The Walking Dead: Alone

Sasha: “We get warnings.”

The titles of the episodes always mean something but this week the title hit home more than usual. While an apocalypse is no picnic, being alone in one is not only terrifying and dangerous but also a terrible weight on the soul. One of the beginning shots, with Bob laid out on the top of a transport truck, spoke eloquently to this. The episode moved things along at a more rapid pace than we’ve seen for weeks and also started to bring some of our survivors closer together. Unfortunately it also separated Beth and Daryl, a pair I had been developing a fondness for even if it was heading into romantic territory. The episode also managed to develop several characters that have been somewhat sketchily drawn.

I enjoyed getting to know Bob much more than I expected to as he has mostly been written as a weak man who brings trouble. We find out that he has already lost two groups of people and was acting out because he was terrified of being alone again. I loved the reason he was smiling. I had considered that it was because he had finally cracked. I was impressed that he wouldn’t let Maggie be alone either although he seemed to be okay with Sasha going it on her own. I think he believed that she would eventually follow him. Since he thought he had broken his unlucky streak he wanted to go where the people were. I ended up liking Bob quite a bit.

Sasha also got a bit of development. She is a tough woman but also terrified that her brother is dead. I appreciate how this show explores the various ways that people might react to what happens to them. Sasha would rather live alone than face the fact that Tyreese is gone. Daryl loses Beth, sits down and barely has the will to stand up again until under threat. Maggie goes after her partner against all reason and at the risk of her own and others’ lives. Logic and reason take a holiday on a regular basis and that seems realistic to me.

There were many people who were alone at one time or another in this episode. Maggie went off on her own to find Glenn. Bob went off on his own to find Maggie. Sasha stayed alone to avoid her fear and pain. Daryl sat alone on a crossroads after losing Beth. Maggie, Sasha and Bob found each other and are on their way to Terminus together but Beth is alone with her kidnapper and Daryl might as well be alone now that he is part of Joe’s group, the same group that was at the house of Rick, Michonne and Carl.

Generally this episode was one of the roller coaster rides that The Walking Dead is so good at. I spent the whole episode wondering who was going to die. I was worried about each character at some point in the episode. Bob, Maggie and Sasha back to back in the fog surrounded by walkers was a new high for creepiness and suspense. I was upset when Beth was kidnapped but still hope that whoever it was thought they were saving her. Then I was so hopeful that someone on the train tracks would run into Daryl and crushed when it was that horrible group of men. Finally, I cheered when Glenn found the map of Terminus. I am back to waiting with bated breath for the next episode.

Bits and Pieces

Street signs are heavy. Maggie must have some pipes on her.

Maggie is also very clever writing in walker blood. Would that wash off in the rain?

Did anyone else find the very clean funeral home totally creepy? I also find it weird when places seem untouched although I guess that could happen.

Things I could live without: The whole Joe bunch. Daryl in a casket. Are those things really comfortable? Why would they need to be?

The gore on this show doesn't seem to bother me any more. Is that a bad thing?


Daryl: “You got any questions for us?”
Bob Stookey: “No. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

Beth: “There are still good people, Daryl.”
Daryl: “I don’t think the good ones survive.”

Daryl: “Peanut butter and jelly, pig’s feet and diet soda. That’s a white trash brunch right there.”

Sasha: “If it sounds too good to be true…”

Bob: “Up until now I thought you were the toughest person I ever met, which is kinda weird, because I thought you were the sweetest, too.”

Bob: “Self-awareness is a beautiful thing.”

Sasha: “I am. I am afraid.”

Joe: “A bowman. I respect that. See a man with a rifle, he could have been some kind of photographer or a soccer coach back in the day. But a bowman’s a bowman through and through.”

Joe: “Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people?” This does not bode well for the future.


Freeman said...

I really thought something bad was gonna happen the whole time, and lo and behold, something bad did indeed happened. At least no one died...yet.

I was surprised by Bob's turnaround. But it was nice to learn that he's more than "character that knocks over objects during tense moments". The montage with him wandering alone was great, you could really see the loneliness.

I wonder what Daryl's "recruitment means. Will he inadvertently help the bandito guys track down Rick and Michonne? Will he ever get reunited with a living Beth? Was him laying in the coffin foreshadowing or a tricky red herring?

This string of episodes have been pretty strong. Kinda makes me upset they wasted two whole episodes on The Governor.

Jess Lynde said...

I liked this one better than last week's. The opening sequence with Bob alone was very evocative, the focus on slightly more characters worked for me, and I thought the balance of talking v. action was better balanced this week. ‘Still’ front loaded most of the action, then closed with all the self-reflection. ‘Alone’ distributed things more evenly throughout the episode.

It will definitely be interesting to see if Beth’s kidnapper is someone terrible, or someone who thought they were saving her. I’m very curious to see whether the show wants to allow her to keep holding on to her “there are still good people” philosophy, or if it wants to give her a harsh rebuke. It almost always goes with the latter, but I guess we’ll see. I’m not terribly optimistic, since they’ve now paired Daryl up with some decidedly bad people.

On a side note: I’ve been watching Season 1 of China Beach lately, and it really blows my mind when Jeff Kober turns up. Dodger is the role I first came to know him in, and it makes me sad that he only seems to play shady assholes now. He’s good at it, of course, but he can do other stuff. He can look creepy and menacing, but still be a decent guy underneath it all. :) I’m not holding out that kind of hope for Joe, though. He strikes me as Merle 2.0, only possibly worse.

RB said...

I think the character pairings in the season's second half have a wonderful symmetry to them:

Maggie: The woman who wants to keep going because she believes her husband is alive.
Sasha: The woman who wants to stay because she can't face that her brother might be dead.
Bob: The man who wants to stay together because he lost others.

Carol: The fierce mother
Tyrese: The protective father, and the secret that might have them at each other's throats.

Rick: The father who wants his kid to have a childhood.
Carl: The child who wants to prove he's an adult.
Michonne: The mother who lost a child.

Daryl: The person best suited to survive.
Beth: The person least suited to survive.
And how fitting is it that, given what Daryl did before was whatever Merle said they were doing today and where Daryl ended at the end of the episode, that it seems he needs Beth way more than she needs him.

Billie Doux said...

Terrific review, Doc, for an interesting episode. And RB -- I like those character pairings.

Elfie said...

Oh no! I am so afraid for Daryl. I don't want him to go down the dark road because of the crazy, creepy group of men he's stuck with. Quite a transition, going from being with Beth to being with those guys. Ugh. Joe seems even worse than Merle, and that scares me, really scares me. I was just beginning to ship Beth and Daryl! Romantic or not, they work really well. I love the way he carried her and then when he said "I think the good people don't survive." Even the scene where she was playing the piano and he was laying down in the coffin with all those candles was creepy yet wonderful and poignant somehow. I was just confused when Beth asked him what changed his mind and he couldn't answer and then she went "Oh." Can someone explain that to me? What did he mean? Did he mean because of her? I was slightly confused about that.

This episode made me like Bob and Sasha more than before. I like it when seemingly minor characters get developed and turn out to not be seemingly minor characters. Yay for Maggie and Glenn finding their way to Terminus! But I'm so afraid Terminus won't be the paradise everyone's hoping it will be. What if it's been destroyed? I don't know man, with this show, I never know. Which is both a good and bad thing, I guess. I was just picturing myself in their positions, and trust me, if I saw that Terminus sign in the middle of an ZA, I would be getting my hopes up. ALOT.

These last 2 episodes have had a comparatively hopeful ending so now I know something bad is around a corner, and a death of a likable character might be shortly after.


Why can't I have what I want?