The Walking Dead: 704 “Service” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
After the season premier, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”, we’ve had a rather steady couple of episodes that introduced important plot elements. In this week’s episode, “Service”, things finally got rolling again and we got to see what I’ve wanted to see since the end of the premiere episode.
We finally got round to witnessing the aftermath of Abraham and Glen’s death from the perspective of Rick and his group. And as predicted, things aren’t good. Rick is well and truly broken now, though still internally enraged by Negan. He has fully submitted to Negan and throughout this tense, and infuriating, episode Rick goes out of his way to ensure peace by basically becoming Negan’s bitch. The metaphor that Negan uses towards the end pretty much sums up this up.
It was also interesting seeing how the people of Alexandria were taking this new take-over, considering they didn’t have any kind of trouble before Rick arrived. Afterwards they have seen their leader die, their own people turn on one another, psychopaths enter their homes and kill their friends, hordes of zombies roam through their streets and now their town is under the control of a mad-man. We didn’t see much in the line of rebellion but I’m sure it will come, and it will certainly test a lot of friendships.
Rosita is certainly one that has been most affected by recent events as she tries desperately to keep guns in her possession in order to combat The Saviors. She certainly isn’t ready to bow down to Negan’s rule after what he did to Abraham. In many ways she’s continuing the good fight like he would’ve, the man who stared death in the face and still whipped out a wise-crack. It’s also interesting how Spencer is dealing with this, with him at first simply accepting things out of fear but upon confronting Rick about everything it quickly becomes apparent that Rosita is right, they need to fight.
Michonne was the person I was most worried for because it first seemed like she was going to revert back to her old ways, but luckily this didn’t happen. However, she was willing to put up a fight against Negan, something Rick is totally against now. We see her exit Alexandria and go off to practice how to use a scoped rifle to perhaps get a killing shot at Negan. Needless to say she has a better aim with a sword, and all I will say is “poor deer”. I actually thought she was going to do something upon her return but luckily Rick managed to persuade her to cooperate.
It felt a little out-of-the-blue when Rick brought up Shane, but it actually helped to set up the scene in which he used the fact that Judith isn’t his. It was a horrible moment to see Rick in such a broken state that he came to the realisation that his supposed best friend, the guy who cheated on his wife and ultimately tried to kill him, is the father of his second child. He used this message to inform Michonne of the deadly realisation that they have to confront, that Rick, his group, and the people of Alexandria have no choice but to cooperate or more people will suffer the same fate as Abraham and Glen.
The highlight for the episode, for me at least, was Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is clearly having a blast every time he is onscreen. For some strange reason I couldn’t help but smile whenever he was around, even when he was displaying his foul mouth and tasteless sense of humour. It’s not like I’ve forgotten about the terrible acts he has done, killing Abraham and Glen in a gruesome manner, playing evil mind games with Rick in order to break his will, and then torturing and humiliating Daryl. He is a true monster and yet he has become a villain I love to hate, but also find entertaining similar to The Joker from Batman.
It’s fair to say that if it wasn’t made perfectly clear before it was most certainly in this episode: Negan is in-charge. No question about that. “Service” was certainly all about showing that Rick’s day is over and now Negan is here Alexandria is under the mad-man’s sinister reign. The fact that Negan can just walk in whenever he pleases and then take whatever he wants, as he and his men wonder through Alexandria at their leisure, is a truly frightening concept and one that just makes you (along with our beloved survivors) uneasy.
We are shown a grim new world within The Walking Dead and I really don’t know how it can be turned around. Negan is unlike anything that Rick and the group have handled. His wrath is without mercy, his strength is without end, and his ruthless display and calm mannerisms, which are intercut with his unpredictability, make him a terrible force to be reckoned with. Negan’s worst trait is how he enjoys to toy with his victims, with Rick getting the brunt of this as Negan shows him his power through another terrifying light. It’s made worse by Rick being forced to carry around Lucille, the very weapon that butchered his friends, as well as being forced to make Alexandria obey Negan’s law.
Another horrible aspect of this episode was seeing what had become of Daryl after “The Cell”. Although it has only been a week since we started to witness the process of his torture it is clear that within that short time he has been truly broken beyond anything we have ever seen before. It’s a horrific sight seeing Daryl reduced to this obedient level where he doesn’t dare speak and is just a lap-dog for Negan’s enjoyment. We also continue to see Dwight progress towards being a truly bitter, and twisted foe as he showcased his evil nature by tormenting Rosita in many cruel ways. It’s at these moments you just want someone to kill him because he is truly crossing the line.
What made this episode even worse in terms of agony and torture was when Michonne, after telling Rick that she will attempt to see things Negan’s way in order to make things easier, stumbles across all of the mattresses that Negan and The Saviors had taken. It was at this point where you just felt broken. You had seen Negan in all his many forms of evil, and the worrying part is you know there is more to come. Seeing that The Saviors had simply burnt the possessions just showed what kind of people Rick is now dealing with.
They didn’t take the mattresses because they needed them, they just did it because they could and by burning them just meant that they have lost their humanity, lost their conscious and all that is left is just instinct. Instinct that makes them twisted souls that don’t understand the old ways of society. It’s going to be a desperate struggle ahead and I really can’t wait to see how Negan continues to test the waters and push Rick and his group over the edge to the point of true desperation.
“Service” was a great demonstration of what Negan can do and is developing into a truly memorable villain (one I will happily put in my Top 10). Rick and the group have been starved of supplies and have been pushed into the furthest corner without any sign of an escape plan. With characters reacting differently to this hellish new world, it’s going to be a bumpy ride watching things unfold. Friendships will be tested, mutiny is inevitable, and more lives will be lost down the road. If Rick doesn’t get his killer instinct back soon then there will be little hope left for the remaining survivors.