‘The Walking Dead’ 7.05 Recap: “That’s a Solid Kneel”

As ‘The Walking Dead’ makes its rounds checking in with one group of characters at a time, this week brings us back to the Hilltop to reassure us that, yes, Maggie has survived. It’s not all bad news during the apocalypse. In fact, Carl even goes on his first date!

Maggie wakes up in a bed with a man named Dr. Carson hovering over her. He tells her that she’s going to be fine and so is her baby, though he advises her that it would be best if she stayed at the Hilltop for the duration of her pregnancy so that he can treat her if she has further complications. Sasha shows Maggie that she dug graves for both Glenn and Abraham – which makes me question how she got the bodies there. Did she drag both corpses behind them when they walked? In any case, Sasha also gives Maggie the pocket watch she found in Glenn’s clothes. Maggie of course recognizes it as the watch her father gave Glenn. She leaves it on the grave site to mark it.

Sasha says that she intends to stay at the Hilltop with Maggie. However, the community’s dickhead leader, Gregory (Xander Berkeley), wants them to leave immediately. He doesn’t care what the doctor said. He fears that if the Saviors see them, they’ll know that the Hilltop colluded with Alexandria. When Jesus steps in and tries to talk some sense and compassion into him, Gregory threatens to kick him out too. He agrees to let them stay through the night, but he wants them out by morning.

That night, Maggie and Sasha are woken by the sound of loud music playing. Someone left a car parked in the middle of the Hilltop courtyard with its stereo blaring at full volume, and also left the gate open so that the noise will attract zombies to come in. Presumably, the Saviors are responsible, though the episode never explains how they got the gate open or the car inside.

When seemingly everyone from the Hilltop is paralyzed by fear and confusion, Sasha springs into action to try to stop the music from playing. Unfortunately, she finds that the car (an old AMC Gremlin) is not only locked, it’s been armored with steel cages welded over all the windows. She can’t get it open. Zombies swarm around her and she has to fight them off with just a knife. Maggie signals to Jesus, who leaps to assist Sasha with some sweet kung-fu moves.

As those two slowly take out a handful of zombies, Maggie saves the day by hopping in a big-ass tractor and crushing the Gremlin under its massive wheels. The music stops, and others are able to get the gate closed.

Gregory is thankful to Maggie and Sasha for saving his community, but not thankful enough to let them stay. He offers them a jar of fruit preserves for the road and tells them to get the hell out before the Saviors show up. Sadly, he’s too late. A bunch of trucks arrive demanding to be let in the gate. Gregory orders Jesus to hide the girls in a closet.

Because Rick and company wiped out the Saviors that usually harass the Hilltop, the ones who show up today are a new group led by Simon (Steven Ogg), one of Negan’s top lieutenants. He struts in, swinging his dick around as if he were Negan. The stunt with the car overnight was apparently a demonstration to show who’s in charge. Gregory plays dumb when Simon tells him that the other group of Saviors were killed, and insists that he’s a team player. Simon does a good job of intimidating him, enough so that Gregory wilts like a flower in his presence and attempts to give up Sasha and Maggie. He leads Simon to the closet where he believes they’re hiding, only to open it and find that Jesus moved his entire stash of Scotch in there. It’s first thing in the morning and Gregory is already a couple sheets to the wind, so the prospect of giving up all of his booze is particularly disheartening to him. Simon says that he hates Scotch, but he knows that Negan loves it, and he’s very pleased that he’ll be able to bring it back as a gift. He has one of his men take the box and load it onto the “Negan truck.” Before leaving, Simon puts on a show of making Gregory kneel before him in front of everyone.

As the Saviors pack up their trucks, Jesus puts his foot down and insists that Maggie and Sasha must be allowed to stay. If Gregory tries to throw them out again, Jesus will rat him out to the Saviors regarding his dealings with Alexandria. Maggie also decks Gregory for stealing Glenn’s watch from the grave. When Gregory and Maggie both leave the room, Sasha asks Jesus if he can find out where Negan lives. She tells him to keep this a secret, even from Maggie.

