On Saturday, as I was cleaning up the dishes from Saturday Second Breakfast, I got a text from my WD buddy: Dude, I’m so worried we are gonna lose Carol.
Upon reading these words, I felt my breakfast twist into a hard lump inside my stomach…it was like a ball of hot pain, a sick, sick feeling…I texted my WD buddy: I just got a sick feeling in my stomach, reading this.
She texted back: I can’t stop thinking about it.
Try as I might, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, either. While I was riding the high of such an incredible episode as last week’s “Consumed,” I couldn’t shake the horrible, nagging feeling that it had pretty much all the elements of a Carol Swan Song to it, and that the possibility was real that we may lose Carol, or Beth, or other beloved characters, come the mid-season finale of Season 5.
Now, I don’t know what’s coming, people. I merely abide by the Law of Kirkman: We cannot control the Mind of Kirkman…Kirkman does as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions. It’s nothing personal…it’s how he do.
I can only speculate…and ruminate (for hours, days)…and obsess. I, like you all, am merely a puppet on Kirkman’s strings. Kirkman is the Puppet Master, and we are his puppets, and Gimple, Nicotero, and the WD cast and crew are like Kirkman’s Army, with each general, officer, technical wizard and soldier carefully chosen, trained, and armed to kick our TWD loving asses in a way that we will never, ever forget, no matter how long we live on this earth.
I, like you, can only do so much to try to prepare for the inevitable, the point where we start to lose people in our core group as The Walking Dead’s Season 5, and the storyline beyond Season 5, progress.
My personal survival methodology includes (but is not limited to) the following: spending 8-12 + hours writing each week’s insane tweaker blog post; keeping my pharmacopeia of coping mechanisms stocked, cocked, and ready (within arm’s reach, whenever possible); and establishing a loyal, true, and similarly Walking Dead Obsessed friend to be my Daryl Partner (my WD buddy, of course…she solemnly swore to be my Daryl Partner, and I solemnly swore to be hers, and so we are bonded for life).
(For more on Daryl Partners, please refer to my Season 4, mid-season prepost, “What Happens ‘After?'”, which can be found in the archives section, February 2014.)
One other thing I know is that Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha, is pregnant, 8 months along at the time of this writing. I first discovered this on Instagram, when Lauren Cohan posted a picture of Sonequa Martin-Green holding up a onesie that said something like, “Zombies, please…my Mommy’s got this!”
Doesn’t exactly look great for Sasha’s longevity prospects as a character on The Walking Dead, unless they are able to work around it, and she gives birth during the filming break, and is ready to get back to work ASAP…they did such a good job hiding her pregnancy during Season 5 so far, who knows? It seems that with the TWD cast and crew, anything’s possible!
(BTW, Sonequa Martin-Green was one of the guests on Talking Dead after the airing of “Crossed,” looking very glowing and happy, beautiful and healthy, so whatever happens to Sasha with the mid-season finale, I think this beautiful mom-to-be is going to be just fine with the outcome!)
Norman Reedus said in an interview that he had to go off and have a good cry for about an hour before he was able to film the mid-season finale…sounds pretty intense. We are going to lose at least one, or more people in the mid-season finale, so I would recommend that you get yourself a Daryl Partner, get some coping mechanisms ready, and keep reminding yourself that while the shit may go down on our favorite show, and while we may lose some beloved characters as the storyline progresses, we all must remember that this is a show. It’s not real, as much as some of us out there say they wish it were. I am not one of them. I enjoy warmth, and creature comforts, and being alive, thanks.
So, while our show does feel so real to us WD obsessed fans (because we love it, and our gang, so much), and while some of our beloved characters may get killed off, the actors who play them will remain alive, well, and rich off the royalties that The Walking Dead will generate for the rest of their lives…and I say amen, and hallelujah, to that!
(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
To me, watching “Crossed” was like watching a beloved football team go in to play one of the biggest games of the season, the one with the highest stakes, and watching them lose it all, with one big epic fail after another…bad calls, false starts, fumbles, interceptions, dropping balls in the end zone, and in the end, a missed field goal to seal the win for the opposing team. A crushing defeat, really hard to watch.
