The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”

“Them”

In The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 10, “Them,” we, the viewers, along with our righteous gang, are finally getting that chance we’ve been waiting for, to slow down, take a long, ragged breath, and process, for a moment, everything that has happened, thus far, in the relatively short period of time since the prison community was struck down, first by a highly lethal virus, then, by a madman and his army…and so on.

Our gang has suffered so much loss in this brief space of time.  Maggie, at this point, has lost her entire family,  She, and Daryl, are reeling over Beth’s senseless murder at the hands of Dawn Lerner, after a hostage trade negotiation at Grady Memorial went horribly awry.

Sasha has lost, in rapid, horrifying succession, first, her sweet boyfriend, Bob, and most recently, her beloved brother, Tyreese.

Noah has just discovered that his mother, twin brothers, and entire community have been brutally murdered by an unknown enemy. He, too, has lost his entire family at this point.

Abraham, having lost his entire family, before, when they ran away from him in terror and were attacked by walkers, has suffered another blow: Eugene Porter’s confession that he had been lying, the whole time, about having the key to a cure for the walker epidemic. With Eugene’s confession came the crushing realization, for Abraham, Rosita, and many others of the group, that there may not be an end in sight to the horror and savagery that the world has become.

This hell that they are living, every day, may be all that there is.

Abraham had embraced Eugene’s lie readily, before, as it gave him a mission, and a reason to continue on. Now, Abraham seems to be grappling with the same doubts and uncertainties as everyone else.  In Episode 510, we see Abraham taking frequent pulls from a bottle of liquor he has found in a sweep of abandoned cars, and there is not much direct interaction between him and Rosita, at this point.

On top of everything else, poor Abraham may have lost the love of his hot, sexy girlfriend (I truly hope this is not the case, Abraham, my man, but if so, maybe she’s still up for a fwb scenario now and again on those cold postapocalyptic nights…here’s hoping, bud!).

Carol is sure to be feeling the loss of Tyreese keenly, as he, and she, shared, just between them, the terrible knowledge and grief of Lizzie’s downward spiral into insanity, and then, Mika and Lizzie’s tragic deaths back at the pecan grove.

And now, Carol is watching, and feeling, Daryl pull away from her, and the group.  While Carol seems to be keeping herself open and available for him, and reaching out, letting Daryl know she’s there, Carol also knows that she needs to keep giving him the time and space he needs, right now, to process the loss of Beth, and work through his grief.

I personally think it must suck for Carol, deep down inside, to see how hard Daryl is grieving for Beth, on some level, as it confirms that he had deep feelings for the beautiful young girl.

And, like I said, if Daryl and Beth had been together longer, just the two of them, well, we all probably agree that something would have happened, sooner than later.  

In my personal estimation, judging from how things were progressing, from the span of Season 4’s “After,” to “Still,” and then, finally, “Alone,” the making out would have happened more on the sooner scale.

Remember, in “Alone,” when Beth asked Daryl what made him change his mind about the goodness of people, and he fixed her with that sweet love look, at the kitchen table?

He was all like:

IMG_3909

And she was all like:

IMG_3914

(Sorry for the reflections, it was back before I knew how to do a screenshot.)

But, reflections aside, those archival shots from “Alone,” to me, are photographic proof of:

L-O-V-E. Young, wild, (kind of) forbidden, natural, blossoming LOVE.

Daryl is good at holding his cards close to his chest, but he’s not good at lying. Daryl doesn’t lie.  If he can’t be honest, he’ll keep silent. He won’t say it.

Daryl showed his love for Beth, clearly, in actions more than words, back in Season 4, and later, in the first part of Season 5, Daryl shows his love for Carol in actions, and in words (because that’s how the grown women do…you gotta show them in actions and in words, none of this “one or the other” business. Grown women need to see you got all the skills.)

In “Consumed,” Daryl clearly, and honestly, communicates his love, and his intention (“I’m trying”)  to Carol, and when we saw that episode, it showed us how far Daryl has come in owning and expressing his heartfelt emotions.

This is something he hasn’t been able to do before, and I find it very beautiful and endearing to see this sweetness blossoming in Daryl. It’s such a crazy-ass thing that it took an apocalypse, and the gathering of fine people who came into his life because of it, for Daryl to get to the point where he could open up and be who he really is.

And, I said, before, if I were Carol, and I saw how bad the object of my singular love and affection was pining for someone else, well, that personally would really suck for me. But, it’s honest, and that’s how Daryl does it, and to be with Daryl would mean that New Carol would have to roll with that.

