The Walking Dead, season 7 episode 14, The Other Side, review: Rosita and Sasha take on Negan

Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams and Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinos on The Walking Dead
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams and Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinos on The Walking Dead Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The heave against Negan became official this week as Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Sasha ( Sonequa Martin-Green) took the fight to the Saviours. Not that they achieved a great deal, with their attempted rescue of Eugene (Josh McDermitt) frustrated by the fact he was happy with his new job as Negan’s Smartypants-in-chief. 

Obviously they didn’t kill Negan either – with two episodes remaining this season, the strutting villain was never going to be bundled hastily off stage. Still, contrasted with Rick’s endless mooching in the wilderness and the cantaloupe-fuelled silliness at The Kingdom, Sasha and Rosita’s willingness to charge over the top was satisfyingly straightforward. The wheels were finally in motion.

On the heels of Morgan’s breakdown the previous week – prompted by the deaths of Benjamin and Richard but in truth a delayed response to the loss of his son – there was further juicy character development too. 

With Rosita temporarily lowering her forcefields of grumpiness, we had an insight into her brutalised world-view while Sasha’s suicidal assault on the Sanctuary was presented as a calculated gamble rather than a foolhardy rush. She had decided to give her all for the people she loved – and, in particular, to avenge Abraham. In that context a doomed shoot-out with the Saviours was made to seem brave instead of reckless. Here is the rest of what we learned from this week's instalment of The Walking Dead

1: Negan survived Sasha ’n Rosita’s half-hearted assassination attempt

In the abandoned building overlooking the Saviour’s Sanctuary, Sasha literally had Negan in her sights – but could not get a clear shot. From a storytelling perspective, this was to be expected: the Saviour boss has been the most watchable thing on The Walking Dead this series and there was no chance that Sasha would get to simply cut him down.

 There was also the distraction of Eugene barking orders to the Saviours and of the Doctor Harlan – aka Doctor Carson 2.0 – arriving from The Hilltop as replacement for his recently flambeed brother (Doctor Carson the first). With no medic at the Hilltop, Maggie would face the rest of her pregnancy alone. No wonder Sasha’s aim was shaky. 

2: Is Daryl correct to blame himself for Glenn’s death? 

Norman Reedus on the Walking Dead Credit: AMC

Negan’s frenzied attack on Abraham in the season opener was “payback” for the swing Daryl (Norman Reedus) took at the Saviour big bad. So it was entirely reasonable that Daryl would blame himself for his friend’s death – and that he would break down as he had his first serious tête-à-tête with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) since they reunited. But she had already made peace with his part in her husband’s ghastly demise. 

“You’re one of the good things in this world,” she told Daryl as they hid from the Saviours. “That’s what Glenn thought.” With Maggie’s forgiveness obtained, what chance the mumbly Daryl, who has just joined Rosita at the Saviour compound, will step out from his cloud of despair and commence speaking in complete sentences again? We dare to hope.

3: Is Gregory about to be overthrown? 

Gregory (Xander Berkeley) is undoubtedly a weak leader – a world-class sniveler in fact – but he’s a survivor too. Yet for how much longer can he keep Negan onside while quelling dissent among his people at The Hilltop? With Saviour Simon (Steven Ogg) swooping for Dr Harlan – his brother Dr Emmett having recently been inserted into a furnace by Negan –  Gregory’s position is significantly diminished. Hilltop now has no doctor and Maggie is openly training rebels even as Gregory insists he and his population are loyal to Negan. At least one leader is likely to be deposed by the end of the season. The clever money is on Gregory rather than his bat-wielding overlord. 

4: And will Jesus be the one to plunge the knife? 

That Gregory is about to overthrown was hinted at none too subtly during his heart-to-heart with de-facto second in command Jesus (who – shock, disbelief etc – was confirmed as gay this week). Gregory wants Maggie and her friends out of Jesus’s trailer and contributing to the upkeep of The Hilltop (is it just us or does the latter sound entirely reasonable?). The ultimatum was received as a threat by Jesus (Tom Payne). Is their fragile alliance about to splinter?

5: How great would a Sasha-Rosita road movie be?

Sasha and Rosita hitting the highway together was a hoot. They traded put-downs, learned to set aside their differences and work together and – extra cool points – reversed a car over a posse of walkers. What a pity Sasha has dashed off to her apparent doom – and that actress Martin-Green is soon to be otherwise occupied as leading lady in Star Trek Discovery. Their partnership oozes buddy-movie potential. Here was the post-apocalyptic Thelma and Louise we hadn’t realised we needed in our lives. 

6: Eugene – how could you? 

Eugene was suspiciously enthusiastic delivering his “I am Negan” speech several episode ago. So when he told Rosita he didn’t actually want to be rescued, thank you very much, it was merely confirmation of his transition to the dark side. The success of his full-metal zombie strategy – whereby walkers are covered in molten metal and attached to the Saviour fence – has evidently gone to his head. It used to be just Eugene’s mullet that reeked of evil – now the rest of him has joined in. 

7: Rosita let it all out

Going into the episode we knew two things about Rosita – that she was a) perpetually grumpy and b) unusually well-trained for a civilian without military experience. In their final heart-to-heart she revealed to Sasha that she had acquired her know-how on the road, falling in with (and sleeping with) those with the expertise she required. “I was picking up everything they knew and [learning] how to do it better – the sex was just for fun.”

8: Is Sasha doomed? 

As already pointed out, actress Martin-Green is about to start a new job as Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford in Star Trek Discovery. The makers of The Walking Dead have been quick to insist she will be able to juggle both that role and the part of Sasha. Nonetheless, the character’s decision to take on the entire Saviour compound on her own had the whiff of a suicide mission. This jarred as she had earlier argued with Rosita that the smarter strategy was to shoot Negan from afar, thus improving their chances of a getaway. Perhaps she has an exceedingly cunning plan up her bloodstained sleeve.

The Walking Dead continues Mondays at 9pm on Fox

 

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