Well, they’ve done it. The show has reached a point where death has no impact. Even when we think a main character or five may be in danger.
Yup. You guessed it; this review contains show spoilers.
Nearly every death in this episode is simply to whittle down the Alexandria citizens openly opposing Rick, just like Carter. It doesn’t make for compelling television when viewers know Joe Blow #5 will bite the big one after he mouths off against the Ricktatorship. Don’t believe me? The only person in this episode who openly questions Rick and survives is Heath. Will every Rick-centric episode become an execution to secure his place in the town? Sure, he’s not pulling the trigger himself, but why should he have to raise a finger when the writers are making the deaths so convenient?
Nearly every death in the episode was ridiculous and the result of writers confusing frightened characters with lazy writing. I imagine the writer’s room sounded like this the afternoon they read through this scene:
“We have this dude in Rick’s face, what do we do?”
“Kill him, duh.”
“But they’re in a clearing in the woods with seven able-bodied fighters.”
“There’s four-inch wide trees for cover.”
“We’ll use a quick cut in post to catch them by surprise.”
And it happens twice. Are we expected to believe Glenn and Michonne are so comfortable now with their lush digs in Alexandria that they’ve forgotten everything they learned in five previous seasons? It’s rubbish. Then they try to show what happens when the Alexandria natives are set upon by a small herd. Common sense and logic fly out the window. I kinda understand the one guy freaking and pulling his gun. I’ll buy the friendly fire injury. What I cannot comprehend is that this happened after the first surprise attack. If this guy were going to fail his gut-check, he should’ve bolted when the walkers killed Rick’s bad-mouthing opponent. It almost feels like this scene was written in another order and cut together haphazardly out of order in post-production. Matter of fact, most of this season comes across the same way.
Onto plot things. This episode, as with the last, is set in the same timeframe with the episode ending about the time Carol and Morgan secure Alexandria. Rick and company are still in the woods, rushing to get ahead of the herd heading toward Alexandria. Rick, realizing they need to divide and conquer—or he’s tired of being snapped at by soon-to-be walker meals—tells Glenn and Michonne to push the others forward. He’s going to double back for the RV. The plan is to join Daryl, Abe, and Sasha in the RV then help them lure the larger horde twenty miles from their home. There are a few walker encounters in the forest. One man dies, Barnes—the man who confronts Rick early in the episode. Scott is shot in the leg by friendly fire from Sturgess. David is bitten on the shoulder. The only other woman in the small crew, Annie, twists her ankle sprinting uphill. Glenn and Heath end up becoming crutches for Scott and Annie, making their reaction times slow, along with their progress across the five mile stretch from the road to Alexandra.
At the halfway mark, they reach the nearby town. The half-hour lead they have on the herd diminishes, and they’re trapped in town.
Glenn and Nicholas leave the others, searching for the feed store to set it ablaze and hopefully stop the herd from shambling to their home. The others remain in the tiny pet store to hide and tend to the wounded. David knows he won’t make it and asks Michonne to pass on a message to his wife. Like a fool, she promises him he’ll at least make it home to tell her himself. Scott and Annie, realizing their limits, ask to be left behind. Their surrender to the inevitable makes Heath confront Michonne about Rick’s earlier warning: Not all of them will make it home during this mission. He feels Rick’s assessment of their skills is harsh and uncalled for. It takes approximately thirty seconds for Michonne to put him in his place; until he’s reached the moment when he’s covered in so much blood, he can’t tell what’s his, what’s walker blood, and what blood belongs to his friends, he has no clue how to survive in the outside world.
There’s a catch in the plan; the feed store has already been burnt to the ground. Nicholas, addled because of his PTSD, struggles to find an alternative building to torch. He leads Glenn away from the encroaching herd . . . right into a fenced off alley. In moments they’re surrounded by at least a hundred walkers. The men run out of ammunition. They can only stab so many before the walkers push them back against a dumpster.
Up they go like a 1950’s housewife who spots a rat in the kitchen. The struggle is too much for Nicholas. He turns to Glenn and says, “Thank you,” before shooting himself in the head. The last we see of Glenn and Nicholas, they’re both on the ground under the hungry horde.
Michonne, Heath, and the injured trio fight their way through the town. Annie, unable to keep up with her makeshift crutch, falls and is eaten. The remaining crew end up in yet another fenced-off alley. Cue eye roll. Couldn’t they think of two different ways to torment the characters? Luckily for the gang, there’s no walkers on the other side of this gate. Up and over they go. Well, not all of them. The herd finds them, claiming David’s life. Not one of them stops to put the man out of his misery. Michonne, Heath, and Scott make it back to Alexandria.
While they’re in the midst of the herd, Rick runs a half-marathon, kills a walker, hurts his hand, and retrieves the RV, which was back at the curve in their zombie parade route. He arrives at the spot where he thinks he can cut off a portion of the wayward horde. His arrival coincides with the Wolves escaping Alexandria. There’s no contest. Rick kills them all. And in the process shoots up the RV so bad, the thing won’t start. Whoops. Did I mention the walkers are about twenty feet away, too? Bravo, Rick.
Daryl’s bit in this episode is simply to give fans Reedus face time. He hems and haws about going back to help Rick, leaves the parade route, then turns around and goes right back to driving with Abe and Sasha. There’s literally no point to his scenes other than to show that Abe and Sasha will see their mission through to the end. Which we knew. Once Sasha cleaned her nose, she’s a reliable team member again.
The big OMG moment is Glenn’s fate. You guys know how I feel anytime they try to kill him. I have been and will always be Team Glenn. Though I have a feeling he will indeed be the next big loss for the crew. It’s been coming for a while. Out of all of them, he has the best prospects for making an actual life in Alexandria. Following show logic, he has to die. There’s no happiness in TWD. It makes the show utterly predictable when it comes time to off another character fans actually like.