‘Walking Dead’ Review: ‘Bury Me Here’ With Season 7’s Most Obvious Death
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Bury Me Here”:
I have trouble imagining what The Walking Dead would look like with an actual “All Out War” in place. The series has never dealt with warring factions for more than a few episodes (and even then, Season 3 pushed a final showdown with the Governor to mid-Season 4), and it’s worth wondering when beyond “Bury Me Here” the series might shift into a more centralized conflict, rather than spend one episode at a time on the various communities. Last week’s “Say Yes” offered an oddly lighthearted side-quest for Rick and Michonne, but “Bury Me Here” seems finally to be tipping some of the dominoes Season 7 has been setting up.
That is to say, of course Carol, Morgan and the Kingdom at large would eventually find reason to pick up the fight, and of course a sacrificial lamb for the slaughter like Benjamin would be the one to galvanize it all. Like Rick, we know these characters’ unwillingness to fight has only one inevitable outcome, even if Carol’s disgust for having killed for so long seemed more dramatically ripe than Morgan adopting an “all life is precious” code. If anything, “Bury Me Here” seems to find that dramatic value in reverse; as Carol finally learning about Abraham and Glenn felt unnaturally drawn out an additional two episodes, while the apparent return of Morgan’s “Clear” psychosis after Benjamin’s death offers a much more interesting wrinkle to play with going forward.
The biggest sin “Bury Me Here” commits is just how horribly telegraphed both Benjamin and Richard’s deaths have felt all season. Daryl made a huge mistake in leaving Richard behind at the Kingdom after his plot to kill Carol, and while I appreciate that Richard had moved on to self-sacrifice rather than harming anyone else, the character was inevitably going to suffer for his attempts at betrayal. The same goes for Richard warning Morgan that he’d eventually need to kill someone again; almost daring him to do it on the spot.
Benjamin also felt like a blinking “KILL ME” light in every scene to date, as The Walking Dead has little choice but to build up minor characters as cannon fodder, rather than take out any series regulars without due process. The painting gifted to Morgan might has well have been a portrait of his retirement boat, the Live-4-Ever. If anything, the more endearing surprise is that Savior leader Gavin doesn’t relish having to harm anyone in carrying out these offerings*, continually offering shades of nuance to any Savior not leaning backward with barbed-wire bat in hand.
*Did they … did they need an entire truck for the apparent “offering” of twelve cantaloupes? Let alone one, the next day? How often are these exchanges, that both groups mount such an elaborate production over a small luncheon’s worth of produce?
No sign of any other communities this week, but presumably we still have to see Rick winning over the Oceanside crew, or Daryl and Maggie rallying the Hilltop before any real meetings or action take place. Still, Carol’s done with her loner phase! Crazy Morgan’s back! Weevils are now a more urgent threat than the undead! Oh, that Walking Dead’s building to some stuff.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- This week in dramatic, cantaloupe-related scenework: denizens of The Kingdom mournfully load a single piece of fruit onto a truck! Morgan’s post-Benjamin rage spiral builds from near wrist-slitting to dramatically kicking a plastic tub!
- Presumably just offscreen after stick practice, Benjamin and his brother worked on their machete handling.
- There’s something very odd about the fact that The Walking Dead can mount a convincing CG tiger, but not a deer.
- Richard had enough cardboard for a “BURY ME HERE” sign, but otherwise felt the need for a giant shopping cart arrow that no one would see from above.
- Incidentally, what made Richard think Ezekiel and the others would connect the “BURY ME HERE” sign to his planned death at the meeting, rather than just take the body back to The Kingdom?
- We better get to see Jerry taking some names with that battle axe, is all I’m saying.
- As Morgan listened to Richard’s confession, I wonder if Lennie James actually stood there the entire time, or if editors simply looped that stink-eye shot repeatedly.
- I like the symbolism of Morgan sharpening one end of his stick into a point, but was the final shot meant to imply Morgan was hearing voices?
The Walking Dead Season 7 will return Sunday, March 17 with “The Other Side,” airing at 9:00 P.M. on AMC.
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