Rock in the Road
|"Rock in the Road"|
|The Walking Dead episode|
Enid tells the group that she needs to show them something: The people of Hilltop offer to join Alexandria in the fight against the Saviors.
|Directed by||Greg Nicotero|
|Written by||Angela Kang|
|Original air date||February 12, 2017|
|Running time||50 minutes|
"Rock in the Road" is the ninth episode and mid-season premiere of the seventh season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, which aired on AMC on February 12, 2017. The episode was written by Angela Kang and directed by Greg Nicotero.
Ever since the season seven premiere, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has tormented the survivors and relished every moment. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his spirit broken after the deaths of Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), submitted to Negan's rule. But now, reunited with Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green), he's ready to go to war. Together, the Alexandrians will attempt to go toe-to-toe with Negan's larger, better-armed and infinitely more ruthless force.
During the night shift at Alexandria, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) sees something in the darkness. In a panic, he loads all of Alexandria's store of food and weapons into a car and drives away, as a dark figure appears in the passenger seat.
Meanwhile, at Hilltop, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group attempt to convince Gregory (Xander Berkeley), Hilltop's leader, to assist in the struggle with the Saviors, but Gregory stubbornly refuses. Rick and his group, including Daryl (Norman Reedus), prepare to leave, but a group of Hilltop citizens pledge their support to Rick.
Before leaving Hilltop, Jesus (Tom Payne) proposes a visit to the Kingdom to introduce them to King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). There, Rick's group reunites with Morgan (Lennie James), who, in keeping his word to Carol (Melissa McBride), asserts to them that he found her but she had subsequently left the Kingdom. Rick pleads his case to Ezekiel, who needs time to consider it but offers the group to stay overnight. However, the next day, Ezekiel states that he does not want to be involved, but will offer asylum to Daryl, who is currently a fugitive from the Saviors. Daryl does not want to stay, but Rick encourages him for his and Alexandria's safety, as well as to help convince Ezekiel to change his mind.
Rick's group drives back to Alexandria, but encounters a blockade of cars, set up by the Saviors to herd passing walkers, as well as a tripline rigged with dynamite. Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) spend time to recover the dynamite, but a large group of walkers approaches. Rick and Michonne use the two cars to which the tripline was attached to run through and decimate the walker herd, giving them time to escape. They arrive at Alexandria just as a group of Saviors led by Simon (Steven Ogg) drive up; they are seeking Daryl. Rick lets them aggressively search the community, discovering that most of their food and other weapons are missing. As they leave, Simon warns that should Daryl turn up, there is "no statute of limitations".
Rick and the others try to figure out what happened to their stock of food, and discover Gabriel's absence. They find a note in his book with "boat", and Rick realizes this is the boat he and Aaron (Ross Marquand) had previously scavenged for supplies. Rick, Michonne, Aaron, Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) go to the boat and follow footprints they recognize as Gabriel's, to a nearby urban parking lot. They are suddenly surrounded by a large group of people, weapons trained on them. Upon seeing this new group of survivors, Rick smiles.
"Rock in the Road" received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an 89% with an average rating of 7.44 out of 10, based on 36 reviews. The site's consensus reads: Incorporating a growing sense of optimism into the bleakness of its continuing arc, "Rock in the Road" is an energized and amusing setup for a climactic, imminent war.
The episode received a 5.7 rating in the key 18-49 demographic with 12.00 million total viewers.
- "Rock in the Road". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Porter, Rick (February 14, 2017). "Sunday cable ratings: 'The Walking Dead' improves in its return". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 14, 2017.