Well, after all of that waiting, and holding our breaths, and expecting something to happen, we get to spend some more time waiting. The difference, of course, is that now we don’t have new episodes without a lot happening to tide us over. We’ve reached the mid-season finale, and, in true Walking Dead fashion, this past episode delivered death and left us hungering for more.
This episode wasn’t necessarily as big in moments as previous mid-season finales have been, but it served the story that had been presented to it, and set the table for the second half of the season. The walls of Alexandria took a hefty hit, and the undead are everywhere. Metaphorical walls were also put in danger, and, even though most of the characters have escaped still breathing (at least for now), things certainly aren’t going to be the same for our crew. And, of course, if you saw the prologue for what’s coming, you know that there’s a much bigger threat looming on the horizon.
But that’s looking ahead. Here, it’s time to look back, and talk about what happened. It’ll be nice, and methodical, because we’re going Start To Finish.
So what exactly did happen after the tower knocked down part of the security of Alexandria? Well, just as we knew they eventually would, the dead swarmed the streets. Most of the important characters made it safely into houses, where they could barricade at least for a little while and attempt to come up with a plan. Things certainly look bad for our erstwhile zombie fighters, but there’s reason to hope, if only they can make it through the herd. After all, most of the wall is still intact, and the armory was pretty well stocked with supplies. The trick is going to be making it there, and getting past their own issues while doing so.
Because, oh boy, do these characters have issues. Morgan vs Carol. Ron vs Carl. Sam vs his crippling (and understandable) fear of everything that’s happened ever since the Ricktatorship came to town. None of these issues have been fixed, and all of them have seriously made things worse for those around them. But hey, at least Rick finally remembered a trick that worked pretty darned well before, and seemed like it had a great chance of working again, up until the final moment before the end credits. Since we’ve brought up the issues some of our characters are facing, maybe we should look at this week’s list.
I get it, guys. You respected Deanna, and what she was able to do for the community of Alexandria. She was able to keep it afloat, and actually acting somewhat like the pre-apocalypse world. Good for her, and she deserves your respect. You know what else deserves your respect? Understanding that she’s been bit, that the change is going to come sooner rather than later, and maybe just ending it. I get that Deanna wanted to go out on her own terms, but that option should have gone away when the bite mark was discovered. At the very least, you could have used her gun and ammunition. Also, even before there were emergencies with the walkers breaching the house, why did nobody make sure that someone kept an eye on the soon-to-be-zombie? Unless Judith really is a “Lil’ Ass Kicker”, and has already brushed up on her melee skills.
No, Carl is not helping the situation. Yes, Carl has been a tremendous jerk, practically feeling the need to point out how much better equipped to handle this situation than he is. But you do not drag someone into the garage with the express purpose of trying to kill them when your house is surrounded by walkers, and it’s been pointed out many times that noise attracts them. A situation that could have possibly been dealt with through attrition became a much more immediate concern, because Ron just needs to get some sort of revenge against Carl. Also, while locking the door to keep Carl from getting away would make sense, again, surrounded by zombies. You basically shut away your route for escape as well. Just think, none of this would have happened if Carl hadn’t inherited his father’s wonderful ability to sense motives.
You did great things for Alexandria. You united the town, and kept it afloat. You and your husband ensured that there would be walls to provide safety, and you had grand schemes for the future. A politician, you most definitely were. A fighter, you most definitely were not. So why, instead of retreating as you should have when the wall fell, did you jump to Rick’s aid, especially when he seemingly had the situation with regards to his person fairly under control? By staying in the front line, you accrued a few wounds, with the most notable being the bite. At least by keeping your gun, you got to take out a small number of walkers before becoming lunch. Clearly someone was brushing up on their headshot skills.
Dr. Denise being kidnapped is on you. Completely, totally on you. Well, maybe not completely, but she wouldn’t have been taken by the Wolf if you hadn’t been trying to rehabilitate a man who admitted that he wasn’t going to come around to your way of thinking. The bigger problem here, though? With everything going on outside of the house, you’re going to stand your ground with Carol? Yes, you did try and get her to stand down, explaining that this could be dealt with later, but you also made a point of trusting a confirmed killer enough that you only tied his hands together. Maybe this isn’t the cart that your horse needed to be tied to.
Before you think I’m attacking only Morgan for what happened, Carol is fully complicit in Denise being kidnapped as well. After all, Morgan did point out that now was not the time, and Carol persisted anyway. She has no reason to trust Morgan, and she seems to have a more realistic view of the Wolves than he does, but she’s also generally been shown to be shrewd and somewhat cunning as to when the most appropriate time to handle situations is. Well, except when you think about her burning Karen and David. But her timing with regards to Terminus was spot on, and wasn’t just running in guns blazing. Carol was so determined that the Wolf needed to die that she and Morgan fought, and the end result is the two of them knocked unconscious, with Morgan’s “project” taking away Alexandria’s best medical professional. Basically, Carol let everything she’d been working towards since rejoining Rick and his group slip by the wayside in a moment of blind fury, and she clearly forgot that Morgan has proven more than adept at defending himself.
Honorable Mention. Rosita, Tara and Eugene
Really, more of Tara and Rosita, and even that, really more of Rosita. The three of them burst in on the Wolf holding Denise captive. Now, Eugene doesn’t have a firearm (which is really for the best) so he’s limited in what he can do. Tara has the beginnings of a little love story going with Denise, so maybe her own judgement was compromised. But why didn’t Rosita take a shot? These are people who have gotten so adept at shooting for the head that they can make the shots without aiming, in a full run, spinning from target to target. I get that Denise was being used as a human shield, but you’d think that Rosita, who has been shown to have strong survival skills and be a very good shot, would have at least considered taking the risk.
You’ll notice that Sam is not on the list. Sure, he basically invited in an entire colony of ants, just by not finishing his cookie. But you can’t blame the kid for being as traumatized as he was, and snapping when surrounded by walkers, looking to his mother for some comfort. The kid is most definitely not alright.
That does it for this week, and for this half of the season. The Walking Dumb will return when The Walking Dead does. Until then, stay safe, and stay smart.