With only a handful of episodes left in its fifth season, The Walking Dead needed to start ramping up the tension to reveal the cracks in the Alexandria front that we all know exist. Up until now, there has been an uneasy disquiet amongst the proceedings, and I’ve feared that the characters will only suffer from their relaxed, zombie-free state. And it’s been a while since we’ve had a major death. Just sayin’.
We open with Father Gabriel having a potential crisis of faith, ripping pages out of a Bible no doubt related to the guilt felt over him effectively sentencing his former congregation to death. Time will tell how much of a metaphor this scene becomes as the rest of the season plays out. There a slight hints sprinkled here and there that something’s coming. Or maybe it’s just The Walking Dead, and I’m overreacting to everything I see. Time will tell…
Given how much we’ve previously focused on the main cast members (Rick, Car-ul, Carol, and Daryl), it’s nice to see the B-cast a little more. Alexandria’s power has gone out, and Glenn and a handful of survivors, including Noah and Eugene, set out to patch the system. Of course, a warehouse that (I believe) contained a part they needed is crawling with zombies, so no one really has a peaceful, easy feeling about this one. An explosion takes out Aiden (who said goodbye to his parents in that whole “I’ll be right back!” way) and Tara, and the remaining crew must rescue and protect them from the cluster of zombies within.
In other drama (and I use that term ‘drama’ as in ‘character drama’), Rick continues to meet cute with the married Jessie, and Carol continues to threaten/feed cookies to Same, the boy that caught her in the gun supply last week. On a mission to obtain additional building supplies from the nearby mall construction, Abraham and a crew of Alexandria natives are overrun by an approaching hoard of zombies. After the warehouse bit and now this, it’s as if the writers sat around their writer’s room and thought to themselves, “It’s been a while since we’ve had massive zombie gore. What if all this Alexandria niceness is boring our more hardcore viewers?” And such, zombie gore…
I won’t dive into any more episode spoilers as the proceedings become as gruesome and shocking as any of the more famous episodes. There is an incredibly intense scene toward the end where characters are trapped in opposite components of a revolving door with zombies on either side. It’s an ingenious and clever move that proves the series has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. One of the big themes of the episode reveals the selfishness of the citizens of Alexandria. They may be happy and content in their collected safety, but, when worse comes to worse, they aren’t the tight-knit family that Rick and company are. Rick and team largely has each other’s back and, as such, have survived some pretty horrible events. The Alexandria team… well… Teamwork isn’t the first thing on their minds.
Without knowing too much about the direction in the comic, the cracks in the Alexandria Safe-Zone are going to come from within, in my opinion. The Walking Dead has always been about safety in numbers and about looking out for your friends. Those who stray from the pack often end up causing deaths or end up dead themselves. When Gabriel kind of throws Rick and crew under a massive bus at the end of the episode, the way he describes them ironically applies to the original citizens of Alexandria. Also, as Carol discovers Jessie’s husband Pete is beating her (and maybe Sam too), she urges Rick to kill Pete.
Time will tell how much of a rift the betrayal and Carol’s request will cause.