Walking Dead, “Say Yes” — A Long, Odd, Violent Set-Up for One Great Emotional Scene

The Walking Dead, "Say Yes"
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“Say Yes” Plot Summary:

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) hit the road to scavenge for food and guns — hit a various deadly jackpot. Back in Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) is hitting her boiling point.

So this was a weird one.

“Say Yes” was basically a buddy road movie/romantic comedy that was halted by an emotionally charged punch to the mouth.

This episode was uncharacteristically lighthearted, so uncharacteristic that it was disarming, and jarring. Rick and Michonne spend the majority of the episode cracking wise, making puppy eyes at each other, and slaughtering walkers. It was so lighthearted I was half expecting “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” to start playing in the background.

One of the biggest criticisms I have for this show (and I’m not the only one) is that it’s too serious, and too harrowing at times. So, I should be happy the series took a detour into lighter territory. However, it was a sharp detour that felt out of place, unnatural even. I know Rick “found his smile” recently, but even those moments were still drenched in sinew and viscera (thanks in part to the spike-laden walker). Now, it’s like Rick and Michonne have become a post apocalyptic Murtagh and Riggs — cracking wise, and cracking skulls.

Now, if this levity and lightheartedness were confined to everything before the big action sequence. However, Rick and Michonne seemed to be doing their best impersonations of Legolas and Gimli — counting and comparing body counts. Normally, this would be fine, however for a series that is usually never funny, this comes off a bit odd, and defangs a rather intense sequence.

Then the moment came.

Michonne thinks Rick is being eaten alive by walkers and she just collapses internally. Her entire world is crushed. She drops he sword and is ready to give herself up to death. Luckily, she’s snapped back into reality when Rick emerges from a hiding spot and kills the walkers who were actually eating a deer that had wandered in.

While extremely clunky in execution (it was fairly obvious Rick wasn’t dead), this scene may have been one of the most genuinely emotional, and heartfelt moments in recent series history.

There have been shocking, harrowing moments in this series, especially in the Negan era. However, we haven’t seen a reaction like this — of genuine loss. The reactions have ranged from shock to immediately howling lamentation. Characters and audience alike are just stuck in a numb “WTF” state of mind. The shock of the death has been usually so violent and intense that it’s hard to process.

Here, however, we saw a moment of soul crushing humanity. This entire weird episode was a set-up for this moment. The two were happy, playful, goofy, and genuinely lovey dovey towards each other — something we’ve rarely seen from them/any couple on the series. Seeing that intimate dynamic really made this moment even more impactful.

This was a risky move by the creative team, and it really paid off. We’re now more invested in both Rick and Michonne than ever before. We want them to survive and stay together. We want them to get their storybook ending. We want them to “reorder things together.”

The rest of the episode was more of Rosita being pissed, and Tara (Alanna Masterson) feeling guilty about not telling the gang about the community she stumbled upon. The results here were obvious — Rosita’s off to do something dumb, and Tara spills the beans.

Overall, “Say Yes,” is an episode longtime fans can really sink their teeth into, as opposed to the cannon fodder the season has been filled with.

Rating: 7 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