I can’t be mad at them, our team, our gang, for losing this round. They have been through so much, all on little to no sleep, food, or respite or any kind…they got, like, one night’s rest in a creepy priest’s cursed church after hacking the enemy camp to bits on the altar. I mean, damn. But, while I can’t be mad, I also can’t get my heart into recapping the whole mess, play by play, and reliving it all over again.
I just…cannot. Besides, it’s Thanksgiving week in this part of the world, and the kids are off of school all week, and we are travelling to visit family. So due to time constraints, and due to the fact that there are just some things I cannot bring myself to do, I am going to get right to the heart of the matter, here. I am going to center this post around Three Burning Questions, and Two Statements that are searing a hole in my heart after watching, “Crossed.”
(P.S. Of course, I said all this, and then recapped the shit out of “Crossed” anyway…apparently, it’s a compulsion.)
Burning Question #1: Why does anyone question Rick Grimes anymore?
The man had a diagram, people. He had a plan. “At sundown, we fire a shot into the air…get two of them out on patrol. Then, once it’s dark enough that the rooftop spotter won’t see us, we go…cut the locks to one of the stairways, take it to the fifth floor,,,I open the door, Daryl takes one of the guards out…”
At Tyrese’s question, “How?” Rick has a ready answer. “He slits his throat. This is all about us doing this quiet, keeping the upper hand…from there, we fan out, knives and silenced weapons. We need to be fast.”
Rick continues, marking the diagram he has scratched with chalk into the ground, assigning Tyrese, Sasha, Daryl to their areas, while he, Rick, takes out Dawn Lerner.
Rick adds, “If they’re smart, they’ll give up,” as the gang will outnumber them then, five on three, six on three, once Beth gets a gun.
Noah adds that their numbers would go up to 12 on 3 once the wards got wind of what was going down. They want out, and as Noah says, with confidence, “They will help.”
Um, sounds good to me!
Tyrese, however, has doubts. “That’s best case scenario…what’s worst case? All it takes is one of those cops going down the hall at the wrong time, then it’s not quiet…all hands on deck…you’re talking about a lot of bullets flying around.”
Sasha, who is in the throes of grief, and who couldn’t really give a fuck, says, “If that’s what it takes…”
Tyrese disagrees, says it isn’t, and proposes The Worst Plan B, Ever…if the gang gets two of Dawn Lerner’s cops, then the gang can wrangle an even trade, the two cops for Beth and Carol, “theirs for ours.”
Oh, yeah, that always works, especially in these times… Did Terminus teach you nothing, people? People are super fucked up now, and they don’t play by the rules…the only rule that seems to apply, in these dire times, is kill or be killed.
In these times, the ones that have the upper hand, and the element of surprise, win the battle. And a battle is all it takes, in this scenario: get rid of the threat, get your people, get a working vehicle, and get the fuck out of Atlanta, grab up Michonne and the kids at the church, then go north, and find the rest of the crew.
Rick, however, is being a good leader, and a hot leader, as always, and deferring to his people, giving props and recognition where they are due.
He acknowledges that while Tyrese’s plan could work, his plan, with the element of surprise, and eliminating most of the threat, will work.
Rick Grimes was a deputy, and he’s done this before, professionally, before any of this zombie apocalypse shit started going down, and he, Rick Grimes, is a huge reason why many of them are still alive, this day, standing around and making this plan...just sayin’!
And this is Beth and Carol we are talking about…the stakes are too high to fuck this one up. Rick owes Carol big time, and these are Daryl’s special ladies. Do we really want to leave it all up to the generosity of Dawn Lerner and her Douchesquad, their willingness to negotiate a trade?
And, are we really naive enough to think that Dawn and her Douchesquad are going to just let the gang go, to let them drive off with Beth (their prize virginal blond ward, who happens to be Dawn’s pet nemesis) and Carol without as much as a post-apocalyptic police chase through the decaying city of Atlanta?
They have cars, they know the terrain like the back of their hands, and they could give chase, shoot out the tires of the gang’s getaway truck, injure or kill peeps in a bloody shootout. Any of these dire scenarios would certainly attract walkers to the scene and incite a real and added threat to an already cagey situation.