New Carol, being the champion that she is, seems to know all that, and she seems to be able to not take it too personally, or too hard, when Daryl rebuffs her, pushes her away, and goes off, alone, which is often, in Episode 510.

Carol knows Daryl pretty well by now, and she knows that this is what he needs to do, and how he needs to do it, and hopefully, when he is done, he will be ready and happy to come, fully and ready to party naked, back to Caryl.

And, with this, I am raising my coffee in a toast:  To Caryl!

Moving on, now, to other characters…

Tara has been remarkably resilient, and adaptable, since we first met her back in the middle of Season 4. Tara has also had to come to grips with the loss of her entire family: her sister, her niece, her father, and her new girlfriend, Alicia.  Tara, who fell prey to the Governor’s lies, has also had to come to grips with her own naivete, guilt, and self-doubt for playing a part in the destruction and massacre of the prison.

Tara has made her apologies, and her peace, with Maggie, and the others in the group, and, as she is funny, solid in a crisis, and a good friend, Tara seems like she may play a key role in helping the others heal their wounds and open back up to each other.

The gang is having a hard time finding the balance between nursing their private wounds and keeping open and communicative with the good folks around them, who are also hurting, exhausted, hungry, thirsty…demoralized.

And speaking of social retardation… Eugene Porter and Father Gabriel, the Oddball Outsiders, have lost a good degree of standing within the group with their respective revelations.

Eugene, of course, was forced to come clean and confess to lying about having the walker cure,and basically using Abraham, Rosita (and a number of fine men and women who died in the cause of getting Eugene to Washington, D.C.) as bodyguards, and protectors.

While the zeal of having a mission, and something to believe in, was certainly a positive thing for Abraham, and others, that geeky shoe was bound to drop sooner or later…and now, here we are, and it will be interesting to see how the story of Eugene Porter unfolds at this point in the TWD storyline, and what role he will ultimately end up playing in the group.

And Gabriel...well, Gabriel finally confessed his big sin to someone other than God, and tearfully unburdened himself to the gang, back at his cursed church, about how, in the beginning of the turn, he kept the church doors locked when his frightened parishioners came to the church, seeking refuge there, and did not let them into the church.

(Something about it being too late, or too early. Not a good time, apparently. Come back during business hours, which are posted on the door…yes, that door, the one you are pounding on.)

Despite his congregation’s desperate cries and pleas, Gabriel still refused to let them in, and so the helpless families were swarmed and savagely attacked by walkers, who were attracted to the noise of the families’ cries, pleas to be let inside the church.

And, as the poor men, women, and children of his congregation were torn apart by walkers, Gabriel cowered within the safety of the church’s walls, alone, listening to the horror and the savagery as it happened.

Gabriel, once a spiritual leader, is struggling mightily with his self-hatred, self-condemnation, and his loss of faith in God right about now, and this theme, losing faith in God, resounds with other characters, especially Maggie, in Episode 510.

Glenn, who has always been such a source of positivity, strength, and reason, for the others, has seemingly lost his faith, and his will, as well, after watching so many people he loved and cared for die tragically, needlessly, horribly.

His driving force, his love for Maggie and concern for the others in the group, spurs him onward, but as we saw in last week’s episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On,” Glenn is struggling within himself, wondering aloud to Rick if anything matters, anymore.

Each member of the gang is struggling with their own version of Glenn’s question: Does anything matter, anymore?  What can someone truly put his/her faith, intention, and energy into striving for, in this world, as it is now?   What is the point in trying to build anything good, or lasting, when it can all be torn away, brutally destroyed, in the blink of an eye?

Nowadays, even the very concept of having hope, or a dream, or faith in anything good seems to be ripped away before the hope, or the dream, can even materialize. The promise of building a lasting home at the prison was snuffed out by one man’s obsessive desire for vengeance.

The offered promise of a Sanctuary turned out to be a trap, and a place of unspeakable evil and brutality.  Eugene’s promise of a cure was nothing but a lie concocted by a weak, insecure young man (and his egregious mullet) to buy himself some time, protection, and a ride to D.C.

Carol and Tyreese’s hope of settling in at a quiet, cozy farm house nestled in a pecan grove, and enjoying a quiet respite, with Mika, Lizzie, and Judith, ended suddenly and tragically, with the deaths of the two young sisters.

The brief hope, and promise, of finding Beth, and getting her and Carol back, alive and safe, ended in Beth’s violent and senseless murder.

