REVIEW: The Walking Dead 709 – “Rock in the Road”

To my surprise, there was a new episode of The Walking Dead last night. It’s almost as if it’s getting easier to forget it’s on.


The show wastes no time picking up from the moment the last half of the season ended. Then, all forward momentum grinds to a halt. The first ten or so minutes are such a treacherous bore that it’s hard to believe I once enjoyed watching this show.

Daryl can speak again, seemingly gaining so much context of the current state of affairs with Gregory in the limited time he’s been back with Rick and the gang. We’re treated to an introduction of more cannon fodder (aka extras) from the Hilltop and I’m supposed to feel encouraged by their mere presence.

After a six episode hiatus, we get another glimpse at Ezekiel’s fake-ass tiger (with plenty of “above the tiger” camera angles to follow; gotta save money). Everything starts to feel ridiculously hokey — and not in a good way. It’s not fun or engaging. It’s literal torture to anyone who ever loved this show. Even as a fan of this bit of the arc in the comics, the snail’s pace storytelling plods along. The show reminds us that there are groups outside of Rick’s who are managing just fine. This serves a reminder that, for everything that’s ever went wrong in the context of the show is thanks to Rick; It feels like it’s just a matter of time before he inflicts his own brand of poison into an otherwise happy, self-serving community. The Walking Dead can only regurgitate the same themes for so long.

Remember how I mentioned that the show must have a “walker quota” each episode/season? This episode in particular further encourages my theory. There was absolutely no reason at all for the “walker set piece” moment where Rick and Michonne drive two cars parallel — connected by a steel cable — into a herd of walkers, slashing them in half. It’s borderline comical. It looked like something that’d be far more comfortable on a show like Z-Nation or something in Dead Rising.

Overall, this episode is a bigger waste of time than the eight episodes that preceded it. It’s indicative of more fluff and waiting until we get any sort of resolve or true plot development. The stakes don’t seem high anymore since the group has all this time to play with booby traps and reenact scenes from Lollipop Chainsaw.

So many plots are developed in a half-assed fashion. There are so many wheels spinning, and they’re all heading in different directions. Characters go off on Gimple-style tangents, slowing the episode further in favor of backstory. Isn’t it time we look forward? Any feeling of cohesion has been lost. With only an audio cameo from the show’s current lifeblood (Negan, for those keeping score), this episode feels far removed from that arc entirely. Judging from the episode’s end, we’re nowhere close to any sort of resolution with Negan.

Gear up for more filler, kiddos. This is just another rock in the road.



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