So. the way I see it, Tyrese’s Plan B is not the better plan, as it has way more sketchy variables than the chance of a stray cop in a hallway where he/she isn’t supposed to be. Rick Grimes’ plan of slitting some throats and taking out some crooked cops on the DL, then overtaking the hospital, is the way better plan, overall.
But, then Daryl speaks up…and sides with Tyrese.
“Nah, it’ll work, too,” Daryl says of Tyrese’s Plan B, to Rick’s shock and stupefaction (and mine, quite frankly).
Daryl maintains that if they take two of Dawn’s cops away, then what does she have? He thinks Tyrese’s plan will work.
Rick’s look says it all, and the bottom of my stomach fell out at this. Right from the start, it sounded like The Worst Plan B, Ever. And, as it turns out, it was The. Worst. Plan B. Ever.
Operation Plan B: Epic Fail all goes down like this:
At first, it was all going pretty well. Shepherd and Lamson, the two officers of Dawn Lerner’s Douchesquad assigned to investigate the gunshot, come speeding up in one of the Grady Memorialmobiles to some industrial looking building…at the sound of another gunshot, they find Noah, who is acting as bait, making a show of trying to limp away, but they swerve the car around, lightly clipping him and knocking him to the ground.
As Lamson, the dude cop, zip ties Noah’s hands behind him, he gently tells Noah to tell him if the zip tie’s too tight, then looks around, asks where the “rotters” are that Noah was shooting at. A whistle sings out, and the cops look up and find themselves surrounded, at gunpoint, by Rick, Daryl, Tyrese, and Sasha.
After a moment, Lamson says “Ok,” puts his hands up, and soon, both cops are kneeling. Rick tells them, softly, that they need to talk…offers them water, food if they need it.
Lamson addresses Rick, “Mind if I ask you something?”
Noah murmurs to Rick that Lamson looked out for him and the wards. “He’s one of the good ones,” Noah tells Rick.
It seems Lamson’s shameless cop-stroking buys the crooked cops a moment of distraction, because right at that moment…
Tyrese manages to shoot out a side window of the car, and an exchange of bullets ensues. The two captive cops manage to dive into the car, and their buddy, Officer Baldy, is firing back at Rick and the gang as the car speeds around a corner. The car almost gets away, but not before Sasha puts a well-aimed bullet into one of the car’s tires.
Yeah, Sasha, that’s what I’m talking about!
The gang chases the car around the corner of the building…they see the GM CreepMobile stopped in its tracks, a walker’s arm twisted up in the front wheel. Above them, spray painted on a water tower, is the message “Evac Here,” and a blasted out FEMA trailer is alongside it. On the ground, melted and seared into the asphalt, are the Napalm Walkers…
As the others pursue Lamson and Shepherd, who are on the lam, Daryl stays back and sleuths out where Officer Baldy is hiding.
Hmmm. not in the stalled CreepMobile, not in the FEMA trailer…
The gang brings the cops into a large room inside the industrial building, and Shepherd, the female cop, tries to tell them that their plan to trade would work if they had different cops to trade.
Shepherd, Lamson, and Officer Baldy are on Dawn Lerner’s shitlist, supposedly, as she knows that they want to replace her, Dawn Lerner, with Lamson, and have him be in charge. Shepherd suggests that they let the cops go, who will deal with Dawn Lerner themselves, and then will let their people go.
Lamson interrupts this, saying that they’re not going to do that…he proposes that Rick and the gang let him, Lamson, talk to Dawn, as he has known her for eight years, and knows how to talk to her. Lamson seems to be taking a page from Deputy Rick Grimes’ book of copspeak when he says, softly, reasonably, “Let me help you.”
My WD buddy is so cute, she sent me this email after rewatching this episode:
I just watched the episode again and I just want to reiterate how Rick Grimes would have known that cop was full of shit. He wouldn’t have trusted him like that. The writers did not do him justice with that. And they are wrong.
Ha! How cute is that? I replied:
I fully agree! But, they are tired, been through a lot, and that cop was Cop-Stroking Rick…been awhile since someone recognized, and the group wasn’t giving him the love he deserved, so he was susceptible to flattery!
(See what happens when you hold back the love, people? Don’t hold back the love! It messes your people up!)
Rick, who is love-starved in the moment, and who was not allowed to smash, earlier, isn’t thinking straight, so he even tells Lamson the full timetable, that they’re going to leave in about 10 minutes, offering him whatever he needs, before they go.
