The Walking Dead: Spend

Maggie: “You wanted a future. You need us for that.”

This episode is all about cowards, who the real ones are and how they f*$k things up.

Alexandria has a whole town of people who have not been through the flames and either burned, lost their humanity or come out the other side stronger and clearer. Pete says that they have lost things but the real loss is losing people over and over again. The civilization that Alexandria is will not last in the new world and people like Nicholas, Gabriel and even Aidan are the reason why.

Alexandria has been lucky, very lucky and that has made them ineffectual. They don't know the reality outside their walls and when faced with it, some of them crumble, some of them run and some of them hang on to the delusion that they can carry on in the ways of 'before'. There are a few that will figure out that following Rick and learning from his group are the direction of the future. When Gabriel told Deanna that Rick and his group were dangerous and not to be trusted, I thought, you know maybe he is right. They are no longer civilized or even have the capacity to be civilized in the way that Alexandria expects them to be. But then I thought about the walkers that will eventually come and the real 'bad' people who will eventually come and it was apparent to me that Alexandria's days were always numbered and that Rick and his group are their only hope. Tobin could see that and gave up his position to Abraham.

The troublesome piece is that most of the people in Alexandria haven't experienced enough of the outside world to understand that they have to change. It will take further disasters for them to come to this conclusion and I imagine we will lose more people along the way. I've said before that the writers are good at getting us to feel as the characters feel and this week I was ready to kill Nicholas. I am glad that Glenn didn't but I think he will regret it. I was crushed along with Glenn as I watched the walkers devour Noah alive. I could have lived without those visuals but they were effective. We have to wait along with the group to see if Tara makes it. And if Rick kills off the doctor, how will they save her or future casualties?

The character pieces I most enjoyed this week were Carol and Eugene. Carol is not as closed off as she would like to be. You could see that she appreciated Sam's feistiness but it is clear that she does not want to get close to him. She is sure that she could not bear to lose another child and she won't risk her sanity for a child she doesn't already know. However, I don't think she is going to have much choice in getting close to Sam. He and Jessie are living her life from 'before'. If Rick doesn't take care of Pete, Carol will. I particularly enjoyed Eugene, the self-professed coward, who really wasn't at all. I was afraid he was going to leave Tara and then I was afraid he was going to take her and the van and take off. He didn't. He even stood his ground when Nicolas tried to get him to leave. I am getting to like his character more and more which doesn't bode well for his survival.

The biggest and most dangerous coward is Gabriel. He is another person who hasn't seen enough of the outside. He has been saved by the group more than once and yes, he saw them do terrible things but there was always a reason and our group does not leave 'good' people to die. That is Gabriel's M.O. I wasn't sure if he was trying to protect himself or if he has broken completely. I thought that Deanna could see that he was not altogether there but I am worried that the news that Aiden has died and the lies that Nicholas might tell could turn her against Rick and the others. It does seem that our group brings death and destruction with them but really, it was there all along just waiting for the right time.

Bits and Pieces

Daryl is looking good in that leather jacket.

I think the delusions of Alexandria were quite clear when Reg was talking to Noah and said that he would still be around when Noah was his age. All I could think was, are you kidding, you're lucky to have lasted this long.

You could see that Abraham was happy to be back killing walkers. I can see how the Alexandrians might find that a little weird.

Tara has a crush on Holly. I know that people wanted some love action but I think the shit is going to hit the fan before we can get to that.

Rick was using the broken window theory to flirt. That was a pretty absurd moment.

I enjoyed Eugene's logic about how he had paid his dues. Only he could come up with that equation.

Why didn't they just pull up a truck to the warehouse and loot the place?

The look on Glenn's face when Eugene asked about Noah.....

Quotes

Professor: “How is it that you called this extremely early morning meeting, yet I’m the bringing breakfast?
Noah: “Cause you’re a good guy?”
Professor: “The evidence seems to go in that direction.”

Eugene: “The shit will be right and I will install said shit.”

Eugene: “So you’re aware, I’m on record as stating that I should not be here. You well know that I’m not combat ready or even for that matter combat inclined.”

Carol: “None of these are problems, Sam.”

Pete: “Let’s be friends, man. We kind of have to be.”

Sam: “We don’t have to be friends, just doesn’t have to be quiet.”

Abraham: “Mother dick.”

