After last week’s interlude into Morgan’s origin story, tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead returns to the present… with plenty of questions that need to be answered.
Is it good?
The episode opens with Rick running in slow motion toward Alexandria, yelling and screaming for them to open the gate. This was a bit confusing to me since the last time we saw him, he was trapped in an RV and surrounded by a nearly impenetrable horde of walkers. But I’m sure this is just another non-linear plot diversion that will all be explained by the end of the episode.
Anyway, Rick makes it inside Alexandria and proceeds to make a dramatic speech. Deanna begins wandering around town in a daze. Aaron then takes over as Rick’s hype man and tells them that it was Rick’s plan that caused this current disaster from being much worse. He then totally kills the mood by admitting that his pack was taken on a recruiting trip, which is how The Wolves found out about their sanctuary.
Later, Jesse is shown taking care of business via clearing out dead bodies and dispatching dead walkers. When a few people see her doing her thing, she takes a moment to make another dramatic speech about basically the same stuff Rick already said.
By the way, has anyone seen Carol?
Rise of Ron
Carl decides to go over the wall and look for Enid. He decides to tell Ron, who isn’t real thrilled with the idea. In fact, he threatens to tell on Carl to Rick about it. Carl makes a dramatic speech. Ron doesn’t agree with his points.
The two boys then proceed to do battle in one of the most accurate screen depictions of 16-year-old males fighting that you will ever see. Once its over, Ron goes to Rick (the dude who killed his father) and asks if he can teach him how to shoot a gun. Rick obliges. I’m sure that won’t have any consequences down the road.
By the way, has anyone seen Carol? And we haven’t had any flashbacks yet. I’m really starting to wonder how Rick got out of the RV…
Despite Rick and Jesse’s speeches, the townsfolk are getting restless. Actually, restless isn’t the right word. They’ve pretty much given up. They push right pass the poor woman trying to ration the food and help themselves to a last meal buffet. This would be the perfect time for Carol to come in and open up a can of whoop ass, but I’m starting to think that she was the victim of episode budgeting.
But have no fear, because Spencer’s there to save the day. Even when his fellow Alexandrians call him out for leaving the gate open (which is a pretty dumb thing to do during the zombie apocalypse), he stands firm and forces them to stop looting…before stealing a bottle of liquor for himself
Meanwhile, Jesse attempts to coax her younger/extremely traumatized son out of his room with cookies. You know who else makes good cookies? Carol. And I’m starting to think Rick has magical powers, because that’s the only way he escaped that RV.
Poor Deanna. She’s completely shell shocked, which is an understandable reaction to watching the community she worked so hard to build crumble around her. To make matters worse, she finds Spencer drinking the pilfered liquor and rambling about how they are all going to die. Her douchebag son then proceeds to chastise blame her for everything horrible that’s ever happened.
Meanwhile, Denise is (understandably) freaking out about what just happened. Tara comes and offers her some words of comfort. Later, Denise resigns herself to the same fatalistic outlook on life as the rest of the town, finds Tara, and kisses her. I gotta be honest, if I thought I was going to die soon, Tara would be the LAST person I’d seek, but you do your thing, Denise. (And at least Tara didn’t give her one of those cringe-inducing fist bumps).
Later that evening, Rick goes over to Jesse’s place. She asks for comforting words. He responds by making out with her. Ugh.
Into the Depths
Maggie decides to go after Glenn. Aaron insists on helping her. He leads them to a secret door that takes them under the wall and into the sewers. They crawl through the muck for a while before being attacked by poop zombies. After surviving what was no doubt a skid mark-inducing ordeal, Maggie tells Aaron she’s pregnant (duh) and blames herself for Glenn going out (instead of her) and not coming back.
The pair bond over their respective burdens of guilt. They are also blocked by a wall of poop zombies, so they decide to turn back. Upon reaching Alexandria, they optimistically scrub the names of their loved ones from recently scribed memorial wall.
Meanwhile, Deanna stumbles through town and gets attacked by a walker. She promptly forgets everything she knows about killing a zombie and stabs it in the chest repeatedly. Rick rushes in out of nowhere and kills the zombie for her. Deanna says she wants to live (funny way of showing it). She gets up, walks off, and bangs the fence to show the other walkers who’s boss.
Is it Good?
At one point in the episode, we see Denna write on a map: DOLOR HIC TIBI PRODERIT OLIM, “Someday this pain will be useful to you.” (Thanks Dalton Ross). I really hope the show’s writers meant that as a message to the audience, because this episode was kind of terrible.
Let’s put aside the fact that we STILL don’t get to find out what happened to Glenn (and resign ourselves to the fact that his impending fate will likely be milked for another two or three episodes). Why the heck did we just skip over how Rick got out of the RV? That was a huge cliffhanger two weeks ago, almost on par with Glenn’s. We knew Rick was going to make it, but the show owed it to the audience to show how it happened.
Once Rick got back inside the town, however, things got even worse. When characters weren’t stopping to make dramatic speeches every five seconds, they acted like complete idiots. And yes, I know everyone just went through a horrible trauma. But how could Deanna think that stabbing zombie over and over in the chest was a good idea? How could that entire interaction between Carl and Ron even happen? And just how did Maggie think Glenn would leave her a sign if he was still alive?
And the whole thing with people taking from the food bank? Carol would have smacked that nonsense down in a heartbeat. Same with Morgan. I get that each show needs to stay within a certain budget, but having those two missing from an episode that takes place ENTIRELY INSIDE THE TOWN didn’t feel right at all.
As far as the hook ups were concerned, that’s a lot more believable considering the circumstances. But unlike Denise/Tara’s moment, Rick and Jesse’s just felt kind of creepy. She asks for words of comfort and he responds by putting the moves on her? The same dude who (rightfully) killed her husband? I just don’t see Jesse being so vulnerable that she’d do that yet.
So to recap, the episode failed to resolve two of this season’s most important cliffhangers, with one of them seemingly being brushed aside, and was absent two of its most interesting characters. Add in the all the other nonsense, and this one was almost as bad as an install of Fear the Walking Dead. Almost.