That was brutal.
I'm going to pass on debating whether or not Rick is going to survive with a couple of dozen walkers advancing on the Dale Horvath Memorial RV, and get to the big question. What just happened to our beloved Glenn? Was he horribly killed, or did those guts belong to Nicholas? I kept thinking throughout this episode that the group should stop for a moment and cover themselves with walker gore. Why didn't they? Did it all just happen too fast?
There was way too much Glenn foreshadowing. The first shot in the episode was a Glenn close-up. In the pet store, Glenn took out Hershel's watch and looked at it, maybe because he knew it could be the end for him. When Glenn and Rick were talking on the walkie, Glenn said, "Good luck, dumbass", which is the same thing he said to Rick way back when they "met". And of course there was David, the tall Alexandrian who got bit, who just wanted to get home to his wife Betsy to say goodbye, a deliberate echo of Glenn and Maggie.
Since the beginning of the series, Glenn has constantly tried to help others and do the right thing. It's why Maggie fell for him. It's why he's been one of my favorite characters for pretty much ever. If this really is the end of Glenn, I suppose it makes sense that he died trying to save his friends and giving one last chance to a man who didn't deserve it. But the thing is, Nicholas (already dead) and Glenn fell off the dumpster together, and Nicholas could very well have fallen on top of Glenn. Did Nicholas inadvertently but fittingly pay Glenn back by saving his life? Am I grasping at straws, hoping that Glenn is still alive and covered with gore, suitably disguised?
When a major character dies on this show, it's not ambiguous. Did we get this "did he die or didn't he" because the producers knew that when you have nine characters in extreme danger and two of them are fan favorites, you expect everyone to die but the two fan favorites? Honestly, it's bad either way. If Glenn really did die, I'm upset and pissed off that he died so horribly, so far from Maggie. But if Glenn didn't die, it was a cop-out. Lose, lose.
Moving right along, this was a big episode for Michonne, too. I loved the little reminder of how far Michonne has come when David was talking about how he had given up on being a person when Aaron found him. (It was so sad that David didn't get to say goodbye to his wife Betsy, and that they couldn't even retrieve the note he wrote for her.) Michonne did her best to save all of the people in her charge, and she wasn't going to take any shit from Heath about how Rick's people weren't as human and compassionate as the Alexandrians -- even if it was true. Sure, we knew that the Alexandrians were more likely to die during that death march, but not because Michonne wouldn't try just as hard to save them. They just weren't as experienced in survival "out there" as Rick's crew. I think that was what Rick meant. Or maybe I hope that was what Rick meant. Rick hasn't gotten that cold, has he?
Actually, some of the Alexandrians did step up. Scott and Annie both kept saying "leave us behind" because they were slowing the group down, which was true. David faced his inevitable death with courage. And Heath has great badass potential. In the end, Heath "got it". He looked down at his own reflection in the water and he saw himself just as Michonne had described, covered with blood, no way to tell whose it was.
I was moved by that little moment when Michonne rubbed the ink off her arm. She wasn't just moving on from David's death, or Annie's, but the possibility of Glenn's as well. I also liked that all three final survivors were African American. It felt like a little message from the producers about how fans kept noticing that more black characters kept dying in earlier seasons. No more.
We didn't spend much time with Rick or the parade detail in this one. Rick mostly ran, plus we were meant to notice that he cut his hand pretty badly. (It's hard to avoid comic book spoilers when you read about The Walking Dead on TV sites; apparently, Rick cutting his hand has people wondering if a comic book event is going to happen, and I will say no more.) The Wolves that attacked the RV were the group that Morgan let go in "JSS", and that really ticked me off. One of them had a jar of baby food. Rick had to be thinking that Judith and Carl could already be dead.
It was very in character for Daryl to become so impatient and worried that he left Abraham and Sasha to race to Rick's rescue, changed his mind, and then went right back to them, even though he believed Rick was probably dead. Where exactly is Rick location-wise to Daryl? We'll probably find out next week.
What with the massacre in this episode and the massacre in the last episode, the population of Alexandra has probably decreased significantly. And half of the herd is still on its way. (Sunbunny, who tweets for us here at Doux Reviews, posted, "I hope Rick realizes this is all his fault. Every single bit of it.") It's been all about the herd for three episodes now. Will the herd be the focus of the entire first half of the season?
Notes from Talking Dead
The guests were Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community, Odd Couple). Chris Hardwick started it off by saying 'This is a bucket of suck", and as you might expect, the mood was subdued and much of the discussion centered on whether or not Glenn was dead. But you see, none of the cast were there on the couch, Glenn was referred to but not actually listed in the "In Memoriam" section, and the lack of Steven Yeun as a guest, as well as the statement Chris read by Scott M. Gimple saying that in some way we'll see Glenn again, made it obvious to me that the producers were trying to freak us out, and that Glenn probably isn't dead.
The discussion also covered how fans decide which characters are unkillable: Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Glenn -- but one of the reasons why The Walking Dead is such a powerhouse of a show is that no one is safe. Lindelof talked in particular about killing off a much loved Lost character at the end of the third season. Definitely applicable.
If you would like to read Scott M. Gimple's complete statement to the fans about Glenn, it's at the top of this article. And at the bottom of the article is some possible spoiler information about whether or not Glenn is still alive. You've been warned!
Bits and pieces:
-- The road through town had a prominent crack right down the middle. Could that possibly be a metaphorical crack?
-- How cool was it that the RV still had balloons on it? I also liked that they didn't even show us the three other guys that Rick killed. We just saw the before and after in Rick's rear view mirror. Could be some symbolism there, too.
-- I honestly thought Nicholas was on his way to redemption, especially after he took responsibility for the former team member he'd abandoned. Glenn told Nicholas, "You're not that guy anymore." Wrong.
-- Scott, the bald black guy with the beard who got shot by one of his own, was played by Kenric Green, Sonequa Martin-Green's husband.
-- David wanted to stay alive long enough to say goodbye to his wife Betsy. But Alexandria is a shambles. Is Betsy even still alive?
-- Things I could do without: all that human death, and what got to me most was that pet shop with cages full of bones. Animal death on this show is too much for me. Okay, Annie's and David's deaths were way too graphic, too, and took too long. Annie had a gun in her hand. Why didn't you blow off your own head, Annie? Why didn't Michonne and Heath kill David?
-- Executive producer Greg Nicotero was one of the walkers. I think I saw him in the dumpster scene.
-- Next week's episode is ninety minutes long. Check your DVR!
Alexandrian: "You brought us all out here to die." I'm sorry, but I had to laugh when he died a minute later.
Michonne: "We're gonna catch up with a lot of things, and we're gonna end them. We have no choice."
Abraham: "The magic number's twenty. That's the mission. That's making sure they're all munching on infirm raccoons the rest of their undead lives instead of any of us."
And of course, any people who are trying to survive out that way.
Michonne (to Heath): "Have you ever had to kill people because they'd already killed your friends and were coming for you next? Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn't know if it was yours, or walkers, or your friends? Huh? Then you don't know."
This episode was riveting, but it really pissed me off. How would you guys rate it? How many rolls of receipt tape out of four?
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.
- Next episode
- Walking Dead season 6
- Walking Dead home
- Watch this episode or the entire season on Amazon now