The Walking Dead mid-season premiere: Season 7, Episode 9, “Rock in the Road”, Aired Feb. 12, 2017
After a long, brutal winter hiatus, The Walking Dead has finally returned. Despite negative criticism from other sites, we thought “Rock in the Road” was a tremendous episode with plenty of plot progression. After such a fragmented first half of the season, it was nice to spend the full episode with our core group. Plus, we loved the comedic relief woven in with Gregory’s sass in the beginning and Rick & Co.’s meeting King Ezekiel for the first time.
1. Maggie acting like a boss
It was no surprise to see Gregory refusing to have anything to do with the plot against Negan. That’s just how Gregory rolls, and we can’t really blame him for that. But Maggie is going to have to keep him in check so he doesn’t betray them. Why Maggie? Because she’s basically the queen of Hilltop now.
Notice how the people of Hilltop all looked to her for guidance after she saved their lives? Plus, it was certainly intentional that they had her step out in the front of the group to address the Hilltoppers about their rebellion. Gregory will most likely die at some point, because he’s useless, and Maggie is primed to take over.
Fans of the comics already know what’s (probably) coming for Maggie, but if you haven’t read the comics and want to spoil everything for yourself, read this.
2. Ezekiel checking on Carol
Carol is approached by Ben (the Kingdom resident who Morgan is teaching the-way-of-the-stick to) in the woods. He tells her that Ezekiel isn’t going to stop checking on her no matter what she says. Is Ezekiel normally this sweet to people he barely knows, or is Carol extra special?
Either way, this could really come in handy. Daryl has been left behind there to try to convince a stubborn Ezekiel to join in the fight. Our guess is that, next week, Daryl and Carol will be reunited, and (after a long hug that makes up all weep) he’ll fill her in on everything that’s been going down. If Daryl can convince Carol to leave her life of depressing solitude behind and help avenge Glen and Abraham, then maybe she can convince Ezekiel to take up arms against Negan. Plus, we all know how Carol likes to blow things up, and the gang has plenty of explosives now.
Side note: The Saviors suck at conducting sweeps, because they didn’t even find all that stolen dynamite.
Regardless of what happens with Carol, we all know Ezekiel will eventually sign on to help Rick, because we obviously need a scene of Shiva going ham on some Saviors. It’s basically a requirement.
3. The new group
At the end of the episode, Rick and some of the Alexandrians follow a clue that Gabriel left them about his location. They head back to the boat that Aaron and Rick scavenged earlier this season. Little do they know, they’re the ones being watched. Out from piles of junk pop a whole boatload of people dressed in worn, dark clothing, and they are armed to the teeth. They don’t look too happy to see Rick and his group, but Rick looks pretty happy to see them. This is just what they needed – a badass new group with a stock of weapons to join them in the fight against Negan.
So, who are these mystery dumpster divers, and how have they not crossed paths with Rick and the Alexandrians yet? We don’t really know their backstory, but did anyone else notice there seemed to be more women than men in this group? Perhaps Negan slaughtered the men just like with the Oceanside community (aka, the beach tribe of women Tara same across). That would be tragically convenient for Rick since it could serve as motivation in convincing them to join his cause. It could also tie in the Oceanside community since we know we have to get back to them at some point… right?
What are Father G’s intentions?
So, why did Gabriel take all of the food and then lure them there? Is he giving the dumpster folks food as a sign of goodwill in hopes they help them? Was he just super hunger and tired of sharing his Snickers with everyone else? He could have left behind a few cans of Beanie Weenies and not cleared the place out.
And who the heck was in the car with him when he took off in the night? All we saw was a shadowy figure. Was it an Alexandrian, or a junkyard resident forcing Gabriel to do this?
Remember those boots stalking around in the woods in the beginning of the season? Could they have belonged to Gabriel, or was it someone from this new community keeping an eye out? Only time will tell!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c
(Featured Image via Gene Page/AMC)