Welp, we’ve been in Alexandria for a while now, and things have gotten tense on the social/interpersonal front. This week, however, things start to get a little crazy. Is it good?

Gabriel needs counseling

The episode opens with Gabriel receiving a welcome note and fruit basket from one of his new parishioners. This causes him to flash back to what happened to his old congregation… or maybe he just really hates strawberries… either way, Gabe opens up a Bible and begins ripping out the pages before tearing part of it out.

For those of you well-versed in The Good Book, you may have noticed that Gabriel tore out the half of the Bible containing the New Testament. That’s the part where the focus switches from a fairly vengeful/wrathful God to his son, Jesus, who preaches compassion and forgiveness.

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Hang onto that until little nugget for now— we’ll be coming back to it later.

Owl City

While ‘out on patrol’ (i.e. scoping out Jesse), Rick discovers that his crush’s owl structure has been destroyed. This is a bit odd since Alexandria doesn’t usually have crime, so Sheriff Grimes promises to get right on it.

Meanwhile, Noah meets with Deanna’s husband and asks if he could mentor him in architecture. Reg not only agrees, but gives him a journal to begin writing about what he learns… and maybe to start keeping a record of his brand new life, as well.

Time for a Supply Run, Bro

The town needs some sort of electric doodad, so a group consisting of Glenn, Eugene, Noah, Tara, Nicholas, and Aiden is sent out to find it. This might the worst scouting party in history for a couple reasons:

– Tara.

– Eugene is back to acting like a complete jackass, this time claiming that he’s already done enough for the group because without him, they never would have made it to D.C… no seriously, he actually said that.

– Once again, Maggie and Glenn are split up. Seriously, how often is this going to happen?

– As they drive off in the van, Aiden cranks up the stereo with some dub step/EDM, further cementing his reputation as the biggest surviving douchebag on the planet. And poor taste in music aside, isn’t it a pretty dumb idea to drive around a zombie infested urban area with loud music blasting?

Luckily, the group gets to the warehouse without any problems. To the surprise of everyone, Eugene actually makes himself useful and finds exactly what they were looking for. As they’re leaving, a zombie still dressed in SWAT body armor begins lumbering towards them. To the surprise of no one, Aidan overreacts and does something stupid, shooting at it until hitting a grenade on the walker’s vest.

*As if to drive home how dumb that was, AMC ran a Walking Dead promo during the commercial break featuring Maggie as she effortlessly took out a similarly dressed zombie with a knife.*

Fortunately, the explosion had a sense of poetic justice, impaling Aiden on a metal rod. It also knocked out Tara, which I thought I would be glad about, but made me kind of worried for her. Worst of all, however, was the horde of zombies it freed from behind a nearby fence.

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Eugene tries to shoot a zombie coming towards him, but instead just stands there and craps his pants (not literally… I think). After Noah and Glenn swoop in to save him, he finally decides to man up and volunteers to protect Tara while they go try and help Aiden.

While trying to lift him off the metal pole sticking through his shoulder, Nicholas wimps out on Noah and Glenn and bails. This forces the others to run, as well, resulting in a gruesome overhead view of Aiden being torn apart by walkers (who would later die of Axe Body spray poisoning).

Meanwhile, Eugene finally locates his balls, picks up the injured Tara, and begins carrying her to safety. He does all this after saying that all of this is her fault—so yeah, he’s still Eugene, but at least this time, his actions are speaking louder than his words. He also magically goes from barely being able to fire a gun to scoring perfect headshots. Whatever—it’s a cool scene.

Ginger Rage

On the outskirts of town, Abraham starts his new job working on the fence construction crew. When a horde of walkers attacks, a crew member named Francine gets stranded. While the rest of the team resigns themselves to letting her die, Abe hulks out and starts kicking serious zombie ass, smiling the entire time.

Once the threat is neutralized and Francine is saved, Abe clocks the foreman in the face for daring to leave someone behind. He then takes charge of the crew, who eagerly follow is lead after observing his display of heroic bassery.

Awkward Posturing

Pete (Jesse’s wife) decides to pay Rick a visit. The entire conversation is cordial on the surface, but the tension between the two stinks worse than a toilet full of alpha male urine. From hints about being the one who destroyed Jesse’s sculpture to his ballsy decision to bring up Rick’s dead wife, Pete all but announces that he is not to be trusted.

Every Zombie Ate Chris

Noah and Glenn run after Nicholas. All three end up getting caught inside a revolving door— Noah and Glenn in one segment, Nicholas in the other.
As the door is surrounded by zombies, Glenn comes up with a plan to get them all out. It’s further helped when Eugene shows up with the van (dude is finally stepping up) and begins honking the horn to pull the zombies away from them.

Unfortunately, Nicholas once again proves himself to be a terrible person, bailing out of the door and allowing it to slide open enough so the zombies can grab Noah. In what might be the most horrifying death we’ve seen on the show, Glenn is forced to watch as the walkers tear Noah apart in front of him.

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Meanwhile, Nicholas attacks Eugene and attempts to take the care from him. Eugene fights back (!), but still seems to be overmatched. Luckily, Glenn finally makes it out in time to run over and knock the crap out of their cowardly teammate. In a truly amazing act of restraint and mercy, Glenn decides to take Nicholas back to Alexandria rather than leave him for dead or kill him right there.