22 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Interesting take, Doc. You’ve got a very different perspective on some of the developments than I do. I see several of our “heroes” as straying far too close to the line at this point, and veering dangerously close to being the ones to "f*$k things up" as you put it. But you still seem to see Rick and Carol as the ones in the right, while the people like Glenn, who spared a man’s life even though he just cost a friend his life, will end up being proven wrong. I really hate that you may be right about that when all is said and done, because I want the situation to have more complexity than just these new guys are too sheltered and can’t hack it and our group is right.

It’s way more interesting to me if some of our “heroes” are making extreme, probably unnecessary choices and wreaking havoc because of their own psychological trauma. By all means, push several of them into questionable territory. It makes perfect sense, given what they’ve been through, and it is a great theme to explore. Push them right to the line, leave them teetering at the edge for a bit, and then pull them back. But please, show, don’t push them to or over the edge --- destroying a good thing for so many people in the process --- and then treat their behavior like it was the necessary, right thing. Let what’s “right” in this whole circumstance remain somewhere closer to what Glenn, Michonne, Abraham, and Daryl are trying to do, not what Rick and Carol are doing.

What do you guys think about the idea that Carol’s wrong about Pete? That maybe he’s not the abusive one. All we’ve really seen thus far is that Pete is troubled about his marriage and he drinks a lot. Sam didn’t specifically tell Carol that he needed the gun for his mom’s protection. I think Carol is jumping to conclusions based on her own experience. (I’m sure she’d say she just took a tiny step and there conclusions were, but I’m not convinced yet.) Jessie told Rick she could handle herself. Maybe she’s the abuser, and Pete just drinks to cope. Or maybe Sam is abusive (he sure did cotton to the scary woman that stole guns and threatened to kill him, and she’s got a spotty track record when it comes to reading damaged kids). Or maybe no one is being physically abusive. Obviously, something isn’t right in that house, but the show has been pretty cagey about showing us what it is, instead letting us and the other characters make inferences from circumstantial evidence.

I could be reaching for complexity that isn’t there, of course, but I’m really wondering how much the show wants us to be on Rick’s and Carol’s side at this point. Are we supposed to feel like they are out of line plotting to murder the doctor, or totally justified? I hope it’s the former, but I’m starting to get worried it might be the latter. To me, it seems like Rick and Carol are both being rash and excessive. Continuing to act based on their past experiences and more primal instincts, and turning on the people inside the walls, when the current situation probably doesn’t really call for that. Save it for the outside monsters.

I actually really like the ambiguity in the setup, however, I remain very concerned that the show is going to flip the script on me --- especially given your read on this episode, Doc! --- and where we’re ultimately headed is Rick, once again, doing something extreme and terrible --- like killing the town’s doctor --- but being vindicated. “You were wrong, but you were still right. Here, have this pretty blond lady as your reward. She’s so grateful you came along and saved her and her kids from her abusive husband.” Sigh.

RIP, Noah. It was clear from the jump that your number was probably up, but they gave you a truly awful death. Damn. Please let Tara live! Eugene deserves a win for stepping up for his friends. But we can’t ever have nice things in this world, can we?

Billie Doux said...

Terrific review, Doc. Terrific comment, Jess.

I think the Alexandrians have been way too lucky, and Deanna has probably realized that. But she isn't letting them brace the walls from the *inside* to keep bad people out and she isn't letting her people carry weapons on the inside, and that is a huge mistake. Both of the outside forays in this episode showed how poorly the Alexandrians are coping. They killed Noah, and could have killed Abraham. Their only real chance is to let Rick take over and run things, and I bet Deanna won't let that happen. And from her perspective, why should she?

Carol pushing Sam away was heartbreaking. She can't handle caring about any child any more after losing her own and the two she "adopted". I think that it's unlikely that Carol is projecting what is happening in Jessie's household, because she knows it too well. I think Jessie is being abused and Sam is aware of it. And that this is now a world where abusers like Pete might be taken out. What could Rick do with him if he caught him abusing Jessie? Keep him in a jail cell?

I was so upset about losing Noah. We barely got to know him and he was a sweetie. It was even worse that Glenn had to watch him die because of Nicolas.

I think Gabriel walzed over the edge and plummeted into Nutsville, and if Deanna is smart, she'll realize that he's crazy. Satan? Really?

Did you notice all of the windows and window imagery in this episode? The stained glass window in Gabriel's "chapel", the thing with the broken window, the revolving door?

drnanamom said...

