This week’s installment of The Walking Dead forgoes the single storyline/POV method in favor of showing all three (sometimes four) settings where are our groups find themselves. Is it good?
Wood Cleaner for the Soul
The episode opens with Sasha chopping the hell out of some wood. She’s still understandably upset about Bob’s death along with her inability to end his suffering herself.
Unfortunately, the world of The Walking Dead leaves little time for mourning. Daryl has returned with Noah and a new mission to go save Beth and Carol. Sasha immediately agrees to join up with the commando strike squad along with Rick and Tyreese. This seems like a pretty huge tactical error for a couple of reasons:
1. Michonne, who is a complete badass and the best person they have at close quarters combat, is left to babysit Judith.
2. Tyrese is still on his “no killing people” kick, which would seemingly make him less than ideal for this type of mission.
There’s also the matter of Gabriel, who has decided that the sight of blood on his sanctuary walls is just too much for him to take (guess it’s harder to look at when it’s not the insides of people you locked out of the church). In a moment that displayed his growing levels of madness/uselessness, he begins to scrub and chip away at the blood with his fingernails and shirt cuff.
Later, Carl attempts to teach Gabriel to use a weapon so he can defend himself. This results in the preacher nearly pissing his pants and holing up inside his office. When Michonne tries to check and see if he’s okay, Gabriel assures her that he’s fine… then goes back to pulling up the floorboards and digging a hole underneath the church.
He then wanders out into the woods, where he’s predictably attacked by a zombie. For the first time ever, Gabriel actually handles himself well, managing to overpower the walker and send it to the ground. But before he can bring a stone down on its head and finish the job, the sight of a cross around her necks makes him stop (and causes the audience to let out a collective groan).
Meanwhile, the exploding bus group was having some problems of their own. For starters, Eugene was still knocked out… at least that’s what it looked like. I wouldn’t put it past the little turd to pretend he was unconscious just to avoid facing them right now.
The more important issue, however, was Abraham’s refusal to speak, move, or even drink water. Rosita tries to fire him up a bit, but this only results in Abe briefly Hulking out before Maggie pulls a gun and makes him sit back down again.
While Maggie continues to keep watch over Abe, Rosita, Glenn, and Tara go out looking for supplies. Tara confesses that she’s over the whole ‘D.C. thing’, saying that she understands why Eugene did what did. Since Tara is also one of the worst surviving judges of character on the show, Glenn informs her that she’s wrong.
Back at the truck, Maggie gives Abraham another “stop feeling sorry for yourself” pep talk before hearing the Mullet begin to stir. Whether it was Maggie’s words or the thought of getting to beat the crap out of Eugene again, Abraham finally decides to take a sip of water.
Back on the supply hunt, Rosita continues to prove herself to be a near perfect woman by filtering some water, helping Glenn to catch some fish, AND knowing how to clean them. Like, seriously…that’s Abe’s girlfriend. Dude needs to get over himself and realize that despite the world ending, he’s hit the freaking jackpot.
And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Tara gets excited over finding a yo-yo.
A New Dawn for Beth
At the hospital, Beth overhears an officer telling Dawn that trying to save that woman who walked in front of a car (i.e. Carol) isn’t worth the resources it would cost. Beth responds to this by calling the officer out for using valuable electricity to charge his DVD player.
This causes Dawn to agree with the officer’s assessment to take her off the machines (?) and then tell Beth that she just condemned Carol to death. But before things can look any bleaker, Dawn busts out a key to the medicine cabinet, telling Beth that she trusts her because of her strength (which I guess was proven by the two gaping face wounds she smacked into Beth’s face).
When Dr. Edwards is questioned by Beth about what medicine will be needed to save Carol, he tells her that this is all a ploy by Dawn…which Beth doesn’t really seem to mind since the ‘ploy’ is about the only shot Carol has at surviving. After some trickery involving strawberries and an old man coughing, Beth finds Carol, injects her with a syringe (that any nurse will tell you was clearly filled with air), and wishes her well.
Trust No One
Rick devises a plan that involves a whole lot of bloodshed only to have Daryl and Tyreese come up with a much riskier option that involves taking hostages.
The plan seemingly goes off without a hitch until Bull from Night Court shows up and starts spraying bullets, allowing the Grady Hospital cops they captured to escape. Fortunately, Sasha manages to shoot out one of their tires so they can track them down on foot.
This leads to a confrontation that will go down as one of the grossest in Walking Dead history. It takes place near an area where a bunch of zombies have melted into the pavement due to the bombings done over Atlanta when the zombies first appeared. Bull gets the jump on Daryl, who responds by peeling off a nearby walker head BY ITS EYESOCKETS and bashing him with it.
After talking Rick down from shooting Bull, the group realizes that they may have found three (probably two) of the only good, non-rapey cops from Grady. Noah even vouches for one of them, Officer Lamson, who recognizes that Rick was once a cop.
They decide on having a swap meet with Dawn; her people for theirs. Lamson says it will work. He also begins tugging at Sasha’s heart strings, telling her that his name is Bob (ugh) and giving a sob story about how a friend of his is one of the melted zombies, but he just couldn’t find a in himself to end the poor man’s suffering.
Feeling a twinge of humanity returning to her broken heart, Sasha agrees to do it for him. They head to the window, she takes aim…and Lamson pulls a total dick, knocking her out and making a run for it.
This episode felt like it suffered a great deal from being a set up for the mid-season finale. Things moved along, but all into positions rather than forward towards a conclusion. And aside from Sasha, none of the personal struggles the characters were going seemed to add much to what we already knew about them.
– Abe got really pissed off, then finally took a drink of water.
– Dawn continued to show that she is completely unpredictable.
– Gabriel wants to somehow still feel pious, even though he locked his own congregation out of the church and let them die.
This episode also officially put Gabriel in a three-way tie for the show’s most hated character along with Tara and Eugene. I want Eugene to live just to see what happens to him and Tara to live because…well…I feel bad for hating her so much. She’s annoying, but not at an Andrea/Lori level (yet).
But Gabriel needs to get eaten sooner than later, source material be damned. And don’t any of you dare try to say that nail going into his foot was some sort of ‘crucifixtion’ metaphor. There is no part of that man’s existence which involves sacrifice. He is self-serving and cowardly to the highest degree.
But other than the amazing hostage scene and the burning hatred this episode caused me to feel for Gabriel, there wasn’t anything too memorable about this week’s installment. It wasn’t bad at all, just not great like most of this season has been.
Let’s hope that next week’s mid-season finale see a return to form.