Rick even does Lamson a solid and thanks him, refers to him as “Sergeant Lamson,” telling Lamson, “You’re still a cop.” Lamson can’t bring himself to agree, saying, “Naw, the real ones are all gone.”
Lamson adds that his name is “Bob,” which sends Sasha’s head whirling around. Rick nods to her, and stands up to leave.
Which brings me to Burning Question #2: What the hell, Sasha?
Sasha, who is love-starved, and messed up, herself, is not her usual saavy sister self in the moment, and she plays into Lamson’s theatrics like a total rookie…like a Gabriel.
At his sighed, “Dammit,” she comes over to him, looks down questioningly. He tells her he’ll be ok, and she replies, “So will I.”
Uh, oh. Bonding with the enemy. Bad. Very bad.
Lamson, who knows he’s in at this point, lays it on thick about how he recognized one of the “rotters” out there, napalmed to the asphalt…a fellow officer, Tyler, who was on the team to evacuate survivors out of the hospital before the bombing, and who got assigned by Dawn Lerner at the last minute to drive the last van of survivors out of the city, replacing Lamson as the driver.
Lamson tells Sasha that Dawn Lerner made the change because she wanted “someone she could really trust” to do the job, and Lamson says that seeing Tyler out there, stuck to the asphalt like “an endless joke,” made him realize that it could have been him, and feel helpless, because “there’s nothing I can do.”
Wah, wah, cry me a river of crocodile tears, Lame-son.
“Let me help you,” Sasha offers, and that line is a recurring one through this episode…there are people in these times who will say it to trick you, and people who will say it sincerely, in a real offer of help.
How can one know who to trust, in these times?
Sasha offers to take Lamson to a window where they can spot Tyler Walker, and she, being a “good shot,” can take him out, put him out of his melted, undead misery.
Statement #1: I love the young people.
While the Zero Dark Carol & Beth Rangers are failing and flailing, the young people of the gang are bringing it, straight up, no apologies…
Rosita looks over at Abraham, brings him his water bottle marked “A,” urges him to drink, to stop this, to look at her. When she gets down in his face, Abraham snaps, leaping up to his feet, and fixing her with a Super Scary Pyscho Look...
The click of a gun being cocked behind him gets Abraham’s attention, and he turns to find Maggie, pointing her pistol at him…
After this tense moment, Tara asks, “So, what’s next on the agenda?”
Meanwhile, Beth is mopping, and evesdropping, on a terse back and forth between Dawn Lerner and a male cop, who is having a hard time explaining why the hell they haven’t found Noah yet. Beth stifles back a laugh as Dawn openly mocks the cop’s complete lack of competence.
“Is there anything else?” Dawn Lerner asks him, her voice dripping with sarcasm and barely concealed contempt.
The male cop responds snidely that yes, there is…the woman in Room 2 (aka Carol) was “half dead” when he brought her in, and isn’t looking too good. “This isn’t ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, here,” he says down to Dawn Lerner. “Do we really want to be wasting valuable resources?”
Beth whirls around and faces the male cop, asks him loudly, straight up, how much electricity his DVD player uses, because resources here are limited, and he charges his DVD player every day.
As Beth says all this, she has marched right up to the male cop, and is right in his face, to his, and Dawn Lerner’s, shock and utter amazement.
Beth asks Dawn why she’s doing this, and Dawn Lerner tells Beth that she thought at one point that Beth was weak, and just now, Beth proved her wrong.
Dawn Lerner walks away, leaving Beth to process this.
Meanwhile, back at GREATM, Glenn has decided that they need to get water, and Rosita tells them that there’s a creek up the road, a few miles southwest of where they are. Maggie volunteers to stay, tells Glenn to go with Rosita and Tara on the run. After a moment’s hesitation, Glenn touches Maggie’s hand in farewell and goes with Rosita and Tara, while Maggie sits on the fire truck’s step to wait it out in the hot sun.
When they get to the creek, Rosita, Tara, and Glenn pass three walkers, who were pinned down by a large utility pole…the walkers hiss and paw helplessly at them, unable to move.
