Season 7 of The Walking Dead had the most diverse batch of episodes by comparison to any season aside from its first.
Season 1 saw the apocalypse unfolding in several locations, including Morgan's house, a shopping mall, downtown Atlanta, the CDC and more. It introduced all of our core characters we would fall in love with in the years following as they stuck screwdrivers in walkers' eyes, battled evil one-eyed governors, and took on a bunch of cannibals.
Then came Season 7. The most recent season of the AMC series introduced a whole new group of characters, many of which belong to Negan's group called the Saviors, but also brought us to King Ezekiel's Kingdom and spent much of its running time jumping between each of the new locations.
On the following slides, we run through each episode of The Walking Dead's seventh season and rank them starting with the worst and leading to the best.
The Tara-centric hour of The Walking Dead would not have been so poorly received if it had not been introduced when it was. While more pressing issues such as Daryl's imprisonment, Rick's struggles, or what the heck Carl was going to do when he arrived at the Sanctuary were on fans' minds, the AMC series elected to follow a pair of characters who hadn't been developed to ta top tier level in a brand new community.
Introducing Oceanside seemed out of place and, at the time, pointless. The community, also broken by its oppression at the hands of Negan's Saviors, missing all of their men because they were killed by the Saviors, was hiding away with an impressively convenient cache of guns.
Tara discovered the group and saw huge development in the episode which would slightly redeem it late in the season but ultimately ranked as the least entertaining hour of the show this year.
Plus, what happened to Heath? Where did he disappear to in this episode? Does anyone even care?prevnext
15. Go Getters
The Go Getters episode saw Maggie continue to emerge as a leader at the Hilltop, especially when she disposed a herd of zombies sent by the Saviors with a bit of help from Sasha and Jesus.
However, the dialogue was often hard to believe despite the episode featuring some of The Walking Dead's strongest actors. Still, Lauren Cohan, Xander Berkeley, and Tom Payne often struggled because of on the nose lines.
The most interesting part of the episode (besides Jesus ninja-kicking some zombies) came in the closing moments when Carl Grimes hopped on the first bus to Savior-town. A question which would not only be left unanswered in this episode but in the week following, as well.
Oh, yeah. Enid and Carl kissed in this episode, too.prevnext
14. The Cell
There is a considerable gap in quality between number 15 and number 14 on this list.
Episode 7x03, originally slated to be second, was bumped back a week because of how dark its content was and deemed unnecessary to follow the brutal Season 7 premiere.
The Cell followed Daryl Dixon as he was endlessly humiliated in Negan's Sanctuary as "Easy Street" became a household title. While fans were treated to a bit of the mythology of Negan's world, introduced to Fat Joey, and watched Daryl being completely shattered but still standing up for his identity, the real desire was to see Rick and the group in the aftermath of Negan's introduction.
The episode itself was nothing but darkness and humiliation for Daryl Dixon which kept it from being very enjoyable, though it matched the theme of the first eight episodes.prevnext
Given its extended running time, Episode 7x04 had an opportunity to satisfy fans as Rick Grimes returned to their screens for the first time since the Season 7 premiere.
Instead, the episode very heavy-handedly doused fans with Negan humiliating Rick, keeping Daryl humbled by Dwight, and reminding us of the unforgettable events of Glenn and Abraham's sendoff. At this point, it wasn't loving to hate Negan. It was still simply hating the character despite his dialogue being so sarcastic that you often couldn't help but laugh.
Still, almost 90 minutes of Negan trotting around the Safe-Zone and claiming half of the communities stuff for himself while we knew no one would really be in danger of dying was overkill.
Still, Andrew Lincoln's always impressive acting abilities shined through as a redemptive quality for the episode while we all hated seeing him so broken by the villain that he handed over his girlfriend's rifle and deer.prevnext
12. Say Yes
Perhaps this Rick and Michonne-heavy episode would earned a more prestigious ranking if it did not feature the world's worst fake deer.
There are fake deer you can buy as targets for a BB gun which look better than the computerized deer Rick spotted from the ferris wheel at the abandoned school yard.
Still, Say Yes offered up some growth for Rick and Michonne's relationship, making light of the zombie threats around them and bringing a sense of levity to the show which became a recurring theme in Season 7's back half.
