Everyone’s made it to Mexico! Hooray, it’s time to celebrate! Let’s sit back, enjoy a cerveza, and spend some time riding out this whole undead apocalypse thing that’s going on worldwide. Except, this is the world of The Walking Dead, and that means that any moment of safety needs to be punctuated with an underlying threat. It also means that there needs to be excessive stupidity, all to make sure that the plot, such as it is, moves incrementally forward.
Yeah, this episode has some issues. We’re watching Chris slowly turn into an outright villain, which could be refreshing if it was being handled in any clever way. But, hey, we’re also seeing Nick totally buy into a crazy old woman’s theories about the zombies. Oh, and we’re getting a nice little retread of the farm from the main series. Did I say nice? I mean tired. It’s falling in a similar place in the series, it’s being handled more unevenly, and we have no reason to care about anyone at the villa, unlike the Greene family. At least the cast is no longer on the boat, and there’s been some chaff removed from the wheat. Just as long as you don’t consider any of the main cast to be any of that chaff, because they aren’t going anywhere (yet?), and new characters are falling by the wayside. This episode does kill off people, but not any of the family that we’re supposed to be invested in, but haven’t resonated enough to actually make us care. So, let’s all pretend we know a little Latin, as we dive in, Sicut Cervus.
5. Nick and Ofelia
Nick and Ofelia make a relatively minor mistake in the grand course of this episode, and one that could be somewhat understood given what happened to Reed in the previous one. While Daniel is cleaning up after the raid that left only Strand standing, he gets to Luis, who is clinging to life. Luis begs for “not the head”, and both Nick and Ofelia make sure that Daniel doesn’t. Now, admittedly if Luis started turning, they could always dump him overboard, but they know by now that those reanimated are only stopped completely with damage to the brain, so maybe just let Daniel do what he’s already doing, and not run a potential risk later.
Another understandable bit of stupidity comes from Strand when the group makes it to the church. Seeing Thomas’s truck, Strand immediately starts shouting for him, even rushing into the church blindly. Now, he is trying to find the man he loves, and he is fearing for the worst, but the noise brings the walkers, and Strand definitely knows that noise attracts them if they’re nearby. Even without the walkers, knowing that they already ran afoul of people with guns, and had to fight their way out, Strand should have been pragmatic enough to look for Thomas a little more quietly. Thankfully for everyone involved, apparently this family, armed with only makeshift weapons and minimal combat experience, let alone combat-against-the-dead experience, is able to work together like a seamless machine, reigning final deaths upon the reanimated parishioners.
One thing that the show has presented for us is Nick’s incredible utility. He’s the super-junkie, who can recognize pills for exactly what they are at a mere glance. He knows how to camouflage, and is easily able to navigate zombie-infested territory without even a slight bit of worry. No, he doesn’t always make good choices, and he buys into Celia’s theory about the walkers being the next evolutionary step a little too easily, but she made him good food, and he was really hungry. So Madison constantly insisting that Nick if fragile and needs to be protected? It’s getting to be wilfull ignorance, which certainly isn’t going to help anyone survive.
Madison approaches Travis, trying to explain that there’s something terribly wrong with Chris. For his part, Travis decides that, sure, he could listen to what Madison is saying, or he could brush it off, while also saying it’s exactly like the situations with Nick and his drug use. Except Nick was really only a danger to himself, and Chris, in a different universe, could easily find himself being hunted down on an episode of Criminal Minds (I want credit if that ever comes to pass).
With everything that’s happened, it makes perfect sense that Chris would be going off the deep end. However, there’s no cunning involved in what he’s doing. Maybe this is intentional, and is showing how he is simply in reaction mode to everything now, but you’d think that, at some point, he might exhibit at least a little self-preservation, and try to reign things in a little bit more. From his argument with Travis over Madison maybe not telling him the truth, to watching her almost become walker-lunch, all the way through the end of the episode when he picked up a knife and stood menacingly over the two sleeping women, Chris is clearly not thinking ahead. Oh, and instead of trying to do something, anything, to get Alicia at least back to neutral (remember, she brought Reed and his people down on them all), he threatens her, practically ensuring his future failure to carry out his schemes. This particular character arc is a somewhat interesting one, as we haven’t really seen it yet, and they didn’t pull this particular trigger with Carl, but Chris just doesn’t seem to have enough motivation behind his actions to make any of them considered, effective, or anywhere near as terrifying as they should be.
That’s it for another week. Next week is the mid-season finale. Is it going to be the kind of episode that changes the game for all of the characters, or is it going to set the pins up, and then switch it all out for a game of badminton? We’ll just have to wait and see, which is starting to only feel palatable because of Preacher coming up after.