The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 8 ‘Hearts Still Beating’ Review: Time to Fight Back!

The previous episodes of The Walking Dead followed different characters as they try to deal with the tyranny of the Saviors. Some of the characters are looking for ways to fight back, but with Rick rolling around like a dog under Negan’s commands, they can’t seem to push through with it. As we go into the mid-season finale, the group’s decision to fight is still up in the air, but that is all about to change.

The mid-season finale episodes of The Walking Dead seemed to have a tradition of killing big to semi-important characters. In season 2, Sophia walked out of a barn as a walker and had to be gunned down. In season 3, Oscar, one of the inmates they met at the prison died after being shot at Woodbury. In season 4, the Governor was stabbed by the same sword he used to chop off Herschel’s head. In season 5, Beth was shot in the head by Dawn whom she tried to stab with a pair of scissors. And in the previous season, we watched Deanna slowly succumb to her walker bite.

Following The Walking Dead mid-season finale tradition, who will meet their demise in “Hearts Still Beating”? Will these deaths finally make Rick change his mind about serving the Saviors or will they only destroy him even more?

Also, this episode focuses on all of the standing communities in the Zombie Apocalypse, so we’re definitely getting a glimpse of all of our beloved characters.

Richard’s Plea

Carol and Morgan were barely on the first half of the season, and while they are still not too involved by the main storyline of Rick and co.’s war with the saviors, there is still something brewing at The Kingdom that will immediately get them into war mode.

One of the scenes shows Morgan visiting Carol to bring her some food. Carol, being Carol, wants him to go immediately after a brief talk, but Richard also shows up with more supplies for Carol. Richard reveals that he wants to go after the Saviors, and by doing so, he wants Carol and Morgan to help him convince Ezekiel about his plans. Of course, Carol still doesn’t want to be involved, which is apparently because she doesn’t want to kill anymore, which is seemingly because of Morgan’s pacifist ways.

Carol’s decision to not get involved may be justified by the fact that they barely got away when they were taken hostage by Paula’s group. However, after everything that she’s done, and everything that she’s been through, I feel like she has fully turned her back on her group. This is obviously more than just about leaving the group to not kill, this is about the state of mind that she is currently in right now. This side of Carol will hopefully, sooner or later, learn how to balance killing and preserving life, something that I feel Morgan has realized at the end of the sixth season.

After everything that Carol has done – like attack Terminus by herself, and take down most of the Wolves during their attack – seeing her face off against the Saviors is something that I know most fans look forward to. Seems like we will have to wait for that moment a little bit longer, because right now, she’s really not into killing.

Jealous Leader

The relationship of the Characters who are currently residing at The Hilltop is the most interesting. Gregory is obviously feeling a little insecure because Hilltoppers are talking about Maggie and Sasha, and how impressive they are. Add Enid into the mix who knows that Sasha is lying to Maggie about Jesus’ whereabouts, and you’re in for a really interesting dynamic.

If you’re familiar with the comics, this is obviously showing some signs that Maggie is slowly taking over the Hilltop. Like Carol, we didn’t get much of her this season, but compared to how she was from the first episode, and to now, she is definitely tougher, and she is definitely to face whatever the Saviors are going to throw at them.

Mission Accomplished?

After forcing a female Savior named Isabelle to take her to Negan, Michonne easily realized that they’re outnumbered. She had to shoot Isabelle after seeing where the Sanctuary is located before heading back to Alexandria.

In my previous review, I said that I feel like her decision was reckless, but looking at it now, it is one of the things that I feel is smartly executed compared to all the other plans that people are brewing to take down the Saviors. Michonne obviously wants to fight, and her efforts will not be put to waste as we find out later on.

Rick and Aaron successfully got to the boat to get some supplies, but of course, they gave us a little fake-out death when they showed Aaron seemingly getting swarmed by walkers. They get out of there unscathed, but someone followed them on their way back.

This stranger also appears at the end of the episode watching Alexandria from a distance through binoculars before walking towards the community. This is obviously one of their strategies to leave the viewers curiously anticipating for the show’s return in 2017. Whoever is following them might be someone who could help them in the war, but who knows? This stranger might just be someone we already know. MY MONEY’S ON RICHARD WITH THIS ONE! He can’t get help from his own community, so he will seek the help of others.

At the Sanctuary, Daryl finally escapes after receiving help from a mystery friend. He killed fat Joey on his way out, and runs into Jesus when he made it to the motorcycle parking lot. They both leave at the gate that Fat Joey was supposedly watching.