Cookie Monster

Remember Jesse and Pete’s kid—the one Carol threatened to kill if he ever told about the guns? Well, it turns out that Sam can keep a secret, but is also very persistent at trying to make friends. After begging Carol to show him how to make cookies (and even stealing the ingredients for her), all she offers in return in cold, snarky companionship… until discovering (though a little intuition and an impromptu visit to their home) that Pete is abusing Jesse and Sam.

Gabriel sucks

That night, Gabriel visits Deanna at her home. Instead of telling her that he tore up what might be one of the last Bibles left on earth…or admitting that he’s a cowardly turd…he tells her that Rick and his group don’t belong because they are terrible people. Terrible people who saved his sorry ass from certain death, but terrible people none the less. He goes on to say that the awful things they’ve done make them unworthy of the ‘paradise’ Deanna has created at Alexandria.

To her credit, Deanna reminds him that they did those things to survive, but she still seems a bit perturbed by what he had to say. (Finding out her son died probably won’t help matters, either). While all this is going on, Maggie listens from a nearby stairwell.

As if to drive Gabriel’s point home (sort of), Carol tells Rick what she’s learned about Pete. She then matter of factly states the abusive father/husband must be killed.

Is It Good?

If you’re a halfway decent human being, then you’ve already decided that Gabriel is wrong. But just in case you have any doubts, this episode lays it out pretty clearly.

For starters, these ‘terrible people’ tried to save Aiden after he almost got them blown up. Then, they decided NOT to abandon/kill Nicholas even though he totally deserved it. When a bunch of Alexandria crew members decided to let one of their own die, Abraham risked his own life to save someone he didn’t even know. Hell, even Eugene found it in himself to be heroic, overcoming his crippling self-doubt and fear to save Tara. And speaking of Eugene, remember when he revealed to Abraham that the whole D.C. thing was lie? Remember how Abraham didn’t kill him?

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Sure, Rick and his group made some morally questionable decisions in the past, but it was all in the name of survival. You know what none of them did? No one locked themselves inside a church while the rest of their congregation got eaten alive. Rick’s people have more than earned a place in the ‘paradise’ of Alexandria. While Gabriel cowered corners and had existential crises about his faith, they fought just as hard to retain their humanity as they did to survive—and most of the time, they won.

About the only point in Gabe’s favor was Carol’s cold resolve about Pete—a man who might be/totally is beating his wife and child—needing to be killed. That’s a pretty weak leg to stand on; almost as weak as Gabriel’s pitiful resolve.

Gabriel is terrible. If this wasn’t the zombie apocalypse, then he’d be the type of person who railed against gay marriage while cheating on his wife and/or being involved in a gay relationship himself. Even if Rick and his group were bad people (which they aren’t), he has no place to judge them. If this episode proved anything, it is he who brings something far more dangerous behind the walls of Alexandria: Cowardice.

Cowardice is what almost got Francine killed. Cowardice is what killed Noah and Aiden. Cowardice is what makes a man take his frustrations out in the form of physical violence against his wife and young son.

Cowardice is something Gabriel has in abundance.

What he doesn’t have, apparently, is grace. Forgiveness can be a hard thing to give sometimes, but not when it’s for the people who saved your life…oh, and who forgave you for your terrible past transgressions, as well. Maybe instead of ripping those pages out of the Bible, Gabriel should have read them again. The people he’s condemning (with a few exceptions) seem to be doing a much better job living by it than he is.

*steps off soapbox*

Speaking of forgiveness, Glenn is a much better person than me, because there is no way in hell I could have forgiven Nicholas. Not only was he a punk, but the show’s writers did a great job making Noah seem especially likable before we watched him get ripped to shreds. The poor kid had finally decided to move on with his life and start a new chapter. Now he’s gone. That shot of his diary with the words ‘This is the beginning…’ was absolutely heartbreaking.

The episode wasn’t all anger and heartache, though. The scene with Abraham was a lot of fun. I also genuinely feel ready to forgive Eugene (SEE THAT, GABRIEL?) after watching him carry Tara to the van and his attempt to lure the walkers away. Yes, his sudden ability to shoot a gun was kind of dumb, but his newfound resolve felt very believable (especially how he tried to blame Tara for her situation while also being clearly upset/concerned about her). Eugene’s still an ass, but his path to redemption has finally begun.

All of these things combined to give us one of the best episodes we’ve had in a while. It’s enough to make me forgive (DO YOU HEAR ME, GABRIEL?) the previous slow/lackluster ones that built up to it. Next week’s show should be a doozy.

The Walking Dead: Season 5, Episode 14 "Spend" Review
The show does a great job showing stories of how the group has still retained its humanity, all juxtaposed with Gabriel's infuriating betrayal.Abraham being a badass is awesome, but expected. Eugene being a badass? That was surprisingly fun and (even more) surprisingly believable.Noah's death was soul crushing thanks to some cruel misdirection by the show's writers.
Okay, just because Eugene is finally growing a pair doesn't mean he also becomes an expert marksmanWhy do they keep splitting Glenn and Maggie up?Where the heck is Carl during all this?
9Overall Score
Reader Rating 5 Votes
8.7
  • occasionallylucid

    The Alexandrians remind me of the Eloi in H.G. Welles’ “The Time Machine”. Rick’s group probably will be running Alexandria soon, with Deanna as a figurehead. Hopefully, that will happen before the Wolves show up.