The Walking Dead: looking back at “Rock in the Road”

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Danai Gurira as Michonne, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

As the final episode of The Walking Dead series looms near, it is nice to look back on where this series has come from. As part of my look back, I am revisiting episodes on the anniversary of the original air date on AMC. It is a fascinating look back, especially with the very early episodes, to see how this show’s storyline has come from.

On February 12, 2017, the seventh season midseason premiere episode “Rock in the Road” aired on AMC. This episode was written by Angela Kang and directed by Greg Nicotero, always a great duo. The episode is dedicated to the memory of James Heltibridle, a member of the props department for The Walking Dead, who passed away unexpectedly.

This episode sees Negan and the Saviors’ continued torment to the survivors.

The Walking Dead season 7

The episode begins with some stranger behavior by Father Gabriel. He takes food stores and weapons and leaves in a car during the night. A dark figure appears in the passenger’s seat as he drives away.

Back at Hilltop, Gregory refuses to help Rick and the group fight the Saviors. But, the residents of the community are willing and able to fight.

Jesus takes Rick’s group to meet King Ezekiel at the Kingdom, where they are reunited with Morgan and discover Carol was there but has left to an undisclosed location. They meet with the King and discuss partnering to take down the Saviors. During the meeting with the King, Rick tells the story of the Rock in the Road, which is where the episode gets its title.

"Rick tells the story of a kingdom that had a well traveled road. The road had a giant rock in the middle and people stumbled over the rock and horses broke their legs trying to maneuver around it. One day a little girl was badly injured when her family’s wagon hit the rock. They had been traveling to the market to sell their beer when their cart tipped and all of their beer poured into the ground. It was all the product they had to sell, and without that money they would have nothing. The girl didn’t understand why so many people tried to go around the rock instead of moving it. Why would a rock be in such a bad location? So the girl started digging with her bare hands, and eventually she was able to move the rock out of the way. Before she could cover up the hole, he found a bag of gold. (At this point in Rick’s story Jerry cheered) The King had put the rock in the road and he put the gold there to reward the person who took the time to move the rock. Anyone who would do such a thing deserved to be rewarded."

Although the story strikes a chord with the King, he is reluctant to violate the peace he has with the Saviors but does offer to allow Daryl to hide out in the Kingdom as the Saviors are actively searching for him since his escape from the Sanctuary.

After leaving the Kingdom, they come upon a tripwire on the highway that leads to an awesome and memorable walker kill scene with Michonne and Rick. They drive cars connected with the cable that proceeds to slice through a massive horde of walkers.

Their arrival at Alexandria coincides with Simon and some Savior’s arrival. They are looking for Daryl and proceed to search the community for him. They discover the empty pantry, and when the Saviors leave, Aaron and Tobin explain that Gabriel is gone along with the food, weapons, and car.

Rick discovers a clue from Gabriel leading them to the boat that he and Aaron found supplies. They head towards the lake and come upon some footprints that lead to an overgrown parking lot. A large armed group then surrounds them, and Rick smiles.

This will lead to the formal introduction of Jadis and her Heapsters. Rick smiles because he sees a large group of potential allies.

The Walking Dead: looking back at “Nebraska”. dark. Next

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 20 and AMC+ on February 13.

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