Review by Gene
We have a lot of unknowns going into the fifth episode of this young season. Will Morgan reveal his prisoner to anyone? Is Carol’s cover completely blown? What is Glenn’s true fate? We saw a lot of interaction, but one thing we didn’t see was any of those unknowns being resolved. (spoilers ahead)
The episode opens with Michonne telling Maggie that they had to leave Glenn and Nicholas behind, and Rick sprinting through a herd of walkers screaming to open the gate, all while Deanna watches on from the outlook post. If you’re wondering how Rick made it out of the RV surrounded by walkers you’re not alone. The show never has him explaining that trick. Those in the “Glenn’s not dead” camp need cite nothing more than Rick’s escape to add credibility to some possible way that Glenn made it out alive. Nevertheless Rick makes it into the town and immediately begins building morale while walkers surround their walls. The rest of the show is very hit or miss, mostly miss in my opinion. There are two items that are worth much at all; Maggie and Aaron potentially searching for Glenn, and Deanna’s state of mind. I might also throw in Rick and Jesse kissing but I doubt if anyone missed that writing on the wall.
Maggie does what Maggie was always going to do; get ready to find Glenn. She tries to deny Aaron’s insistence to help her, but eventually allows him to come along. When they are just about to break into the open and make a run for it she stops in her tracks and reveals that she is pregnant. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone familiar with how babies are made, but it does make for an agonizing choice for Maggie. Risk her own life and the life of her child in searching for Glenn, or just let it be and wait for him to return. Aaron and Maggie provide probably the most interesting interactions on this episode. One of the biggest story lines in season four was Glenn and Maggie getting separated after the prison and their attempts to find each other. We risk a bit of “been there done that” here now in season six, but the circumstances have changed. This time around we will sit with Maggie in her helplessness while she waits for her husband to return.
The other interesting development is the state of mind of Deanna. When first arriving at Alexandria she is a portrait of control. Nothing happens without her knowing and she has the final say on all things. Now over the course of a few days her husband and one son have died, her community has been savagely attacked, and a herd of walkers presses against the walls. She walks around town dazed, staring into the distance. It’s a stark contrast to who she was very recently. She’s feeling lost and probably quite betrayed. Even her son Spencer turns on her, lashing out in guilt himself, blaming her for the town not being prepared for reality. With this hole opening up inside her she makes her way to the pantry to return what Spencer stole when she is attacked by a wolf-turned-walker leftover from the attack. She fends it off, getting splattered with blood, long enough for Rick to kill it. Rick tries pushing her to reestablish her leadership in the town, but she confesses that she is not the one the town needs right now. Leadership of Alexandria is all but handed over to Rick.
There were short bits of other interactions in the episode that were okay, but most of them I found to be weak or unnecessary. Carl and Ron’s shoving match was a joke. Tara encouraging Denise and their eventual kiss was far too stale. Jessie engaged with her son as though she had only just met them. Rick and Ron’s conversation wasn’t half bad but wasn’t that great either. Enough for you to hope for Ron but still be cautious of him. There was just a lot of clichéd interactions which still missed the mark in selling the cliché. I think that’s due in part to the writing, but I also think we had a handful of poor acting performances in this episode.
My Rating: C
This episode leaned heavily on relationships, specifically between Rick’s group and the Alexandrians. Unfortunately only about half of them worked. In most cases I either don’t care about any of those relationships, or what I did care about was ruined by poor dialogue and acting. Don’t even get me started on the lame, angsty teen shoving match. My 5 year old daughter play-fights with more aggression than that. Also, for as many unknowns as we have hanging in the balance, its amazing how none of them were intertwined except the potential of Maggie searching for Glenn. We saw nothing of Carol; is her cover fully blown? We saw nothing of Morgan; is he telling anyone of his prisoner? We saw nothing of Daryl/Abraham/Sasha; what’s taking them so long? They’ve all basically been nonexistent this season.
I feel like this episode intended to build greater cohesion between Rick’s group and the Alexandrians to bring them into the reality of the world now and tie up some communal loose ends. But in my opinion most of those “loose ends” were never untied to begin with. I want to hear from you though. What did you think of this season’s fifth episode?