The Walking Dead: 706 “Swear” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
I’m just going to come out and say it, “Stop it with all the goddamn fillers already!” I am really sick, and tired, of getting excited every week only to be deflated by another meaningless side-trip when all I want is to see the action.
There’s a really cool story-arc happening at the minute, something that was built-up throughout most of Season 6, and yet Season 7 wants to do everything but concentrate on it, leaving us teases here and there and making us wait for the good stuff to happen. And in the meantime, a crappy narrative about Tara. Hurray, you’re too kind!
I don’t know whether it was the narrative’s intention or not, but Tara was pretty damn useless this week. The amount of times I was literally sighing, and questioning her actions in my head was unbearable. From releasing the Walkers on the bridge after being careless with her curiosity, to making lies that the Oceanside people could easily figure out, to then suddenly trying to escape when she had no reason to. And don’t get me started on the amount of times she used the word “cool”. Why was she acting all “cool” and hip throughout? It made her look like a prat and completely disregard the fact she is standing within a Zombie apocalypse.
The annoying thing about this episode was the fact that it actually started to have some interesting story building. At first I could’ve screamed out with rage knowing full well we were yet again diverting from the main plot but then upon seeing the Oceanside camp I grew intrigued. Things started getting interesting when we delved into this settlement of women and of course the concept of them and Alexandria being brought together.
This plot-point made me think, “Oh, it isn’t a mindless filler because Tara is going to be a device to bring the Oceanside community into the main story, whilst also discovering in the harshest way that Alexandria isn’t the same as she left it”. It would’ve been a more interesting way of Tara coming back into the fold as she prepares to show the people of Oceanside her community only to discover that it’s now under the control of Negan. I was actually really looking forward to Oceanside’s response to this notion.
But no, Tara attempts to escape these people after they had both agreed on a deal for both of their communities to come together. I don’t know whether I missed something but I saw no reason why Tara did this. There was no change in their body language, no indication that the people of Oceanside had secretly decided to off Tara after tricking her with the so-called deal, or that the characters escorting Tara had it in for her.
The only thing that came out of this painful escape sequence – which continued to show how much of an idiot Tara was being – was the reveal that the Saviors had killed all the men within the Oceanside group and that is why they fled to their current location and act the way that they do (which is honestly understandable, especially when it further shows how cruel and powerful the Saviors are). But honestly, did we need this further tease when we know by now what they can do. We’ve seen it for ourselves. All I want now is to see their story-arc taken somewhere.
Then of course you have Heath who added very little to the plot (especially since he wasn’t in it that much). He was mostly there to inflict upon Tara that they had become sh**ty people who are willing to do anything to keep themselves alive, voicing that they aren’t a community anymore but hungry individual survivors. With this in mind it made us wonder whether or not Heath had abandoned Tara on the bridge, to which would’ve served her right considering what happened was her fault and she is a dreadful survivor. And at the end we still don’t know where Heath got to and I bet we’ll have to sidetrack again in the near future to concentrate on what happened to him.
If it wasn’t Heath’s message it was Cyndie trying to be a voice of reason by not wanting to kill everyone, believing that nobody is truly evil. That is the biggest bull I have ever heard. She clearly hasn’t met Negan then, a man so ruthless, and absent of emotion, that he willingly strikes down other survivors with a barbed-wire covered baseball bat and then takes pictures so his group can revel in the joy of his perfect kill. It’s characters like her that I wish just shut their mouths or die, either or. They’re the kind of characters that get other characters killed because of their backwards way of thinking. Thank God that Tara straight up told her that she didn’t believe in her nonsense.
Honestly, Season 7 just doesn’t seem to be going anywhereand it’s when this happens I start to lose interest in The Walking Dead. Season 2, the second half of Season 4, and the first half of Season 5 are prime examples within the show where we’ve had some interesting concepts, or ideas, placed before us but either nothing is done with them, or it’s dragged out with pointless fillers or is simply not focusing on the right things. That’s what Season 7 is right now and I really, really, hope it starts turning itself around because I didn’t wait all summer with suspense to be treated to one phenomenal episode only to be met with a slow-burning narrative that doesn’t know where it wants to focus.
Maybe that’s the other problem at the moment: too much going on. After the first episode this season showed us where the series would be heading, but then the show changed its mind and threw us in the other direction by introducing the Kingdom. Okay, that’s fine but can we first deal with the matter at hand. Then we are shown Daryl’s torture. Okay, that’s also kind of fine, but can it wait? Then we get back on track only to be followed with another episode that pulls us away from the story. Though in “Go Getters” defence, that diversion was necessary. And now we’re here with yet another diversion which could’ve been dealt with much more carefully.
You could’ve had a quick section at the beginning showing Tara and Heath failing to scavenge and then returned to Alexandria to be met with the terrors of what has gone on while they were away. Simple right? I know that the point of this episode was to introduce the Oceanside community but it could’ve been done better instead of wasting my time and now lack of patience.
I know not every week can be an outstanding episode but I do ask for some kind of quality, or at least an interesting plot, or some kind of continuation of the main narrative. I guess this is the major problem of having to wait a week for a continuing series, you’re expectation rises too high which ultimately leads to easy disappointment. It’s easier to watch a series when you binge-watch because the filler episodes feel to have more meaning, and considering you automatically watch the good episode afterwards all is usually forgiven.
But like I’ve said multiple times above, this season needs to pick a direction and then stick to that direction. All this bouncing around is becoming tiresome now and all I want now is for the series to just stick with the plot it has nicely set up for over a season now. Let me concentrate on the Saviors and the ramification they now have on our characters. And this episode is even more sinful when you consider last week ended us on a drooling cliff-hanger of Jesus and Carl hiding towards the Sanctuary!