Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from The Walking Dead Season 7 episode "Say Yes."
Overview: Michonne and Rick go to a carnival (for real) in their search for more guns for the Heapsters. While there, they kinda get engaged and come to an understanding about what the future holds for them. In Alexandria, Rosita's frustrations continue to boil as she also looks for guns by her lonesome. And Tara suffers over whether she should reveal that the Oceanside community exists and are fully stocked with weaponry.
Seeing Michonne and Rick out in the field together as a couple was actually a weirdly fun diversion for most of this episode. While the two have been together since 6.10, "The Next World," there's been a lot of tragedy and misery in the narrative since then that has prevented the audience from observing them outside of their warrior position and just as a "normal" couple. Writer Matt Negrete provides us an excellent peek at what their lives might look like if this super couple only had to worry about collecting supplies and dealing with walkers.
While some of the moments at the abandoned school carnival are certainly dire, for the most part the adventure provides a narrative bubble the duo can live in for 48 hours, a relatively calm moment outside of the building storm with Negan that Rick is incredibly cognizant of wanting to savor. His plea of "Just a little more time" to Michonne, coercing her to stay out on the road with him, was both endearing and obviously ill-considered, like a horror character saying without irony, "I'll be right back." But she goes along with him to embrace the rare solitude, even though later on she ends up suffering emotionally when their secure situation turns almost deadly.
I, for one, appreciated seeing a smiling Michonne, eating dehydrated meals of "chili and mac & cheese -- together" with Rick over a camp stove, laughing when they fall through a saturated roof and even ribbing him over his crap idea to navigate the walker-infested yard. It's much-needed levity that is usually only served up by awkward Eugene or the vile "comedy" of Negan. You don't lean on Michonne and Rick for a laugh, so this one-off story reminded us who these characters can be without the weight of the world on their shoulders. Andy and Danai are great, as expected, in executing the lightness and then the heavy moments, like when Michonne truly believes Rick has been overtaken by walkers. Their heartfelt reaction to one another when he reveals his hiding location, and alive status, is both victorious and emotional.
There were some fun gags with walkers this week, including the corpulent walker chick who nauseatingly explodes her goo on Rosita, and the soldier walker so embedded in windshield glass that Rick can't get him out without ripping it into parts.
The return of Jaydis (Pollyanna McIntosh) was another comedic moment that worked even though it really screwed Rick and company. Their bickering negotiation over her demand for more guns in order to join the fight, and how many he can keep to gain those guns, was a sharp little scene. It provides a twofold outcome: Rick gets a few more days before the bloodshed gets real, and it also forces Tara to make a choice about revealing Oceanside to Rick.
On the other hand with the walkers, this episode is a prime example of how difficult it's gotten to take walker threats seriously. For the most part, Michonne and Rick made ridiculously easy work out of that carnival of walking death. At no point did I really believe either of them was going to bite it from any of the undead threats, even when they tried to sell another fake-out death with Rick's off-camera swap with the doomed deer. Yes, it was a moment that existed solely to coerce a reaction from Michonne so that they could talk about it later, but in general it's a problem when the title threat in a series -- the walking dead -- aren't as potent as they used to be. The show now leans on creative gags, like the Mad Max walker or tonight's quasi-comedic walkers, to mostly divert attention rather than really make us sweat. It's expected in a show that's seven years old, and one in which the most venial things have happened via human actions.
I guess it makes sense to give Judith something to do in the form of looking at Tara like she's lost her mind confessing anything to a toddler, but wouldn't that moment of uncertainty be more interesting if she confided it to another grownup who could actually make a cogent argument for or against outing Oceanside? Like instead of Rosita's tirade at Father Gabriel, maybe Tara could have talked to the padre? He's got a far more elevated level of thinking these days.
I'm not sure that Rick's preachy "It's not about us anymore" speech to Michonne worked. For a man still losing sleep about the loss of Glenn and the host of others under his watch, Rick sure came to that space of Zen acceptance in a flash. It was Michonne who as traumatized by his almost-death, but he's the one lecturing her that they're all expendable now and they all will go on without one another, if need be. Hmmmm.
"Oh S--t!" Moment
Rick's sweet, sort-of proposal to Michonne made me smile. His offer of re-ordering the world post Negan together -- if it's something she wants -- was genuinely vulnerable and romantic. Who knew the apocalypse's bravest man would get shy and tentative with asking his lady to long-haul it with him?
The suicide squad ending of angry Rosita and Sasha joining together for a two-woman raid on Negan's compound. Listen, Abe was a salty, manly guy, but I'm not sure I'm buying that these women are so willing to give up their lives for his memory. Lest we forget, Rosita was unceremoniously dumped by him. And while there was promise with Sasha and Abraham, isn't she committed to staying with Maggie and her unborn child? Rather than feeling like an organic storyline, this feels like real-world impacting the show narrative.The comment "They can't catch us alive" should have landed with more of a chilling vibe. Instead, I was left thinking, "Oh, this is how it will happen."
I appreciated the overall tonal departure of "Say Yes." Watching Andy and Danai get to play their characters in a different light was a breath of fresh air. Plot-wise, things moved along slowly but there was some forward momentum towards the end game. Like Rick, I'll savor the fact that this may be the least violent and sad the series will be as we move into the last four hours of the season.
What did you think of "Say Yes"? Did you like the lighter(ish) episode?