And most recently, the promise of a potential new home for the gang, in Noah’s family’s walled, secure neighborhood outside of Richmond, resulted in the gang’s discovery of the grisly aftermath of  the massacre of an entire peaceful community, including Noah’s mother and little twin brothers, and ending in the heartbreak of Tyreese’s painful, agonizing death.

Hershel. Lilly. Megan. Mika. Lizzie. Bob. Beth. Noah’s mother, and little brothers. And now, Tyreese. Not long ago, they were alive. They were loved. They were family.

And now, they are gone. All of them.  And our sweet gang, both as individuals and as a collective, must find a reason, deep within themselves, to carry on, despite carrying the heavy burden of so much grief, and so much loss.

The opening shot of Episode 510, “Them,” shows a pair of eyes, closed, crying…the shot pans out, and we see, of course, that it is Maggie, sitting against a tree, crying quietly.

Her eyes and face are swollen, as if she has been crying, on and off, for a long time.

maggie cry 1 maggie cry 2 maggie cry 3

maggie faces tuib walker1

Maggie’s much needed cry is then rudely interrupted by Tangled Up In Blue Walker, who comes hissing and pawing at her, but gets entangled, and stuck, in the hanging vines of the tree. Maggie gets up, annoyed, like, “Can’t a girl have a moment to herself?” 

maggie stabs tuib walker

Maggie easily rekills Tangled Up In Blue Walker with one quick thrust of her knife into its decaying skull…

maggie resumes her cry

…and then sinks miserably back down against the tree to resume her cry, with the dead walker’s body draped, unnoticed, in the vines behind her.

Meanwhile…

daryl digs

We see a tanned, muscled arm digging deep in the mud...for water, it seems.

daryls worm

…no water, but we see the digging has yielded a tasty morsel…

eat the worm 1

Eat the worm, Daryl Dixon!

daryl ate the worm

Daryl eats the wriggling earthworm so matter-of-factly, without registering any distaste or disgust while doing so, that it seems like something he’s done many times before, and that somehow makes him even hotter, and even more beautiful, and endearing, if that is even possible…

daryl worm picnic

…especially when the shot pans out, and he’s sitting like a little boy, having his own little worm picnic. I have thought about Daryl as a boy so many times (the boy whose mom died drunk, and passed out, in the house fire, leaving him to be raised by a drunk dad and a sadistic older brother) and it makes the mom in me, and the woman in me, feel so much love and hurt in my heart for him.

Sasha, meanwhile, walks along a creek bed, which has run dry.  She crouches, and digs a moment, but there is no water to be had, here.

sasha crouches at creek 1

creek dry frogs

Sasha sees the bodies of many frogs, belly up, along the dried creek bed. Would frogs just lie back, and give up the ghost, as a creek dried up, or would they hop away? I don’t know much about frogs, but it’s not the first time I have wondered if all this decay and pestilence in the post-apocalyptic world is poisoning the water, air, soil, food supply.

sasha kicks at creek dry frog

Alarmed, Sasha angrily kicks the dirt, partially burying the frog.

Looking up, Sasha sees Daryl and Maggie approach, look down at her from the top of the bank.  Sasha wordlessly shakes her head. No water here.

daryl and maggie turn away

Daryl turns away, crossbow over his shoulder, while Maggie looks down at Sasha, standing in the dried creek bed littered with dead frogs, a moment more. No words are exchanged between any of them. Maggie then turns away, and follows Daryl. After a moment, Sasha heads up the bank, after them.

maggie sasha daryl head back

As they head back to the group, who sits, waiting, in the road, Sasha signs, “Oh, shit.” Not one of the three found any water to bring back.

daryl sunspots

The sun beats down on them…

how much longer we got

…as they trudge back to the group, empty water bottles hanging from their bags, belts. “How much longer we got?” Maggie asks. “About 60 miles,” replies Sasha. Maggie gives a small shake of her head, says grimly, “I wasn’t talking about that.”

After the opening credits, we see a brief shot of the front end of a truck, stopping. We hear Abraham’s voice saying that the truck’s run dry, like the other one.  Rick’s reply is immediate, “So, we walk.”  We see legs, boots coming out of the truck, and the rays of the hot sun beating down.

boots coming out of trucksun spots

daryl rick judith

As they walk, Daryl turns back to look at a small group of walkers that are shuffling slowly behind their group, maybe 50 yards back.

daryl looks back

Rick, holding Judith, turns to regard the potential threat. “We’re not at our strongest,” he says. “We’ll get them when it’s best, high ground, something like that.”

