Why can’t call the episodes be 90 minutes long? Fuck it, we’ll do it live.
The Walking Dead story is a story about people and how they change given the cards they are dealt. Oh, and there are walkers, too. This episode highlighted the changes people have made in the almost two years since the zombie apocalypse, and hinted at the changes to come.
Rick has always teetered on the edge of sanity ever since he woke up, but was almost too far gone after season three and four with Lori dying and the Gov’na getting all murdery. Then Terminus happened, and Rick went full Rick for a few episodes there. NEVER go full Rick. He’s calming back down a little, but still has a way to go. Not only do the red shirt Alexandrians see it, but so do some of Rick’s closest friends and family.
When Rick met up with Morgan in Clear, Morgan had completely lost it, and Rick was the reasonable one. Something happened, and he came out a zen master (I hope we get one of those cool black and white flashback episodes to show his training). Now, Rick is losing his humanity, and Morgan is the reasonable one, returning the favor, to reign Rick back in.
Then there’s Sasha. At the end of last season, she was ready to die. She had a death wish and absolutely LOVED almost dying. Hell, she slept on a bed of walkers. WHO DOES THAT. This episode had her teamed up (for the most part) with Abraham. Abraham recognized Sasha’s death wish, and even called her out on it. Much like the comparison of Rick to where Morgan was in Clear, Abraham went through a similar journey as Sasha. When they were in the car and Abraham got out to handle the lookeeloo walkers, and came back excited about being covered with blood and describing the scene at the town meeting, he was warning Sasha what her path would lead to. Don’t get me wrong, Abraham likes killin’ walkers, but he was exaggerating for Sasha’s sake. Did you notice her reaction when he got back in the car? She was shocked and a little disgusted. Abraham being Abraham might be the ticket to reigning Sasha back in.
And Glenn. He’s supposed to be delivering pizzas, man. Look how far he’s come. (But interestingly, Glenn has changed the least. From the second episode he was willing to help a complete stranger (Rick), and hasn’t let up since.)
1. Rick’s plan was pretty smart, given what they know about walkers. The town got lucky geographically, and I liked how they used what they know about walkers to develop that plan. They’re attracted to noise, and it follows that a large group of walkers would be noisy, and therefore attract other walkers. They put a lot of prep time into that plan (Despite Carter’s worries). And it worked, too. You know, until that blasted horn.
2. Who set off the horn? Could it be Gabriel? Or was it the Wolves? I don’t think it was Gabriel, because he just wants to help (brutal) now that his reputation is shot. Could it be the Wolves? I wonder if they found the Quarry before Rick did (probably, they’re out in the wild), and knew it would come in handy later on? It fits their M.O.: Remember the car full of walker torsos last season? Walker bombs are right up their alley. Maybe they even put the first trucks, knowing what it could create?
That horn lingering after the screen went black was properly unsettling.
3. The black and white flashback effect was pretty sweet, and I want to see more of it. At the very beginning when it showed Rick’s execution, it faded from color to black and white, as an indication that it was the past. Not only did the effect differentiate between the two timelines of the episode, but also showed the dour mood leading up to the execution of the plan. It felt gloomy. It felt depressing. It took time, but that feeling went away and shifted to hope as the plan developed and was executed.
The only exception was the happiness when Glenn and Maggie saw that Tara was awake. I laughed out loud at four parts of this episode: The first was Tara’s relief that Eugene’s mullet was intact. That happiness was immediately sapped when she joked about Noah. TOO SOON.
4. Ron is going to be a big issue for Rick. Rick took his dad, and Carl took his girl. The grimes family just made an enemy for life. The hardest part for Rick? He can’t touch Ron. That whole family is off limits, and anything he tries (leadership wise) will fall on deaf ears because of what happened. If they decide to go that route, maybe Ron becomes the source of Carl’s newest orifice?
5. When Rick told Morgan that he didn’t take any more chances, I realized after letting those walkers get close to Carter and the other workers that he meant he didn’t take any more chances with his group. Rick was right, though, in two instances, both of which when viewed from the outside seemed wrong: When he was trying to teach the Alexandrians to fight off the walkers with shovels, and when he silenced Carter. I may be in the minority, but I also felt like Carl made the right choice when he killed that dude from Woodbury in front of Herschel after he told him to put his gun down. (HE SAID DROP IT THE GUY SAID HERE TAKE IT HE WAS TRYING TO GET THE DROP ON CARL AND CARL NOTICED). They were tough choices, but the right ones.
6. Rick’s take down of Gabriel at the meeting was BRUTAL. “I want to help.” “NO. Who else?” He didn’t even look at him. Cold.
7. Morgan does not forget. Especially when peanut butter bars are involved.
8. Eugene and Dr. Dre are going to make a good pairing. Eugene is just the right amount of weird and Heath is just the right amount of accepting that they will be friends, but Heath is still wierded out. The second time I laughed was when Eugene met Heath for the first time. Eugene talks a good talk (hey he convinced Abraham and Rosita to take him to D.C.) but still can’t back it up. He just let three unknown people into the town because Heath was the right amount of intimidating without being mean. Please keep Eugene off door duty.
Mad respect for the hair game.
9. Glenn’s plan at the tractor shop was solid, and his backup plan was good, too. He has come a long way since delivering pizzas. However, was I the only one to wonder why they didn’t take those tractors back to Alexandria? They could be SUPER useful! If Rick ever gets that farmer itch again, it would make it so much easier!
10. Daryl’s passive aggressive negotiating with Rick about finding new people was awesome. It was like a kid trying to convince her parents to buy a PS4. “A PS4 would help me with my homework. Doctors need better hand-eye coordination. But it’s your call.”
11. The third time I laughed out loud was probably unintentional on the show’s part, but funny nonetheless. When the herd was walking by the wall, Rick shot a flair and a walker on the other side headbutted the wall JUST at the right time. That walker had perfect comedic timing. I rolled.
12. Carol is a master manipulator. Did you see how she helped sway the room in favor of Rick’s plan, because the quarry full of walkers is just so darned terrifying. Know who else is a badass? Morgan (but we knew that). He was the only person not from Rick’s original group that caught on to her game. He thought she was a cop, but he’s not too far off. Carol is probably the most dangerous of the group, and Morgan senses it. She’s always ready for shit to go down.
I liked her sarcastic “can you teach me to shoot?” question to Rick. I think she’s good.
13. The fourth time I laughed out loud was when Carter’s band of freedom fighters IMMEDIATELY sold him out when Rick, Daryl, and Morgan walked in on them trying to deal with Eugene (bonus: Eugene’s “Hello” and “No I didn’t” were gold). All Rick had to do was shoot them a look and Carter was sold down the river. THIS GUY? I JUST MET HIM TODAY please don’t kill me.
14. Morgan sneaks up on Rick at the most inopportune times, doesn’t he? He finally caught up to Rick right as he executed a dude. Then he walked up on Rick right as he quieted another dude. For your consideration, Rick and Morgan’s interactions this episode can be boiled down to one image: