The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 9: ‘Rock In The  Road’ – Review 

Rick & Co return ready to fight, but not everyone is on the same page.

Written by Sophie Williams. 

Last night (13 Feb) saw the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead.  The season premiere was fantastic, I was among the millions of fans desperate to see which of our beloved characters fell foul of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).  Although I haven’t enjoyed the rest of the season as much, I had high hopes for the mid-season premiere.

The episode opened with Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) reading his Bible and looking very thoughtful.  I’m still not 100% sure about what to think of Gabriel, he’s definitely grown as a character over the time he’s been part of the group.  Just as we thought Gabriel was just keeping his faith alive, the audience saw him pack up as many supplies as he could get his hands on and drive away.  Is this the return of the coward we were first introduced to?  Or is he planning some kind of mastermind mission?  I sincerely hope it’s the latter.  The first we see of the group they’re at the Hilltop arguing with Gregory about the Saviours.  Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group are determined to build an army of people across three communities to fight the group that took the lives of Glenn, Abraham and many more.  Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is adamant that their people will not fight, and as the group leave his townhouse, members of the Hilltop community agree to go into battle with the Saviours and help in any way they can.

My personal highlight of this episode was the group’s introduction to King Ezekiel (Khary Payton).  With Rick questioning the “King” title (let’s face it, we all are) and their wariness of the tiger (again, we all had our questions), Ezekiel was also sceptical about the whole conflict with the Saviours.  After Rick tells a heartfelt story of morals, Ezekiel tells them he will think about it and the group begrudgingly agrees that’s the best they’re going to get from him right now.

Soon after this encounter, we’re finally exposed to some gore.  I’m not a massive fan of gore but when I’m watching a programme about a zombie apocalypse, I expect there to be more than there was up until this point.  The group find a trap to stop Walkers in their wake, but it’s not just for a single zombie; it’s for an entire herd.  At the helm of this operation to dismantle the dynamite, Rosita stepped up and led the way, exhibiting her impressive military knowledge.  The herd was closing in and I moved closer to the edge of my seat as Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) took a car each to take down a large portion of the incoming Walkers.  Gripping tension is what pulls me in the most when watching The Walking Dead and this was really compelling watching compared to the rest of the episode.

The mid-season premiere for me was a little bit slow, and I hope that this was just to draw the audience back in after a lengthy break.  However, it did have its superb moments; there was undeniable comedy which always goes down well and a nice amount of Walkers.  Overall, I will definitely be tuning in next week to hopefully gain some unanswered questions.  Will Ezekiel agree to come to blows with the Saviours?  Will Carol re-join the group?  What are Gabriel’s intentions?  I also want to see a lot more of Ezekiel and his tiger.