THE WALKING DEAD 7.04 ‘Service’ Review

THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Episode 4

Episode Title: “Service”

Writer: Corey Reed

Director: David Boyd

Previously on The Walking Dead:

Episode 7.03: “The Cell

There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!

Have you ever seen an adaptation of a story that seemed to be stuck in an early chapter? That pretty much sums up this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. Readers of the comic book series know where this is going and how it ends, but the show seems intent on taking its time to get there. Not only that, but it went full Sons of Anarchy by subjecting fans to 90 minutes of this, when it had no business being that long. That’s just some Kurt Sutter level padding, which is something that this show desperately needs to avoid.

The early part of the episode was actually effective, as Negan and his Saviors made a surprise visit to Alexandria ahead of schedule and went out of their way to emasculating Rick and the rest of his group. Because the series hasn’t used Rick since the season premiere, it felt like we missed an important scene of him explaining the new order to his people. And throwing in that emergency town meeting in the middle of the episode didn’t quite make up for that.

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One of the bigger changes from the source material is that Negan and his crew actually disarmed Alexandria; which is a move that makes sense and it also really put the screws to them. It was more telling that the Saviors took the mattresses and furniture just because they could, and they burned them because they didn’t really need them. They wanted the people of Alexandria to feel beaten, and that’s what they got. At this point, the show isn’t offering much in the way of hope to fans, while the comic at least threw them a bone. That’s what made this so hard to watch. Without that spark or rebellion from Rick, it seemed like the show was wallowing in its misery…again.

Related: Watch Negan Arrive At Alexandria in ‘The Walking Dead’

Instead, the lead acts of rebellion fell to Michonne and Rosita. Michonne’s role wasn’t too surprising, since she’s basically the female lead on the show. But this is the most that Rosita has had to do in a long time. Watching Rosita and Spencer retrieve Daryl’s bike was tedious, but the fact that Rosita may have the last gun in Alexandria could prove to be interesting. As for Michonne, her silent disgust for Rick’s actions was well played, as was Rick’s confession that he’s known all along that his daughter isn’t his. That was actually a great monologue from Rick about his late friend, Shane, and a reminder of the way that the show used to be. But even back in the second season, this series had a tendency to drag its feet and extend the story past its expiration date.

One of the smaller touches that came off well was the way that Dwight completed his Daryl cosplay by forcing Rosita and Spencer to retrieve Daryl’s bike, only to offer it back to Daryl if he “said the words.” Negan and his crew still want to make Daryl one of their own, but they settled for humiliating him instead.  Again, that makes the end of this story more compelling, but who knows how long we’re gonna have to wait to see Daryl get his revenge? It might be quite a while.

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The challenge for the creative team on this show is to make sure that the audience doesn’t give up on the story before it gets to the really interesting parts. That’s why it’s a little baffling that Rick and the others weren’t better prepared for Negan’s visit, and even Maggie’s fake grave seemed like an afterthought. At its best, The Walking Dead can try the patience of its fans by simply taking too long to make its point. There was ultimately no reason for this episode to be 90-minutes long, and that only amplified the show’s weaker aspects. This is a series that needs leaner storytelling, and this episode largely felt bloated and unnecessary. A few really good moments throughout simply weren’t enough to save what became a tedious experience. Hopefully next week’s episode will swing back in the other direction.

What did you think of the newest episode of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credits: AMC