After a divisive cliffhanger and a summer spent teasing the fan base, The Walking Dead returned in brutal fashion for its season 7 premiere, ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be’. The episode not only featured the deaths of two prominent characters from the series (one that was foretold in the comics and one that wasn’t) but it also earned AMC some of its highest ratings in years, tallying enough viewers to be the second highest-rated episode in the series. But The Walking Dead wasn’t done there, the long-running series followed up its bloody premiere with a well-received second episode that introduced the fan-favorite character Ezekiel.
As the season plods on toward episode 3, ‘The Cell,’ this Sunday, teasing a look at Daryl’s new life under Negan, the series has seen fit to entice viewers with some details about episode 4 — which will mark the halfway point of season 7’s first batch of episodes. Not only does it sound like the episode will serve to ramp up the already high tension between Alexandria and the Saviors, but it will have a lot more time to do it in.
The episode, titled ‘Service’, received an official synopsis that provided a couple of details about what the extended installment will entail. The synopsis, which was revealed by DirecTV (via SpoilerTV), reads as follows:
“The remaining members of the group try to keep it together in Alexandria; they receive a sobering visit.”Though vague, the synopsis does get fans wondering just who is going to show up to torment Rick and the main cast next. Given the source material and how the season has fared for the cast so far, it sounds like the visitor isn’t just making a social call. When you weigh the possible meanings of the episode’s title (possibly a reference to serving someone else, or maybe a funeral service) then it becomes even more ominous. Naturally, all eyes will be pointing to Negan, but given the extra time being allotted for the episode, the visitor may be someone who requires a little more time to introduce.
Whoever is knocking on Rick’s door, they have 85 minutes to get an answer. Given the talk of the group trying to keep it together, it sounds like the extra time will be fairly tense. It may seem odd that a longer episode would come a few episodes into the season instead of packing more time into the premiere or finale, so there’s likely a good reason for adding time to this episode specifically.
When The Walking Dead is at its best, its characters are stressed to the breaking point and looking for a way to just keep surviving. One of the big complaints of last season was that the show tried to artificially extend these moments to the point that the tension just became tedious. Hopefully, this extended episode isn’t a sign of season 7 taking the same route. We’ll have to wait and see just what the episode has in store to justify the longer runtime, and hopefully the show will continue the positive trajectory it’s had so far this season.