We’re one week away from the mid-season finale (which I guess is officially a thing that every show is doing now). That means were most likely one week away from a major character death.
But we already had one of those, right? I mean, surely Glenn couldn’t survive falling into a horde of zombies like he did a few weeks ago. Even if Nicholas really did land on top of him—and those intestines we saw being ripped out were his and not Glenn’s—a small scratch or bite would be all it took. Add in the fact that Glenn was screaming like a banshee, which tends to attract undead mouths, and he pretty much has to be dead…
…unless the show’s writers decided instead to torpedo a substantial amount of the series’ credibility for a cheap/ridiculously unbelievable slight of hand. Well, as it turns out, this is the episode where we get to find out one way or the other.
Is it good?
They torpedoed it
I’ll give the show credit for showing us that Glenn is still alive right from the beginning, but fair warning: It pretty much ruined the rest of the episode for me. By the way, that’s not because I wanted Glenn to die in the first place — he’s a great character. Maybe one of the top three from week to week. I’m also not one of those people that want to see him die like he does in the comics, because that would be heart-breaking/severely traumatizing to watch.
I’m mad because having Glenn survive the situation we last saw him in is unbelievably stupid — and not just because it doesn’t make any sense. Let’s unpack this a bit.
I referenced (in my oh-so-clever and snarky opening) how the logistics of Glenn surviving his fall off the dumpster doesn’t make sense. But at least they showed how a character escaped certain death this time. I’m still wondering how the hell Rick got out of that RV he was trapped in while walkers were swarming all over it. Unfortunately, both these situations have eroded a large amount of the weekly tension that The Walking Dead provides. Of course we expect to see major character deaths at the mid and final points of the season, but we don’t really get any of the unexpected, out of nowhere killings anymore that really make the audience squirm. Instead, we’ve got a bunch of Alexandrians who might as well be wearing red shirts.
It also goes completely against a central theme of this season which is something I’ve really enjoyed. Much like what happened to Daryl when he tried to help people, Glenn was done in by the very person he was helping. Where Nicholas failed to kill him through treachery, he still did it through cowardice, killing himself (and knocking Glenn to the ground) in an act of self-forgiveness that was really a display supreme selfishness.
While Morgan continues trying to convince everyone that his ‘Every Life is Precious’ way is right, the evidence of bad things resulting from various attempts at helping others was being spoken very loudly to the contrary…until Glenn somehow managed to crawl under that dumpster.
Enid Sees Dead People
Not helping things is the fact that the rest of the episode was horrible. Much of the blame for that can be pinned on Enid, who is the first person Glenn sees after crawling back out. He spends the rest of the episode yelling at her to stop running away and dealing with teenage angst that makes the kids from Dawson’s Creek look stoic. By the time they finally got on the road to Alexandria, I’m pretty sure Glenn regretted not letting the zombies just rip him to shreds.
Later, the pair find some green balloons and a helium tank (HOW CONVENIENT!). They launch them into the sky to signal to the folks back home that they were still alive. Part of me hoped that Glenn would tie them all to Enid and make her float away. Another part of me hoped that Enid was like the kid from The Sixth Sense and was talking to Glenn’s completely unaware ghost. Neither of these things came to pass.
Back in Alexandria, Spencer decides to climb across a rope over the zombie horde to get to a car and lead the walkers away. This is a stupid idea, which Rick emphatically explains to Spencer after saving his ass. Tara flips Rick off for yelling at her, which is the highlight of the episode.
Carol suspects that Morgan is up to something (like nursing a homicidal, injured Wolf back to health). She decides to ditch Judith and follow him.
Unfortunately, the ‘ditch Judith’ part of her plan involves going over to Jesse’s house, where her younger son Sam engages in the most heavy-handed, unsubtle dialogue in the show’s history. The kid literally asks if killing people makes them monsters, too.
Considering what a badass Carol is, I fully expected her to tell Sam to look at the flowers before chucking a cookie sheet at his head. Instead, she actually pauses to consider this statement as if it’s the most profound thing she’s ever heard.
After escaping from Casa de Existential Crisis, Carol confronts Morgan…
…but before that showdown can take place, we see Ron stalking Carl with a gun and a mean look in his eye. Geez, the kids on this show really suck.
All Fall Down
Maggie sees the balloons in the sky and thanks God/contrived plotting that her husband is alive. Just as Rick is about to get together a search party, a tower randomly falls down and destroys a large section of the wall.
Okay, that’s not completely fair. There was a three second bit of foreshadowing that showed one of the walls creaking. But yeah…lots of zombies are about to come through the wall for the mid-season finale, where they’ll surely go after anyone who hasn’t renewed their contract for 2016.
Is It Good?
One of the great things about The Walking Dead comic is that you never know when a character might die. There’s usually a major death or two in the big anniversary issue, but there’s also quite a few main characters that get killed off without any hint or warning.
The Walking Dead TV show used to do that. Unfortunately, it now feels like the writers assume we actually care about the Alexandrian red shirts they keep offing and have decided to make the main characters invulnerable.
I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong next week. Heck, I really hope I am. But after what Glenn and Rick just survived, it’s going to take something pretty major to get the show’s edge back as far as I’m concerned.
In addition to the main character invulnerability issue, the last few episodes have been mediocre at best. This one was downright intolerable. When the most exciting sequence involves Spencer doing something stupid and a third of the dialogue comes from Enid, you’ve almost reached Fear the Walking Dead levels of ineptitude. I won’t be rooting for the zombies next week, but I’m starting to become sympathetic to their cause.