The Walking Dead S07E12 Review: Say Yes

michonne-rick-plan-the-walking-dead-say-yesThe Walking Dead gives Rick and Michonne some much-needed alone time in “Say Yes.” For a bit there, it even feels like time stands still for these two lovebirds. They share some sweet and funny moments while out on their run, but at the end, reality finally sets in. While Rick and Michonne take a moment to enjoy their time together before the war against the Saviors begins, Rosita simply can’t wait any longer. “Say Yes” is directed by Greg Nicotero and written by Matthew Negrete.

Matthew Negrete previously gave us some powerful moments between Rick and Michonne in “Hearts Still Beating,” as they came to terms about dealing with the Saviors. In “Say Yes,” Negrete gives us a story about people on the brink of war, and how they respond in different ways.

Roadtripping

rick-michonne-candles-the-walking-dead-say-yesMichonne is focused on the present mission to gather guns and other supplies. Like Father Gabriel, she has a lot of faith in Rick. She is already thinking about who will lead after the war is won, which seems a little premature. She thinks Rick should lead, but he doesn’t want to play the role of leader. What he does want is to continue his life with Michonne, telling her, “the two of us, you and me, reordering things together, I want that, if it’s something you wanted.”

Just when you think Rick is going to add something typically serious, he tells Michonne, “I’ve been waiting to show you this one. It’s chili, and mac and cheese, together. C’mom.” They have a series of fun, playful moments in the first half of the episode (“You’re leaving me eight?”). Who knew Rick and Michonne could be funny?

michonne-shocked-the-walking-dead-say-yesWhen the real zombie action begins, Rick gets into trouble. For a moment Michonne believes Rick has been killed by walkers. She is so devastated she seems to give up, dropping her sword to the ground. This moment completely changes the tone of the journey, bringing them both back to reality.

Rick is also mission-focused, but savoring their time together because he’s aware that everything is about to change as they head into war.

Rick: “We’re gonna fight them. That’s what happens next. And we’re gonna lose people. Maybe a lot of them. Maybe even each other. Even then, it’ll worth it.”
Michonne: “When I thought … I can’t lose you.”
Rick: “You asked me what kind of life we had just surrendering. It wasn’t … it wasn’t a life. What we did back there, what we’re doing now—making a future for Judith, for Glenn and Maggie’s baby, fighting a fight—that’s living. You showed me that. You can lose me. Yes, you can. I can lose you. We can lose our friends, people we love. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about a future. And if it’s me that doesn’t make it, you’ll have to lead the others forward, because you’re the one who can.”

Taking Action

rosita-the-walking-dead-say-yesWhile Rick appreciates this time before the war begins, Rosita cannot wait for the fight. Rosita is all impulse and anger. Rick and Rosita are driven by the deaths of Glenn and Abraham. Rick tells Michonne that he hasn’t been sleeping thinking about how Glenn saved him, back in the beginning, but Rick was unable to save Glenn. Rosita petulantly complains to Father Gabriel, laying blame at his feet that she didn’t act sooner. Gabriel tells her it’s easier to be dead than to be alive, and if her being alive is his fault than he can live with it. He tells Rosita, “Anything is possible until your heart stops beating.”

rosita-sasha-the-walking-dead-say-yesRosita takes his comment to heart, heading to the Hilltop to recruit Sasha. She finds Sasha kneeling at Abraham’s grave. It could be awkward, but Rosita has no time for strained silence. When Rosita tells Sasha she needs her help, no explanation is needed. Sasha just wants to be the one to take the kill shot, which will be made much easier with the scope-fitted rifle Rosita has brought. They’re both aware it’s a suicide mission.

Sasha: “They can’t catch up alive. If they do we give them something.”
Rosita: “It’s a one-way ticket for both of us. If it is the both of us.”
Sasha: “It is.”

rick-the-walking-dead-say-yesWhile Rick wants to attack Negan in order to secure a better future for the others in Alexandria, Rosita seems to want to kill Negan to satisfy her own desire for revenge. Though it would be great if Rosita and Sasha succeeded in their mission, that doesn’t seem like that kind of clean story The Walking Dead likes to give their audience. It’s more likely they will throw a wrench in things. D’oh!

