I have never been able to read this message as anything other than “DON’T DEAD OPEN INSIDE,” and I maintain that it is an early sign of the show’s occasional lapses into stupid, as no human being would write words like this.
This episode was… man, I probably should have known this was going to happen– that as soon as I start officially writing reviews of a show I look forward to every week, it starts to go to hell. But this was not good. It just wasn’t. And I’m writing this on Saturday morning, an hour before it’s supposed to go live (I usually do them earlier) because I have not wanted to write this review. Because blech. But nonetheless. Into the breach!
PREVIOUSLY ON THE WALKING DEAD: Every single thing about this season is eminently predictable, especially if you’ve read the comic books, except for the parts that are so amazingly dumb that you wouldn’t have predicted them because why would anyone ever do that or that doesn’t make any sense at all, ever. Lots of that.
Again: I did not like this episode very much. However, there were two parts I did like, and I’ll talk about those first:
- The episode opens with Rick chasing down CopBob in a car. CopBob is on foot. This does not end well for CopBob, who isn’t smart enough to duck down an alley or try and go somewhere too narrow for the car to chase him, and after a couple of terse warnings over the PA system that he needs to stop Rick just guns the car and runs him down like a dog. This happens, and it’s horrible:
OtherBob’s back is broken in the impact, and he and Rick have this horrible conversation where Bob just lays there with his neck like that sorta gurgling through all of his words. Eventually Rick shoots him in the head, putting him out of his misery, but the conversation is really awful, and it sets a certain bar for the episode that, sadly, the show never approaches again.
- The other scene also involves Rick. The other two cops quickly agree to say that TheirBob got eaten, and so Rick meets with a couple of the hospital folk, alone, to explain the situation they’re all in. The hospital folk quite sensibly ask if Rick has other people around, at which point one of Rick’s snipers blows the head off a nearby zombie. “They’re close,” Rick says. The timing on this entire scene is perfect, if a bit implausible.
Sadly? That’s about it. Here’s the rest of the episode; we’ll stick with bullet points.
- Turns out Gabriel was leaving the church to go check on the group’s story about the Termites. He goes to the school and finds a Bible and the rest of FoodBob Meatpants’ leg, thus proving they were telling the truth, at which point the zombies who have been ineffectually beating on a single pane of glass for at least a couple of days now finally get through it and come after him. He leads the entire herd back to the church, makes them let him in through the door, which they don’t close behind him, and then they all escape through the floor again. Michonne, Carl and Gabriel are saved from trouble when ME(A)TRAG returns in the fire truck and knock the stairs off the front of the church. Hey, that’s a great idea: zombies can’t climb. Maybe we always knock the stairs off of things?
- Dawn and Beth have a really stupid heart-to-heart, culminating when Dawn has to have another of her cops, who all hate her, killed. Beth knocks him down the elevator shaft. None of these people like Dawn at all, and no one does what she says or wants, ever. She’s not in charge in any way I recognize, and she’s the worst adversary the show has ever had, ever. Like, they say she’s in charge, but no one ever acts like it. At all! Terrible awful stupid nonsensical character god I hate her so much.
- They trade prisoners. Carol, at some point, has woken up; we don’t see any of the ensuing conversation between her and Beth. Keep in mind that Beth has no idea if anyone other than Daryl survived the prison. She hasn’t seen them in that long, and she’s been separated from Daryl long enough that she has to be in some doubt about him, too. We don’t see any of this conversation. The prisoner trade looks like this:
Because, sure, let’s do this in a narrow hallway. Carol, by the way, doesn’t get a single line of dialogue in this episode, even with Daryl.
- At this point, Dawn, who is stupid, insists on getting Noah back, for no reason at all other than “because.” This is after they’ve already traded people. Beth, also for no clear reason, stabs Dawn in the bullet-proof vest with a tiny pair of scissors, at which point Dawn accidentally shoots Beth in the head, because in addition to being a terrible person and a useless plot device she is also an awful cop and has no trigger discipline of any kind. Daryl immediately kills Dawn; there is a brief and unconvincing standoff, because none of those people cared about Dawn anyway, and then they leave. With Noah, and possible with others, although you don’t get much of a look so it’s hard to tell. In the meantime, ME(A)TRAGMGCJ have arrived at the hospital, which they can find for some reason. They see this:
And then this happens:
Because Maggie suddenly remembers she has a sister. And cut to credits, except for a brief scene where Morgan finds the church and the map to DC that Abraham has written Rick’s name on. And we’re done, see you in February.
This episode is, I believe, the second-worst season- or mid-season finale in the show’s history, exceeded only by the execrable end of Season 3, where the Governor and Rick did not even cross paths at any point. I get that terrible things happen to good people for no reason, right? And maybe this episode was trying to make some sort of obscure point about gun control. But, Christ, this is still TV and this hospital storyline did not earn the right to kill a major character. It was never anything other than dumb filler, and it would have been better if Beth simply hadn’t appeared ever again than to have this gang of halfwits responsible– accidentally!– for her death. On top of that, and yes, I read the Internet and I’ve seen some of the theories, there’s really no good reason for Beth to have stabbed Dawn in the first place, especially since she stabbed her in the shoulder and not, say, the neck. I mean, what, she missed? That’s quite a miss, isn’t it?
Dawn is the worst character in the history of the show– yes, including Lori, and yes, including Andrea, and yes, including whoever you’re thinking of who isn’t Lori or Andrea, although they’re certainly the top other candidates. Her plan never made sense in any way, her storyline never made sense in any way, none of the rest of the people involved in her storyline ever made any sense, and the entire thing should have been left on the floor in the writing room. I didn’t even like Beth all that much and she didn’t deserve this.
Screw you, show. I’ll be back in February, but you’re on probation.
Now, all that said– I do want to thank Gene’O and the rest of the crew at Sourcerer for giving me the chance to write these, even if the show has turned south for me so far this season. The interesting thing is that they have no dangling storylines left right now that I can think of, which means that the rest of Season 5 can go pretty much anywhere. Hopefully they dig themselves out of this hole. I likely won’t be seen around here until the show’s back again unless the Sourcerer folks come up with something else for me to do, but if you’ve enjoyed these at all you can always find me over at my place. Happy holidays!
I have to agree with you on this episode. After watching it, I sat for at least ten minutes staring into space! I was so dumbfounded by the sheer waste of this story arc! I was late to Walking Dead, I actually came into it last season towards the end, and continued watching because I wanted to see a resolution between Daryl and Beth. I feel cheated and unsure whether I will pick it up in February. My friends insist it’s worth a little perseverance!
The show’s inconsistency is its greatest weakness– when it’s good, it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but sadly it has its weaker moments too, and this half-season has had its fair share of those.
Hopefully the next half will make up for it! I’ve enjoyed your reviews of the show, so will look forward to reading more in the new year 🙂
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