Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 14: Spend

Another week, another Walking Dead cast member bites the dust. We also see Carol bond with Sam against her will, and suspect his home life isn't all it's cracked up to be, Pete shows his true colors, Abraham continues to be a badass, and Eugene finally finds his courage. We also witness the most epically disastrous supply run in history.


There've been a lot of deaths in recent episodes, which isn't really a surprise. There were a whopping seventeen characters (counting Baby Judith) at the beginning of this season! Seventeen! That's way, way too many for a TV show. Most of the characters had little or nothing to do, and ended up standing around like set decoration in many episodes. Some major culling of the cast was inevitable as well as necessary.

It's interesting to see that while the Alexandrians aren't evil like the Governor and the Termites, their incompetence and ignorance is every bit as dangerous.

I can see right now how this season is going to end. Rick and his gang will continue to slowly insinuate themselves into positions of power in Alexandria, and then in the final scene of the season finale, they'll hear a noise outside the gates. As Rick peers through the gate, he'll see the Wolves gathered before Alexandria, threatening to blow the walls down of they don't let them in.

MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD, INCLUDING THE DEATHS OF CURRENT CHARACTERS!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The Plot:
Father Gabriel's short descent into madness continues, as he's seen in his makeshift Alexandria church, shredding a bible. Meanwhile, Reg the architect has a meeting with Noah for some reason. Noah foolishly infodumps some backstory to Reg and tells him he wants to learn everything he knows about building, which tempts the Walking Dead gods.

Rick goes on "patrol" and sees that someone destroyed Jessie's owl sculpture. He promises her he'll find the culprit, because at this point, what else does he have to do? Shortly after, Jessie's alcoholic, abusive husband, er, I mean husband Pete visits Rick, asking him to join him in a midday drinkipoo, which isn't the least bit suspicious. 

Carol catches Jessie's son Sam in her house, "looking for cookies," which I guess is what the kids are calling it these days. She tells him to get out, and he asks her why she stole the guns last week. When she tells him it was to protect herself, he asks if he can have a gun for himself. Carol puts two and two together and comes up with "Pete is an alcoholic, abusive husband AND father.

Abraham joins a construction crew that's expanding the walls of Alexandria. Hopefully he'll get them to put the supports on the inside of the wall this time. The crew is attacked by walkers and they all start to run away until Abraham single-handedly dispatches the herd. He then takes over the construction crew.

Glenn, Noah, Tara, Eugene, Aiden and Nicholas go on a supply run to get parts to repair Alexandria's solar grid. They travel to a warehouse that's surrounded by walkers and sneak in the back way. They find the parts and as they're leaving, they're confronted by a couple of walkers, one is which is unfortunately wearing police armor. Aiden shoots it ineffectively several times, and accidentally hits a grenade on its belt. The resulting explosion is so powerful that it causes a commercial break.

When we return, we see that Aiden is impaled against a wall and apparently dead and Tara grievously injured with a head wound. The explosion also let a group of walkers into the building. Just as they're about to leave, Glenn notices that Aiden is still alive. He tries to save him but Aiden's stuck real good. Glenn, Noah and Nicholas are forced to leave him and flee the warehouse. Aiden is eaten alive. Yes, he was a douchebag, but he didn't deserve that. Eugene finally grows a pair and carries Tara out of the warehouse, shooting a couple of walkers along the way.

As Glenn, Noah and Nicholas try to escape the warehouse, they end up trapped inside a revolving door, surrounded by hundreds of slavering walkers, which as you might expect, is not a nice situation in which to be. Suddenly Eugene drives by in the van, honking and drawing off most of the walkers. Nicholas panics and squeezes out his side of the revolving door, which spins Noah right into the remaining walkers. He's literally, not figuratively, pulled apart. So much for his career as an architect!

Nicholas proves he's an even bigger douchebag than Aiden was, as he tries to get Eugene to drive away. To his credit, Eugene refuses, and Nicholas shoves him to the ground. Just then Glenn shows up and gives Nicholas an epic beatdown, which distracts us from asking how the hell he could have escaped from the revolving door. The group heads back, with Eugene holding a gun on Nicholas.

Deanna worries that Rick's people are smoothly sliding into positions of power, despite the fact that this is what she wanted. Father Gabriel pays her a visit and tells her Team Rick isn't to be trusted. Maggie overhears him, which I'm sure won't lead to trouble for Father G next week.

Thoughts:
• Father Gabriel's back! Not that I care, because I really, really can't stand the character, but I was beginning to wonder if he was still on the show. He's been MIA for the past few episodes.

Something I noticed about Father G in this episode– he's not really bald. It appears that he shaves his head. But his head has looked exactly the same all season. How'd he pull that off? Was he taking time to shave his head every day, even when the group was starving on the road?

• As Abraham stares dead-eyed into his bathroom mirror, we see that he's apparently joined the PSTD club. That makes at least three now, along with Rick and Sasha.

By the way, for a second there I thought he was going to shave off his magnificent walrus-stache.

• Oh Noah, you just had to ask Reg to teach you everything he knows, and make him realize what a bright future you have, didn't you? Don't you know by now that on this show, when you infodump your backstory or make plans for the future, that only guarantees your demise?

The minute he started asking Reg to teach him how to build, I knew he was a goner. He might as well have put on a red shirt , claimed he was only two days from retirement and shouted "I'M GONNA BE SOMEBODY!"