Turning back around, Rick adds, “They’re not going anywhere.”

Rick turns to Daryl.

Rick turns to Daryl. “It’s been three weeks since Atlanta…I know you lost something back there.” (Besides feeling the exquisite pain of this moment, I just need say that, in my opinion, there cannot be too many scenes like this one, of beautiful men holding babies and talking about feelings.)

Daryl does not reply. Judith give a little whimper, and Daryl looks down at her. “She’s hungry,” he says.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him. “She’s ok,”  he says, looking forward. His voice falters just a moment as he asserts, “She’s gonna be ok.” (Exquisite pain, watching this…exquisite pain.)

“We gotta find water, food,” Daryl says.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds, forming, and says that it's gonna rain, sooner or later.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds forming, and says that it’s gonna rain, sooner or later.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he's going to take a run.  Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men's earlier exchange.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he’s going to take a run. Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men’s earlier exchange.

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently,

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently, “Don’t be too long.” Seems that Daryl takes a lot of opportunities to dip out, these days, going off for long stretches of time. Carol speaks up. “I’ll go with you.” Daryl replies, “Nah, hey, I got it.” Ouch, my heart for you, Carol! 😦

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, starts after him.

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, and starts after him. “You gonna stop me?” she asks, wryly. Daryl turns to her, pauses, waits for her. Not so fast, Daryl Dixon!

carl hands maggie music box 1

Carl catches up to Maggie and gives her a gift, a music box he found while looking for water. He tells her it doesn’t work, but he thought she would like it.

magglie music box 2

As Maggie opens the box, it is easy to imagine that the little blond ballerina inside would remind her of Beth. This sweet gesture brings a small, rare smile to Maggie’s face…

maggie thanks carl 1

…and she turns and thanks Carl.

maggie thanks carl

Some of my WDO buddies still hate on Carl, but I really love him. He is becoming such a sweetie, and has really had to roll with some hard times. Can’t hate the little man for having his tween tool moments back in the day (and ps, he really didn’t mean to kill Dale. That shit was a total accident).

gabriel chafes at the collar

As Carl walks ahead, Maggie turns to see Gabriel, behind her, pulling at his priest’s collar. Seeing her look, Gabriel jokes that he used to call the collars the modern-day incarnations of the hot, itchy “hair shirts” that priests, in times before, were forced to wear as an act of atonement. Besides the unspoken sentiment that there wouldn’t be a shirt hairy enough for Gabriel to wear to “atone” for his horrible betrayal of his own parishioners…

gabriel hair shirts maggie 1

…Maggie tells Gabriel, without looking at him, that she knows what hair shirts are, that her “daddy” was religious.

gabriel hair shirts maggie 2 PNG

Staring ahead, Maggie adds, “I used to be.”

Gabriel begins to offer to Maggie his services as a spiritual counselor, if she ever wants to talk about her father, or Beth, and Maggie interrupts him, with as much politeness as she can manage, “Please stop.”

Gabriel continues, in his automatic priest-mode, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.”

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies,

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies, “You never even met them.” Gabriel replies, “I know you’re in pain.”

Maggie whirls on Gabriel.

Maggie whirls on Gabriel. “You don’t know shit,” she tells him. “You had a job…you were there to save your flock, right? But you didn’t…you hid. Don’t act like that didn’t happen.” And with that, Maggie stalks off.

Some ways down the road, the gang trudges along, while the walkers behind them have gained in number, and are gaining on them, only about 20 yards away, and their telltale hiss and slaver are audible in the background.

walkers getting closer

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne,

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne, “We can take them.” Michonne sides with her future bf and replies that, “Rick’s right…we barely have anything left. No use in spending it all now.”

Sasha, however, is not so easily deterred.  She’s in pain, she’s pissed, and she’s spoiling for a fight. “I can take them,” she insists.

Michonne knows too well what is going on, here.

Michonne knows all too well what is going on, here. “Your brother was pissed too, after what he lost, “ she tells Sasha. “It made him stupid.” Sasha whirls on Michonne.  “We are not the same,” Sasha says. “We never were.”

Michonne looks at Sasha, not unkindly. “But, it’s still the same,” she says to the young woman.  “It just is.” Sasha has no reply to this, just turns and walks away from Michonne.

Meanwhile, out on another water run, Carol asks Daryl if he’s found anything…he says everything’s too dry.  Carol suggests they start heading back, and Daryl is quick to suggest that Carol go on, without him.

