MID-SEASON Premiere: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock In The Road”

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Michonne battles a herd of walkers

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Is it wrong that I was excited the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead wasn’t an extended episode? Nope. Good.

CF:  At this point, extended episode = “Oh, god, what sort of nonsense are they gonna stretch out?”

Here’s what went down in Episode 9 (entitled “Rock in the Road”) of Season 7 of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Father Gabriel is Shifty

Episode 9 of The Walking Dead opens with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) looking shady as shit on his nightly lookout. Viewers should be concerned too because the rat has decided to jump ship. He knicks a pile of supplies and sneaks out into the night.

CF:  I would really love to know what verse he read that kicked his butt into gear.  I’m sure we’ll find out.

RT: Me too! It has to be shown at some point. Surely?

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Rick Grimes talks to Gregory at Hilltop

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Rick’s Group Tries to Recruit: Hilltop

Before this gets noticed, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is still all fired up (Phew!) and trying to unite the tribes against Negan’s group. He starts at Hilltop and the wimpy-arsed Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is proving once more he must have been a pencil-pusher before the apocalypse went down. While he says no to a mutiny, others within his group say yes and it looks like Gregory better be careful or there just might be a new leader at Hilltop before long.

CF:  If they weren’t following the comic line here Rick probably would have smoked Gregory right there in the office.  That isn’t going to happen, but change is a-coming.

Once again, Xander Berkely plays Gregory to slimy perfection.  His entire attitude is, “Will you people get the fuck out of my office and leave me alone?”  He’s like every bad manager who’s ever lived dealing with people with whom he doesn’t want to deal.  Oh, and forever and ever, we have an answer for anything said about TWD.  Like when someone asks, “You think the plots are stupid?” we just say:

There you go.  🙂

RT: HAHA! This is the best meme ever! I must admit, I think I like watching Gregory being slimy over Negan being smarmy. I think Gregory translates better from the comics to the TV.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, King Ezekiel

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Rick’s Group Tries to Recruit: The Kingdom

Next, Jesus (Tom Payne) introduces Rick’s group to the Kingdom and the fact he has a walkie talkie that can pick up everything the Saviors are saying. He fails to mention King Ezekiel’s (Khary Payton) tiger though and I am pretty sure Rick shits in his pants on sight.

CF:  I really expected reactions to be far more than “You don’t see that every day” when they first met Ezekiel.  We couldn’t get one “It’s a goddamn tiger!” from someone?

RT: Well, poor Rick was trying not to admit he shit his pants… And, by the looks of it, Michonne was busy trying not to barf at the smell:

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Rick's group approaches King Ezekiel for support

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Even Carl looks unimpressed 😉

The group catches up with Morgan (Lennie James) and he fills them in on Carol (Melissa McBride). Then it is off to convince the king that they should go to war.

Basically, Ezekiel says no. Even when Rick tells a little story about the “rock in the road” on the way to the kingdom and how the moral of that story is there will be a reward to whoever digs out the rock (Negan) and makes the road safe for others. Once more though, there are others within the Kingdom (like the Governor lookalike) that are happy to join up and take out the Saviors.

At least King Ezekiel offers Daryl (Norman Reedus) a safe haven at the Kingdom. Of course, Daryl doesn’t want to stay there at first, but, as Rick points out, Daryl could try to convince Ezekiel to join forces with them because they still don’t have the numbers. Daryl agrees and viewers will likely get to see a Team Carol reunion sometime in the near future.

CF:  Pooky is gonna be so happy to see her.

The one thing I didn’t like was Rick’s story.  There was so many other ways to put things–“Um, Negan’s an asshole, we need to take him out because he’s gonna kill us all one day”–and Rick doesn’t impress me as he sort of guy who uses fables to get his point across.  At least not the Rick Grimes we’ve known for 6 1/2 years.

RT: Yeah, I was wondering where the whole religious angle was coming from. I guess AMC should have waited until after this encounter to have Gabe do a runner. It would have been perfect to have him spout this.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Rick Grimes retrieves dynamite from a roadblock

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

The Roadblock

On the way back to Alexandria, the group come across a roadblock.

A very explosive roadblock.

Which is something they could have found back when there was that walkers in the quarry problem. But, anyway… this time they decide to pocket the dynamite for a good use later on. But, first lets make this scene really stressful by adding a threatening herd of walkers and the walkie talkie kicking into life with the news that Negan has just found out Daryl is missing.

Oh, and let’s add some music that sounds like the Mission Impossible theme.

After the correct amount of stressful time in which the walker herd nearly catch them up, Rick’s group flees the scene. Rick and Michonne have to use two cars joined with a wire to escape which creates a really spectacular gore-fest as they cut down the walkers.

