With four episodes left in the season, we and the group from Alexandria are all gearing up for one hell of a showdown. That means the stakes get higher, situations get more tense and occasionally Greg Nicotero and his crew need to pad out an episode here and there. Not to say that “Say Yes” was a bad episode – I’d be pretty disappointed if at this late stage, they produced something forgettable – but it probably didn’t feel as weighty as it should have.
From the outset this is the Rick and Michonne show. The two are on the road together looking for guns for Jadis and her group of weirdos. The opening sees them breaking down doors and slicing through the dead in their search, with each stop in this bizarre montage concluding with a superfluous sex scene. Honestly It came off as some as a shoehorned way of forcing chemistry between the two since it’s a relationship that the show hasn’t really had much time for.
In fact, I’m positive that’s what Say Yes was primarily used for. The whole episode kind of abolished the current state of affairs and cast Michonne and Rick in a light that is rarely (if ever) seen. At one point the two fall through a roof as they scout an area rife with firearms. Before the camera even cuts to them, they can be heard laughing as they remark on the convenient surplus of food they just happened upon.
It was during their candle lit dinner and conversation about how “maybe they can be patient in getting the guns now”, that I considered that maybe I had put on the wrong show. Michonne kidnapped a woman recently, drove her to Negan’s compound and considered going on a one woman mission to slaughter every saviour in sight.
Rick has (is almost literally a thing?) had his spirit taken out of his being and beaten to death. These two people don’t strike me as a pair who are seeing the brighter side of life or aren’t in any rush to put an end to their slavery.
That’s what Say Yes was though. A moment to pause a gripping, boiling narrative and and see if we couldn’t wring out a fully fleshed, loving relationship. This should have been sorted out weeks ago. If there was inexplicable fact of The Walking Dead recently, it was that Rick and Michonne had no chemistry whatsoever. We don’t have the luxury of turning back the hands of time though so I guess all that matters now is, did it work?
Despite it’s ham-fisted approach, it did. The two finally feel like they are in this together, that Michonne is Rick’s backbone but even though it always felt like Michonne held Rick up, her telling him that she can’t lose him was all too convincing. Rick’s monologue at the end about losing people not mattering anymore and that a future whether they’re here or not was a wonderful theme to tie over the season and take into the fight with Negan,
This all follows a cocky, brash but very effective and strategic plan of attack to clear out a horde of walkers at a former fairgrounds. There are some great set pieces here as the two make use of the facilities. It does a get a little too action-flicky at a couple of points like when Rick throws Michonne’s sword to her after he is presumed dead. But for the most part, Say Yes put into perspective what a cohesive and intelligent unit this group can be.
We get a couple of glimpses of a pensive Tara as she battles with herself over whether she should tell Rick about the women at Oceanside who are straight up packing. She does in the end (otherwise, what would have been the point in that episode).
Rosita also gets more time in the sun. The wind changed, that scowl isn’t going anywhere and she is becoming super unlikable at this point. She takes the situation into her own hands, enlisting Sasha to run a two-women operation (see Michonne, you just needed another person) to kill Negan. Probably the most intriguing part of the ep – not only does this give the war a head start four episodes out, but either someone is dying or Negan is going to know something isn’t right.
After all their work though, Jadis still needs more guns. Something tells me this relationship isn’t going to turn out smooth but are these cultists really anything other than cannon fodder at this point?
Say Yes was not the episode that should have have aired at such an important time. Rick and Michonne finally hit the right note with their on-screen chemistry but an entire episode should not have been sacrificed for it to happen. Nor should they have been so god damn jovial. The Walking Dead has upped the ante in the cheese department lately and this week really set a benchmark. As depressing as it is, I think the series works best when it’s gritty and sapped of positive energy. Some creative and well paced action and Lincoln and Gurira’s commitment held the ep above water.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
- Nice, methodical set pieces
- Rick and Michonne finally looking like a legitimate couple
- Rosita and Sasha present an solid reason to tune in next week
- Rick and Michonne’s relationship shouldn’t have been crammed into one episode
- Scenes with Tara and Rosita felt like filler
- Getting a little too cheesy
- Seemed to forget about the weight of the current narrative