Sunday, November 27, 2016

Walking Dead recap: Season 7 Episode 6, "Swear"

The beginning of “Swear” echoes the ending of “Go Getters,” in which Jesus and Carl exchanged a long look in the back of the Savior truck they'd separately boarded, in a faceoff between the old and new world order. This time, Cyndie (Sydney Park) is the pragmatic but pacifist adult trying to play by the old rules, while Rachel (Mimi Kirkland) is the child young enough to have adapted without question to brutal post-apocalyptic survivalism. As in the last episode, the child's point of view seems to be in the ascendancy. Cyndie's status as an adult and the granddaughter of one of her group's leaders would have made her an undisputed authority figure in the pre-walker world, but when Cyndie and Rachel find Tara (Alanna Masterson) on the beach, Cyndie's humane impulse to spare Tara's life just barely prevails over Rachel's grim insistence on shooting the stranger on sight, as instructed.

The sun-flooded, ocean-breezy vacation-brochure look of their Oceanside beach colony is a startling, if welcome, break from the dark or disheveled settings where most of the series plays out. That, coupled with the oddity of the colony’s consisting entirely of women and girls, since the Saviors killed off all their men and boys, gives “Swear” a dream-within-a-nightmare feel. In fact, for a little while it seems as if it might all be in the passed-out Tara’s mind: a utopian fantasy about a group of heavily armed, attractive women in a beautiful spot with an endless supply of fresh seafood.

Oceanside turns out to be more dystopia than utopia, though, as Tara discovers when Cyndie again rescues her, this time from the ambush Cyndie’s grandmother arranged for their guest. Yet Tara retains enough empathy for Oceanside, or maybe just for Cyndie, to honor her promise not to tell anyone about them when she gets back to Alexandria. Her lie to Rosita is an unusual challenge to the group loyalty that usually motivates the Alexandrians’ decisions, yet her apparent betrayal may actually make the group stronger once the fight against the Saviors commences. If the Alexandrians can leverage Tara’s bond with Cyndie to gain a savvy and well-armed set of allies, they’ll be much better off than they would be if they simply captured their weapons and made enemies of the people themselves. Assuming, that is, that the Oceanside group hasn’t sidelined or even killed Cyndie for her insubordination by the time the Alexandrians go looking for allies.

Read the rest on The House Next Door

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