CF:  I did love this scene, if only we suddenly discover that this band of idiots who have been walking around with their heads up their asses for most of the season have major skills we didn’t know they possessed–like an ability to move a shitload of cars out of the way and move them back perfectly, and Rosita knows explosives.  Hey, chica, that shit could have come in handy, oh, like Rachel said, back at THE FUCKING QUARRY!  Yeah, that would have been helpful as hell, love.

RT: I totally agree! Rosita could have been so much more than eye candy for all these episodes. And, suddenly, there are working cars.

CF: In case anyone thought their recognized this location, the same stretch of highway was used back in Season 2:  this is where Dale’s RV broke down during the first episodes, What Lies Ahead.  Also, the location is one kilometer from the alley behind the Family Food Mart in Hampton, GA.  Why is that important?  That’s the location of the dumpster where Nicholas kills himself in Thank You and leaves Glenn to a great Jon Snow impression.  See the things you learn?

RT: I love so much that you know all this stuff Cassidy! 😀

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Simon and Aaron at Alexandria

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Back at Alexandria

The group arrive at Alexandria just in time for Simon (Steven Ogg) to turn up and go looking for Daryl. In the process, we learn that Daryl in now on the Saviors “kill on sight” list. Rick also finds out about the storeroom.

After Simon and his group leaves, Rick is filled in on Father Gabriel’s escape. Even though Gabe has always been a spineless runner in the past, Rick is convinced this isn’t what has happened, especially when he finds Gabriel’s abandoned bible. Inside he finds the word “boat” and off they traipse to the boat Rick and Aaron (Ross Marquand) searched in Episode 8 of The Walking Dead.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 9, Rick's group is surrounded

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

A Trip to the Boat

Rick finds footsteps in the dirt there. But, before they can really search for Father Gabriel, they are surrounded by what appears to be the biggest congregation of emos the world has ever seen.

Episode 9 concludes here, but it has me wondering: just how did Rick’s group manage to amble through so many seasons of The Walking Dead without bumping into all these people until now? And, seriously, do we really need another group? Yeah, I know Rick needs numbers to go up against Negan, but what about Oceanside? What about the Whisperers that the media keeps, well, whispering about?

Of course, all Rick can do is smile as he sees the quota of people needed for his army against the Saviors right there in front of him.

CF:  I hope, I HOPE, that we do not discover that these people are the mythical Whisperers.  I will go on AMC’s Twitter thread and call out Gimple as an unimaginative cunt if this happens.

RT: I will be completely unimpressed if they are the Whisperers. There would be way cooler ways to intro this group.

CF: That said, how is it Rick or Negan didn’t find these people?  I guess the moment you end up in the zombie apocalypse you develop ninja skills.  In the comic the main communities were separated by a lot of distance, but in the TV show it doesn’t seem like it’s that huge a thing.  Unless you’re trying to get from one community to another in a RV

RT: Brilliant point here! How on earth did they RV all that distance and not come across anyone. And, yet, here we are, people coming out of the woodwork…

What did you think of Episode 9 of AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 7 mid-season premiere? Let us know by commenting below!

Episode 10, (entitled “New Best Friends”) of Season 7 of AMC’s The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 19 at 9 PM ET. The official synopsis for Episode 10 is below.

“A mysterious community is discovered.”

[Featured image via Gene Page/AMC]

11 thoughts on “MID-SEASON Premiere: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock In The Road”

  1. Pingback: MID-SEASON Premiere: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock In The Road” | Rachel Tsoumbakos

  2. I thought it was pretty drawn out. Glad they were all together but it was very slow apart from the explosive(s) scene.
    I think I’ll go postal if they cut out to something else next week and we don’t pick up from this bit and find out why Rick grins at the end.. Could Heath be part of that group that surrounds them? (it was Heath, who was with Tara wasn’t it?)
    I think Andrew Lincoln Definitely deserves and Emmy for delivering that ‘Rock in the Road’ story with a straight face. But I kind of wish we could go back to the good ole days of Broken Window theory.. Or better still, Dale telling the stories.
    Ahh well, I am a hard core fan and I still love it and I have faith !!
    Thanks for the recap 🙂


  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and always knew Rosita was a demolitions expert, so that came as no surprise. I’m positive Father Gabe has everyone’s interests at heart and the clue he left was hidden because of The Saviours turning up, surely?
    This episode packed a heck of a lot details. Gregory was predictably reptilian, the King was majestic and theatrical and Rick was back to his former self, although how he managed that soliloquy with a straight face is anyone’s guess.
    The bomb disposal scene was fun, if not a little hammed up and the final lawn mower effect was incredibly satisfying.
    For me, the stand out character is still Simon (Steven Ogg). He doesn’t have to open his mouth; you just feel the menace oozing from his face. Brilliant every time.
    Also, I´m trying to count how many times Rick and the gang have been relieved of their weapons or caught unawares. Twice in this episode anyway.
    And yes, I hope they keep this thread going with Rick´s knowing smile, although I fear they may snap to Carol (yawn) and Morgan (another yawn).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends” | The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

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