Carol looks at Daryl.

Carol looks at Daryl. “I think she saved my life,” she says, referring, of course, to Beth. “She saved your life too, right?”

Daryl does not reply.  Carol walks over and hands him a knife, sheathed in a blond leather casing.

carol hands daryl beth's knife

“It’s hers,” Carol says simply. Daryl takes the knife, looks at it a moment, still says nothing.

“You’re not dead,” says Carol, softly, mirroring Daryl’s words to her, some time ago, back to him. “I know you…you have to let yourself feel it.

carol smooths daryls hair

Carol reaches out and gently, tenderly smooths Daryl’s hair back…

carol kisses daryl on head

…then kisses him on the forehead, stand back, looking at him. “You will,” she says, laying a gentle hand on Daryl’s shoulder.

carol looks at daryl

Some TWD fans posted disappointment at this motherly, rather than loverly, show of love on Carol’s part, but I think it’s exactly what Daryl needed in the moment…pure, supportive, unconditional love, to take the time he needs to grieve Beth’s death. Super awesomeness, New Carol-style.

Meanwhile…

rick looks down the drop

Rick looks down at the steep drop from the bridge…here is the gang’s opportunity to take care of the walker herd that’s been tailing them all day. The gang is in formation, lined up on either side of the bridge.

rick looks to others

Rick wordlessly nods to Abraham, the others, as he walks towards the walker herd.

gang in bridge formation

Abraham nods back. They are ready.

rick faces the herd

Rick and the gang face the herd of walkers.

rick pitches one down

As the first walker approaches Rick, Rick sidesteps, stumbling a moment, then sends the walker flying down the steep embankment of the bridge, using the walker’s forward momentum to propel it downward, without using too much of his own energy, aikido-style.

abraham pitches two down

Using this same technique, Abraham sends two more flying down the steep drop.

glenn pitches one down

Glenn and Michonne both use the technique successfully. It seems to be working…

sasha knifes hes and breaks formation

…until Sasha breaks formation, striding up to her walker and spearing it in the head with her knife.

rick says flank her, machetes walker

Rick assesses the situation immediately, tells the gang to stay in line, and flank Sasha. They must fight now, as the walkers are coming more quickly and aggressively, responding to Sasha’s escalation. Abraham grumbles that the plan is “dicked” as he and Maggie unsheath their knives and prepare to go to battle.

michonne grabs sasha's arm

Michonne grabs Sasha’s arm, tells her to stop, to go, as Sasha is not thinking clearly, and is a danger to herself and others.

rick must battle

Rick and the others, so weak already, must go to battle with the oncoming walkers.

rick almost gets bit

Rick narrowly escapes getting bitten by a walker…thankfully, Daryl is there to pull the walker off.

gang must fightsasha being all crazy and shit

michonne tells sasha i told u so

Michonne pushes Sasha away and quickly beheads the last of the attacking walkers, then points down at Sasha. “I told you to STOP,” Michonne tells her angrily.

sasha feeling dumb

Winded, Sasha seems to grasp how nearly she cost herself, and the others, their lives with her anger and recklessness. She stands, however, and faces Michonne with a look of pure attitude, before stalking off, sheathing her knife.

Later, down the road, Carl sees some abandoned looking cars in the distance.  As the gang approaches the vehicles, Maggie looks in the windows of one car, checks inside, finds nothing useful, but sees the keys in the ignition. Maggie takes the keys and goes around to the trunk, opens it, and makes a horrible discovery…

maggie finds kidnapped walker

…inside the trunk of the car, a woman walker is gagged, with hands and feet bound. As with so many walkers we encounter on TWD, we will never know the full story of Hostage Walker, but we know it is another violent and horrible end to a person’s life. On Talking Dead, later, guests Lauren Cohan, Seth Gilliam, and Robin Lord Taylor speculated on how Hostage Walker may have reminded Maggie of Beth, as Beth was abducted in a car, as well.

maggie looks down at kidnapped walker

Maggie regards Hostage Walker for a moment, before closing the trunk on the whole situation, without bothering to rekill the walker.

maggie remorse

As she turns to go, Maggie hears the walker moving inside the car trunk, thumping against the confines of the closed, dark space. Maggie returns to the trunk, but cannot get it open. The keys are stuck. Maggie pulls out her pistol, ready to blast the lock of the trunk.