This is one of the tense and most exciting scenes of the mid-season finale, and to see Daryl rise up once again after being broken by Negan is delightful.

Sudden Deaths

Negan is obviously enjoying his stay at the Alexandria Safe Zone that he made himself right at home: shaving and cooking with the kids! Everything seemed alright, but like I mentioned above, following the mid-season finale tradition of The Walking Dead, bad things immediately started to go down.

When Rick and Aaron return with the supplies they just scavenged, the Saviors beat the crap out of Aaron for no reason at all.

Spencer decided to meet Negan because he wants to “get closer” with the Saviors, and following his comic arc, tries to convince Negan to kill Rick. This doesn’t end well for him, however, because Negan hates people who have no guts, so he slices Spencer’s abdomen open to find them. ICONIC!

This is a moment that most people loved from the comics, because it says a lot about Negan’s way of thinking. He values loyalty, and Rick seemingly proved it to him for what he is doing to serve them. Unfortunately for Spencer, the last Monroe standing, he had to realize this the hard way.

Spencer was never my favorite character because I feel like his development was too in-your-face, so this death doesn’t really affect me emotionally unlike all the other mid-season finale deaths I’ve witnessed in the past.

It doesn’t end there though. Rosita, who we find out is a bad shot, tries to shoot Negan. The bullet hits Lucille – another moment from the source material, but it was Carl who tried to shoot him – and this lead to the next death of the mid-season finale.

When Negan asked Rosita about who made the bullet, Rosita says she did, but Negan thinks she’s lying so she tells Arat, a female savior that he brought along, to kill someone of her choosing. With the tension at a different level, our characters are once again put in a deadly situation, fortunately, it wasn’t an important character as Arat chose to kill Olivia.

Once again, another death that I do not really care about, because I barely saw Olivia on The Walking Dead, and there was never a moment on the show that made me root for her.

Rosita, on the other hand, made a dumb decision by trying to kill Negan in front of the Saviors. Like how I blamed Daryl for Glenn’s death: What did she think was going to happen? They’re outnumbered, and outgunned. Obviously, it’s her anger that drove her to display such action, but she has to remember that it’s Daryl’s dumb decision to jump at Negan that caused Glenn’s death who is one of her closest friends.

Later, Eugene finally admits that he as the one who made the bullet, and Negan decided to take him back to the Sanctuary for his skills.

Prior to this, Tara tried to take responsibility for the bullet, but knowing that her friend will surely be in danger if they find out that she lied, Eugene made a wiser decision to not put anybody else in trouble anymore. Eugene and Tara are both starting to become more prominent characters as they are proving how important, and able they are as survivors.

Reunited, Once Again!

After all the deadly events that unfolded at Alexandria, Michonne tells Rick that they need to fight Negan, and he agrees. Finally! This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for! After briefly seeing Rick roll around like a dog under Negan’s commands, he is finally inspired to fight back by Michonne.

As the episode comes to a close, Rick and the gang arrive at the Hilltop. Rick tells Maggie that he couldn’t hear her before, but now, he admits that she was right about what she said about getting ready to fight.

Daryl is also at the Hilltop, and shares a really sweet reunion with Rick when he gives him the Python that he retrieved during his escape. Everyone is definitely ready to fight now that their leader finally came to his senses. We also get an epic moment as they head toward the house where Gregory lives. Looks like he won’t be in charge any longer.

Episode Rating

The tension exhibited in this episode definitely left me at the edge of my seat. Picking up from the exciting events from the penultimate episode of 7A, “Heats Still Beating” gave us a stunning episode that featured all main characters. While viewers aren’t too emotionally invested with the characters who got killed off, they still managed to please die-hard fans by executing some moments from the source material in an epic fashion.

The penultimate episode was pretty hard to follow, so this episode can get away with how disorderly the sequences were. However, I feel like this is the only mid-season finale that ended on a positive note, and for of that, I would give this episode an 8 out of 10!

The Walking Dead Season 7 Second Half’s Premiere!

The second half of the season will feature the Alexandria Safe Zone, Hilltop, and The Kingdom merging to fight a mutual enemy, The Saviors!

You can watch the promo for the second half of The Walking Dead season 7 below:

The second half of this season of The Walking Dead will pick up in February 2017.

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AMC via Reddit

What do you think about this year’s mid-season finale of The Walking Dead? Sound in the comments below!

Header Image: AMC via ScreenRant

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