REVIEW: The Walking Dead S7 E6 ‘Swear’ asks uncomfortable questions about morality
Did you forget about Tara and Heath? No worries, because so did we. But we regret it, after The Walking Dead season 7 episode 6 ‘Swear’.
The theme of this season’s The Walking Dead has really been exploration. The show has had varying levels of success with this, ranging from the excellent introductions of The Kingdom and The Sanctuary to the abysmal return to The Hill Top last week. ‘Swear’ fits somewhere in the middle, introducing fans to a female-only encampment of survivors with a tragic past and a love for murdering outsiders.
Guiding us through this community is Tara, who we last saw way back in season six before any of this Negan horror. Thankfully, she’s remained much the same – loyal and funny and fierce. Her presence is a shining light of ‘Swear’, remaining refreshingly hopeful in a world where there hasn’t been much optimism recently.
Tara stumbles upon the thriving community almost by accident and is met by guns, then dinner. She is invited by the group’s leader, Natania, to stay with them – but it is all a ruse. We learn the group kill outsiders in fear they will be betrayed to the Saviours, who they have run away from. It’s a twist that should not be surprising on The Walking Dead, but somehow still is. Perhaps it was the smiley, grandmotherly demeanour of Natania and the serving of soup that did it. It’s a reminder from The Walking Dead to trust no-one.
‘Swear’ has none of the pace or intensity that characterised the rather excellent episodes at the start of season seven, but it is still miles better than last week’s ‘Go Getters’. It explores a new community while at the same time adding yet more depth to the extent of Negan’s control and power. It centres around an underused and likeable character, providing optimism where The Walking Dead has so often this season offered only misery. It asks interesting questions about morality, seen through the discussion between Tara and newbie Cyndie. Is there such thing as good and evil, or is there simply advantage and those too weak to seek it?
In the end, Rosita begs a returned Tara for information on other survivor groups where she can rally a following against Negan. Tara, true to character, refuses to betray Cyndie with the truth. It feels like we progressed very little in the last hour, and yet I still enjoyed the set up this oddball chapter of our story provided for the future.