‘The Walking Dead’ Review: 7×08 – “Hearts Still Beating” [SPOILERS]

PopCultHQ’s Amanda continues her series of reviews for season seven of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Here’s a look at episode eight entitled, “Hearts Still Beating,” which was the 90-minute, mid-season finale.

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[SPOILERS AHEAD!!!]

In this week’s episode, Negan plays “house” by shaving his beard off and cooking spaghetti for the family. Rick and Aaron are still on their run and come across a houseboat with walkers in a body of water. My immediate reaction was, “Walkers can swim?” Does this mean there is a potential global outbreak? Hmmm. Is the walker epidemic not just contained to the United States? And will Kirkman ever tackle this topic?

Meanwhile, we see one of the members of the Kingdom trying to convince Morgan and Carol that they ought to help the fight against Negan. They both reject the idea; Morgan because of his pacifist attitude, and Carol because she wants to live in solace. However, it is important to remind the audience that both Carol and Morgan do NOT know about Glenn and Abraham’s deaths. It is quite possible that they will change their mind once they realize how sadistic Negan is.

Michonne and the Savior she held hostage drive towards the Sanctuary. Then Michonne realizes how outnumbered they are. The odds are against them.

We also see Daryl escaping The Sanctuary, finally. But not without taking Joey’s life.

Back at Alexandria, Spencer tries to woo Negan. He brings a bottle of liquor and they shoot a game of billiards. Spencer makes a case that Rick is unfit to be a leader and that he should be leading them himself. Pfft. The intensity rises and Alexandrians gather to watch the two shoot pool. Negan tells Spencer that he doesn’t have the guts, slices him open across the belly, and jokes, “Oh, there they are!

I think we all saw the death of Spencer coming (especially if you read the comics) but what follows felt a bit forced. Rosita witnessed the disembowelment of Spencer and shoots in Negan’s direction. Of course she misses and hits Lucille. In his anger, he orders a Savior, Arat, to kill one of the Alexandrians. She doesn’t choose Rosita, which seems like the obvious choice. She turns to shoot Olivia.

This kill didn’t jive well with me. Rosita was the likely one to die and for Arat to randomly shoot Olivia just left me cringing. I would have much rather have seen Rosita killed. Not because I dislike her in any way but her storyline has dried out. Plus, it would have made a much bigger impact for Rick and the group. Rick returns to see Spencer’s body on the floor and I’m sure he’s thanking Negan in his head. One less worry.

Anyhow, the episode ends with Rick and the gang at the Hilltop. There is a very touching reunion between Daryl and Rick. This moment had more of an impact than most of the moments in the past few episodes collectively.

While Negan does have a unique presence, this season has still wavered in interest for me. I know what lies around the corner for the characters so I hope the rest of the season draws me in. We’ll have to wait til February to find out.

POPCULTHQ’S TV RATING:

3 out of 5 Stars


Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 9 – “Rise Up
MID-SEASON PREMIERE

Don’t miss the Mid-Season Premiere of The Walking Dead, Sunday, February 12 at 9/8c.

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