Couples Skate

At Alexandria, Rick prepares to go on a supply run and to scavenge for things to offer the Saviors. Michonne declines to go with him, saying that she has something else she needs to do. Carl also refuses. He seems pretty upset with his father for giving in to Negan. (Also, notably, Carl is playing darts when talking to his father and misses the board entirely every throw. I expect that this is foreshadowing and his lack of depth perception or aim will be a critical failing later on.)

Carl spots Enid in the process of sneaking out over the wall again. She says that she’s going to the Hilltop to check on Maggie. She takes off on a bike, leaving Carl behind. However, when she later gets surrounded by zombies, Carl shows up in a car and runs a bunch of the zombies down, crashing in the process. (Carl is about as good a driver as his mother was.)

The two of them hike down the road, talking about how much they hate Negan. Carl stops when he finds a suitcase on the side of the road. Inside are two pairs of rollerskates. Carl is excited. The kids skate for a while, holding hands. It’s a sweet moment, but the whole time all I could think about was how impractical and foolish it was. What if they got attacked by zombies and didn’t have a clear path to skate away, or had to run off the road into the woods? How long would it take them to stop and take off the skates?

Fortunately, no more zombies are out today. The kids approach the Hilltop in time to see Simon and the Saviors packing up. Carl is disappointed that Negan isn’t present. He hoped that he’d get a chance to kill him. Enid kisses Carl (his first kiss, I assume) and asks him to come with her into the Hilltop, but he says that he needs to go back to Alexandria.

After it’s safe to come outdoors, Maggie finds Enid sitting at Glenn’s grave. She hugs the girl and passes Glenn’s watch on to her.

The last we see of Sasha, she’s smoking a cigar she had found in Abraham’s pocket and is sharpening a knife will ill intent in mind.

The episode ends with Jesus sneaking onto the back of the Savior truck designated for Negan’s swag. He opens a bottle of the Scotch and begins dumping it out onto the road when, suddenly, Carl reveals himself. He’s also searching for Negan.

Episode Verdict

Nothing good can come from Carl’s half-assed revenge plan. That’s going to end very badly for him. I don’t need to have read any of the comic books to figure that out.

Farm girl Maggie saving the Hilltop with her tractor driving skills is of course a triumphant moment meant to show that she’s going to be all right, even without Glenn. The message is perhaps a little heavy-handed, but Maggie is an endearing character and it’s nice to know that she’ll pull through.

Beyond that, the episode doesn’t really have much going on. I feel like, following the traumatic premiere, this season has mostly just been spinning its wheels ever since. If the show is building up to some sort of new confrontation, I wish it would do so with a little more urgency.

10 comments

  1. cardpetree

    I still haven’t watched last weeks Episode (Episode Three). I’m at the point with this show where I look at the Episodes I have on my DVR and I just don’t care about watching it. I had to force myself to watch Episode Two and I was bored out of my mind. I read your recap last week for Episode Three and I think that’s going to be good enough. Shows like Westworld, GoT, Better Call Saul and Halt and Catch Fire have spoiled me. The quality of those shows is just on a completely superior level compared to The Walking Dead. I might be done with this show completely.

  2. Guy

    I liked this episode quite a bit on its own merits. Maggie is one of my favorite characters on the show. Jesus is one of the most intriguing new faces to come along in recent seasons. I’m very much up for seeing walkers get ninja-kicked. This was an episode meant for me. It’s the story I wanted to see the week after the premiere. Still, we’re five episodes into the season, three have been detour entries and the two main group-centric episodes have been a tad indulgent in gimmickry and pace. Along this meandering path, the timeline and logistics are getting muddled for me. To allow episodes three and four to have taken place before this one, either Maggie was unconscious and hidden from Gregory for a long time or Sasha’s route to the Hilltop took absolutely forever. Am I missing something there? Surely I am.