Great comments - thanks! I want to agree with you Jess and think that Rick and Carol are over the edge and hopefully will come back but there are also people in Alexandria who very obviously do not have a clue and that is dangerous to everyone because sooner or later the new world is going to come to their gate in one form or another and this episode, I think, was intended to indicate that they are not ready for that eventuality. I also don't think that Carol is over-reacting. As an abused woman she would have a sense of these things and if she wasn't so connected by her own experiences she would have just let Sam go and continue to ignore him. It will be interesting to see if the cowards win out and get believed versus our group which are willing to risk their lives for each other and even the people in Alexandria. As always this show is about what makes you human and a 'good' human at that. I would argue that Rick and Carol, although on the edge are still 'good' humans.

Jess Lynde said...

I think the reason I want Carol to be wrong, and Rick and Carol to be overreacting, is because I just hate the idea that Shane’s way was the right way all along. Want, take, eliminate anyone that gets in your way. And if Pete really is abusing Jessie, and Rick takes him out, then they’ve created the perfect excuse for the audience to view it as justified. Add it to the apparent “leave people behind if it saves your own skin” system the Alexandrians were working with all this time, and our group look like big damn heroes for staging a coup. And that really bugs me. Flawed choices because of trauma, I’m fine with. But it would be nice for the show to give us space to view some of the messed up choices the characters are making as flawed, and force them to deal with the consequences.

Don’t get me wrong: Rick and Carol are two of my favorites, and I don’t want them to be “the bad guys,” but they are very damaged and have done damaging things. And I just want someone to occasionally call them on their shit and have it stick. They remind me of Raylan Givens --- they do increasingly questionable things for the “right” reasons, and they cause problems for a lot of people, but they usually get away with it.

mona said...

thx for the great review =)

Oh man, I think I am just way too empathetical (is that a word in the english language ^^°)... This show gets me on an emotional level I might not be able to handle anymore... I can comprehend all the stuff logically (zombie apocalypse and crazy ppl and all that... ^^°°°), but I cannot detach from characters that are well written and deal with their deaths almost every freakin episode... I think I would kill myself pretty early on if I actually had to deal with such things >< or I would get very nasty and batshit crazy.
Well, I think I have to stop watching the show again. I did that 2 times already, but I always got sucked in again. Maybe if the plot turns out to be bearable I start watching again after the whole "paradise town" situation is played out.
On that note: I cant really understand that the town seems to have had no troubles pre-arrival of our group. I mean... they cant effin shoot for shit... who in their right mind wouldnt train all the inhabitants in stabbing and shooting in case of a zombie overrun? No matter how peaceful the inside is... I just cant comprehend that... and I am from germany (where no one owns guns and shooting isnt a thing anywhere) and hate guns...
I also think Deanne should defenatly realize the crazy...satan?...wow... if she doesnt get that it would be very very strange... so far she seems to be a fairly good judge in character.
Ok, I stop my ramblings now xD and I will wait a few months before finding out what happens next... So odd... I never couldnt handle a tvshow emotionally before xD And I watched SO MANY xD

Have a good day y all :)

Jess Lynde said...

A few more thoughts on why I hope Carol is wrong, or, at the very least, that Rick doesn’t end up with Jessie if she isn’t: To me, it isn’t okay for Rick to saunter into town, decide he wants the doctor’s wife, and then be given the perfect excuse to take her. It really troubles me that they are drawing the parallel with Shane, but then (seemingly) making it okay for Rick to act that way because the husband is an abuser (possibly). It’s alright for you to covet another man’s wife, Rick. Because he doesn’t deserve her, and he won’t protect her the way you will. She actually needs you to save her. So go ahead and eliminate her husband and take her for yourself. You are better for her in the long run. Shane wins.

Setting aside the fascinating parallels with what’s going on with Alexandria as a whole, that end result just doesn’t feel like a “good guy” victory to me. And it is going to annoy me to no end if the show treats it like it is. But maybe they won’t. I’ve still got a small shred of hope, that maybe things will land in a grey area where the end result is sort of a win for our crew, but one with lingering, troubling consequences. :)

drnanamom said...

I agree with your worries Jess and I think that the show is still playing with the same dynamic as they did originally with Shane. I think it is really interesting that Rick might now be the Shane character and as before, we will have to watch him get pulled back by those he loves. The doctor is a big test - do you kill people just because you don't like them or they are in your way? So far, most of our group hasn't put the lives of their group in front of the lives of the people of Alexandria. They've actually saved a few and risked their lives doing it. The central questions continues to be - is it worth it just to survive no matter what? A secondary question is, what does it take to survive when you strip away our present civilization. Can you rebuild as Alexandria intends to or is that just a pipe dream? I'm trusting the writers to keep working with those questions and continuing to avoid easy answers but I get your concerns. I love these discussions. They make watching the show a much deeper experience.

drnanamom said...

