The Walking Dead Takes Us on Another Unnecessary Detour in “Swear”


“Swear Plot Summary:”

We find out what happened with Heath (Corey Hawkins) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) when they went out ┬áscavenging. Tara ends up falling into a river during a walker attack and ends up at the Oceanside community — a village populated with women and children only.

Wow, could this just get any worse at this point?

After boring the living shit out of us with an agonizingly slow 90 minute slog in Alexandria, and a terribly written, and paced return to The Hilltop — the writers decided to center “Swear” around probably one of the most inconsequential characters in the series, Tara.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Yes, because we all really needed to know about that scavenging expedition she and the other most irrelevant character on the show, Heath, were doing. Seriously, we haven’t seen these characters in months, and now they decide “Hey, let’s give these crazy kids an episode.” Well, actually only one of the characters (Tara) actually got significant airtime.

The kicker here is not only is this a Tara-centric episode, but we’re introduced to even more side characters — the women of the Oceanside. This community has the requisite characters – the wise but cautious leader, the annoying kid, the stoic warriors, et al. The episode is fine and all, but I just could not give a shit at this point. Seriously, how many more of these random characters are going to be introduced? How far are we going to stray away from the actual interesting plot points of this series, namely what’s happening with Carol and King Ezekiel, Daryl’s imprisonment, and how everyone is going to come together to stop Negan?

Now, if the women of Oceanside are going to join the battle against The Saviors, then I get introducing them. But, unfortunately we’re adding more characters to an already overstuffed world. Seriously, there’s way too many people in this show, and the more they keep adding characters, the less time we’re spending on the characters we actually care about.

The bright spot of the episode, luckily, is Alanna Masterson. And boy, if she was bad in this episode, this would’ve easily been one of the worst episodes the show has ever produced. Since we met her character seasons ago, Tara’s been a funny, and capable member of Rick’s crew. However, she’s never been a featured player since she joined the Alexandria crew. Only when she was with The Governor did we get a chance to see her character flourish. She’s been a wallflower for the majority of the past few seasons, so to give her an entire episode was a bit of head scratcher. Luckily, Masterson’s inherent charm, and self-deprecating sense of humor bolsters a very dry episode.

“Swear” is a decent entry into the season. There are some good, emotional moments and a strong performance from Masterson. However, if you decide to skip this one, or even just forget to watch it, you aren’t missing anything.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites