It’s been several seasons since TWD started airing episodes that centered around just one or two of the main characters, and yet here I am, still surprised that Tara got essentially an entire one to herself with “Swear”.
Despite the fact that we haven’t laid eyes on Tara since last season, there was a lot about “Swear” that seemed rushed. The timeline regarding how long she has been away from Alexandria is still barely intelligible, even after watching an episode about her that actually went beyond the usual run time.
There’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to complain at all about “Swear”, for several reasons. While the timeline is still vague, we at least know what Tara was up to during it, and I’m definitely intrigued by the settlement she discovered – and hoping we will encounter them again. But that’s kind of the problem; we can’t be certain that will happen…at least not in the foreseeable future.
However, in regards to “Swear” being rushed, her running into yet another group that had been affected by the Saviors was really, well, convenient. The Saviors/Negan plot could take up more than one season; after all, TWD spend that much time on The Governor, and it’s already obvious that Negan is a way more all-encompassing “big bad”. It may have been right for Tara’s timeline to find this community, but I don’t think it was in the interest of good storytelling for the writers to immediately TELL us, through one far-too-straightforward conversation, that Natanya’s group knows that Tara’s people attacked the Saviors, while Natanya and her people were a group who was hiding from the Saviors.
The other thing is, with as much as Tara told them, who says they hadn’t already gone back to look for Heath? Hopefully he got away, as the tracks suggested, but unless I’ve missed something we haven’t seen him in a while, either. Will we ever find out what happened to him, regardless of whether or not he eventually shows back up in Alexandria? Part of me wants to know, but another part of me cringes at the thought of this show spending another full episode on a single known character (or, to be honest, even half an episode doing such).
What I’m trying to say is that there was somehow both not very much and yet quite a lot going on in “Swear”…but I think it’s important to mention that I was, for the most part, pleased with what we saw regarding this new community. It’s another one that is clearly filled with harsh realities, some of which it’s hard to agree with (like you know, killing not just the “bobbers”/dead but any live stranger you see, as well). But it’s still a large group of women and children surviving together, and honestly doing a pretty damn good job of it. No, they’re not perfect, but they’ve got a good thing going, and hey, the writers allowed for a story that tells us they figured it out all on their own! (In case you can’t tell, I’m being very tongue-in-cheek here.)
Again, while I may not agree with Natanya’s order to kill live strangers on sight, I also can’t agree with Cindy’s pacifist view that they don’t really *have* to kill anyone; that no one is truly/completely evil. But in the end it didn’t really matter, because while Natanya obviously meant to stick by her rule of not letting strangers live (and seriously, who didn’t see that coming?), Cindy saved Tara anyway. Not only that, but at the very end of “Swear”, Tara had made her way back to Alexandria, to be greeted by a mourning Eugene and the reality of Denise’s death. Considering that Tara had camped out in a souvenir store on her way back and picked up a bobblehead doll of a doctor for her girlfriend, I had a hard time holding back the tears during this scene.
And yet, true to her word – for as per the episode title (insert eye roll) Cindy made Tara “Swear” that she wouldn’t tell anyone about them – when Rosita insisted that there must be somewhere safe they could go, Tara replied, “I didn’t see anything like that.” I hope this lie doesn’t come back to bite her in the ass, but then, if we ever want to see Natanya, Cindy, Beatrice, or even *Rachel* again, we have to assume that it will.
What did you think about this Tara-centric episode? Will she ever get over trying (and usually failing) to make light of bad situations? Will we see Natanya or Cindy or any of the others again? Did anything about “Swear” make up for us having to wait another week to see what happens to Jesus and Carl after last week’s “Go Getters”? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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