Rosita tells them that while she’s not sure how to deal with D.C. being a bust, she’s not focusing on that…while Eugene was pretty useless, she still wants him to be ok. “He had one skill that kept him living…you supposed to be mad because he used it?”
Glenn replies, “Damn right.”
Back at the dead fire truck, Maggie is looking down at a still-unconscious Eugene.
Meanwhile, back in the ruined city of Atlanta, at the Grady Memorial Debt Castle, Beth has approached Doc Edwards’ sanctum, and has been invited in, cautiously, by Doc Edwards.
Beth gets right to the point: If he could give the woman in Room #2 anything, what would he give her? Doc Edwards replies, quickly, that Dawn called it, and Beth asks again.
Doc Edwards realizes quickly that Beth has the key to the meds cabinet…he asks Beth if she stole it, or if Dawn Lerner gave it to her, because if Dawn did indeed give Beth the key, she didn’t do it out of the kindness of her heart.
“Stop,” Beth tells him, silencing him, and asks him again. Looking down, Doc Edwards tells Beth “Epinephrine drip, 5 mg.”
Doc Edwards continues, telling Beth that “she won’t wake up right away, but it’ll ease her blood pressure, so she’ll have a shot.” Beth nods and turns to leave.
“Hey,” Doc Edwards calls to her. Beth stops at the doorway, does not turn around, waits. “Good luck,” Doc Edwards says. Beth says nothing, continues through the door and quickly down the hall.
Meanwhile, up the creek, Glenn fills a plastic water bottle with creek water and looks at it dubiously.
As they wait for the water to drip into the collecting urn, Tara asks Rosita if she was with Abraham before the turn. Rosita says no, that she was with others, trying to make it. She and Abraham crossed paths in Dallas, where Abraham came out of nowhere, in his big truck, and Eugene in the cab.
Abraham helped Rosita and her people fight off some walkers, then afterwards, he told Rosita that he was “going to save the world.” Abraham then told Rosita that he saw what she could do, and he wanted her help.
Rosita tells Tara and Glenn, “He was the first person to ask me for (help) since this all started.” She looks down then, at the water bottle, and says, “Maybe he was lying, too.”
Glenn looks down the creek, unsure what to say, then spots….ripples, which mean…fish! At Tara’s, “How?” Glenn tells them to come on…he has a plan.
After they tear away mesh lining from the jackets of the Utility Pole Walkers, Glenn tosses the linings to Rosita, who begins to fashion a fishing net. Tara, meanwhile, gleefully finds a backpack mired in the mud, and begins to delve into its contents as Glenn and Rosita hold their makeshift fishing net under the creek water…it doesn’t take long, then, caught one!
Tara pulls something out of the backpack, calls to the others, “You won’t believe what I just found in this bag!”
Meanwhile, back at Grady Memorial…
Back at the fire truck, Maggie, meanwhile, approaches Abraham with the last of her water and offers it to him, urging him to take it. “I know you’re thirsty,” she tells him.
Maggie asks Abraham if he wanted her to shoot him, earlier. He speaks, replies that he thought he did, but he really didn’t…
As Glenn, Rosita, and Tara walk back to the fire truck, bearing a haul of fish and the yo-yo that Tara found in the Utility Pole Walker’s backpack, Tara turns to look at the Slaughterhouse Ranch Walker Herd, snarling and hissing, a quarter mile down the road. Glenn tells her not to, just don’t look at it. So, she doesn’t, and they head back to the fire truck.
Burning Question #3: Exactly what the hell is Father Gabriel doing?
Father Gabriel starts getting even weirder and cagier than he already is, right from the start of the episode, as he watches Sasha furiously chop apart a wooden pew while Tyrese and Daryl take down the metal organ pipes and fashion them into Morgan-style walker spears in front of the church steps.
(Ahem, Morgan? We could really use you making an appearance here soon, bud. Might be time to come out of the bushes and help out. Gang’s all split up, and shit’s coming.)
The whole Altar Massacre seems to be hastening Gabriel’s downward spiral. It seems Gabriel could come to some tenuous acceptance of his congregation’s massacre outside his church walls, after he refused to open the doors to them, and cowered within the safety of his church while listening to their agonized cries and screams as walkers descended upon them and tore them apart.
