The amazing thing about an episode like this is how well it works. In past seasons, an episode like “Crossed” would fall into a category of episodes that can basically be forgotten, as it serves as a way to align all the characters into certain positions, before the mid-season finale. Now, with The Walking Dead having become a far more confident show than it has ever been, “Crossed” has the benefit of providing us lots of characters we actually care about to make up the various plotlines that provide the focus for this episode that is all about moving pieces into their place, before next week’s much more action-heavy finale. That does not mean this was a great episode, but “Crossed” has plenty going for it to make me care about what is going on.
“Crossed” is an episode that goes about balancing all of the characters again, as opposed to the past few weeks, which focused on one main story and only the characters directly associated. That does not automatically mean the episode cannot be as good, but it does lead to a different kind of focus, given the lack of a true center in this format. Instead of watching just Daryl and Carol running around, this week finds us dealing with Rick’s group, Abraham’s group, the church, and Beth’s hospital adventures. The stuff at the church is the weakest, but that is largely due to how little I care about Gabriel and his plight to likely inadvertently cause harm to the rest of the group. As far as the other stories go, they all have their merits, as they mostly respect the characters.
It was nice to see Rick again. Having spent a few weeks away from the angstiest former police officer in Georgia, getting back into the groove of things with him in my preferred version of the character, “Ready for Action Rick,” I was happy following along with him and his group, as they made their way back to Atlanta and planned on how to rescue Beth and Carol. These portions of the episode are straight-forward enough, as we know THE big showdown will not take place this week, but something has to happen to at least position us pretty close.
It is the character work that makes them more effective. Watching Sasha and Tyreese deal with the death of Bob works well, because the characters are rightfully tackling some emotional issues that feel true to who they are. Getting another moment with Sasha and another character named Bob works as well too, with a bonus twist that does not undercut the spirit of the episode as a whole, as we got to see good acting and good writing on display. And then you have the requisite shoot-out scene and a chance to see Daryl kick ass, because why not?
With the catching up done on the Abraham side of the show, things are even less plot-focused. While this crew will likely end up heading back to the church, their portion of the episode is merely focused on keeping it together and having hope that Eugene will wake up. Abraham is mostly on his knees, dead to the world; Maggie is trying not to stress out, and Glenn, Rosita, and Tara go on a mission to find water. That last group of individuals plays a big role in the other thing that really works about this episode – the sense of hope.
The Walking Dead has always been a show heavy on the drama. That is what happens when the world is brought down by the dead coming back to life, but it is only in rare instances where this series wants to lighten up a bit. Introducing Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene has certainly injected a very comic booky level of life to certain aspects of the show, but even they have heavy stuff to deal with. Giving us time spent with Glenn and Rosita catching a fish and Tara finding a yoyo is the kind of joy that is simple and not even that amazing, but enough to provide this show with something close to a brighter spirit, which is nice to see now and again.
The same sort or spirit manages to come up back at the hospital. Despite my annoyance with the previous episode involving Beth, I am at least happier to be familiar enough with what is going on in this location to feel cool about how it played out. Beth put on a neat distraction and got the medicine to Carol, only to follow it up with a nice moment of dialogue. Given that some kind of battle will take place at or very near this location next week, I enjoyed seeing some sweetness, here, just as I enjoyed seeing Abraham finally take the water from Maggie towards the end of the episode.
All of this is set up though. I was happy to enjoy these characters in this sort of episode more than I may have in previous seasons, but it still matters only so much, given the big finale coming up. That does not discount the work done by the cast or the writers, given how well this season has been coming together, based on their choices, but it is an episode that does enough to keep things moving, more than something that really defines the series. “Crossed” is a solid effort, but I now await whatever is going to happen next week.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Daryl just dominated this week’s pick by using a walker head as a weapon.
- Not a lot of Carl and Michonne so far this season, so I expect them to get a big adventure to go on together in the winter episodes.
- Tara made me laugh, so there!
- “Officer” Dawn just does not work on this show.
- Really disgusting zombie effects this week. Kudos.
- Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what myself and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on the The Walking Dead TV Podcast.