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The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 "Hearts Still Beating" Review


The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 “Hearts Still Beating” Review

As we reach the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead’s seventh season, the audience is presented with two major questions:

1.) Why the heck do we do mid-season finales?
2.) Can this episode help salvage a season of the show that has almost made a full-on transformation into a dumpster fire?

I can’t answer the first one, but my hopes are up for the second. Let’s dive in:

Hilltop Blues

The episode opens with Gregory being a dick to Maggie. Maggie gives it right back to him. Later, Enid calls out Sasha for not telling Maggie that Jesus snuck out of the Hilltop to go to the Sanctuary.

This whole scene is kind of pointless.

Pacifist Beat Down

Back at the Kingdom, Richard (one of the guys in paintball armor) makes a pitch to Morgan and Carol for striking against the Saviors. Carol and Morgan angrily explain their pacifist stance and shoot him down.

Richard goes back to his home and cries. This scene wasn’t completely pointless, but it sure felt like it.

Daryl’s Great Escape


Daryl escapes from his cell. Again. This time, however, there are no inept guards wandering around when he makes it to the row of motorcycles…well, except for one, who Daryl beats to death with a crowbar Joker style.

Jesus shows up just in time to see Daryl kill the dude. Then they escape out of what must be the most poorly guarded fortress imaginable.

This scene had a point (Daryl’s escape), but why they heck did Jesus need to be involved? What did he do besides sneak around and hide on top of the truck the whole time?

Mad Michonne, Road Warrior

As they drive toward the Sanctuary, Michonne interrogates the Savior she’s taken hostage. The Savior refuses to answer her, other than to say that Michonne should kill her (?) and make the truck disappear.

This scene was kind of cool, but again, pretty pointless.

Aaron and Rick’s River Rampage

After a zombie jumping out of a boat causes everyone (myself included) to almost poop their pants, Rick and Aaron manage to get the supplies they were going after. They also find a sign with a taunting message and a middle finger drawn on it. For some reason, they decide to keep it. This proves to be a very stupid decision.


Also, some dude was watching them in the woods. That probably happens more than we realize, but the camera showed us his boot and played ominous music, so it’s probably something serious this time.

When Rick and Aaron return to Alexandria, the Saviors find the middle finger picture with the supplies and think it was made for them, causing Aaron to get his ass kicked.

Dinner and a Show

Back in Alexandria, Negan makes a drastic change to his appearance by shaving off his beard. Negan’s behavior, however, continues to be that of a sociopathic douchebag. The man forces Carl, Judith, and Olivia to eat a meal with him (and Lucille) while he waits for Rick to return.

Speaking of douchebags, Spencer decides that he should give diplomacy a try via buddying up to Negan—which he attempts to accomplish by badmouthing Rick. What starts out as a friendly exchange between the pair turns into a tense moment before climaxing in a telegraphed (and gloriously punned) gutting of Spencer’s entrails.


I’m not sure why seeing Spencer get killed would make anyone upset, but Rosita decides this is the perfect moment to use that one bullet she had made and shoot Negan. Despite previously showing excellent marksmanship, she misses from close range and hits Lucille, instead. She probably could have hit him with a full clip of ammo, but that wouldn’t have made for the contrived and stupid plot device required for the next part.

Negan gets mad (more for what happened to Lucille and less for getting shot at) and has one of his underlings retaliate by killing someone of their choosing. The Savior chooses Olivia, because…I’m honestly not sure. Rick shows up just in time to hear Negan make a few more fat jokes at Olivia’s expense. He also demands to know who crafted the homemade bullet that should have killed him.

Rosita tries to take the rap, but Negan doesn’t believe her. Then Tara steps up to take the blame—which would have been awesome—but Negan isn’t buying that, either. Finally, Eugene breaks down and confesses, earning him a one-way ticket to easy street as the Savior’s new bargaining chip prisoner.

Once that’s all settled, Negan shouts and preens a little more, smirks, then leaves.

In one of the season’s only great moments, Spencer turns into a zombie, which gives Rick the perfect excuse to finally stab him in the head.

That’s what pushed you over the edge?

After the Saviors leave, Michonne returns to Alexandria and gives Rick a motivational speech straight out of a mediocre self help book. This causes him to go to the Hilltop to ask Maggie if he wants to join him in taking down the Saviors.

We’re then treated to a scene that frustrated me to no end. I could describe it, but my friend and colleague, Brian Wargel, found a much funnier (and animated) way to express my annoyance:

Is it Good?

Once again, we’re treated to a 90-minute episode that barely covers 30 minutes of plot. The episode’s multiple subplots were either completely pointless (Hilltop, Aaron and Rick, Michonne), predictable (Morgan and Carol), or stupid (Daryl and Jesus).

As far as the main story goes, we’re ONCE AGAIN reminded of what a terrible guy Negan is, this time via two main character deaths for the sake of the mid-season finale. Meanwhile, Negan’s presence has started to become more annoying than anything else…

…which honestly might be how you could describe this entire season. I’m usually anxious for The Walking Dead to return after its mid-season break. This time, I’m actually glad I don’t have to watch it for a while.

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