The Walking Dead Power Rankings 7.12: “Say Yes”

In another prime example of how to draw things out, “Say Yes” gave us an entire episode that centered exclusively on Rick and Michonne’s scavenging Adventureland. While Rosita only found a play gun, Rick and Michonne were busy playing find guns, and in the end they didn’t swipe enough for the Garbage People anyway.

It seems we’ve fallen back into the hole of long-winded episodes that feature heavily on a particular storyline, giving us tons of filler and leaving us wondering why each of the last few episodes couldn’t have simply been a quick C or D storyline in an episode with some actual substance. I feel like someone could edit this entire season into one two-hour movie without leaving out anything important. And, after all, isn’t six seasons and a movie the ultimate goal?

Walking Tall

From displays of dominance to faction elimination, a look at which characters saw their prospects rise this week.

Joe Brosnan: Unnecessary Story Filler

Rick: "Didn’t you say we shouldn’t be on the roof too long?" Michonne: "Duh. That was foreshadowing. It’s called good writing." Together: "Hahahaha"

We all knew it had to happen eventually. The three pillars of TWD are zombies, Rick Grimes, and filler episodes, and this episode made it clear it intended to check all three of those boxes at once. I will say, if I’m going to be force-fed filler, I am at least appreciative of it including Rick. With Glenn gone, he’s pretty much the only character left in my top tier.

Ever since Tara spent a relaxing weekend on the sun-drenched beaches of Fish Town and caught a glimpse of the Fish Armory, we knew that we hadn’t seen the last of the Fish Ladies. So when the Garbage People demanded guns, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time until Tara told Rick about her new Fish Friends.

This should have been the episode that saw us reunite with the Fish Ladies, but instead we were given Date Night at the Carnival, featuring appearances by Army and Sneaky Butt Grabs. And, in what should serve to surprise absolutely no one, the guns Rick and Michonne gathered were not enough for the Garbage People, so we’re still going to have to reunite with the Fish Ladies after all. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Filler 101.

Adam Wagner: Little Rick

This week’s riser has to go to “Little Rick.” There was a party in Rick’s pants this episode, and we all were invited. In what was essentially a weird zombie remake of Natural Born Killers—driving across the city, killing anything in their way, robbing and looting to their hearts’ content, and getting off on the twisted adventure of it all—Little Rick came out to play in more ways than one. 

All I’m saying is that it was probably a smart decision to go with the crotch cropped shot as Rick negotiated with Discount Milla Jovovich, Leader of the Garbage People about the guns. Otherwise, Big Rick might not be the only officer at attention onscreen…

Pritpaul Bains: MREs

“Chili… and mac 'n cheese… together.” Military meals—the greatest aphrodisiac known to man. Meals Ready-to-Eat haven't received this much good press since Vin Diesel force-fed them to children in The Pacifier.
 

Eaten Alive

From poor decisions to lost lives, a look at which characters lost ground this week.

PB: Rosita

Why are you so miserable and useless every single week? Rosita's pretty much a complete waste of space at this point. She's doubling down and literally making the exact same mistake she made a few episodes ago, this time dragging Sasha along for the fallout, to boot. Rosita has devolved into a bitter, blithering idiot whose failures have taught her absolutely nothing.

This is all in addition to her attempting to pin her idiocy on Gabriel, roping Sasha into her vortex of stupidity, and then planning to leave the rest of Alexandria to clean up her mess. I really hope Rosita bites it sooner than later, because let's face it, that's ultimately where all this is leading.

JB: The Deer

D’oe!

You know how at least once a season our group runs into a random person who can barely figure out which way to hold a gun? And it instantly sparks the question of how did that person survive so long in the zombie apocalypse? I’d like to ask the same question to that dumbass deer. Not only did you saunter past a woman who was so prepared to eat you that she had a fire going, but then later on you felt like the best place to graze was in the middle of a carnival overrun by zombies. I’d like to say you deserved better, deer, but you really walked right into this one.

AW: Rick

This week’s faller is Rick. He literally fell.
 

Hershel’s Heroes

A tribute to the late, great Hershel Greene, this section searches for the best displays of humanity amidst chaos this week.

AW: Tara

Fish Face Tara to be the President of Fish Town confirmed.

Though she has absolutely no loyalty to the Fish People or any obligation to keep their secret, it’s nice to see that Tara weighs the decision carefully. She doesn’t want to implicate Cyndie (the not-scary young girl of Fish Town) or hurt a community that simply wants to survive.