However, while Gabriel had to listen to his congregation’s painful demise, and bury their remains, after, he did not have to directly watch the bloodshed as it was happening, and I think, in this way, he was able to distance himself somehow from that event, if just for his very survival.
In contrast, I think Gabriel’s entering of the scene moments after the Altar Massacre, and seeing the carnage, the blood, gore, and the hacked remains of the Terminans on the very altar of his church, drove the reality of it all home. And now, sealed inside the bloodied walls of his cursed church, Gabriel’s demons are closing in, and he’s losing it.
As Gabriel frantically tries to scrub away the bloodstains on the floor, face sweating, brow furrowed, Carl approaches him, lays out a selection of weapons, and encourages Gabriel to choose one, as he needs to learn how to defend himself.
As Michonne listens, Carl responds, “They were liars, and murderers.”
“Just like us,” Gabriel replies.
(Um, speak for yourself, Gabriel. How exactly were Rick and the gang liars? They were planning to go out to kill Gareth and the Terminans at the school, not misrepresenting themselves about that in the least. When Gareth and the Terms came to the church, after Rick and his crew left, Rick and his gang snuck back into the church and ambushed Gareth and the Terms there, beating them at their own game, and saving Gabriel, along with their own, in the process.
Is that lying? Gabriel may feel that he lied to his flock by representing himself as a leader, a protector, and then not following through on that, but I don’t see how Rick and the others are “liars” in Gabriel’s estimation.
Now, if Gabriel has been working with the Terminans this whole time, then I can see how he is a liar, a really big one. My sympathy for him is waning, fast, as my distrust and dislike for him grow. Whatever his motivation is, he is fucking it up royally for our gang, especially for Carl, Judith, and Michonne, in that church.)
Carl serves the truth straight up to Gabriel, telling him that they, Carl, Rick, Michonne, and the crew, were defending themselves against people who were a threat, who wanted them dead.
Carl tells Gabriel that he’s been lucky that his church has lasted this long (and I definitely am leaning towards the probability that Gabriel’s longevity hasn’t been entirely due to blind luck), and that nobody can stay in one place for long, these days.
Michonne tends to the baby, listening to Carl telling Gabriel this, and you can see on her face how this distresses her, to hear a young man, barely a teenager, report such a grim reality so matter-of-factly. The child is advising the priest in the ways of the new world order.
Carl continues, telling Gabriel that, “Once you’re out there, you’re going to find trouble you can’t hide from…you’re going to have to know how to fight.”
Later, Michonne goes to check on Gabriel, knocks on his door. He opens it a crack, looks at her, like, “Yeah?”
Statement #2: I am worried. Very, very worried.
Sasha’s lying unconscious on the warehouse floor, alone. Rick, Daryl, and Tyrese are on their way to Grady Memorial, to what is probably becoming a trap, to try to make a deal with Dawn Lerner. Lamson is on the loose. Gabriel, who may or may not be in cahoots with the Terminans, is heading to the school, as we saw in a preview for next week’s mid-season finale episode.
In the preview, we see Gabriel looking at Bob’s charred leg on the ashen makeshift grille, with maggots crawling all over it, as the walkers inside the school are pawing and bashing at the window…the window that Gareth, Greg, or whatever the hell his name is, said was going to break…sooner or later.
Traitor or not, I am worried that Gabriel’s stupid ass is going to unleash those walkers, leading them, and possibly/probably the Terms, right to the church, where Michonne, Carl, and Judith are.
Morgan? Morgan, buddy, where the fuck are you?
And while I am very glad the Road Crew got a new yo-yo, and a fish dinner, and some water for boiling, and that Eugene is alive, I can’t shake the feeling that Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero aren’t going to dangle a mega herd of walkers a mere quarter of a mile away and not do something with that shit.
Made this post super late, just under the wire, on Sunday freaking afternoon, just 6 hours before the mid season finale.
People, it’s time to get your coping mechanisms, your Daryl Partner, and your box of tissues ready, because we TWD fans are about to get our collective asses kicked by Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero, Inc., (aka Dad, NewDad, and Crazy Uncle Greg).
Be strong, my darlings, much love, and cheers!
Alice In Chains, “Again”
Motorhead, “(We Are) The Road Crew”
Cat Power, “He War”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Cheated Hearts”