    It’s becoming insanely obvious that the creative staff is never going to have enough non-filler material to produce the number of episodes AMC wants whilst avoiding burning through source material too quickly. The back half of season four devolved into a bunch of separate journeys towards Terminus. After a rollicking first episode, the front half of season five was an aimless, divided affair split between the church, the road to Washington and Atlanta. Last year, despite me finding both situations infinitely more compelling, it was still more than half a season dealing with the herd/Wolves from various perspectives and then the build up to a Negan reveal that was left incomplete. Season 6, cliffhanger frustration aside, felt like a Gimple-era corner being turned when it comes to seasonal pacing, but now it seems like they’re back to stalling for half a season again.

      • Guy

        That’s how I’d have taken this episode if not for Carl and Enid being involved. That prevents it from being concurrent. Allowing for time being a hard thing to keep track of in his cell, the Daryl episode still seemed to take place over a few days. In the 90-minute episode, when Negan shows up in Alexandria, it had not been the full week they were promised (Rick comments on that), but Daryl is in a very dirty version of his prisoner sweatsuit when he’s brought along on that trip. Those episodes come across sequential and seem to push us 4-6 days after the premiere.

        Using that timeline, Carl arrives at Hilltop to jump in the Negan truck the day after Maggie wakes up, so that puts the end of this episode 5-7 days after the Lucille encounter. That’s where the missing Maggie/Sasha time comes in. Oblivious as Gregory is, I guess it is possible for him to not notice them being there, but that seems like a long time for Maggie to be unconscious.

  3. Al

    Josh,

    A couple of things:

    First, Sasha hadn’t left the pocket watch on Glenn’s grave. It was in her pocket. She pulled it out, and handed it to Maggie, telling her that it was in Glenn’s pocket.

    Second, the episode does explain how the car got placed into the middle of the courtyard, how the gate was opened, and why it was left open. The Saviors broke the gate, drove the car in, and set the fires. The Hilltop community had to fix the broken gate. This was discussed, at length.

    Perhaps you were drowsy/dozing off, while watching this episode? 😉

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I’ve edited the part about the watch. The other thing, honestly, I don’t remember at all. When was that discussed?

      Even if we go with the simple explanation that the Saviors broke the gate, did the Hilltop have noobody guarding the fence at night? Maggie and Sasha seemed to be the first ones woken up by the music and to notice the gate open. Why didn’t anyone hear the crash before the music? For that matter, how weak must that gate be for a freakin’ Gremlin to bust through it?

      • Al

        I’ll definitely concede all of those points. The subplot was poorly executed. There’s no doubt about that.

        Jesus and Gregory discussed repairing the broken gate, during their conversation in which allowing Maggie and Sasha to stay was discussed, the morning after the car incident. Gregory asks Jesus if he wants to be in charge of getting the gate repaired, and if he wants to be responsible for all of the people that live there.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          I vaguely remember that scene, but all I took away from it was Jesus not wanting to be in charge. I was probably scribbling notes about the previous scene and not paying close enough attention to what was being said.

  4. Kraig McGann

    I am perplexed why People are reading and posting about a show they don’t care about watching anymore. I think this Season is being purposely tough on the characters and the viewers. It may not go on to be my favorite season of the show, but I am not going anywhere and appreciate Mr. Zyber’s Recaps and Verdicts.

  5. Charles M

    I have to admit that the show is starting to wear out for me. I don’t think it’s bad like some people. At least not to the extent season 3 was. But I think the show has hit it’s limit with what it can do dramatically I think.

    I certainly think it was a mistake to hold off Glenn’s and Abraham’s death to this season. Maybe they were worried the show would be too slow?

    Also, I actually was happy when Spencer called Rick out. And this episode further cements my feeling that the show is a little hypocritical with Rick’s group. I mean, Gregory had a point, but he’s the bad guy. So much so that I kind of hated Maggie and Sasha. They just came across as being incredibly selfish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.