After last week’s complete disaster of an episode, The Walking Dead reaches its midseason finale.
Is it good?
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
The episode opens with Sam leaving a dirty plate outside his room for his mom to pick up. I know we’re supposed to think his behavior is due to PTSD, but I think the kid’s just too lazy to carry it downstairs himself.
He then goes back into his room to play with some Minimates (all characters from Robert Kirkman’s comic series Invincible) while listening to Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through the Tulips (?). As the camera pans out, we see a line of ants crawling through an open window, down the wall, and onto a plate holding the remains of a half eaten PB&J (everyone else seems to think it was a cookie, but I’m convinced it was a sandwich and I will die on that hill).
The camera zooms in on the ants swarming over the sandwich/cookie, giving a nod to the incoming horde of zombies with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer.
Great. It’s going to be one of those episodes.
Zombies pour into Alexandria. Everyone flips out except for Ron, who looks mighty disappointed he didn’t get to shoot Carl in the head.
Maggie almost gets overtaken by walkers, which caused me to lean forward in my seat and cringe. Then I took a deep breath and realized that a main character, especially one as beloved as Maggie, wouldn’t be killed so early in the episode. The Glenn Dumpster Hoax of 2015 proved this.
Oh, I’m being too cynical, you say? Well, let’s look at the show’s history a bit.
The following characters were killed or bitten at a point that did not make their deaths—or death sentences via a bite—the climatic event of the episode.
- Amy (Andrea’s sister, bitten)
- Patricia (Herschel’s wife, eaten)
- Axel (prison dude, shot in the head while flirting with Carol)
- Tyrese (bitten while scouting a house)
- Minka (killed by her crazy sister Lizzie)
- T-Dog (dies saving Carol)
- Noah (eaten while Glenn watched)
…and maybe a couple more I’m missing. Sure, we still had our dramatic season finale (or MID season finale) deaths, but those unexpected/heartbreaking losses were what really made you squirm. Now we can pretty much count on Alexandrians filling the body count quota unless it’s the last episode of the season.
But I digress… everyone flees to various shelters. Eugene says help into the walkie talkie, linking up to what we heard from Daryl’s road crew.
Just leave her, dude.
Meanwhile, Glenn sees the chaos and is determined to go in and rescue his friends. Enid, on the other hand, appears to have not had enough turtles to eat lately. She sullenly declares that they’re all dead anyway and refuses to go help. Glenn stares at her for a moment, probably debating the ethics of using a teenager as zombie decoy bait, but instead tells her they shouldn’t give up or something.
Rosita is frustrated and Eugene is terrified. That leaves Tara to give the group a pep talk. I’ll be completely honest, I zoned out after a few seconds. She should stick to flipping people the bird when they’re being unreasonable and/or belligerent.
Team Opposing Philosophies
Morgan and Carol escape, but Carol seems hurt…or so we think. She waits for Morgan to stop paying attention to her, then runs over to kill the Wolf that Morgan was trying to nurse back to health.
While all that was going on, Wolf Man was doing some sort of creepy serial killer/possible signs of empathy tap dance with Denise. Then Morgan and Carol burst into the room for what should have been an awesome fight. Instead, Morgan takes down Carol fairly easily (BOO!) and promptly gets his ass knocked out by the Wolf he was defending.
Damn it, Morgan.
It looks like Denise is about to die when Team Mullet runs in to save the day. Unfortunately, Wolf Man has a hostage and complete control of the situation. I tried yelling at them to shoot the hostage in the leg (hey, it worked in Speed), but they just kicked their guns over and let him walk out the door with Denise.
As frustrating as this scenes was, it’s the first time I’ve felt genuine concern for an Alexandrian. Denise is way too sweet to be (potentially) killed by such a skeevy, horrible person…and all because Morgan is being a complete idiot.
Shut up, Sam!
Back at Jesse’s house, everyone runs inside, causing Sam to freak out. Jesse tells him to turn off the music, which he doesn’t—like, at all. For the rest of the episode. This kid is worthless.
Meanwhile, we discover that Deanna has been bitten. I think I was supposed to feel upset by this, but after her third halftime speech about how everyone should continue trying their best to survive, I was ready to push her across the rainbow bridge myself.
Meanwhile, Ron freaks out and tries to kill Carl. Carl responds by telling him that his dad’s an asshole. Both of these kids are walking arguments for gun and birth control. The ruckus from their hormone-filed fisticuffs (but no bullets) brings the walkers to them and they barely escape. Ron realizes he was being a douche (I think) and sulks off on his own.
Later, the group decides to bust out a trick from Season 1 to get away from the horde of walkers—smearing themselves with zombie guts. It seems to work great (which makes me wonder why they haven’t used it more often) except for Sam calling out to his mom. Ugh.
Into the Bad
You know that show Into the Badlands that AMC is always advertising but no one you know watches it? Well, it must not be doing well, because AMC pulled a trick that makes The Glenn Dumpster Hoax of 2015 look downright honorable by comparison.
Following Rick’s group escape from the house in their zombie cloaks, there’s a two-minute epilogue that might be the best part of the whole episode. But instead of putting it at the end of the credits like God intended, they put it at the first commercial break for Into the Badlands.
That’s right. We had to sit through 10 minutes of white people doing kung fu before discovering that Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham were taken hostage by a gang run by the infamous (and best) villain from The Walking Dead comics: Negan.
Still worth it, but geez…
Is it Good?
This season started out as potentially the best one of the series. Now it’s in danger of becoming the worst. Will the arrival of Negan (which will surely result in a REAL main character death) be enough to save it? Probably. But right now, I find myself actually glad the show is taking a break until February.
I mean, seriously, they took an episode centered around a gigantic horde of walkers swarming the town and somehow filled it with more boring speeches than the episode where Rick and the others were still at the quarry.
And what’s up with all the kids on this show being terrible? I’ll be the first to admit that kids in the age range of Carl, Enid, Ron, and Sam CAN be terrible, but all of them? And to such an extreme degree?
Also, I am not happy with how easily Morgan took out Carol. This is a woman who TWICE has gone full Rambo on armies of enemy combatants, but she lets herself get taken down by Mr. Pacifist Bo Staff? C’mon…
Let’s hope that in 2016, Negan and his barbed wire bat can shake things up a bit and make the show interesting again.