• Even Noah seemed worried about Alexandria's walls falling down or being pushed in. Like me, he probably noticed the support struts are on the wrong side.

• Tobin, the construction guy, heads to the Port-A-John, saying he has to "Send a fax to Cleveland." I don't think I've ever heard that poop metaphor before. I'm assuming he name dropped that particular city because of "Cleveland Steamer?" I know, that's gross.

By the way, I wonder if he's named "Tobin" in honor of the Saw films?

• Was Abraham awesome in this episode or what? He even coined a new curse: Mother Dick. I'm betting that's probably as close as AMC will let them get to the MF word.

• So Deanna's suddenly worried about how many of Rick's people are in positions of power. Well, that was the whole reason for letting them in, wasn't it? Maybe she's getting cold feet because it's happening so quickly.

• I naturally assumed Pete destroyed Jessie's owl sculpture, but apparently it was her son Sam. 

• Now that the cast is reasonably safe behind the walls of Alexandria, I wondered how the writers were going to work in zombie danger each week. Apparently the answer is dangerous supply runs.

• As soon as the Supply Runners took off in the van and Aiden cranked up the jams, I knew they were in trouble. You're heading into hostile walker territory. You need all your senses at alert. It's not the time to start blasting the sound system.

• I'm assuming the title of this episode had something to do with how many people the Supply Runners "spent" in order to get the power doodads. By the way, did they even manage to get the power converters, or was this entire disastrous excercise all for naught?

This supply run was the perfect illustration of the meaning of the word FUBAR.

• As a result of the explosion, Tara suffers a serious head trauma and is bleeding profusely from her skull. Eugene says she needs immediate medical attention, and Nicholas says there's a med kit in their van. 

That must be one hell of a med kit, if it contains something that can treat a massive head injury like hers.

• Welp, so much for Aiden. OK, so he was a douche, but he didn't deserve to eaten alive as he watched. You'd think the least Glenn or Noah could have done was to put him out of his misery. Maybe they were rationing their ammo for walkers.

I wonder if Aiden's demise was an homage to Captain Rhodes' death in George Romero's Day Of The Dead?  All that was missing was Aiden shouting "Choke on 'em!" to the snacking walkers.

• Self-described coward Eugene finally "finds his courage" in this episode. Just like Bilbo Baggins! All he was missing was a magic ring and a glowing sword.

• When the group got trapped in the revolving door, surrounded by an army of walkers, I have to admit I couldn't see any way out. Luckily for them (well, for two of them anyway), Eugene was on the case and drew the walkers away.

• Noah, we hardly knew ye! Although I liked the character and his death was brutal, I just can't get too awfully worked up about it. We really never learned anything about him. I have a suspicion he was created solely as cannon fodder. Made to die, so to speak.

• Noah was also bad luck. Think how different things would be right now if he'd never joined the group and had stayed in the hospital. During Beth's escape attempt from Grady, she let Noah go and stayed behind. If it wasn't for him, she would have been the one to escape and wouldn't have been shot in the head by Dawn. They wouldn't have gone to Noah's house, and his little brother wouldn't have bitten Tyreese. And Noah himself wouldn't have ended up trapped inside a revolving door and gotten his face torn in half.

• Noah's death has triggered a ton of online debate about how The Walking Dead loves to kill off people of color, specifically black males. Sigh... 

Welp, this season there were at one point four black males on the show: Bob, Tyreese, Noah and Father Gabriel. When you have a lot of black male characters on your zombie show, then a lot of black male characters are probably going to die. It's simple math. You've got to take the good with the bad, people.

• After talking with Sam, Carol pieces things together and realizes Pete is an alcoholic, as well as an abusive husband and father. She takes her concerns to Rick, and goes full Lori on him, saying the only logical course of action is to kill him (!).

Jesus, Carol! That's a bit overkill, isn't it? Granted Pete is a worthless example of humanity, but killing him seems a bit extreme. Especially without even trying him in a court! Besides that, wife beater or not, he's your community's only doctor.

How about taking Jessie and Sam away from him, so he can't do them further harm? Or maybe building a jail, so he can be the inaugural inmate? Anything besides killing him just because he reminds Carol of her own husband.

• Twitchy, visibly unhinged Father Gabriel tells Deanna that Team Rick is dangerous. Surely she's not going to believe any of his sweaty rantings, is she? In the state he's in, I wouldn't believe him if he said "Hello."

3 comments:

  1. I don't read the comics so forgive me if this is what happens but I'd like the writers to twist the story so that it's Jessie who is abusive which is why Pete drinks. Rick/Carol kill Pete and then her and Rick get together but later she is found hurting Judith by Carl who kills her leading to more conflict within the group.

    All this hangs on me rewatching the episode to see that Sam wasn't specific about it being Pete in the first place. After all, we haven't seen any incidents to confirm who is doing what.

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  2. That would be a pretty interesting twist. That's not how it happens in the comic though. They seem to be following the comic fairly closely, so I won't say anymore (spoilers!).

    As for Sam not being specific about which parent is the abusive one, Carol's the one who picked up on it. If you remember back to the first season, she was with her abusive lout of a husband Ed at that time. So she probably recognizes the signs of an abuser, and realized it was Ed.

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  3. I was hoping that's how they could lead into the twist because Carol's opinion is coloured.

    It'll be good either way but I'd like them to pull the rug out from under all the comic readers at the last minute so none of us can relax into situations we are expecting.

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