@mona, I hear you. I had dreams about The Walking Dead all night last night. I'm going to have to go back to watching it during the day.

Billie Doux said...

Our heroes have definitely changed. They're not allowing themselves to be victimized any more and they're being aggressive about ensuring their own survival. But I don't see how Rick has become Shane. When the series began, Shane left Rick for dead and lied to Lori about Rick being dead in order to make Lori his own. When Rick returned and Lori went back to him, Shane eventually decided to murder Rick. Rick never abused Lori or Carl.

I grew up in a household where abuse was happening, so I guess my own distaste for abusers might be pushing me to the Rick/Carol side of the current situation. I honestly don't think Rick is so far gone that he's going to believe in an abusive situation that isn't actually happening in order to kill Pete and have Jessie for himself. I could be wrong, but I don't think The Walking Dead will go there with their lead character.

Jess Lynde said...

I love these discussions, too! It’s definitely a great conflict to be exploring, but it only works for me if the show continues to maintain some doubt in its POV. The question of whether Rick taking out Jessie’s husband is the necessary thing, or if he’s just doing it because he wants her for himself should remain on the table. I’m not saying I want him to do something terrible on the basis of false accusations. If the accusations are false, I want him to realize it and pull back before he does something terrible. But if the accusations are true and Rick does do something terrible and irrevocable, I don’t want it to be clear cut that Rick is definitely doing the only, right thing (regarding Jessie and Alexandria). He can tell himself all he wants that he’s doing the right things for the right reasons --- as Shane certainly did --- but I want the show POV to continue to leave some lingering doubts. (I am a fan of The Americans, after all. The muddier the “rightness” of character actions and motivations are, the happier I am. :) )

Honestly, I love that they are putting all these questions on the table and that they are pushing Rick and Carol this far into questionable territory. All I really want out of this story arc is for the questions to remain. I don’t want Pete turning out to be abusive to give Rick a blanket excuse for aggressive, violent and ultimately self-serving actions, and for the audience to be left feeling totally comfortable with that. Shades of gray, for the win!

Scott Riggan said...

What a great discussion. I'm with Jess about my fears of where this is all heading. I will be relieved if we find that Pete isn't an abuser. Certainly Carol has intimate knowledge of the subject, but is there any chance her judgement has been clouded by all of her trauma? That seems more interesting - and less predictable - to me.

I don't want Rick to "claim" Jesse - whatever the outcome. But the fact that New Rick is even able to entertain the idea is very interesting. Old Rick (in the Old World) wouldn't have considered something like that.

And what does the episode title mean?

Jess Lynde said...

I was wondering about that title, too, Scott. The titles this season have been pretty clear, but I can’t make heads or tails of this one.

Billie, the parallel I’m seeing the writers draw between Rick and Shane is linked to Rick’s actions in the last episode. Last week, when he reached for his gun watching Pete walk down the street with Jessie, he was channeling Shane in the woods at the farm. Rick didn’t have any clue that Pete might be abusive, he just wanted the man’s wife and was thinking about taking out the competition. Just like Shane when Dale saw him raise his gun at Rick in the woods.

The only difference is the show has now (potentially) given Rick a very convenient excuse for his violent impulses towards Pete. So if he does engage in the murderous behavior that Shane ultimately tried, he gets to tell himself he’s justified and he gets a pass from most of the audience. It feels like one of those “easy answers” Doc mentioned, and I want them to keep things more interesting than that. That’s why I’m hoping that Carol is wrong and Rick figures it out before it is too late! Or that there are some real lasting and painful "unintended consequences" from him taking that action. (Which could definitely happen, since the guy is a doctor.)

J.D. Balthazar said...

I have to disagree with you Jess, I don't think the writers are going to push Rick down the same path as Shane, and the comparison is only tangential at best. Rick had a momentary impulse which he ignored, Shane abandoned for dead his best friend for his best friends wife.

But beyond the vague unsettling similarities there, I strongly doubt any meaningful romantic intrest for Rick is going to start out with him murdering her husband. Even if the relationship is doomed, that would put Rick permanently in to the unsympathetic category, and that's a lot to ask from an audience. If they intend on making him more of a villain, than sure. But that's too far, even for this world and this show if he is to remain even remotely our hero.

Jess Lynde said...