But, in the end, she knows their strength and supplies—as well as their desire for vengeance against the Saviors for murdering their people—are too important not to at least pay them a visit. After all, they did try to have her killed. Plus, with the “reordering of the world” proposed by Michonne, maybe Fish Face Tara could rule all of Fish Town.

PB: Rick

“You can lose me. I can lose you. We can lose our friends. People we love. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about a future. And if it’s me who doesn’t make it, you’re gonna have to lead the others forward. Because you’re the one who can.” Rick's heart-to-heart with Michonne was touching (I kept waiting for My Heart Will Go On to spin up), but frankly, I really can't buy Michonne needing it or being paralyzed into inaction by Rick's fake-death in the first place. While the sentiment behind this scene was nice, it felt so out of step with who Michonne is as a character that it was jarring to watch. At least Rick's mind is in the right place.

JB: The Saviors Go Golfing

If you’re keeping score at home, you’ll remember that one of my favorite television shows of all time is Lost. So when we saw those two Saviors taking a break from their dreary days to whack a few golf balls, I was instantly transported back to Lost when Hurley built that golf course as means to forget, even for a fleeting moment, the dangers of living on an island with polar bears and smoke monsters. Substitute polar bears for zombies and smoke monsters for Rick Grimes, and you have the Saviors doing the exact same thing—blowing off some steam. More humanistic moments, please!
 

Rapid Fire

  • This week's setting echoed heavily of the Dark Carnival level in Left 4 Dead 2. (PB)
  • Zombieland did the carnival/theme-park zombie scene—in Georgia, no less—better. (AW)
  • Anyone else flash back to Ash and his chainsaw in Evil Dead when Rick tossed Michonne her sword? (PB)

  • Why would you take the guns but leave the helmets and armor? C’mon, Rick! (JB)
  • Why was there such a military presence at a carnival? (AW)
  • I’m guessing whoever is responsible for CGI-ing Shiva wasn’t also assigned the deer? (JB)
  • Michonne's shadowscreen walker kills were a nice Kill Bill Vol. 1 homage. (PB)
  • Holy shit, was that Judith? She definitely has Carl’s hair. (JB)
  • Did Judith get Changeling-ed? She looks nothing like Rick, Shane, or Lori. (PB)
  • Now that’s why we watch TWD, to see fringe-character Tara talking to newly recast Judith. (JB)
  • “Anything is possible until your heart stops beating.” Father Gabriel sounding like he’s writing lyrics for an early-2000s screamo band. (AW)
  • I’m sorry it took me so long (“Say Yes,” “Say Yes,” “Say Yes,” “Say Yes”). (AW)
  • Remember how the writers were unsure of how to use Andrea, so they gradually made her more and more unbearable before killing her? Pretty sure that’s what they’re doing to Rosita. (JB)
  • That group of golfing Saviors is better off in the next world where they'll never have to hear a word about Fat Joey again. (PB)
  • Language, Tara! You're speaking to a child! (AW)

Zombie Kill of the Week

Ten-chinned walker. Not for the kill, but for the makeup this time. Wowza.

See also: The Walking Dead Power Rankings 7.11: “Hostiles and Calamities”

 


Joe BrosnanAdam Wagner, and Pritpaul Bains all write for Criminal Element and love Spaghetti Tuesdays. Follow them on Twitter @joebro33@shagner904, and @pritpaulbains, respectively.

Comments

  1. susan beamon

    Keep reading this column and keep getting the complaint of how things are being “drawn out” and move so slowly. Have I got a book for you to read: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. It is full of nothing drawn out or moving slow. I call it all tell and no show. TWD is giving us lots of show, so we can put ourselves into the story and imagine how we might do there. I don’t know what you could watch if you want a program without “filler”. Good storytelling requires lots of “filler”. You can’t get a feel of the environment or understanding of the characters without that filler. Anyway, zombie stories are not about zombies.

  2. Adam Wagner

    @susanbeamon: I’d have to disagree that good storytelling requires lots of filler. Sure, some good stories have filler, but it’s surely not required.

    I’m not claiming that everything that doesn’t involve killing zombies or fighting rival groups is filler–but these episodes that follow one storyline (often focusing solely on a fringe character) for an hour seem overkill. Each episode could have been a separate storyline all combined into one episode without losing any of the substance.

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