MID-SEASON FINALE: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 8: “Hearts Still Beating”

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Negan and Lucille

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Well, all I can say is thank god that wasn’t 90 minutes of Rick’s yawn-worthy RV adventures!

CF:  Damn.  And here I had booze and trail mix packed!

Here’s what I thought of Episode 8 (entitled “Hearts Still Beating”) of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Season 7 mid-season finale.

For starters, I’m going to break this recap up into sections because AMC currently have a shitload of groups in The Walking Dead as well as some new dude.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Maggie

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]


In Hilltop not a lot is really going on other than everyone keeping secrets from Maggie (Lauren Cohan) because she is inclined to do stupid shit rather than protect her baby. Speaking of Maggie, she is doing a lot of moping around Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham’s (Michael Cudlitz) graves and looking out over the wall, but more on that later…

In between that she is eating everything in sight and the people of Hilltop are supplying her with whatever she wants because she is badarse and saved their sorry arses not that long ago. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is not so impressed by her though, but that’s because everyone is busy assuming she will be the next president of Hilltop.

CF:  I like how the one time you see Gregory he still manages to be an enormous prick.  I wonder if Xander likes playing Gregory, as he does it so well.  Also, Maggie for President is gonna become a real thing–probably early on in the second half of Season 7.

RT: I can’t wait for Maggie to take over Hilltop 😀

CF:  I would not be surprised to see it happen by the second episode.

RT: I hope so, I like seeing Authority Maggie 🙂 Her dad would be so proud.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' Season 7, Episode 8, a member of the Kingdom

[Image via AMC]

Carol’s Cottage

Carol (Melissa McBride) is happy in her little cottage — except for all the damn traffic! People are bringing her food and knocking on her door like they think she gives a shit. Except she doesn’t. Even when she calls Morgan (Lennie James) over for a chat about how much she doesn’t give a shit anymore.

Then the dude from the Kingdom who looks like a friendlier version of the Governor (David Morrissey) turns up and wants Carol and Morgan’s help to get rid of the Saviors. I’m not sure, but do Carol and Morgan even know about how fucked up everything went with Rick’s group and the Saviors, or that they were even going to fuck shit up? I can’t remember on account of snoozing off for parts of Season 7 of The Walking Dead. But, anyway, they behave like they have no idea, so let’s stick with that. But neither of them really want anything to do with the Saviors or kicking their arses so I guess Carol won’t be getting many more visitors or fresh food in a hurry now.

CF:  No, Carol and Morgan don’t know about what’s going on with The Saviors and Alexandria.  Morgan has some idea about The Saviors cause he’s already met them, but Carol’s too busy telling everybody to get off her lawn that she has no idea–or does she?  More on that later.

I will say the whole Carol is a hermit storyline has really bored the shit out of me.  Though the dude trying to sway them gave a very accurate description of what can go wrong real fast with The Saviors.

RT: I am so over Carol’s storyline it’s just not funny. I can’t wait to read your theory though! And, thanks for the heads up on what they both know. I seriously couldn’t remember.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Rick and Aaron in a boat

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Rick and Aaron Paddle Upstream Without a Proper Paddle

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) work out how to get across the walker-infested moat to what they are hoping is some decent shit to impress Negan with. The build up is making me think there will be something important there, but, really, there isn’t. Just stuff that Rick and Aaron load up into their van and take back to Alexandria.

CF:  The whole time I watch this I was mumbling, “Why the hell are you morons both paddling on the same side of the boat?”  They probably could’ve gotten the house boat a hell of a lot faster if they had been serpentining all over the fucking pond.  You would think Rick would know better, but no, he doesn’t.  At least when Aaron fell in the water he was smart enough to swim under the zombies.  Rick probably would’ve bashed them in the head with a knife as he swam.

RT: Maybe Rick went to the same survival skills class as Rickon Stark.

CF:  At times it makes you wonder how Rick has managed to live this long.  Lori was likely the one in the family with the survival skills.  😉

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Negan and dead Spencer

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]


So, let’s remind everyone AGAIN just how smarmy and annoying Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is when he gets on a roll about how awesome he is and how late Rick is. In between we learn that he likes to cook and play pool.

