“The Walking Dead” returned for the second half of Season 7 on Sunday, February 12. The episode, “Rock in the Road,” covered a large amount of ground and showcased most of the survivors (though still no word on Heath’s whereabouts or the identity of the shadowy booted figure from Episode 8). AMC has used the tagline “Rise Up” to advertise this half of the season, and the Alexandrians are certainly fired up and ready for revenge. The determination of the main characters was a welcome change of pace after seeing everyone suffer for the past eight episodes. Take a look at the Top 5 moments from “The Walking Dead” mid-season premiere and the questions it presents for the rest of Season 7.
Rick meets Ezekiel
Jesus (Tom Payne) brings Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group to The Kingdom for the first time. After a reunion with Morgan (Lennie James), Rick begs King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) to join Alexandria and Hilltop in the struggle against The Saviors. In order to win his favor, Rick tells a story his grandmother used to tell him. In the tale, passersby allowed a single rock in the road to destroy wagon wheels and cripple horses, until one girl decided to pry it from the ground and discovered a bag of gold underneath. While Ezekiel seems impressed with Rick, he appears skeptical that he will find his proverbial “bag of gold” should he offer his resources to the coming war.
A King’s decree
After taking some time to think on Rick’s proposition, Ezekiel declines to join the fight. He claims the peace he has struck with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is too brittle to jeopardize. Most of The Kingdom’s citizens remain unaware of the deal with Negan. Instead, Ezekiel gives the Alexandrians food and grants Daryl (Norman Reedus) since The Saviors will be after their escaped prisoner. As Rick surveys the people of The Kingdom partaking in weapons training, it becomes clear that he will need their manpower to have a chance against Negan. But it could be up to Daryl to convince Ezekiel to join the effort.
After clearing a blockade of cars on the highway, the group discovers a wire trap lined with dynamite. The setup was planted by The Saviors to halt an oncoming zombie herd, but Rick decides that taking the dynamite for his group could give the otherwise unarmed Alexandrians a serious advantage. A massive horde of zombies approaches in the distance, as everyone scrambles to safely disarm the dynamite and move the cars back in place. The group narrowly escapes in a car as an explosion destroys part of the herd behind them. Hopefully The Saviors won’t notice the missing dynamite from the trap.
At the top of the episode, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) ponders over his Bible while on lookout duty in Alexandria. Suddenly he abandons his post and stashes all the town’s food and weapons from the pantry into bags, before fleeing Alexandria in a car. The only clue Gabriel leaves behind his the word ”boat,” which prompts Rick to head back to the abandoned boat he and Aaron explored in the mid-season finale. How does Gabriel know about this location and what spurred him to leave his post with all of Alexandria’s supplies?
Refusing to believe that Gabriel simply abandoned the group, Rick leads a crew to track him down. They find some tracks in ground and follow them, hoping they belong to Gabriel. But as they enter a clearing filled with scrap metal, armed figures emerge from hiding and quickly surround the group. As the episode ends, Rick looks at one of the off-camera figures and smiles. Does he recognize a friendly face, or is he just putting on a brave front?