Another one bites the dust. Well actually, the dust bit back, but we lost a few characters this week in another episode focused on multiple characters. The emphasis on one of these characters was not entirely effective, similar to my gripes with the minor focus on Sasha last week (who was nowhere to be found in this week’s “Spend”), but seeing certain scenarios playout, and getting a divide in the way tension was handled worked for the most part. Things were deadly outside of the walls of Alexandria, but there are some dangerous developments inside of those walls as well.
Let’s get to what is going on inside the walls first. We get a lot more of Carol this week, as she deals with Sam, the young boy who caught her stealing guns last week. It was interesting to see how this storyline slowly went from seemingly watching Carol being uncomfortable around children (given her past) and turn into an indication that something worse is going on. Between the warning signs she sees and the interactions Rick has with Sam’s father and Jesse’s husband, Pete, it is clear the man is more than just a jerk and the two feel they will have to do something about it.
It has been a little strange charting the direction of this season as a whole, given the multiple plot threads that have taken place. We had Terminus, we had a hospital, we now have Alexandria, and there have been little things in between each. That is not a bad way to handle the show, given its consistency for the most part this season, but I mention it due to where things seem to be ending up. With Rick and Carol now considering taking out a member of the Alexandria community, The Walking Dead continues to show us how our heroes are basically positioning themselves to be the ones in charge of their new setting, with the show’s perspective having us in the position of rooting for them.
The other storylines all support this as well. Abraham manages to find purpose again, which is awesome for Abraham, but also means he is in control of construction. Glenn and company go on a disastrous mission, which leads to the death of Deanna’s son, the man who led scout missions. Maggie already seems to be serving her purpose by being at Deanna’s side. Daryl is off deciding who is and is not good enough to join Alexandria. These are all interesting ways to line up what seems to be a small arc involving the current controlling powers of Alexandria, before Rick begins a new season as its leader.
Father Gabriel (the least effective part of this episode and most episodes this season) serves as a way to further promote this motion of things coming to a head, between the Alexandrians and the Grimes folk. It would help if Gabriel was not such a pathetic nothing of a character that I cared about, rather than just an embodiment of the show finding a prop that can occasionally mess things up for others, but his actions do steer the show closer to an inevitable direction. Between his claims about Rick and his group being the evil he wants Deanna to really see, the possible major drama involving Rick’s handling of Pete, and now the death of Deanna’s son on top of it all, the next two episodes could prove to be a challenging way for this season to wrap itself up, as far as what goes down with Rick & the gang and those in Alexandria who are dealing with their presence.
Moving away from the central drama in Alexandria and how that could affect the rest of this season, the supply run featuring Glenn, Tara, Eugene, Noah, Aiden, and Nicholas was almost nothing but good, classic zombie fun, except for one major aspect, which I will get to. The thing to single out first is Glenn. Given that Glenn has always been a reliably good person, it is a shame that The Walking Dead understands this and knows it means he has to be constantly tested, until the series decides it is done with him (that’s just how it is for a show like this). Things start off well enough, with Glenn doing his part to keep people safe, but sure enough, something terrible like a bullet hitting a grenade happens, and everything is turned on its head.
Obviously a plan going off without a hitch is not something The Walking Dead is ever a huge fan of showing its audience, but while the zombie action was fun and all, things took a bad turn for me when it came to seeing poor Noah die. It would be one thing to let us understand the situation and be angry at the people responsible. For whatever reason though, the show decided to basically give us gore porn, as Noah was taken out in the most unsavory of bloody ways. I am all for good makeup and visual effects work, but it felt like the show was going too far for no good reason, as a death of a likable character like Noah is horrible to see transpire based on the first shot and the look on Glenn’s face. Seeing intense close-ups and some real nasty business felt tasteless (pun pretty much intended, because screw it).
Despite some of that unfortunate business though, “Spend” was a solid episode of zombie-related television. I remain quite curious about Alexandria and where things are headed, despite being prepared for the worst. Dialing down the Rick in favor of more of the secondary characters was a nice decision this week, as we head into the final two episodes, even if Gabriel is more of a waste of space than anything. The fact that we are still getting good world-building and character moments goes a long way as well. As much as I already have respect for most of our main cast members, I do like the main Alexandrians we are coming to know, as far as the way the actors are playing their characters is concerned. Hopefully that ends up meaning something, once things get shaken up a bit.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: While the stuff with Noah was crossing the line for me, the death of Aiden gets my pick, even if it is a reverse by having the zombies kill him. It was good, gorey fun.
- Daryl is back to riding the loudest vehicle possible. Good for him.
- And now Noah will never be the architect we all wanted him to be, because Everybody Eats Chris… RIP
- Aiden was all about Dubstep. RIP.
- Good stuff between Eugene and Tara, even if I was hoping for something greater to come from Eugene’s cowardice, beyond just stepping up a bit to help.
- Carol must make some seriously great cookies.
- Yes, Glenn is still that nice to not even off the guy responsible for so many misdeeds. Oh Glenn…
- Seriously, I hope there is a discussion about all the bad things Father Gabriel did, before Deanna completely gets on board with trusting in the things he had to say.
- 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.