We'll have to disagree about the links to the past being tangential and vague, but I do agree that whatever is going on here, the intent likely isn't to turn Rick into a villain. Maybe they're just expecting us to read Rick acting on Carol's "you have to kill him" as what the situation called for, so not out of line like Shane was. I suspect that if Pete really is abusing Jessie, that Rick killing him probably won't make him as unsympathetic to the audience as you suggest. That’s the “having an excuse” aspect that’s bothering me. I would find it creepy and unsettling if they got together after that --- even if it is a temporary thing --- but I don’t know if the wider audience would. Clearly, my perspective is often out of step on these things compared to lots of other viewers. :)

On that note: I don’t agree with the assessment that Shane initially left Rick for dead so that he could get with Lori. I think he tried to get Rick out, but couldn’t. He then tried to protect his best friend’s family as best he could, because he failed to save Rick. He didn’t tell Lori about leaving Rick, because he figured Rick did die after he had to leave him behind. The relationship with Lori developed after the fact, when she turned to him for support. He was totally wrong to not step aside when Rick turned up alive, but I never read his initial actions at the hospital as a play to steal Rick’s wife. Perhaps I’m just out of step with the majority again. :)

J.D. Balthazar said...

The show all but said that Shane many not have had the resources to save Rick, but he also didn't try very hard. Using that abandonment as an excuse to get close to Lori. It was very clear he was interested in her before the apocalypse. He also acted on his impulses, made very poor decisions, let a poor man die because he could, than tried to murder Rick. Yes, Rick is looking a little like he might consider doing something excessive to Pete if he is being abusive, and that it might be an excuse to kill him. But that's not the same thing as what Shane did.

I agree that it would be difficult for me to buy into a relationship between Rick and Jessie if it starts like that, and that might not be true for a wider audience. At the same time, I don't think they will make it an excused murder, because that just doesn't work for a hero character.

sunbunny said...

I really need Carol to be the one to kill Pete. Carol. Not Rick. It's important to me.

Jess Lynde said...

You know, Carol doing it would certainly change the math on what's bothering me about the whole situation. Because it isn't really the dead abuser part that troubles me --- that's mostly just another case of killing in defense of self and others. It’s the possibility of Rick doing it, then getting together with Jessie afterwards that bugs me. It’s like they would be giving Rick permission to take exactly what he wants, and making it okay for him to kill to get it, even though him wanting another man’s wife was presented as problematic in the first place. That’s the part that seems really messed up to me.

So, great thought, sunbunny! If Pete is an abuser and has to die, let Carol be the one to do it. That could give us some potentially great material with her character.

Heather said...

This episode was really very upsetting to me to watch for loads of reasons. Watching people get eaten alive is just really disturbing. Were we supposed to be okay with watching Aiden's graphic death bec he's an a-hole?? And all I could think of, for the reason Noah's death was shown, was to put Glenn through something extremely traumatic. Otherwise both were gratuitous, imo. Also, that run was so amateur as to almost be poorly written. I get how we're supposed to see how little these people know in terms of what they're doing but it just felt so clunky that that whole portion of the episode doesn't sit with me well. Add to it everything that people are saying here re: Rick, Jessie and Pete and I feel the writers are on very thin ice. But bec this is TWD I'm still riveted. F&ck.

drnanamom said...

I hear what you are saying Heather. I guess I have just accepted that they feel they have to give the people who love gross horror their due every once and a while. This episode certainly did that.

Laure Mack said...

Great review, doc. Reading it made me think of Andrea. She certainly wasn't a coward or naive about how terrible things had gotten, but holding onto hope that she could live like she used to cost her her life. Didn't it? She could've left with Michonne but opted to stay (unknowingly) with a sociopath for a warm bed/regular meals/a community/I think they had booze too. If she hadn't held on so tightly to the idea of getting back some of what was lost she might have seen the danger that was right in front of her before it was too late. Hell, if she had just stayed at the prison she might still be alive. Maybe.

Rick has lost his last marble. Really, how did he think raving in the street covered in blood was going to go over with his new super-sheltered neighbors? Right or wrong, he's usually (at the very least) an exceptional strategist. Not today, though.

Also, Deanna lost all of her points when she implied that she let's Pete beat Jessie because she doesn't want to give up the towns only doctor. That's civilization? Ugh. It's perverse.
I wonder if it was deliberate on the writers part that Deanna doesn't have daughters.

RIP, Noah.

Anonymous said...

so t-dog stayed till tyrese shows up, then dies, tyrese dies when noah shows up. The priest got lucky. he better use his praying skills so no other black male characters enter the storyline!

Scott said...

Well, I think the truth is ( if we're talking reality ) that none of our group would ever likely let the people of Alexandria ever go with them on a supply run, from the first time they saw how Aiden and Nicholas acted towards the walker they were "playing" with.