However, we also had a fake death with Michonne assuming Rick had been eaten by zombies but it instead being the fake deer which doesn't run from zombies. Luckily, it wasn't stretched out across a couple of weeks like Glenn's dumpster dive.prevnext
11. Something They Need
Rick and company's journey to Oceanside blurred the lines between Rick and Negan.
With Tara finally having broken her promise to keep Oceanside's location a secret from her people, the group set out for their guns. Rick didn't want to kill anybody but absolutely would have if necessary.
Lining up the entire community on their knees, Rick stood before the group and demanded all of their weapons. If he had been wearing a leather jacket and carrying a baseball bat, people would have started calling him Negan. Fortunately for Oceanside, they hadn't raided an Alexandria outpost and killed a bunch of people in their sleep, so Rick was merciful.
An epic action sequence pitting both groups against a zombie herd was the highlight of the episode as the ever-annoying Natania insisted her group would not join the war.prevnext
10. Hostiles and Calamities
The ranks are getting closer and closer going forward as the quality of episodes improved for a large batch.
Episode 7x11, Hostiles and Calamities, saw Eugene return for the first time since being kidnapped by Negan in the midseason 7 finale. Josh McDermitt carried the episode as his dry humor offered up an entertaining, if not very inciteful hour.
The episode gifted us the line of, "I was gifted these pickles," and saw Eugene outsmarting Negan's wives as he converted himself into Negan himself, fully ready to betray Rick's group in favor of survival.prevnext
9. New Best Friends
The mysteries of "Why is Rick smiling?" and "Where did Father Gabriel go?" were quickly answer in Episode 7x10.
New Best Friends introduced Rick to the strangest (and least favorable) groups on the AMC series -- one which is originally to the TV show. Rick was tossed in a pit for an intense battle with a heavily armed walker named Winslow and tested by Scavenger leader Jadis ahead of their negotiation.
By the end of the episode, we thought Rick had conveniently found a group of weirdos who would be willing to fight Negan with him, so long as he carried out the simple subplot of finding a bunch of guns for her.
The episode was very straightforward and featured a horrible green screen atop the junkyard but the sets were impressive, Rick vs. Winslow was a winning scene, and Andrew Lincoln proved, once again, that he is a brilliant enough actor to carry any scene.
More importantly, the episode saw Carol and Daryl's emotional reunion after Daryl elected not to carry out Richard's plan of using her as bate for the Saviors.prevnext
8. The Other Side
The outcome of Rosita and Sasha's mission was predictable from multiple episodes out. Most fans of The Walking Dead suspected Sasha would die. This was only cemented when she and Rosita had an in-depth conversation that allowed some welcome development in the vein of Hershel, Tyreese, and Noah before they bowed out.
Watching Rosita and Sasha venture through the treachery of the apocalypse was fun, though. The Other Side featured some crafty survival tactics which are often overlooked in The Walking Dead at this point as human threats have overtaken those presented by zombies.
The episode also packed a very subtle, effective way to unveil Jesus' sexuality which may or may not open the door for future storylines and offered up a moment between Maggie and Daryl as they finalyl acknowledged his guilt over Glenn's death.prevnext
7. Hearts Still Beating
The midseason 7 finale followed the lead of its season premiere by killing a pair of Alexandrian characters.
Realizing his iconic comic book fate, Spencer questioned Rick's leadership with Negan and found himself gutted in the street as everyone looked on. This prompted someone to finally take a shot at Negan with Rosita finally pulling the trigger but hitting the precious Lucille bat instead. Angered by the damage to Lucille, it was time for Negan's group to kill one more person: Olivia.
Eugene was taken hostage just after Rick and Aaron discovered a huge cache of weapons in the middle of a lake. Convenient, right? Nope -- the Saviors claimed them and beat Aaron half way to death.
This all followed Daryl's escape from the Sanctuary, where he beat Fat Joey to death, the same way Negan ended Glenn and Abe.
The episode had a good balance of multiple locations and while Spencer's death was largely expected, Olivia's hit our feels more than anyone could have predicted.prevnext
6. Rock in the Road
The Walking Dead midseason premiere had a lot of pressure to deliver a compelling episode as many fans were frustrated with pacing and tone of the series by this point.
Bringing Rick to meet King Ezekiel was a good start.
The dialogue between the characters was fun in itself as Rick was taken aback by both Ezekiel's tiger and his dialect. Accepting it, he asked King Ezekiel to join his war. It was here that Morgan and the Kingdom learned of Glenn and Abraham's fates.