We also learn that Spencer (Austin Nichols) is planning on sucking up to Negan with the hope he can take him out at some time in the future. Silly Spencer. You have no idea how to piss with the big boys and before you can even really get started Negan is gutting you like a fish. And that is literally, not figuratively.

CF:  The one good thing the AMC writers have done is pretty much take all of Negan’s story from the comic and presented on screen like it was in the comic.  As you can see from the panels below, this scene played out on TV nearly the same way as it played out on the printed page:

Yeah, Negan is a total shit.  In a real annoying asshole way that makes you want to kill quickly as possible.  You can imagine what it was like to actually read this stuff the first time through

RT: I am glad they are staying true to him from the comics. I don’t think Negan is a character that can be toyed with in the way AMC have done so with other characters.

CF:  *coughThe Governorcough*  AMC totally fucked up that character.  One would almost think The Governor was a female character the way the AMC writers butchered his ass

RT: At least they seem to be learning… In that department at least.

At this point Rosita (Christian Serratos) decides she has had enough of the Negan show and shoots him with her handmade bullet.

*fist pump* YAY! Finally a reason to like Rosita.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Negan and Eugene

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Except. No. She hit Lucille and now Negan is as mad as a cut snake and killing Olivia (Ann Mahoney) to find out who made the bullet. Because Negan knows the bullet is homemade and not found. Rosita keeps insisting she made the bullet but Negan doesn’t fall for that shit. Before he can kill anyone else over it, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is pissing in his pants and ‘fessing up to how smart he is. Rather than kill Eugene though, Negan decides to take him with him back to headquarters.

Oh, and Rick, no matter what is in the van, it isn’t enough. It will never be enough now that Rosita hurt Lucille.

CF:  This scene was another taken almost verbatim out of the comic.  Why almost?  Because the shooting happened under a different situation, and it was actually the serial killer in training Carl who put a bullet through Lucille:

That Carl is pretty bad ass for the annoying kid we wanted to drop down a well five seasons ago.  Eugene getting taken away was also a big deal in the comic, but he’ll be back, don’t worry.

RT: I figured Eugene would be back. No reason to not kill him now just to kill him later was my theory there.

CF:  Of all the characters in the comic you wouldn’t expect it to survive, Eugene is still alive.  Though I think his sanity is starting to take a hit–

RT: Is it wrong that I am looking forward to seeing Crazy Eugene?

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Daryl Dixon

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Daryl Has His Equivalent of an RV Trip

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) spends way too much airtime escaping from his cell in Episode 8 of The Walking Dead. There are only so many times we can watch him sneaking down halls and eating peanut butter before we tune the fuck out.

After way too much time Daryl finally gets outside and comes face to face with Fat Joey (Joshua Hoover). Daryl barely gives the poor guy enough time to monologue before he beats his head in with a pipe. Jesus (Tom Payne) turns up just in the knick of time and the pair escape.

CF:  I mentioned this morning that the pacing was off on this episode, and the biggest offender was Daryl’s segment.  I just wanted this bullshit to be over and was hoping he would either get the hell out of there or end up dead.  When Fat Joey showed up and started with his “Hey, what you doing?” shit, I wondered if we were going to get treated to this enormous run through The Sanctuary.  I guess Daryl was as tired of monologuing as we were, because he didn’t waste any time Glenning the fuck out of Fat Joey.  And I like how Jesus just shows up and is like, “Hey, Daryl.  How’s it going?”  Good thing Jesus found him, because otherwise he might have had to spend his time figuring out the layout of The Sanctuary.

RT: I just wanted this whole segment to be over already.

CF:  I think AMC has revealed the truth in Daryl’s character: he’s just not that interesting alone.  If he’s not part of the group dynamic, he just sort of does nothing.  I’ve mentioned from time to time that I don’t care for Daryl’s character, and until this season we’ve never really gotten to see how boring he is all on his own.

