This episode embodied the best and the worst of season 7 so I have had difficulty on giving this episode a proper score. In the end I have settled for a 58.
I'll start with the good part of this episode. For one, the Kingdom plot for the most part was the best we have seen fro The Walking Dead this season. Of all of the communities, the Kingdom has been the most developed and it's the one I enjoy seeing the most. Ezekiel, Ben and Richard have been good characters so far and Carol and Morgan are some of my favourites, so I'm always happy to see more of them. This episode had more of the same excellence that The Kingdom has shown in "The Well" and "Rock in the Road".
I loved the scenes with Daryl and Richard. These scenes felt very organic and had great dialogue, which is a massive improvement from the forced lines in the previous episode. There was good use of dramatic irony as well since we knew the woman Richard was talking about was Carol, and it added some tension to his confrontation with Daryl which ended in an enjoyable face off between the 2 of them. I think the reason this works is because the show has done an excellent job with Richard's character. Here is a proper character that is a threat to the main characters whose thought process and motives make sense and are relatable. It's been a while since The Walking Dead has made a character as compelling as Richard. However, that's not saying much since most new characters have been awful the past few seasons.
I enjoyed the opening bit as well. The Saviour meetings have been exciting so far and I'm looking forward to the next one as I'm sure that something will go down there.
The highlight of the episode was Daryl and Carol's reunion. It provided the best character moment of the entire season by a long sot, which I'm thankful for. I really love that Daryl didn't tell Carol about Glenn and Abraham and it made for an excellent character decision from Daryl that had a lot of significance. I am enjoying Carol's current arc because it's well written, but I don't think it's as good as it could be. Carol's arc in the last season was executed terribly and unfortunately it affects her current arc in a negative way that makes me not quite buy into her new broken character.
Howver the Kingdom story had some problems. Apparently being rude to Morgan is becoming a motif, which I don't really like. How are we supposed to buy into this group being stronger together if they are always fighting? Also Daryl's final decision to go to the Hilltop was stupid. I thought he was going to make sure Richard didn't do anything to Carol? The man said he would die for the Kingdom and could very well have decided to try to kill Carol anyways. It feels ridiculous for Daryl to just leave Carol like that. And also from last episode, I also want to add how stupid the scene was when Rick told Daryl to stay at the Kingdom. He literally got told at the last second and didn't get to voice his own opinion at all, which was pretty awful.
Now that the Kingdom plot is done, it's time to get into the bad stuff. The junkyard group (apparently they are called The Scavengers) are terrible. They operate ridiculously and fee cheesy and fake, and completely unrealistic. Why do they dress in black? Why are they silent? Why do they talk weird? Why do they live in a junkyard? Ay good TV show would answer these questions, but I have no reason to believe that The Walking Dead would address these issues. Robin, I agree with your opinion on this group as it feels like ne of the most ridiculous plots this season, which really says something considering how poor this season has been.
Rick's fight with Winslow wasn't good. There was no tension because Rick obviously wouldn't die there. It really just reminded me how comical and unthreatening walkers have become now and they solely exist just to provide some "cool" moments for casual fans who just thrive on action and violence. Even worse was his smile after they made the deal with the junkyard group. They clearly have similar motives to the Saviours because apparently they take and don't bother, and yet this doesn't unnerve Rick at all. Instead he gladly hands over all of their weapons and agrees to bring more them with a gigantic grin on his face. Why on Earth should he trust them? It's ridiculous writing.
-No Simon this week.
-Negan is missing once more thankfully. His presence wouldn't have helped anything here.
-That junkyard backdrop was really fake and ridiculous. How did they think that looked good?
-Looks like Tara is going to crack about Oceanside soon. Rick's group needs weapons now and she knows where to find them.
-Rosita continues to be awful in this episode.
-Father Gabriel has been on of the best characters this season. His relationship with Rick is actually more in depth than his relationship with Michonne in this season, which is nonsensical. Well at least one relationship is getting screen time.
-Daryl has tamed Shiva. Good for him.
Overall this episode was a real mixed bag. Good and bad makes this episode both a good sign and a bad sign. I look forward to future Kingdom episodes since that's a story I'm now invested in. However, I really couldn't care less about the main plot after this episode which is a real shame and I probably won't be given any kind of reason to care until the season finale. Well, I hope next season can be more impressive than this.