Hello, everyone! Tonight is the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, and I’ll try my best to write the recap of that tomorrow night, since I’ll be on a business trip from Wednesday until Saturday, so no procrastinating allowed (because blogging in general will be very difficult and unlikely during that time!)
Last week’s episode deserves a 3 out of 5, I think (practicing being less of a rating-pushover)– it was clearly a build-up episode, which is a common, but logical, tendency the show has to devote an entire episode to building up to, and saving any payoff for, the episode(s) to come. Usually, this is the case preceding big showdown episodes, and tonight’s episode, which centers upon the rescue mission itself, is sure to provide that payoff we so desperately seek– even if it means killing someone off (will it be Beth? Carol? Tyrese? Those are the rumors I’ve been hearing, anyway)
So, let’s review in time for tonight’s episode: Carl offers to teach Father Gabriel how to fight and use weapons, and he chooses the machete but says he feels unwell and must lie down. When Michonne checks on him later, he responds a bit aggressively, asking what she wants from him since he already took the weapon. Michonne says she doesn’t want anything, but it seems like she should have been more forceful in checking in perhaps– a little more prodding may or may not have revealed that he was using the machete to dismantle the floorboards of his office, eventually fleeing the church. Early in the episode, the church had been fortified, which made this route of escape the only option for him, and his halfhearted attempt to kill a walker in the woods later was pitiful to watch (I want to say boohoo so what that she had a cross necklace, but it’s fine, I digress)
Sasha, meanwhile, is still upset about Bob’s death, and has yet another heart-to-heart with her brother, Tyrese, who gets her to forgive and move forward finally. But this is probably the worst time for this enlightened level of coping to occur, since it causes her to be easily duped by one of Dawn’s cops; our group has taken him hostage, and he appeals to Sasha’s new-found humanity, tricking her into mercy-killing the walker who’d once been his partner. I kind of figured these cops’ cooperation would have been too simple. So, anyway, we leave Sasha knocked out and our runaway cop runs away to who-knows-where. And, who-knows-where is pretty much where the plan probably stands as a result. Hopefully Rick and Daryl can still figure out a way of making the swap work, with as few casualties as possible (although if it were up to Rick, the more casualties the merrier!)
The series has some of its most successful moments, this season especially, when there are no walkers at all, just really well-executed quiet moments of character development and pondering morality, and I’ve said this before. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that some of them leave something to be desired for me personally, and that was the Glenn/Maggie group’s experiences in this episode. I liked that we got to know Rosita little bit more, but Abraham’s sulking in the sun and Maggie’s looking after both him and Eugene was just a little too redundant; the development to be had from their episode arc could have been reached with slightly less screen time, I think. Like, I’m happy that Tara found a yo-yo on their fishing expedition, but as far as “build-up” goes, this group didn’t need quite as much focus as it got.
I guess the episode felt a bit underwhelming because of the way it tried to weave all our survivors’ stories back together after briskly barreling through each story separately for a while now (something that in itself never worked that well for the show until this season, I’d argue). So maybe this one felt a little more choppy and less tense as a result. But, everything is in place for tonight’s episode and if that was the overall goal, then it succeeded.