Hello TWD fans who also happen to read my blog! Thanks, first of all, for your patience these last two weeks and I apologize for making you wait until Monday for my recap! I’m going to give this episode 3.5 out of 5 jars of pig feet: another instance of liked-it-but-didn’t-love-it (which makes it harder to write about in some ways). It was the kind of episode that was just acceptably fine and good and okay and other such adjectives that scream sufficiency. What I’m saying is, I don’t have a strong reason why I didn’t love it or why I didn’t hate it either and I can pick out no major flaws of storytelling here except for maybe some usual apprehensions about the series’ trajectory at large; maybe there wasn’t much wrong with this episode specifically then, but maybe it simply was one of those rare episodes that serves to propel us forward to the next for better or worse, nothing more and nothing less. That is not to say that there weren’t a few moments of more epic proportions here that I really can say that I loved, but their occurrences were fewer and further between than perhaps we are used to.
The episode opens with a flashback to Bob’s former isolation, left to wander alone after both his groups die (which many viewers still find oddly suspicious and I’d agree with that, but his character also amuses and intrigues me). The music is, as usual. haunting. We are shown the precise moment (the one that had been alluded to at the beginning of this season) when Daryl and Glenn find him walking. As a flashback, it may have been important for character development or motivation, because we get to see more of Bob in this episode than we have so far– we really haven’t been given the opportunity to figure him out. As much as I get that, I still think it fell a little bit flat; it also worked for the theme of loneliness that the episode is clearly playing with but it didn’t seem all that insightful or eventful or necessary at this point in the series.
The episode is split between Beth and Daryl again and Bob, Sasha and Maggie. My bias aside, I thought the former story carried much more weight to it while the latter just got redundant for me. Beth and Daryl are bonding even more than they had last week, and I loved it. He teaches her, in a less aggressive way than he’d belligerently tried to while intoxicated, how to shoot a cross bow but she ends up hurting her ankle, leading to a piggy back ride to a seemingly empty mortuary. The house is too pristine, which raised my eyebrows (and Daryl’s) from the moment they opened the kitchen cupboards. But they linger, for a while anyway, in their new-found bliss with each other anyway.
Before I continue, I’d like to recount the other characters’ portion of the episode now so as to, for lack of a better phrase, get it over with (if only to emphasize the aspects of Beth and Daryl’s story that I enjoyed more). Maggie, still on the hunt for Glenn, knows that Glenn would go to the cryptic Terminus if he saw any of those maps, so that is where she wants to go. But Sasha, the odd one out between her, Maggie and Bob, feels that it will be dangerous and too risky to go there when they really don’t even know what this “there” even is. So, with what seems like a promisingly scary start to their journey in this episode– a fight with walkers in the fog– they end up actually just arguing a lot about their options extremely stubbornly, with Maggie leaving Sasha and Bob, only to have Sasha leave Bob but find Maggie, and then Sasha and Maggie find Bob. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of nothing for not much pay off except for one thing: Maggie writes a message in walker-blood for Glenn to find about Terminus, but he ends up seeing a map to get there in the closing shot anyway, so hopefully they are reunited soon!
Speaking of reunions that will or won’t happen, let’s check back in with Daryl and Beth. They set up some wire and cans to hear any walkers– or dangerous humans– who may try to enter. A dog ends up making some noise but won’t come in the house. When Daryl hears the sound again and assumes it is the dog, an unnaturally random, giant herd of walkers piles through the door. Daryl fights them off in the tiny room of embalmed corpses on gurneys with any instruments he can find including using the gurneys as shields, but urges Beth to leave and that he will meet her. When Daryl gets out, however, he finds her bag on the ground and a mysterious car (that may or may not have been a hearse– it had a cross on it, or so it appeared) speeding away. Daryl chases it to no avail, and he collapses the next day out of exhaustion and exasperation and despair.
I think human villains are so much scarier than walkers, and the speculation that this was all an elaborate trap makes me more tense than anything from the last few episodes. Maybe this is also because I was really loving the Beth-Daryl friendship a lot and to have it cut short so shockingly was rough for me; Daryl’s emotions just got healthier and happier and now they might be the most volatile they’ve ever been. Then, a really ominous gang find him and circle him, and I fear, probably correctly so, that they’ll be even worse than Abraham and his crew, who we haven’t seen since two weeks ago but I guess we shouldn’t forget them.
This reminds me that the show seems to be taking on a lot more focuses than I think it knows how to handle right now. With only three episodes left of this season, it is raising more questions and introducing more potential baddies and obstacles than it can feasibly address. And that may be the plan; perhaps this is all set up for next season. But if that’s the case, then it needs to have a solid plan for negotiating and weaving and balancing those things in a way that is coherent. Because right now, I’m feeling a kind of attention-deficit fatigue from trying to keep track of all the displacement that has happened while also processing new potential threats to worry about despite the lack of resolution to anything that we’ve already been worrying about.