Definitely a calm before the storm type of episode.
First and foremost, Glenn is alive! All the fan wanking about it being Nicholas' guts and that Glenn got under the dumpster somehow was correct. I thought we'd have to wait until the finale next week to find out. The thing is, I suspect that the reason that the wily and cruel producers of the show screwed with us this way is because Glenn really is going to die this season, either in next week's episode or at the end of the season in the spring. We'll see.
The green balloons were this week's Most Obvious Symbolism. Glenn has always represented the positive. He told Enid that they honor the dead by continuing to live, while Enid's personal philosophy is that the world is trying to die -- but she did toss Glenn a water bottle that he desperately needed. The machete training by Rosita included a "dying is easy, living is hard" lecture, which was thematically in the same line.
Which brings me to what happened in Alexandria. Is there room for an "all life is precious" philosophy in this situation? Rick, Carol and Michonne confronted Morgan about letting the Wolves go so that they could nearly kill Rick in the RV, and that turned into a discussion of what is acceptable behavior during an apocalypse. Morgan pointed out that he'd saved Aaron and Daryl at the cannery, and of course the information in Aaron's pack had something to do with the attack, too. Morgan said he didn't know what was right any more.
You know what? I like that they're having this discussion, but I don't know what's right in this situation, either. But I'm reasonably sure that keeping a Wolf secretly imprisoned in the middle of Alexandria isn't the right thing, and Carol just figured that out. I wonder if that will be enough to make Rick exile Morgan? That is, if they survive what happened in the last couple of minutes of the episode.
When will Rick's group and the Alexandrians become one people? Deanna acknowledged that Spencer's high wire act was extremely stupid and in fact, if he had gotten Tara killed, I would have been seriously pissed. But it was indeed an illustration of another issue: that Rick and his group need to start treating the rest of the Alexandrians like family. If Spencer had known that Rick and his team were working the problem of getting over the wall and leading the walkers away, that high wire thing wouldn't have happened. But Rick also pointed out that he could have used the opportunity to sacrifice Spencer and get out of Alexandria, and he didn't.
The con part of the argument is that not everyone is like Tobin, who was asking Rick to not "give up on us". Ron is learning to shoot almost certainly so that he can turn on Rick when least expected. Except I'm now wondering if Ron has decided to take out Carl instead? (Carl could have been a bit more tactful during that shooting lesson.)
No matter, because Alexandria is about to be overrun by the megaherd, which is pretty obviously where the entire first half of the season has been heading. But the green balloons just told Maggie and Rick that Glenn is still alive, and of course, Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are on their way with that truck. All badasses, sure, but what they can do to combat a zillion walkers pouring through the hole in the fence from the other side is debatable.
Poor little Sam still refuses to come downstairs. He'll never come down now.
Notes from Talking Dead
Guests were Ken Jeong (Community) and Gale Anne Hurd (executive producer), with Scott Gimple (show runner) and Steven Yeun (Glenn) checking in by satellite from Atlanta. Hurd talked about nondisclosure agreements, and Chris Hardwick confessed that he had thought Glenn really was dead. The In Memoriam section had an "UnMemoriam" at the end with Glenn's name crossed off.
The best part of the show was Steven Yeun, who said he hadn't gone out much since episode three aired and that he'd gotten a lot of take-out and possibly lost friends because he couldn't tell them the truth. Yeun said he was overwhelmed by the fan love for his character, and he thinks that Glenn's survival was a message that good things can still happen in the Walking Dead world. Gimple said that they had done this thing with Glenn because he wanted the audience to feel what Maggie was feeling, with no way of knowing what happened to her husband.
-- Of course, Steven Yeun's name is back in its usual spot in the credits.
-- The fans were going on about how the balloons couldn't have stayed up without helium. Glenn showed Enid the helium tank in the bushes.
-- Maggie mentioned that Judith is starting to look like Lori. Well, she does now that they've cast a different baby. On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick noted that she didn't say Judith looks like Rick. Shane lives?
-- Father Gabriel was putting up flyers for a prayer meeting. Rick was calmly tearing them down right in front of Gabriel. I thought that was funny. There will be no praying with a morally shaky preacher on my watch.
-- While trying to get Enid to return to Alexandria with him (bad timing there), Glenn mentioned his own family and that he assumes they're dead. Are we going to meet a member of Glenn's family someday? Other than Maggie's baby, of course.
-- Loved Dr. Denise's medical cheat sheets on blackboards. Smart.
-- I particularly liked the panorama shot they did of Alexandria.
-- Glenn found David in walker form and his note for Becky, and of course, poor Becky killed herself.
-- Things I could do without: When Glenn found walker David, David's eyeball stuck to the fence. Bleah.
-- There was a Fitbit commercial during the show that featured people running from zombies. Points for making me laugh, Fitbit people.
Enid: "What happened is what always happens. People died."
Eugene: "Hey, I'm a weapons novice holding a significant blade here and there are people in my proximity with open-toed shoes."
I'd say this was a pretty good episode in a penultimatey sort of way. Three out of four open-toed shoes,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.
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