supposed to be the place of hope and the future a season or so ago, this show excels at destroying what seemed like a thriving community so I have no illusions that the Kingdom will be any different. But it is led by the charismatic Ezekiel, who seems to be a genuinely good guy and character to root for. And I’ve instantly taken a shine to him, as I do to most characters who show a semblance of kindness, but also because he is interesting, concerned with protecting the people under him such that he will do deals with the villains, and yet not being a traditional authority figure, instead being the ultimate example of ‘fake it till you make it’, where he outmatches Carol, who’s not so bad herself, quite easily. I don’t foresee him having a long and happy life sadly, but while he is the King and exuding his cool name and tiger power all over the place I will happily see him do that. Just next time, in an episode with more of the main characters. The Well went by with little purpose other than to bring in this new community, and beyond being a further insight into how polities are being formed and how the Saviours are running roughshod over the area, not a very essential episode.

The Cell kept my attention quite a bit more however, although that was mainly because of the horrific torture the Saviours were doing to Daryl all episode. It got right into the psyche of how they work and recruit people over to their side, essentially to Negan’s side, by making them offers that they can’t refuse, and with each acceptance, Negan gets stronger. However it is pointed out that beyond the fear that he holds over his lackeys, he’s just one man and I suspect that will be factor in in some way into how he is taken down. It also is doing a great job of contrasting Dwight and Daryl’s situations, making it seem reasonable in the end how Dwight, up until now quite an irredeemable guy, came over to Negan’s side and the torture they inflicted on Daryl throughout was so extreme that by the end of it, I would not have blamed him if he had gone to join Negan’s side. In fact, in his place, I would have done so, for I would figure that would give me openings to bide my time, although of course that’s running the risk of Negan asking me to kill a baby or some such atrocity in the future. Yes, that’s how the tropes work. Perhaps Daryl does have it right then. But in that case there is no way out for him and I might have sought to end it all just to get away from that awful pop song they played over and over in his cell. And the dog meat.

We do get some indications that Dwight might be wondering about betraying Negan but it’s too early to say whether they’re telegraphing him too much, although I wouldn’t expect much more from this show (i.e. I like it but it’s not always subtle).

But, in conclusion, these episodes were fine, just give us some more real suffering that we’ll hate life for. Or Tara being awesome, I’ll take that. It looks like from some of the previews that she could be.

 

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