RT: While I have loved Daryl’s character in the past, you are absolutely right. He is a character that helps the others shine.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, Rick's group at Hilltop

[Image via Gene Page/AMC]

Happy Family Reunion

Now, the whole point of this 90 minute mid-season finale of The Walking Dead is evident by the end. No matter how much you squash Rick and his group, they will fight. Because that is what they do. Regardless of how evil they might appear doing this at times, they are doing it for the greater good. Because, apparently, they are the greater good.

And this is why Maggie has been keeping a lookout at Hilltop, because she knows this and she knew it would take Rick a while to realise this in between all his crying.

So, Episode 8 of The Walking Dead concludes with everyone arriving at Hilltop (except for Carol and Morgan who are still in denial) for a reunion. They hug the shit out of each other, even Daryl.

Why am I crying?

Oh yeah, because I actually miss these guys and for the first half of Season 7 I didn’t get a chance to see Rick’s group being Rick’s group. So, thank you AMC for finally fixing some of the mess you created with the Season 6 finale and dragged on through into the first half of Season 7 of The Walking Dead. You can continue on in this manner in Season 7 Part 2.

CF:  There was also some rather powerful Freudian symbolism in the meeting–which was also a bit homoerotic.  Let’s look at what happens… Early on in the season Rick loses his gun, which some people look upon as a phallic symbol.  So what happens with Rick?  He’s unable to lead, or least be the leader he used to be.  Essentially, he lost his balls along with his favorite dick.  So when he meets up with Daryl what is it his friend gives him?  Why, his penis, of course.  And you notice as Rick sets it back in its holster, he suddenly stands taller and seems to move with them even greater purpose.  Ergo, he got his balls back and he’s ready to fight.

RT: Oh wow! Yes, missed that entirely! Thanks for pointing it out Cassidy 🙂

CF:  Yeah, I just sort of notice those things.

It’s also fitting that Daryl was the one who did this for Rick, because there is some definite homoerotic shit going on between these two dudes.  They hug so hard and so long when they met at Hilltop that I thought Tara was going to turn to Michonne and say, “You best find yourself a new boyfriend: ain’t no amount of ‘No Homo’ gonna mask that.”  Bromance my ass: those two dudes need to get a room and work it out.

RT: I want this to happen pretty bad now that you have mentioned it.

CF:  I’m sure there’s plenty of slashfic out there showing just that.

I’m glad it wrapped up on a high note:  I don’t believe I could have handled another bummer episode for the mid-season.

AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' min-season finale, Season 7, Episode 8, Hearts Still Beating, the boots

[Image via AMC]

That Dude Watching Rick and Aaron

I’m assuming it’s a dude judging by the shoes, but it could be a chick I suppose. No idea who they are or why they were watching Rick and Aaron, but here’s some ideas.

  • It could have been the guy who owned the boat. Maybe he isn’t dead at all.
  • Spencer was wearing similar shoes, but now he’s dead so that idea is out of the water.
  • Someone from one of the other groups. Could be Hilltop, the Saviors, the Kingdom or Oceanside.
  • Morgan. Because he is creepy like that.
  • Some random guy.
  • Just please don’t let it be a whole new group AMC. Anything but that.

CF:  There is one other possibility you haven’t picked up on here and it’s the mystery person is Carol.  What is she doing?  She’s gathering information that will be used later in the back half of Season 7 to help bring everyone together.  I mean, think about it: she wants to be alone and she has a place that allows her to be alone.  That means she can come and go all over the countryside without anyone checking up on her.  She doesn’t have to slip past any guards at The Kingdom or at Alexandria.  She is probably the one person in this whole drama who is free to do whatever she wants.

She does know about The Saviors and has probably started to develop her own ideas about what they can do.  But how do you find out for sure?  Tell everyone you want to be left alone so they will leave you alone, and when you feel like going somewhere you just slip on your shit go.  I mean, it seemed pretty convenient that the person doing the spying in the teaser knew exactly where to go at the front gate of Alexandria so they wouldn’t be seen.  Who would know that?  Carol.

I think were going to find out that while she might be tired of killing, sneaking and peeking and playing Mata Hari of the Zombie Apocalypse is something she is real good doing.

