Clearly, we need to get to a point where the group is reunited, at least in storyline, as we build towards the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. To get there, though, we definitely need the characters that have split off to have their own story for a little bit, to help propel them forward and to give them a reason to reconnect. The fourth episode allowed us to remember that Beth is still out there, and spend some time seeing what she’s been dealing with. Episode five followed those who had ventured aboard the short church bus, trying to help Eugene make it to Washington. However, that left a couple of fan favorites without any screen time as of late, and they can’t just loop back without something interesting happening, so this episode followed Carol and Daryl (who clearly need a friend named Errol) on their journey to Atlanta in an attempt to save Beth.
With Carol and Daryl as the central focus of the episode, it was naturally expected to be a pretty hardcore, bad-ass entry in the season’s arc. While there were moments, it was also paced a little slowly, as we got to see the two wax poetic about how the world has changed. Carol, whose life since she incinerated Karen and David has clearly been punctuated with billowing smoke, seems to believe that they just can’t afford to help people anymore. The world just “consumes” that kind of individual, in her eyes, which is a little harsh, but totally reasonable when you think about what she’s gone through. Daryl, for his part, has taken caring for others to heart, as is evidenced by his pursuit of Beth’s kidnappers. True, he was completely willing to leave Noah to die, but that was more of an eye-for-an-eye mentality, and he did kind of have plenty of reason to be angry. As it turns out, helping Noah will help Daryl in the long run, because he now not only knows that Beth is alive, but he’s got someone with inside information that could help.
Well, help to a point. After all, we are approaching mid-season, which is traditionally a point in the season where some shocking farewells are dished out. In the meantime, let’s look and see who had less-than-brilliant moments while trying to avoid being “Consumed”.
5. The Hospitalians
First off, this group that has been either rescuing the wounded (to place them in indentured servitude) or kidnapping people (to place them in indentured servitude) didn’t seem to think too much of a Walker clawing at the windows of a car not terribly far from their nighttime bike moving expedition? A little silly, since we’ve been shown repeatedly that the Walkers are really only that persistent when a warm meal is on the other side of a barrier. Then, at the end of the episode, they are able to grab Carol, but they don’t think the check if there are any others around? Atlanta isn’t a safe place, so one would think that they might be a little hesitant to believe that one person was able to get as far in as Carol did. But hey, maybe they really are more concerned about the health of those they grab, and they DID just hit Carol with their car.
So, Noah, you couldn’t get out of the hospital without the assistance of someone you just met. Then, in your travels through Atlanta (travels that you weren’t terribly well-armed for), you end up getting the drop on a couple of people who are clearly well-armed AND battle-hardened. You even grabbed their best rifle before they saw you were there. Instead of leaving them for dead, complete with releasing tent Walkers, maybe you could have tried talking with them? Yes, they had you outnumbered, and your leg should still be a little sore, but again, you had the gun. And you had them coming through a narrow opening. Seems like you had the upper hand. Good thing that your big plan backfired, although, if it had succeeded, you probably wouldn’t have gotten pinned under a falling bookcase.
Maybe this is expecting a bit much, given that last season Daryl and Beth joined forces to burn a building to the ground, but the simple fact that Daryl decided to burn the bodies of the Walkers found in the shelter seemed shortsighted. Noble, yes, but also unwise. After all, it wasn’t that far from where they’d lost track of the cross-mobile, so giving away their location, even if they were leaving soon, seems like an especially bad idea. Besides, if you weren’t staying at the shelter long, then why not just dispose of the Walkers and leave their bodies to decompose? In the apocalypse, there isn’t really a lot of time to worry about rotting corpses, especially if you’re just moving on.
Noah landed at number 4 for his scheme to get Carol and Daryl killed. But how did our heroes end up in a position where Noah could get the drop on them? When they returned to the chained doorway, Carol decided that, instead of checking for anything, she would deposit the gun through first, and then back out into the hallway. Now, it would be hard to assume that Carol thought anyone was following them. That said, they knew that particular hallway was full of Walkers, at least one of which who seemed to be doing a good number on the tent it was trapped in. Every time that the group has felt too safe, something bad has happened, and clearly, Carol felt safe enough with the Walkers trapped to just back up through the doorway, without even a mere glance to see what might be around.
1. Carol & Daryl
For two characters who have shown incredible resourcefulness as of late, and had some truly smart moments even through this episode (using fire to lure the Walkers away, for example), it only seems karmic to have them join forces to bring the dumbest moment of this episode. Specifically, their moment comes with the van sequence. Sure, you’ve finally got a lead on the vehicles with the cross in the window, who are clearly behind Beth’s disappearance. Of course, to initially GET that lead, you have to climb into a van already teetering precariously over a drop, so, by all means, both of you climb aboard. Then, because you’re looking for information so intently, you don’t notice a horde of Walkers coming around to trap you? By the time that the Walkers had closed in, there would have been no real way to fight to safety, so buckling up and getting the van to drop was the only viable escape plan, but it seems like there should have been some sort of contingency in place before we ever had to think about Carol and Daryl getting the van a-rockin’. Besides, the Walkers clearly continued knocking.
That does it for this episode. The mid-season finale is only a couple of episodes away, so get ready for the action to pick back up.