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie and stops her from shooting the lock.  When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head.  He then turns to Maggie, and gently says,

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie, and stops her from shooting the lock. When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head. He then turns to Maggie, and gently says, “Let’s go.”

Daryl, of course, has taken this opportunity to once again go off by himself and “take a sweep” of the woods, but has found nothing but a ravaged deer carcass and a dead body against a tree.  When he comes back, the gang is sitting at the roadside, resting. No food, no water to be had, but Abraham did find a bottle of liquor, which he cracks open and starts taking pulls from.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink. “It’s not going to help,” Tara remarks to the others. “He knows that,” Rosita replies. Eugene adds that Abraham is a grown man, but he, Eugene, cannot imagine how things could get any worse. Eugene, Eugene, Eugene, haven’t you watched enough movies in your once-sedentary life to know that whenever you say something like that, something terrible happens?

wild dogs

Like, I don’t know…wild dogs, for instance?

sasha goes sniper on the dogs

Luckily, Sasha is there to take the dogs out, sniper-style.

wild dog for dinner

Wordlessly, Rick takes a long stick, breaks it over his thigh...looks like tonight’s dinner entree is…

...wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn't know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style?  Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy...hey, whatever it takes, you know?)

…wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn’t know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style. Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy…hey, at this point, whatever it takes, you know?)

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog's collars, which reads,

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog’s collars, which reads, “Duke.”

Sasha steps up with some more wood for the fire, and Noah tells her that her brother, Tyreese, tried to help him. Sasha looks down at Noah, who then looks up at her, says, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”

Sasha looks grimly down at the young man. “Then you won’t, she says, her face immovable.  Noah looks down at these harsh words.

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah,

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah, “Don’t think, just eat.

gabriel takes off collar

Meanwhile, as the gang sits around, eating, Gabriel pulls his ragged priest’s collar off his shirt…

gabriel throws collar into fire

…and throws it into the fire. Without watching the collar burn, Gabriel takes another bite of meat, stares off, chewing. Maggie watches this, taking it in.

Later, Glenn is trying to get Maggie to take a drink of water. She refuses.  “Ok,” Glenn relents, on the water, anyway. “Why don’t you just talk to me?”

(Later, my WD buddy and I talked about how we were glad that Glenn was making himself available to offer support, counsel, and comfort to Maggie, even though he was going through his own doubts, and darkness.)

Maggie tells Glenn that she never thought Beth was alive, that after seeing their father, Hershel, get killed, she just…didn’t, or couldn’t, think about Beth being alive. Learning that Beth was alive, and then thinking she was going to see Beth, be reunited with her sister, and then seeing Beth, dead, in Daryl’s arms, the same day…Maggie confesses to Glenn that she doesn’t know if she can fight the darkness, any more.

Glenn tells her she can, that they must keep fighting it, that that’s who she is, who they are.  He urges Maggie to drink, and she does, taking a tiny sip from the water bottle.

Abraham walks alongside Sasha, offers her a drink from his bottle.  She refuses, saying that it’s gonna make things worse.

“The way you’re going, you’re what’s gonna make things worse,” retorts Abraham.  Sasha looks down, digesting this.  “Hey,” says Abraham. Sasha looks back up at him. “You’re among friends,” he says to her.

Sasha shoots him one of her looks. “We’re not friends,” she snaps, and walks ahead. Abraham thinks a moment, then shrugs, unconcerned, and takes another pull from the bottle.

Glenn, meanwhile, tries to offer his water bottle to Daryl, who refuses it, even at Glenn’s insistence.

“We can make it,” Glenn reminds Daryl. “But we can only make it together.”

Daryl hangs back, tells Abraham to tell the others he went looking for water.  Abraham says nothing, takes another pull from his bottle.

daryl sees the barn

In the woods, Daryl sees a barn in the distance.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up. Poor guy’s eyes are swollen, and he looks like he’s really in a bad way.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand, burning himself.

daryl burns hand

It’s the type of thing you could imagine Daryl doing to himself at a young age, ritualistic cutting or burning, a behavior which most often starts in the tween or teen years.

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release...

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release…

...as Daryl's tears finally start to flow.  Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break.

…as Daryl’s tears finally start to flow. Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break. It is a recurring theme in classical poetry, and prose, that tears, and rain, symbolize rebirth, and renewal.

When Daryl gets back to the gang, Rick hands him a note that was left for them, along with an offering of many bottles of water, in the road…

from a friend

“From A Friend”

water bottles

As thirsty as they are, it would be so tempting to take the risk and drink the offered water, but Rick tells the group that they can’t risk it, as they do not know who the water is from, or what their intentions are.

