The Walking Dead: “Swear” Review
Bells are ringing for Tara.
Warning: This review for season 7’s sixth episode TWD contains plenty of spoilers.
“Oh, yeah, Tara. I remember her”.
That’s pretty much what I was thinking when this episode started and the camera focused on her. Then it got me thinking that The Walking Dead not only has too many characters now, but it has too many characters split up from the group. Six episodes in, and we’re STILL getting episodes dedicated to a couple of main characters. Now I can see why the ratings for the show are starting to drop. I’m beginning to think this entire first half of the season is going to be all set up, and when it returns from its hiatus, then maybe, maybe the story can advance. Maybe all of these broken up story lines will come together. Again, maybe. Man, being a cast member on this show must be a breeze. Seems like they get a lot of days off.
Well, whatever, this week was Tara’s big moment. Apparently she needed a whole episode – slightly extended by five minutes, at that – for us to catch up on her scavenger expedition with Heath. Remember Heath, played by Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins? Yes, I’ll say it upfront, I do think a full episode dedicated to Tara was unnecessary. Especially when there’s so much to build on with the fight against Negan and his Saviors versus the people of Alexandria. Oh, yeah, let’s not forget about Carol and Morgan posted at The Kingdom. Still, this was Alanna Masterson’s big episode to spread her acting wings. She does a pretty good job carrying the entire episode, but not enough to warrant a full episode. Tara hasn’t always felt like an essential character but she is likable enough to keep the ball rolling. Seeing her misadventures as she stumbled on a village near the ocean full of woman living off the land made for an entertaining episode. Tara’s blend of being frightened and chill is what makes her entertaining to watch.
At first, I was wondering why it was necessary to have the story flash forward to Tara in the village then flashback to her and Heath as they talked about killing the Saviors at the satellite outpost, then later worked their way back home. It seemed like the episode would have played out fine if it were in a linear fashion. Then once we see Tara find her way back on the bridge she fell off of separating her from Heath later in the episode, it seemed more fitting for the back and forth. Especially when creating the mystery of where Heath is and whether or not he abandoned her. Both bridge sequences were pretty good. Seeing a bunch of walkers emerge from a giant pile of sand was freaky. Then watching Tara cross the bridge full of walkers while her new friend Cyndie blasted walker heads with her rifle was a lot of fun. So there was enough suspense to keep me interested throughout the episode.
So where is Heath? I don’t know. Not sure if I entirely care neither. I like Corey Hawkins as an actor, and I don’t mind his character, but I’ve made it a point not to get too attached to Heath at all, being that Hawkins is set to star in the upcoming 24: Legacy next year. That doesn’t necessarily mean Heath will die, but it seems more likely as Hawkins’ windows of opportunity keep growing. The episode did have a sharp fake out by having the camera focused on a black figure with dreadlocks, only to have it be the walking corpse of a woman. So Heath is out there somewhere. May have been caught by the Saviors for all I know. At least we found out he actually tried to save Tara instead of bolting in her time of need.
The women of the community Tara found didn’t have the most exciting group of characters, but the backstory of the Saviors killing all of their men, including little boys, was incredibly tragic. You couldn’t blame them for killing strangers on sight. Cyndie (guest star Sydney Park) was the most interesting girl out of the bunch. I liked that she understood the danger of having Tara be there, but she didn’t feel killing her would do much good. She also liked the idea of her group joining the people of Alexandria to stand a better chance of survival. But she was shut down by her grandmother, the leader of the group. Cyndie was clearly the voice of reason no one wanted to listen to. Since she helped Tara escape the village, there’s a good chance we may never see her again because the repercussions of her actions will not go unpunished.
The killing of people has been discussed throughout the series. Some believe it’s a necessity to survive. Others – like Morgan – always believe there’s another way. It’s hard to decide whether killing actual people is best choice or not because both sides of the spectrum have produced dire results. Not killing a foe has led to good people dying, while killing some the Saviors at the satellite outpost has caused this conflict with Negan. So far, Tara has been okay with killing. She believes it’s produced good results. It makes sense for her because she’s been through a lot of rough times. Heath actually feels bad for killing, but he hasn’t seen what she has since he’s spent more time behind a gate in Alexandria. It’s always interesting to hear both sides of the argument and how it effects each person differently. Tara is under the impression that she has to kill, but later is told by Cyndie she has a choice not to. So now it’s interesting to see if she’ll continue to kill others or find an alternative. Like the rest of her group though, she has plenty of reason to seek revenge after finding out about the group’s torment and loses caused by Negan. She also learned about her girlfriend Denise’s death caused by the Saviors. Yet, she still wasn’t willing to tell Rosita about all the guns the all female village had, even when Rosita explained how important it was to fight back against Negan and his men. Tara might be disillusioned after her experiences away from her group, so it will be interesting to see what her next move is.
The broken up story structure of this season has been underwhelming, but I’m a patient guy. I’m sure it’s going to get better. I mean, it’s not like any of these episodes have actually been bad. They just come off as underwhelming considering we wait all week for them. That’s unless of course you choose to binge watch the season when it’s over. I can’t wait that long. Besides, if I waited, the whole damn season would be spoiled. All I’m saying is, I really want things to move along.
“The Cell” felt like a filler episode, something I’m not used to with The Walking Dead. Most of the time, each episode feels meaningful and necessary. Although I’m sure there has been past episodes that were filler, this one just stood out as something that didn’t need to take place. Tara doesn’t seem like anyone’s go-to character. It seems like we should have caught up with Tara long ago in a series of cutaway scenes, not a full episode. The episode didn’t feel like it accomplished anything significant. It may have set up a conflict with the village ladies, but I doubt we’ll hear about them again too soon since Tara is trying to keep them a secret like she swore she would. However, the secret might come out eventually while Tara is under pressure somehow. Perhaps Rosita will keep pressing on her for more information. Suspenseful sequences and fine acting aside, the episode was pretty average. It had enough going for it to be a good watch, in a season that already feels too drawn out, the pace wasn’t helped much with this one.