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"Hearts Still Beating" corrects course after a frustrating first half to The Walking Dead's seventh season, using an improved pace and some welcome narrative jolts to set up a hopeful, rousing conclusion.
It's reunions all around, including man and his trusty pistol, and they stride off to make a real plan. Finally.
There was plenty of guts but not much glory as The Walking Dead signed-off with a mid-season finale likely to trigger further complaints regarding the show's over-the-top violence.
So while it's nice that things are moving along, the show took its sweet time getting there.
The Walking Dead Season 7 was in desperate need of a goal to strive toward, and seems fundamentally to misunderstand the problem with taking eight episodes for such a foregone conclusion.
Ultimately though, the compartmentalized structure of this season paid off, as proven tonight by the final moments of "Hearts Still Beating."
"Hearts Still Beating," the midseason finale of The Walking Dead's seventh season, offers a few small steps in the right direction, but not nearly enough.
It's not as if I want to come down on this show, but even with the flaws that have plagued The Walking Dead since the start, this show has done better.
The overlong midseason finale doesn't quite come together, and it's big climactic moments doesn't quite deliver the catharsis we all desperately need after a long-winded, grim, and pretty boring first half of season 7.
The show has been through a drought of character moments about anyone other than Negan for so long now, the weirdness of Rick and Aaron paddling a leaky boat to reach their video game-like objective is kind of fun to watch.
[It] provided a couple of shocking moments along the way, that genuinely felt shocking and not manufactured, which is a good sign that the writers in the writers room are letting the story flow naturally.
The parameters of the world outside Alexandria continue to expand as Rick and Aaron score a motherlode of supplies from the place they discovered in the last episode.
Unlike past half-season or season finales that have ended at moments of irresolution or mortal danger, "Hearts Still Beating" takes its cue from its actual title, and ends on a rousing note of "enough's enough."