Review by Gene
This weeks episode had a lot of promise. I think everyone assumes the major action with the assault on the hospital wouldn’t happen until the mid-season finale next week, but it all gets setup here. Plans are laid out. Pieces are put in place. And I’m bored. (spoilers ahead)
Maybe bored is the wrong word, but after finishing the show I felt like I should’ve seen this coming. The majority of episodes focusing only on one group or another, in my opinion, have been pretty solid. Even in relatively slow episodes like Consumed last week, there was a ton of character depth to soak up. This week the writers tried to give us bits of each group, all on the same timeline, and really missed the mark. We learned exactly nothing more about anyone in Abraham’s group aside from some pretty meaningless background information on Rosita, and that some fish are still alive. Because what else are they going to do?
Rick, Sasha, Tyreese, Daryl and Noah take off to the hospital to free Beth and Carol. I was a little surprised that both Sasha and Tyreese went along. I guess they need each other at this point after Sasha lost Bob, but I thought Tyreese might stay behind and Michonne be the one to go since Tyreese has proven pretty incapable of killing when necessary. Be that as it may, Tyreese’s presence turns out to be quite important. Rick is pitching his plan of attack on the hospital with an emphasis on speed and silence. He doesn’t see it as a pitch though. This is what they’re going to do. So he’s a little surprised I think when Tyreese voices an alternative; taking hostages. He’s even more surprised when Daryl agrees! For the record, Tyreese’s plan is probably the best and safest, if they do it right. Of course they don’t, and Sasha allows one cop they took hostage to get behind her and get the jump on her. Really? Our group is supposed to be a well-oiled machine by this time.
Speaking of dumb decisions. Gabriel. My man. You have no clue how to survive on your own outside those four walls and a roof. You have been blessed with a group that can handle themselves and take you along for the ride. You can right some wrongs you’ve committed in the past. You can redeem yourself. You know what redemption is right? But no, instead you escape through the floor-boards and run off to… where exactly? And you can barely succeed at that without injuring yourself. By the way, I get that the writers had this neat metaphor in mind of a Christian pastor with a nail in his foot. One more for each hand and they might as well spell it out. But it’s terribly wasted on this scene. One curious moment before this happened was a certain stare that Michonne had for Carl as he was trying to teach Gabriel to defend himself. What was that about? It was almost like she saw a leader coming out in him a bit.
The one scene worth watching in this episode was Daryl’s struggle against the skinhead cop. Not for the eye-socket grab skull crush move, but for Rick’s reaction. Rick held his gun to the mans head for an extended time. Well long enough for Daryl to gain his footing and secure him. Rick is teetering. If it wasn’t clear from him wanting to go back in to Terminus after escaping, and the way he exacted revenge on Gareth, it should be by now. Outside a firefight Rick is level-headed and reasonable. Once he’s made to flip the switch and become a killer, he is having trouble turning it off. The lines are becoming blurred for him .
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
-Genesis 4: 6, 7
Obviously Cain’s situation was drastically different from what we’re watching here with Rick, but grant me a little leeway for a moment. I’ve always been very intrigued by those last four words in verse 7. “You must master it.” How blurry is the line getting now between Rick and, say, the Governor? Or Gareth? Sure, he’s not eating people, but his treatment of outsiders is becoming more and more callous. He never even considered an option to get Carol and Beth where everyone comes out alive until Tyreese spoke up. Even then he quickly dismisses it until Daryl agrees. Rick’s countenance is falling. If he can’t master it, he’ll alienate his group and drive himself apart from them.
Seargent Bob getting the jump on Sasha will make for a very interesting negotiation with Dawn. It will be information she has on Rick, on top of their exact whereabouts. Before that you had to like the odds of retrieving both Carol and Beth. Now, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Being the mid-season finale next week I wouldn’t expect any sort of prisoner swap before a mass of bullets and blood riddle the hospital floor.
Episode Rating: D
Any fans of the show angry with episodes focusing on just one group at a time… *clears throat for Walter Sobchak impersonation*… do you SEE what happens when they mash it all together?! Do you SEE what happens?!? Seriously, this episode was a mashed up mess. 90 seconds with one group, 120 seconds with another group. There was about 1 ½ good scenes in this weeks show, and that was Daryl wrestling with the cop and Rick teetering on the edge of murdering him. It’s stuff like that which makes me think he’ll end up alone by the end of this season (see below). Aside from that we had complete and utter filler with Abraham’s group. We had a decent moment of Carl sort of discipling pastor Gabriel (see what I did there) on how to defend himself before he inexplicably takes off. Even the moment where Dawn seems to confide in Beth is Lost in the rubble of this episode. Carol never woke up. Eugene never woke up (or at least he never spoke). Can we forget about this and move onto the mid-season finale?
From the previous week(s):
I have a lot of stuff hanging out there, most of which may not be determined until next week. I predicted that Carol dies chasing down Beth’s captors (undetermined but looking possible). I predicted Abraham will gather himself and lead his sub-group back to the church (undetermined). I predicted that Rick & Co. will travel to the hospital to save Beth and/or Carol (an easy +1). I predicted either Eugene or Rosita will soon die (undetermined). I predict Morgan shows up at the church with Rick & Co. gone (undetermined). Finally, I’ve predicted more specifically that Carol dies sacrificing herself for Beth to go free (undetermined). Current running total: +2
Just one, and I think it’s a pretty easy one. The character of Gabriel offers a lot to the show. Enough that I don’t think they kill him soon. I predict he returns to the church after a scary encounter with some walkers. He probably makes it back without Carl and Michonne knowing he left, but the walkers likely follow. Cue Morgan saving the day. Just sayin’.