Eugene steps forward and grabs a bottle, saying he’ll be “quality assurance,” and is about to drink, when:

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene's hand, sending the water flying.  Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can't take the risk.

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene’s hand, sending the water flying. Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can’t take the risk.

In that moment, the group begins to feel drops of water falling on them…it’s raining!

gabriel rain

Gabriel tearfully looks to the heavens and apologizes to the Lord, presumably for his loss of faith, burning the collar.

rain 1 rain 2 glenn rain maggie rain sasha rain daryl rainrick sees storm coming

At a loud clap of thunder, Rick stands and looks to the horizon, sees…

bad storm coming

A dark storm cloud is coming. Daryl shouts to Rick that there’s a barn nearby, and the gang all runs to take shelter there.

gang clears the barn

The gang goes through the ritual of “clearing” the barn of any walkers, or living foes…

maggie sees bible

Maggie sees a bible on top of a stack of books…

i died in a barn walker

…before opening a door to a side room and discovering the reanimated, cobwebby remains of I Died In A Barn Walker.

some people can't give up

It is unclear exactly how I Died In A Barn Walker originally died…hunger, lack of water, illness, exposure, walker bite? Maggie rekills the walker with a single spear of her knife to the walker’s skull, then remarks to Carol that the woman had a gun, which is shown, leaning up against the wall of the room.  “She could have shot herself,” Maggie wonders aloud.  Carol muses that, “Some people can’t give up,” and looking sideways at Maggie, adding, significantly, “Like us,” before walking away, leaving the young woman to process this.

Later, the gang tries to get some much-needed rest in the barn, with the sound of the rain pouring outside.

gang tries to sleep

he's gonna be ok

Huddled around a small fire, Rick looks over at this sleeping son. “He’s gonna be ok,” Carol assures him, adding that Carl, being young, will be able to bounce back sooner than any of the adults will.

Rick says that he used to feel sorry for kids who have to grow up in these times, as they will never get to experience what it feels like to have a protected, happy, carefree childhood. But, Rick says now, he wonders if he got it wrong.

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as “growing up is getting used to the world.” Daryl listens to this, in the darkness. Even before the turn, as a child, Daryl had a hellish world that he had to grow up in, to “get used to.”

Michonne speaks up.

Michonne speaks up. “This isn’t the world,” she says, simply. “This isn’t it.” Glenn looks back, into the other room, where Maggie is lying down. “It might be,” he says, quietly.

Michonne counters, “That’s giving up.” Glenn counters that that’s just being realistic. Rick says that until they see otherwise, this, what they are living, is the world they must survive in.

rick says this is what they need to live withrick talks about his grandfather

Rick then tells the group that when he was a kid, and he asked his grandfather if he ever killed any Germans in the war, his grandfather wouldn’t answer, telling young Rick that such topics were “grown-up stuff.”

When young Rick then asked his grandfather if any Germans ever tried to kill him, his grandfather got real quiet, then told his grandson that he was already “dead, as soon as he stepped into enemy territory.”

Rick’s grandfather told him that every morning, when he awoke, and had to prepare himself to go back into battle, he would tell himself, “Rest In Peace, now get up and go to war.”  

Years later, after pretending he was dead, every day of his tour in the war, Rick’s grandfather made it back home, alive.

“That’s the trick of it, I think,” Rick tells the others. “We do what we need to do, and then, we get to live.”

Rick continues, saying that no matter what they find in D.C., they will be ok, because “This is how we survive. We tell ourselves that ‘We are the walking dead.'”

Daryl and Glenn exchange looks, then Daryl asserts, softly, “We ain’t them.”

Rick tries to echo his agreement, that they are not them, the walkers… (Dude, it was a metaphor! I was just getting a little caught up in the moment…awww, c’mon dude, that’s not what I meant! Come back!)

Daryl, however, has had enough of this conversation, and he stands up, collects his things, and turns to leave, but not before turning back to Rick and the others, and saying, once more, “We ain’t them,” before walking out of the room.

Poor Rick, but hey, buddy, you tried…and I (among many others in the TWD family, I am sure) was cheering this epic speech as it was being delivered.

Personally, it made me think of all those years ago, back in 2004, when I bought the first two issues of The Walking Dead comic series (which had just come out, and was sending shockwaves, and geekgasms, throughout the entire comic book community).

The clerk at the comic book store told me, “And the name, ‘The Walking Dead,’ you don’t know if it applies to the zombies or the living human survivors.”  

