Good going, Rick. You really handled that one in the most Rick-like manner possible, didn’t you? We almost wish the show had more of a sense of humor about itself and ended the episode with a sad trombone “womp womp womp” over his bloodied and unconscious body.
We didn’t expect the show to go there so quickly or in the manner that it did, but it looks like the confrontation with Alexandria is on, for good or ill. It’s funny that it seems like it’s been rushed, because we’ve spent more than enough episodes getting the lay of the land. If it felt to us like it happened too soon it’s because we were dreading it happening at all. Rick and Carole are right on some level when they say that the Alexandrians are wholly unprepared for life in the apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to see them tear it down. All through this episode we kept thinking “Isn’t there another way?” And hoping that someone would stop our heroes from becoming, well, villains. That, to us, indicates that this setup is one of the best ones in the show’s history. Too many of the scenarios in this show have been totally black and white in their morality, which, come to think of it, may have been one of our problems with this show all along. You’d think in a world like this one, moral choices wouldn’t be so easily delineated as they have been up till now.
Because look, Deanna was told by someone who arrived with Rick’s group that they were all dangerous, bad people. Then her son gets killed on a supply run with several of Rick’s group in tow and there’s some question as to who’s at fault. And finally, Rick goes nuts in the middle of the community and all but declares war on them. And she’s still trying to find a solution and a way to deal with all of this. If this was as totalitarian a society as we’d hoped it was (in order to make a coup more palatable) she’d have had most of Rick’s group locked up, exiled or killed before now. They may be unprepared and soft, but the Alexandrians truly don’t appear to be bad people. They deserve a wake-up call, not a gun to the face. And the tragedy of the situation is that Deanna was always wholly prepared to listen to and heed that wakeup call. Of course it’s appalling that she turned a blind eye to Pete’s spousal abuse, but then again, that’s the downside of “civilization.” The return of niceties and politics. Because as awful as it is to leave Blonde Lori to her fate, we can see why Deanna felt she had no choice. A surgeon in this world is akin to a knight or aristocrat.
Further complicating the situation and making it tough for us to take sides is the fact that Rick’s reasoning for this confrontation is both a little selfish and a little too soon for us to care; specifically, he’s doing this because he has feelings for Blonde Lori. We joke about that name but this would’ve worked so much better if the actress actually did resemble Lori, then we could get some understanding as to why Rick is latching onto her and making a semi-crazed stand for her. As it is, we’re left scratching our heads over this sudden bout of puppy love on Rick’s part and his impulsive willingness to blow up everything in order to rescue her. Bear in mind, he pretty much initiated the coup he was planning singlehandedly without even making sure where Carl and Judith were. That’s how off the rails he is. That’s why Michonne, for all her misgivings about her new lifestyle, took him out.
As for Sasha’s story, while Sonequa Martin-Green gave it her all, and while we certainly wouldn’t mind weekly adventures of the All-Lady Zombie-Hunting Squad co-starring Michonne and Rosita, we really couldn’t work up much feeling either way for her post-traumatic stress or whatever it was. At this point, it’s simply no longer interesting or even relevant to spend much time on individual characters’ grief. Not only has everybody else lost someone, just about everybody else lost everyone. Which isn’t to say her feelings aren’t realistic; just that, in a world where 90% of the population died off, how emotionally invested can we get in one person’s feelings of loss? Especially after five seasons watching dozens of characters get killed. And besides, everyone treated her zombie-hunting like it was some sort of disturbing action that needed to be stopped when all we kept thinking was “Are you ladies nuts? Let her shoot zombies!” At the very least, shouldn’t perimeter control be important for the Alexandrians? Shouldn’t there be people out there every day with silencers, taking down the hordes? We understand why the softies aren’t doing stuff like this every day, but we have no idea why Michonne and Rosita tried to talk her down from it. They should understand both the importance of a clear perimeter and the emotional need for Sasha to just kill a bunch of zombies. Very little about this made much emotional sense to us, except to underline Michonne’s growing unease with the so-called civilized life.
In other news, Carl found himself a girlfriend who’s at least as emotionally damaged as he is and they have the equivalent of their first dance together. It seems pretty clear to us that she’s going to turn out to be a bad idea on some level since we’re assuming she has something to do with the W’s carved into the walkers’ foreheads. Either she’s doing it or she’s involved with the people who are.
And finally, we would like to personally thank the producers for giving us Carole, baking a tuna casserole, to the tune of Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged.” Sure, maybe it was a bit too on the nose, but it was an electrifying way to open an episode and had a certain devious glee to it that we couldn’t help loving.
So some of the setup seems a bit rushed and underdeveloped and some of the emotional stuff seems overdrawn and overstated, but in the end, we couldn’t help loving every bit of this episode. What’s threatening to go down inside the walls of Alexandria could turn out to be one of the most horrifying incidents in the story so far and the tension right now is exquisite. There’s no such thing as a perfect episode of The Walking Dead, but this was a damn good one in a lot of ways.
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[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]
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