Carnival

carnival-run-the-walking-dead-say-yesRich and Michonne get lucky, finding a school taken over by the military that still has all kinds of food and weapons. The school was apparently set up to have a carnival when the apocalypse hit. Deciding whether or not to cancel the carnival at the start of the outbreak, after what was probably a lot of planning, certainly must have been a crisis unto itself. Director Greg Nicotero uses the soldier-filled carnival setting to the fullest advantage. The scenes throughout the episode are beautifully filmed and give us visual eye candy to enjoy in a typically bleak looking series.

From the roof, Michonne tests out her rifle skills on one of the shooting booths, hitting the target square on. They climb into the Swing ride area for safety, then as they flee Rick knocks over the High Striker sledgehammer game to block the walkers. Rick suggests they break the walkers into smaller groups, telling Michonne, “You take the slide, I’ll take the ferris wheel.” We also see Michonne and Rick, as well as the walkers, running past the prize-laden game booths.

rick-windshield-walkerthe-walking-dead-say-yesNicotero doesn’t forget to use the soldiers either. He creates a comic scene in which Michonne kills eight walkers while Rick ends up pulling apart a walker soldier he’s trying to remove from the car window. Rick and Michonne even get fired on when a gun is set off by the movements of a walker.

Rick gets cocky when he sees a deer he wants to kill to replace the one he scared away earlier. A new group of handcuffed walkers approach the deer, which runs, and Rick falls. He finds himself surrounded by walkers, and he runs out of bullets. Michonne arrives to find the walkers feasting on a body. Let’s be honest, no one believed that Rick was killed in that moment. There was no way the main character of the series would have such an ignoble death, and we had just seen the deer. Despite this, it still felt gimmicky and we could imagine the producers rubbing their hands with glee at the idea of tricking the audience again. The Walking Dead did a surprisingly poor job editing these scenes to make it work. Rick is hiding just out of sight as Michonne falls apart thinking Rick has been killed.

michonne-2-the-walking-dead-say-yesThe scene is meant to give Rick an opportunity to prepare Michonne that one of them might actually die, and they need to be focused on the future, not themselves. Lest the audience gets too comfortable with the upcoming Savior war, The Walking Dead wants to remind everyone that characters could die, even main characters. Yet, if the series wants to build expectations among fans, continuing to create scenes meant to deceive or create gratuitous suspense isn’t the way to go.

Return to the Trash Heap

jadis-the-walking-dead-say-yesWhen Rick returns with the 63 guns, Jadis tells him they need twice as many guns if he wants them to join in their fight, using her strange stilted language. They get into a weird negotiation in which Rick, again, aggressively negotiates with Jadis, getting her to agree by saying, “Say yes” just as she did in “New Best Friends.” We don’t know what expect with these trash heap people, and we like it. We’d rather have no information than information meant to fake us out.

Moral Quandry

judith-the-walking-dead-say-yesKnowing that they need guns both to give to the trash heap people to get their cooperation and for their own protection, Tara has a discussion about ethics with young Judith. Who better to share your deepest secrets with but a two-year-old? Tara is struggling with whether or not she should tell Rick about Oceanside and their many weapons. She ponders, “What makes our life worth more than theirs? Because we want to stop the people that are hurting us? Who will hurt other people?”

tara-rick-the-walking-dead-say-yesThese are the kinds of moral questions that Rick rarely seems to ask, at least for the last few seasons. His focus is always taking care of his own, even at the expense of other groups, which may be why his recruiting techniques have had limited success. Tara has reason to be afraid for the women of Oceanside. It’s not clear to Tara, nor to the audience, whether Rick would take their guns by force, even killing them for the weapons. At the end, Tara seems to have decided to at least talk to Rick about it.

Say Yes Review

rick-michonne-roadtrip-the-walking-dead-say-yes“Say Yes” had some wonderful moments between Michonne and Rick. They aren’t going to replace Glenn and Maggie, whose relationship really grounded the series, but just seeing two people who care each about other spend time together is a nice switch. The sweet moments of passion and humor were made that much more meaningful knowing that this quiet interlude will be coming to an end on The Walking Dead.

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