RT: Oh, I LOVE this! I really hope it plays out this way! 😀

CF:  I do hope this actually happens, and they resolve in early on.  I know there was some discussion that we were going to see The Whispers, which would’ve been a huge ass mistake, but I don’t think this person was was a Whisperer.  AMC would be shooting themselves in the foot if they decided to bring in another in the back half of Season 7.  Not that they would be all that adverse to the idea

RT: One thing I have noticed with the media coverage of Season 7 of The Walking Dead is that there has been a general slant towards introducing the Whisperers and I think it is being used as a decoy. Prior to Oceanside appearing, there were only a handful of outlets suggesting Oceanside, everyone else were doing the big push towards the Whisperers. And, now, after the mid-season finale, I am seeing it again. So, my guess is they are decoying again.

What did you think of Episode 8 of AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 7 mid-season finale? Let us know by commenting below!

The second half of Season 7 of AMC’s The Walking Dead will return later in the year.

0 thoughts on “MID-SEASON FINALE: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 8: “Hearts Still Beating”

  1. Pingback: MID-SEASON FINALE: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 8: “Hearts Still Beating” | Rachel Tsoumbakos

  2. Love these reviews guys, definitely enjoying the humour here!

    And although I (really) love the Carol theory, and would buy it.. what about the note that was in the haul Rick and Aaron brought back? I can only imagine it was written by the person they took it from, and it’s too big of a coincidence that Carol was there… And so that person is now at Alexandria watching them..?? Anyway, I agree regarding Carol – she needs to get with the program quick smart!

    Best things things from this episode:
    * Daryl is out of the compound
    * Rick has the Python back
    * Negan did not take Judith (I talked myself into this after Ep 07, I was sure that was why we saw Rick crying)
    * Spencer died – Finally, thank Fu&%.
    * The Hug. (I am a pretty big Rickyl shipper, even though I never expect it to become canon, so, if you need an Fanfic recs, let me know lol!).

    Worst things:
    * Not getting to see Daryl and Jesus get to Hilltop, and not seeing the reunion between Daryl and Maggie
    * Olivia dying, I was just starting to like her.. although I knew that meant she was a goner.
    * Too much Negan, again.
    * ANYONE NEW – as in, the mystery person.. Too many new people and groups!

    Anyhow, feeling a bit more optimistic that the show will survive after this, the ratings have been so bad I was starting to worry they wouldn’t go ahead with Season 8 !!

    • Thanks so much Nel! I am loving your thoughts on the episode as well ?
      I agree, this episode has gone a long way to saving season 7. Although, I was reading an article in my travels that this episode only really worked because the rest of the season was so bad, and the characters had hit such a low. I sort of agree with this sentiment. But, then again, it is a formula AMC have used before of splitting the characters up and having them placed in shitty situations so the reunion has payoff for the audience. So we know they don’t, necessarily, need to be punished like this for the sake of one decent episode out of 8.

  3. That foot belongs to a woman from Oceanside or some bloke from The Kingdom. Either way, I loved the device use as a hint.
    AMC clearly got tired of dopey Daryl too and did a much needed and rapid fast forward.
    I assume you’re being a little artistic here CF, when you refer to Rick and Daryl’s hug as being a little gay thing. Considering what they’ve both been through and if I had been one of them, I’d have done the same from one brother to another in a biker kind of way. Nothing gay or shirtlifting about that.
    Of course, no one bats an eyelid when two women hug like that. Rick and daryl are practically blood brothers. No, strike that. They are blood brothers and stronger together.
    I spent many hours glancing at Rick’s empty holster and wondering where his gun had got to. I’m funny like that since, when I see someone in the series lose something symbolic to them in particular (Daryl’s bike for example), it nags me in an OCD kind of way, which I’m not actually.
    As far as his gun being seen by some as a phallic symbol, I’m not on the same page there at all. His gun is symbolic to him as the lead character in a similar way as the hat was too. I see it more as a Samson type allegory. It was a powerful message and yes, he is complete again now.
    They´ve set this up very nicely and I’m ready for the big battle now. Bring it on!

  4. Pingback: MID-SEASON Premiere: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock In The Road” | The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

  5. Pingback: ‘The Walking Dead,’ Season 7, Episode 11: “Hostiles And Calamities” | The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

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