What I Thought About ‘Hearts Still Beating’ (Walking Dead Spoilers)

Well, here we are two days after the midseason finale of The Walking Dead. Everything is building before we take a break. February feels like a long time away. The premiers usually bring the payoff while the finale leaves us hanging. If you are not all caught up with The Walking Dead and care about spoilers, stop reading! Otherwise, you may continue.

I had to watch this episode twice before I could get my opinion together. A lot was thrown at us. I didn’t initially watch it with an open mind. I’ve been grumpy since “Swear.” I was frustrated through the first half of “Hearts Still Beating” waiting for payoff and the second half was awesome. The ending rocked. The second time through I was able to relax and just watch. Overall this episode was pretty great. I will admit that I am partial to the comic. I love it. It’s one of my favorites. So much in it is done right. I love the comic so much that my fandom makes me watch the show. Overall, I’d say it’s in my top three favorite television shows, but sometimes it’s just frustrating to wait and watch. The plot often feels clunkier to me then in the comic. Yes, I know the same story in different media has to have some changes, but still, the show doesn’t pack the punch the comic does. That’s all I’m saying.

Since my last several posts about the previous episodes have been mostly negative, I figured I’d start with what I loved.

Maggie is so cool! I love her raw, badass attitude. The scene where she takes Gregory’s apple and eats it rocked. The combination of her grief and dedication to her child growing inside her is a recipe for some serious character complexity. I would follow her before Rick any day of the week. I also really like that Edith, and Sasha is so committed to her. It’s similar to how Glen and Daryl had Rick’s back.

Yes, of course, I love Daryl. Part of this I think is that he isn’t in the comic so I have nothing to compare him to, and part of it is his kickass way of being loyal and morally correct. (Even though sometimes it get’s him into trouble… Hello, Dwight!?!) That being said, every scene Daryl was in this episode I loved. When he was rushing through the hallway, I was at the edge of my seat. I was relieved when he found food and clothes. Then he got discovered by a Savior. There was a pause, then the guy said he wouldn’t say anything and let him go. You can ask my husband, but I was shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!” Daryl did. He didn’t show mercy.

I said in my last post that Spencer needed to be zombie food. Well, Negan gutting him during a pool game for trying to usurp Rick was awesome! Thanks for the payoff. Man, Spencer was annoying.

I loved, loved the ending even though waiting for the rise will be painful. First Rick, Carl, and crew walk through the gates of Hilltop after Rick and Michonne have a heart to heart about fighting back. Then Jesus and Daryl show up. So good! So emotional! I crumbled into about a thousand pieces when Rick hugged Daryl.
Episodes 6 and 7 left me grumpy about the show, but I think if there was never an entire episode dedicated to Tara I would have made it through the whole first half happy as a clam. I still don’t see the point of that episode. Slamming on the breaks in the rapidly spiraling Negan storyline by going back in time two weeks to meet up with Tara and Heath after the satellite station slaying. Not only is this storyline before Glen and Abraham’s fall to Lucille, but it’s also before Dwight kills Denise with Darryl’s arrow. (Whew, that was a lot of D’s) That’s just bad structure. An entire episode dedicated to Tara and her discovery of all female society in the woods? No, not while Rick is defeated and others conspire against the Saviors. “Go Getter’s” leaves us in the back of a truck heading to Negan’s with Carl and Jesus. All” Swear” gives us is Tara? This storyline would have been much more digestible if it was shortened to fifteen minutes and worked into episode 14 of Season 6 “Twice as Far.” Imagine an episode where both characters of a relationship die simultaneously without ever finding out about each other. The show hasn’t done that yet. Instead of Tara coming back and finding out about Denise, she doesn’t come back. Rachel from Oceanside gets to kill her. Between the Sanctuary, The Hilltop, and the Kingdom the appearance of Oceanside was fatiguing more than interesting. As a foreshadowing to the power of Negan before Season’s 6’s gut-wrenching finale would have added even more terror to being surrounded by hundreds of Saviors in the dark woods.

Well, I’m looking forward to tuning back to TWD in February, which is also my birthday month.

What were your guys thoughts on the first half of the season?

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