Forging alliances flashback: 'Something They Need' in The Walking Dead season 7

The Walking Dead season 7 episode "Something They Need" is a look at Rick's attempt to gain the upper hand against Negan.
AMC Networks' "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live" Advance Screening And Conversation
AMC Networks' "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live" Advance Screening And Conversation / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

"Something They Need" is the fifteenth episode of the seventh season of The Walking Dead. Though it has a few memorable moments featuring "walkers," it's yet another episode primarily about the human conflict. In "Something They Need," the storyline revolves around Rick Grimes and his group's efforts to gather (or, let's face it, steal) supplies from the Oceanside community to aid in their impending war against the Saviors. We are also reminded of the stakes.

Recall that Negan has a harem of “wives,” or women who are basically forced to belong to Negan. In fact, as with every dictatorial setting, "loyalty" is really just something that happens out of fear. By this point in season 7, the reasons to fear Negan have become more about reasons to despise him, and to seek a "regime change." So Tara leads the group to Oceanside, where they plan to convince the residents to join them in the fight against Negan.

However, their plan is complicated by the residents' reluctance to engage in another conflict after previously suffering losses at the hands of the Saviors. Meanwhile, though he's not literally at the Savior's compound, Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop community, is no doubt more in league with Negan to protect his own interests. To be fair, he likely also feels it's for the best of the Hilltop community, but he nevertheless will put his own interests first. Also, Greg knows he looks weak to everyone, and likely knows his actions will be met with skepticism and disdain from the charismatic Negan and his followers, who regard him as spineless.

Strengths of this Walking Dead episode

This episode features various subplots, including Eugene's continued adaptation to life as a Savior, Sasha's imprisonment at the Sanctuary, and the ongoing tensions between the different survivor communities. "Something They Need" sets the stage for the climactic events of the season finale, as Rick and his allies prepare for a final showdown with Negan and the Saviors (though some people insist Negan did nothing wrong).

The writing here (and throughout the season) is probably better than typically given credit for, as juggling all of these different storylines in even a semi-compelling way can be a tricky task. That being said, to anyone not feeling season 7 of The Walking Dead, some of these episodes would probably be regarded as tedious, or like they are intentionally drawing out the season.

For me, it's not particularly tedious, but it's often still too easy to forget The Walking Dead is kind of about, you know, the walking dead. Lastly, I do appreciate the moments between Eugene and Sasha, which are the most subtle yet powerful parts of the episode.

The Walking Dead series' first walker: Teddy Bear Girl. The Walking Dead series' first walker: Teddy Bear Girl. dark. Next

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