This wasn’t a bad episode, or at least I didn’t think so (opinions are mixed, the Internet tells me) but it was a little… slight? This piece may not be as long as usual. Who knows; once I get started I may find I have more to say.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE WALKING DEAD: We added a couple of black guys to the cast, so somebody had to go, and Tyreese gets the short end of the stick in what turned out to be a startlingly good episode.
Anyway. That shot above? Get used to it, it’s most of the episode. Some large amount of time into the zombie apocalypse, we’re finally having a “we ran out of stuff” episode. There’s no gas. There’s no water. There’s no food. So we’re walking.
We start with our three Anointed Depressives. Maggie, who is sad because her sister just died, cries and kills a zombie. Sasha, who is sad because her brother and boyfriend just died, explores a dry riverbed and buries a couple of frogs. And Daryl, who is sad because he hung out with Beth for a couple of days once, eats a worm. I really feel like they felt like they had to have three really sad people or this episode doesn’t work; the retreat into The Sad kinda feels out of character for Daryl for most of the episode.
They find the rest of the group. They don’t have anything either. Credits!
We come back to more of this. More shamble-walking, only with zombies walking behind them. Because the people are the Walking Dead, see. It’s been three weeks since Atlanta, and Rick tells Daryl “I know you lost somethin’ back there,” because apparently 21 days isn’t enough time to have this conversation. Meanwhile, I feel like the baby needs a hat. Daryl goes looking for stuff. Carol goes with him; he doesn’t want her to. Pretend I wrote those sentences a few more times at various points. And Carl gives Maggie a music box. It vibes kinda creepy for some reason, and it hits me that Carl hasn’t seen a girl his age in a really long time.
Gabriel, whose shirt is completely drenched with sweat, tries to talk to Maggie about religion. She’s having none of it. Sidenote: I’ve worn one of those shirts before, and I would not want to wear one in summer heat in Georgia or whatever state they’re in now. They turn to plastic; something about the material they’re made of.
Sasha considers taking on the whole horde of zombies and Michonne talks her out of it.
(There haven’t been any people around for a while, and zombies can’t catch deer. I feel like game animals should be abundant by now.)
More talking. Daryl and Carol actually have a nice character-deepening conversation and all I can think about is where Daryl’s getting hair dye during the apocalypse, because I swear his hair’s blacker than it’s ever been. And then this happens:
They’ve found a bridge over a ravine, and they’re being chased (slowly) by the horde. So they line up and, taking turns, start shoving the zombies over the ravine, or in a couple of cases just getting out of their way when they lunge. It’s a great way to deal with the horde without expending a ton of energy. Which works just fine until Sasha screws everything up by insisting on hand-to-hand combat, nearly stabbing Michonne in the process. There’s also a cool scene where Daryl grabs a zombie that’s about to bite Rick and pulls it away by its hair– only to have its entire scalp come off in his hand.
Anyway, they all survive despite Sasha’s best efforts for something else to happen. Well… maybe? Because at one point, she’s swinging her knife around too wildly and manages to tag Abraham on the arm. And that knife is covered in zombie blood. The action actually slows down for a split-second to make sure we saw it, so we’ll see if there are consequences from it later.
And then they find cars, and the creepiest one-act play in the history of the show happens:
Maggie breaks into the trunk of a car, and there’s a walker in there— a female, wrists and ankles tied, and gagged. Which appears to mean that this person starved to death after being kidnapped, but I suppose could mean that someone was trying to get a zombified loved one somewhere safe. Either way, the driver’s not around anymore, and either way, brr. Glenn kills it for her. Daryl goes off by himself again.
When he rejoins the group, they’re all sitting around on the side of the road being starving and sad. Eugene, who is still an idiot, says “I truly do not know if things can get worse.”
Cue the wild dog attack! Why there are only four dogs left in the zombie apocalypse, I’m not sure, but they’re all big scary ones.
Rather anticlimactically, Sasha shoots all four of them, and then, hey, dinner! Which reminds me of the first episode of… season 3, I think? Where Carl considers opening a can of dog food, and Rick stops him. We’ve sunk a bit more since then.
During the meal, Gabriel removes his clerical collar and tosses it on the fire. There’s a commercial break, and Glenn and Maggie talk about Beth.
Daryl goes off by himself again. He finds a barn, has a good cry, and puts out a lit cigarette (he has cigarettes?) on his arm. Then he goes back to everybody else. Again.
And then something really weird happens: they find a large amount of bottled water, in the middle of the road, with a perfectly clean piece of paper on it that says “From a Friend.” That’s not suspicious at all! Eugene has to be held back from designating himself the group cave canary, and Rick declares that they can’t trust the delicious, tasty, life-saving water.
They talk about it just long enough for God to notice them again. Rain! Gabriel forgives God.
Everyone but Daryl is happy. Daryl has chosen sad and he’s sticking with it, dangit.
Naturally, though, the rain immediately turns scary-bad, and they go hide in that barn Daryl found earlier. Rick gives a speech. It’s terrible. He says the name of the show.
This sequence ends weirdly. Daryl looks through a crack in the barn door just long enough to see a zombie horde, and there’s a really nicely shot sequence where the three depressives– Daryl, Maggie, and Sasha– all fight to hold the barn door closed against a growing horde of zombies while it rains and thunders and terrors outside. Eventually the whole group joins them. The sound design, in particular, is awesome. And they’re fighting to keep the door closed and the zombies out–
–and then Maggie wakes up. It’s almost like this was a dream sequence, except when she and Sasha go outside, there are broken trees– and broken walkers– scattered everywhere. It’s a great set piece, and I’m annoyed that I couldn’t find pictures of it.
(I’ve seen complaining about this being a bit too twee and lucky for the group. While I’m not denying that the power of plot is happening here, I’ve lived in tornado country for just about my whole life and tornadoes do this. They will decimate an entire block and leave one house untouched, or destroy one side of the street but not the other. It happens.)
And then this guy shows up. He asks to speak to Rick. By name. And that’s the end of the episode. Hi, Aaron!
I’m interested to see what folk thought of this one. I was expecting a slower episode after the last two, and I got it, but a lot of people seemed to really not like this one too much. And the Aaron development is happening faster than I thought it would, so we’ll see how far into that storyline they get before the season ends.
Is it next Sunday yet?