The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 9 ‘Rock in the Road’ Review: The Sheriff Meets the King

The first half of the seventh season of The Walking Dead was a rollercoaster of emotions that started with Abraham and Glenn meeting Lucille face to face, and ended with Spencer’s guts spilling out, Olivia being shot in the head, Eugene being taken to the Sanctuary, and the group finally starting their path to an ALL OUT WAR.

The mid-season finale of this season definitely gave us something to look forward to especially when Rick and Co. all gave a hopeful smile before heading into Gregory’s Hilltop Mansion. Will the mid-season premiere keep that hope alive or will they kill it immediately to break our hearts once again?

This episode, Rick and Co. will finally meet Ezekiel and will be reunited with Morgan. Will they see Carol? What was their reaction when they met Shiva? Also, another Alexandrian is going to stay at The Kingdom when they get there. Other than that, we also have one of our beloved Alexandrians abducted by a new group, and yes, the mysterious boots from the mid-season finale is involved. Fasten your seat belts as you read on because we’ll definitely hit the rock in this episode.

Hilltop is Ready to Fight Back – Thanks to Enid!

Gregory never had spine, and he’s definitely one of the most annoying characters on the show right now. Despite of this, I love seeing him on screen because he never fails to be a jackass. In this week’s episode, when Rick asked Gregory to join them in their fight with The Saviors, our heroes were immediately asked to leave.

While all of this was happening, Enid decided to become the MVP of the mid-season premiere and gathered some people who are willing to join the fight. Very impressive, Enid. Very impressive! This is one of those moments when you know that a character is definitely going to play a very important role in the story, when they start to stand up on their own, and do things that nobody would expect them to do.

Welcome to the Drama Club

After getting some people to join them from the Hilltop, Jesus thought that it’s the perfect time to introduce them to King Ezekiel. The Kingdom also has a sort of system where they sort of meet people first before letting them into the Kingdom. Jesus vouches for the group saying that they are like-minded, and after handing over their weapons, they were immediately let into the Kingdom.

I have to defend Jesus’ decision to not reveal the group sooner. It could be because he had a deal with Ezekiel to not let them be know to other groups, or it’s because he’s just a really good person and might not want to get this other community involved. They are sort of involved because of their deal with the Saviors, but you know, that deal is to keep the peace, and not to start a war.

The reunion with Morgan wasn’t as sweet as the previous reunions we had on the show, but it’s up there, and I think it’s also a bit emotional because Morgan had to talk about how he killed “for Carol.” Morgan has outlived his comic counterpart, so I don’t know where he stands at the moment.

I think the group was just as surprised as Carol when they first met the King’s tiger, Shiva. I think from now on, one of the things that we are going to look forward to every time someone new meets Shiva is their level of shock and hesitation when they meet the lovely tiger. This also makes me believe that Shiva is going to play a bigger role in the future of the show.

While the group pleads their case to King Ezekiel, Rosita had to relay to them the people that the Saviors killed – it’s emotional hearing characters mention the name of the fallen just for a good cause, RIP Glenn and Abraham – and Morgan was, of course, taken by surprise because he and Carol were both MIA when all this went down.

Rick also had to tell King Ezekiel the story of the rock on a long, bumpy, treacherous road that injured and killed people, and the little girl who was rewarded for trying to make a change. King Ezekiel, being the person that he is, understood what they were trying to say more after that story, but they were still unsuccessful in convincing him.

From a fan’s POV, it’s frustrating that he doesn’t want to march into war, but it’s actually logical, and contrary to what Daryl said, he is acting like a king for that decision. The Kingdom is living harmoniously with the Saviors despite of the fear that they have, but he knows that his people aren’t ready to fight, and if they find out, they will fight and only end up losing.

We also have to talk about Richard’s willingness to help and fight, and this makes me really worried about him because I feel like he’s going to have to die before Ezekiel actually decides to join the war against the Saviors.

Carol, Forever Alone

“You’re not me. Go home, Benjamin.” -Carol, The Walking Dead 7×09 ‘Rock in the Road’

If that line didn’t get you shook, then I don’t know what will. We need more Carol in the show, because it’s evident that the story is going on a downward spiral.

Highway to Hell

Did the Saviors actually think that they were outsmarting anyone with the trap they set on the road? They left walkerIt’s out there WITH EXPLOSIVES. Well, because of their stupidity, not only did our heroes loot the extremely useful explosives, they also had an awesome, epic, I don’t even know how to put it idea to cut the walkers in half with the use of steel wire and two cars. The Saviors got played, ya’ll!

I feel like this sequence was one of the few moments that made the mid-season premiere great. Everyone was involved, our heroes got what they want, and they also killed walkers in an epic fashion.

Father G Betrays the Group?

The beginning of the episode showed us Gabriel emptying the pantry. Where is he going? Did he betray the group?

Well, when our heroes returned to Alexandria, they meet with Negan’s right hand man, Simon, and some of his other henchmen. He was there looking for Daryl, and when they told him that he’s not there, they decided to trash the place. That’s when they found out that the pantry was empty, only finding a note that says BOAT.

Looking at it, it would seem like Gabriel betrayed the group when a second shadow appeared in the car when he left Alexandria, but no, he was obviously kidnapped.

When the group headed out to search for him, they find themselves surrounded by a group wielding a wide variety of weaponry from hatchets to guns. Potential allies? We’ll find out because the episode ends there!

Episode Rating

For a mid-season premiere, I feel like ‘Rock in the Road’ could have done a lot more. The episode felt like it was divided into two parts, the first part involving Rick and Co. convincing people to fight with them, and the second part starts with the highway scene where Rick deals with a potential betrayal, a seemingly inescapable trap, and Simon.

Overall, I feel like this episode didn’t really live up with the other mid-season premieres, and for that, I would give it a 6.5 out of 10.

New Best Friends, Really?

On the next episode of The Walking Dead, as our heroes search “for a missing Alexandrian,” they will “encounter a mysterious collective, its inhabitants unlike any they have come across.” Our heroes will find out what kind of group they’re dealing with. Also, it looks like we are going to get some action from the Kingdom with Richard asking for Daryl’s help. Will Daryl be finally reunited with Carol?

You can watch the promo The Walking Dead season 7, episode 10, “New Best Friends” below:

What do you think about this week’s episode of The Walking Dead? Sound in the comments below!

Header Image: AMC

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