We also saw Daryl wondering about Carol when Morgan told him she had left the Kingdom on her own, which only added to their highly anticipated reunion.
Not only did we have the most epic zombie kills of all time as Rick's group head back to Alexandria, using two cars tethered by a steel cable to take out a herd of over 300 walkers, but we also saw the episode end with a smile on Rick's race amidst a threatening, mysterious cliffhanger -- setting an all new tone for the back half of the season.prevnext
5. The Well
The Greg Nicotero-directed introduction to King Ezekiel and his Kingdom community was one of the most unique episodes The Walking Dead will ever have.
Not only did fans meet a well-animated CGI tiger but they met a character who leads his people by instilling positivity and morality on a regular basis. He does not compete with enemies. He does not seek others to steal from. He provides a community which allows children to learn and their parents to prosper.
All the while, King Ezekiel is acting like an extravagant Shakespearean king, masking his true, former zookeeper self in an effort to keep his people safe and maintain a position he enjoys.prevnext
4. Sing Me A Song
When The Walking Dead accurately adapts big moments from its comic book source material, it often makes for entertaining television.
Episode 7x07, Sing Me A Song, was no exception.
In the aftermath of Carl's back of the truck cliffhanger, he gunned down a couple of Saviors upon arrival to the Sanctuary but unsurprisingly found himself captured by Negan. Rather than kill the little Grimes boy, Negan elected to show him around, introduce him to the wives, and sit down for a little manipulation.
The highlight of the episode was Carl's singing of "You Are My Sunshine" to Negan with his damaged eye socket being revealed but Rosita and Eugene's crafting of a bullet and Spencer's discovery of additional resources were welcome subplots.
Ending with Negan holding Judith in Alexandria and waiting for Rick to show up, chills were sent down Rick supporters' spines as we head into the midseason finale.prevnext
3. The Day Will Come When You Won't Be
The Season 7 premiere is easily the most talked about episode of the entire series but this doesn't qualify it to be the best.
The episode was, however, remarkable on many levels.
With the only thing on anybody's minds heading into the episode being a question of "Who did Negan kill?" the episode managed to deliver an episode even those who claimed to have the answer weren't ready for.
Telling the story through a well-written series of flashbacks, the Greg Nicotero-directed premiere saw Abraham and Glenn brutally sent off by Negan and Lucille as everyone looked on. The episode was far from over at this point. Negan's emasculation of Rick Grimes continued through methods no one could imagine.
Rick was pushed to the point that he would cut off Carl's hand for Negan.
The morning after all of these events was the saddest of all, as an ill Maggie wanted to carry her husband's body to be buried, and Rosita and Sasha did the same with Abraham's.
The episode was undeniable brutal but proved The Walking Dead has yet to desensitize us from everything it is capable of.prevnext
2. Bury Me Here
Finally getting Carol and Morgan to return to the kill-to-survive form is a task only Episode 7x13 (Bury Me Here) could accomplish.
What started as a routine drop meeting between the Kingdom and the Saviors went awry went the agreed amount of cantaloupes was one melon short.
As it would be revealed in the episode, this was all a part of Richard's plan to start a feud between the groups in hopes of enlightening King Ezekiel to how evil the Saviors are. Unfortunately, his plan saw Benjamin killed rather than himself as he ended up bleeding out at Carol's house.
Before the episode would end, Morgan would kill Richard after having intense and emotional flashbacks to his son Duane -- an always welcome reference -- and more moments from the entire series. It was all going to culminate to the war started in the Season 7 finale, clearly on display when Carol told King Ezekiel, "We have to fight," to which he responded affirmatively but pointed out, "Not today."prevnext
1. The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
The Season 7 finale featured a chaotic, messy, wild, necessary, and completely needed gunfight between the good guys and the bad guys.
Although quite conveniently, King Ezekiel and the Hilltop showed up just in time to save Rick and Carl from suffering a grim fate similar to that of Abraham and Glenn.0comments
The episode featured the action-packed explosion fans had been begging for since Negan made his presence known but also packed betrayal into its run time. Jadis and her junkyard gang turned on Rick shortly after Eugene showed his true colors and Dwight continued to swear his allegiance to Alexandria over the Saviors.
Not to mention, Shiva the tiger finally got a bite of the action and the computer graphics were surprisingly good for a show not exactly known for such qualities.prev