The Walking Dead season 11 episode 7 review: “Promises Broken”

Lynn Collins as Leah - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC
Lynn Collins as Leah - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC /

So far every single episode of The Walking Dead season 11 has been strong, and episode 7’s “Promises Broken” is equally strong. It sets up three major stories heading into the first mid-season finale. (There are 24 episodes in the final season, divided into three segments) It might not be as riveting as last week’s “On the Inside” but it opened the door to what’s coming next.

There were three stories moving simultaneously through “Promises Broken”. There was Daryl and Leah on a mission for Pope, there was Maggie’s group and their quest to get closer to Meridian and then there was the Commonwealth story.

The Walking Dead season 11 episode 7 is a bridge to what’s next

The challenge with The Walking Dead right now is that everyone knows there are only 24 episodes in season 11, and even with more episodes it’s still the final season of the show so every episode has more riding on it than ever before.

In the past these bridging episodes served their purpose and fans didn’t think twice about it, but now it feels like valuable real estate is being “wasted” when an episode doesn’t have a huge return.

That’s not to say that this episode was a waste, because it wasn’t. But it lacked the same action and drama seen in recent episodes and the change of pace was jarring.

The Commonwealth story is very compelling right now and I’d love to see more focus on it. We haven’t had a whole episode in the Commonwealth (and likely won’t, at least for a while) and it feels like that story is being short changed because it’s a good story right now.

I’m really enjoying the interplay between Negan and Maggie. Negan came clean in this episode about his feelings about the lineup. If he could go back in time, he said, he’d have killed every last one of Maggie’s friends. His people died and if he could have put a stop to what was about to happen, he would. That’s what leaders do.

Look, I know this isn’t easy to hear, but I studied political science in college and Negan is making a classic argument about the perils of power. From his perspective his actions were justified and he regrets not doing more to protect his people. It doesn’t make him right, or what he did wrong, but it paints a picture of why he did what he did. That doesn’t make it better – at all – but it shows what he did (and, in his mind, should have done) to protect his people.

It’s important to note that he’s not doing this to rub in what happened in the past, rather he’s trying to show Maggie (in his own twisted way) that being a leader requires difficult decisions. She’s made a few – leaving Gage to be eaten was one of them – but it will take a lot more than that. It won’t be easy from this point forward.

In a lot of ways, this was the most compelling conversation between Maggie and Negan because he’s not apologizing for what he did, which would have been insincere. He’s giving her information that might help her some day. It’s an olive branch.

And then there’s Daryl and Leah. I’m fascinated by Leah’s character. Ever since Daryl’s arrival it seems like her worldview has been shaken to the core. She doesn’t appear to be as supportive of Pope’s mission as she might have been previously and her time with Daryl is revealing the cracks in her resolve.

I think the troubling aspect of what’s happening on the show right now is that the quest for food for the Alexandrians has been playing out since the season premiere and they’re no closer to the food than they were before. Again, real estate in the final season is at a premium and there are so many stories to follow. If episodes continue to be split up with several stories playing out, then it’s going to take a while to get to the finish line.

dark. Next. The Walking Dead season 11 episode 7 review: A very haunted house

The change of pace was an interesting factor in this episode, but the story does a lot to bring Maggie’s group closer to Meridian while Daryl learns more about where Leah’s head is at the moment. And it looks like the Commonwealth travelers are about to meet the people in charge and that could go sideways quickly.

What did you think about this week’s episode of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments!