Every week, The Walking Dead’s very own Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene Porter, is taking EW behind the scenes of the hit AMC horror series. For each episode, McDermitt will share his thoughts on what went down, what’s coming up, and walk us through the ins and outs of the show. McDermitt kicks off his blog by diving into the fourth episode of season 7, “Service.”
There’s a lot to get to in last night’s episode titled “Service” of The Walking Dead, so let’s get to it!
Yay! We get to see Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang back at Alexandria in the aftermath of that run-in with that pesky Negan! Oh wait, this isn’t as exciting as I had hoped. Oh, no, it’s very sad.
The last time Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and our heroes were together, Negan said he would stop by for his first collection in a week. Last night’s episode had Negan and his Saviors showing up early. This certainly catches Rick and the others off guard. Oh, Negan… why you so bully? That makes zero sense. I’m just trying to connect with the tweens.
We shot this episode in the beginning of June. Poor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He’s trapped in a VERY breathable leather jacket in some very humid summertime heat in Georgia. This guy comes onto the show in late November last year. It’s already getting chilly, plus we’re shooting overnights. He probably sipped a latte or two because he’s fancy like that. Then fast forward to the first episode this season — still shooting mostly overnight. The weather is not too bad. Fast forward again to last night’s episode, shot during the day, in early June, in Georgia. The blacktop streets bounce off so much light and heat it can be miserable if you don’t find shade from time to time. I think at one point one of our Assistant Directors, Drew Whitehouse, took a temperature reading of the ground and it was well over 130 degrees. Nobody made a big deal or seemed surprised by that. That’s what we’ve grown accustomed to in the Georgia heat. I don’t want to say Jeffrey Dean Morgan was sweaty and wet, but if you came in physical contact with him during this episode you would start to hydroplane. Welcome to TWD, JDM!
Negan and the Saviors (sounds like a Swamp Rock cover band, doesn’t it?) do something here that wasn’t in the comics. They take the Alexandrians’ guns. I love this departure from the comics. I love it when we stick to the comics, and I love it even more when we take a left turn from our source material. Taking the guns from Rick and the others leaves an already crushed and devastated group deeper in a hole. We start to get the sense that there’s no way to win against these guys. With Negan showing up and snagging their firepower, it makes the stakes that much greater.
What I enjoy about this story is that Negan always seems to be ahead of Rick and the Alexandrians. We saw examples of that at the end of last season and it’s carried over into this episode. We get the sense that this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with a defiant leader of a community. Negan knows the drill. He isn’t fooled. Rick, however, is still getting used to this new arrangement.
And everyone in this community is getting used to it. Spencer (Austin Nichols) brilliantly almost not letting Negan through the gates is hilarious to me. That dude is such a punk and he brandishes his entitlement to Negan by asking, “Um, who are you?” Classic Spencer.
Rosita (Christian Serratos) certainly turns up the badass, doesn’t she? It’s almost like she’s channeling a bit of Abraham. She’s always been one to stand her ground, and taking it out on Spencer, her boy toy from last season, is pretty epic. I like this Rosita. I want to see more from her. She doesn’t like the fact the Saviors take their guns. She’s made up her mind she won’t live in this world without a gun. So she goes on a hunt to find one and then asks Eugene (my favorite character, by far) to make her a bullet. We don’t see Eugene’s response, but we can only hope he’s able to step up like he was last season and help her out.
One thing I thought was amazing from the episode was the moment Michonne (Danai Gurira) finds a pile of burning mattresses on the side of the road. She is so pissed off. I don’t know if it’s clearly stated that those are the mattresses the Saviors took from Alexandria, but if they are, it just shows how ruthless these people are. What a great way for the writers to show examples of their evil. It doesn’t always have to be about bashing heads in. These guys are a bunch of jerks.
Rick and Michonne speak about what their life is going to be like moving forward. Michonne mentions that everything they have they got by fighting. But Rick doesn’t want to fight; he knows they’re outnumbered. He says they could have some kind of life by playing by their rules. He then tells Michonne about Shane and how he knows baby Judith isn’t his, but it’s his daughter and he loves her. This made me cry. I was an emotional wreck reading that in the script and I lost it while watching the episode.
And that does it! I can’t wait to see next week’s episode with Maggie and Sasha… my guess is they’ll be sad… because, well, you know…
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