‘The Walking Dead’ Recapped for a Zombie, 5×7: Crossed

Rick-rolling. (AMC)

Rick-rolling. (AMC)

Every Sunday, I watch the new episode of The Walking Dead with Ed, the guy who sleeps on my couch. It’s a real pain in my ass, because Ed never pays attention and needs everything explained to him. Also, he’s a zombie.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: So obviously we’re just jumping right into the story; they’ve skipped over the part where Daryl introduces Noah and tells everyone back at the church about how Beth and Carol are trapped at the hospital. I like it. Good narrative economy.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Well, it looks like they’re preparing the church to be defended by just a few people while the rest of them go attack Grady Memorial. So Sasha is taking her dead-boyfriend-related rage out on the pews with that ax, presumably to use the wood to block the doors and widows, while Tyreese and Daryl repurpose the organ pipes as makeshift defense spikes.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Well, they can’t all go to Atlanta. They’ve got that millstone baby with them. And besides, they need somewhere to come back to once they rescue Beth and recently-hit-by-a-car Carol. If the church is overrun while they’re gone, it’s back out on the road once again, with their injured and their baby.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Yeah, this is pretty much the logical endpoint of the whole “nothing is sacred anymore” theme the show’s been digging deep into for most of the season. Father Gabriel is the only one who sees this building as anything more than “four walls and a roof.” And remember—though it has been four episodes for us, for Gabriel this is literally the morning after they massacred the Terminus dudes all over his church.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Rick says he owes Carol more than the rest of them because, while she saved all of them, she did it even after he kicked her out of the group.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Yeah, the fact that Sasha is so broken up over Bob’s death seems weirdly self-indulgent at this point, doesn’t it? Yeah, sure, Rick went psycho after Lori’s death, but so many people have died since then (and anyway, it was obnoxious when he did it too). She seems smart and tough enough to know that mourning like this isn’t a luxury they can afford or deserve anymore. Or maybe, like she says later, she’s just upset she wasn’t the one to finally go through with stabbing him in the head.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Yes, the last we saw Beth she had just gotten beat up for her escape attempt—that’s the second set of stitches Frankensteining up her once-so-innocent face—and then saw Carol being brought in on a stretcher. This is apparently the day after that, so contemporaneous with Rick & co. on their way back to Atlanta.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Yes, this episode is stretched pretty thin between four different groups in four different places: four of them in the church, five on the road to Atlanta, Beth and Carol in Grady, and six stuck here out in nowhere with the fire truck. Kind of demonstrates how they’re stretched thin as a group now too.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Eugene is out cold because Abraham beat him senseless after he admitted that the D.C. cure was a total lie and ruined Abraham’s whole reason for being. It seems Abraham’s been over there, sitting sullenly and silently on his knees since then. There sure are a lot of grown-ass adults acting like petulant kids in this episode, in ways that the apocalypse really should have cured them of by now. Abraham’s constantly been like “OK, shake it off, we’re moving on” about everyone else’s problems, but now that his plan is gone, he’s just gonna sit down in the middle of the road. What a dick.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: This version of Rick is fairly new. Until now, he has almost always gone for the solution with the least bloodshed. He’s been willing to kill when necessary, but never when there was a better plan. But Terminus changed him. Now he’s advocating for the bloodier of two plans. And getting overruled.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Gabriel’s referring to the Terminans. When Rick and his people disarmed them, the Terminus crew offered to just leave and never come back if they let them go. Gabriel, who didn’t see their duplicity (or their cannibalism) firsthand, doesn’t quite understand why Rick had to murder them instead. And so at this point, it seems to him that he has cast his lot in with a group of murderous lunatics, and he is basically humoring them and biding his time until he can escape from their company.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Crazynuts Officer Dawn Lerner is not actually in control of anything in the hospital, of course. She is just keeping everything in a tenuous balance. So she can’t just decide to side with Beth against one of her cops about Carol’s care. But she can work behind the scenes to keep Carol alive. Now, why on Earth she would want to, that’s a harder question.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Yeah, Rosita’s water filter is a nice touch, because it reminds us that we actually do need people like Eugene in this world, even if he doesn’t know how to fight. Being able to make dirty water clean is a needed skill. Totally aside from his false claim to be able to stop the plague, he could have been, and can still be, a valuable member of a team of survivors.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Oh, those disgusting pink walkers? They have been stuck here, melted to the pavement, ever since the government bombed the area and all of its “evacuees” with napalm. They really just keep coming up with new ways to top themselves with the grossness of walkers. I’ll see your zombies on fire and raise you waterlogged swamp zombies! Oh yeah? Well check out these melted napalm zombies. Really makes you wonder what they’re going to think of next.

Ed: Grrr. Argh.

Me: Priest with a nail through his foot. Yep, pretty over-the-top. But Father Gabriel’s supposed martyrdom is complicated by the fact that he keeps sacrificing others for himself, not the other way around.

Ed: Grrr, argh?

Me: Yes, Sasha should have known better than to fall for this obvious ploy. But she’s distracted by her guilt over not having been able to kill Bob herself. So now she’s trying to do penance by helping this cop, also named Bob, like Tyreese helped her. How he knew to hit all of these notes, we don’t know. Maybe it is just a coincidence, a hail mary effort that just happened to work for reasons he knows nothing about. But now he’s loose, and who knows what effect that wild card will have on the rescue plan.

 

‘The Walking Dead’ Recapped for a Zombie, 5×7: Crossed