Ah, memories! 🙂

Meanwhile, Daryl stalks off into another room, sees the chain barring a main set of doors has come a little loose, and the winds from the storm are blowing the doors open and closed against the chain, giving little glimpses of the raging storm outside.

Daryl puts down his crossbow and goes over to fix the chain, and sees, outside, coming fast towards the swinging doors of the barn:

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

daryl bars the door

Daryl cries out in alarm, hurriedly tightens the chain, and then presses his back against the doors, and the press of hissing, snarling walkers trying to push through.

daryl and maggie bar the door

Maggie sees Daryl, runs to help…

all the gang bars the door 2

And one by one, all the gang runs to help hold the doors steady against the crush of walkers. It is a terrifying, amazing scene, capturing the mayhem of another life and death moment in WD.

rick bars door

As the gang works together, despite their individual pain, beliefs, differences with each other, to do whatever it takes, in this moment, to survive together, Rick and Daryl exchange a long, significant look as they push against the walkers with all their might. I like to think they were like, “Dude, I’m sorry for the weirdness back there…I didn’t mean it! I love you, man!”

all the gang bars the door

The next shot, it’s morning…

maggie awake

As Maggie opens her eyes, it seems she may be thinking (along with the viewers), “Was that all a dream, last night?”

Maggie looks into Baby Judith's sweet face.  The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer...Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie looks into Baby Judith’s sweet face. The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer…Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie stands up, looks around at the others, sleeping in the barn.  She then sees Daryl, who is sitting awake, against the far wall.  It seems like he has stayed up, keeping watch as the others slept.

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl.  She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him,

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl. She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him, “You can rest now.”

They look over towards Sasha’s sleeping form, and Daryl says, of Tyreese, “He was tough.”

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds,

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds, “She was tough, too. She didn’t know it, but she was.” This brings a smile to Maggie’s face, and they share a moment, remembering Beth.

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply,

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply, “The gear box had some grit in it.” It is easy to imagine Daryl, keeping watch, cleaning and fixing the music box while the others slept. How we love thee, Daryl Dixon!

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha.

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha. “C’mon,” she whispers, and Sasha gets up to follow Maggie, as Daryl prepares to get some sleep.

walkers in the tree

As Maggie and Sasha step outside, they are greeted by an incredible sight. All around the barn, tall pines are felled by the fearsome storm of the night before, spearing and pinning the walker herd helpless, but miraculously missing the barn, which would have been crushed under the huge old trees.

god saved the gang

As the girls look around in wonderment, it seems that Maggie may be rethinking her faith in God…the recent events certainly make a strong case for some benevolent, divine intervention.

the dawn of a new day

It’s the dawn of a new day.

sasha and maggie sunrise

Sasha and Maggie sit down, take in the beauty of the sunrise. “Why are we here?” asks Sasha. “For this,” Maggie replies. It sounds like the answer her father, Hershel, would have given.

the psoams

Sasha and Maggie, the PSOAM’s (Post Apocalyptic Sisters On A Mission), look out at the sunrise. Sasha begins talking, says that Noah had told her that he didn’t think we could make it. “That’s how I feel,” Sasha confesses to Maggie. Maggie tells her that she, Sasha, is going to make it. “We both will,” says Maggie. “That’s the hard part.”

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box.

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box. “Daryl fixed it,” she tells Sasha, but when Maggie tries to wind it up…nothing. The music box stays silent, the tiny ballerina doesn’t move.

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans,

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans, “You gotta be kidding me.” The PSOAM’s share a laugh at the absurdity of it all…

...as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment.

…as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment. “Um, hello, excuse me…”

psoams aint playing

The PSOAM’s ain’t playing. They immediately leap up to their feet, weapons drawn. The stranger cautiously approaches, hands up, introduces himself as “Aaron,” says he is a “friend.” Aaron tells the girls that he would like to talk to the leader of the group…Rick, right?

aaron comes on the scene 2

Maggie starts to ask, “How-?” and Sasha cuts in, asks, “Why?” Aaron smiles, says he has some “good news.”

aaron says he has good news

Who the hell is this guy? And how does he know Rick’s name?

music box working now

And suddenly, the music box kicks on, starting to play its bright, tinkly music as the tiny ballerina twirls around and around.

Well, darlings, if God is indeed having a hand in all this, one thing is clear…God has a really crazy sense of humor!

Deadies this week go to our three walking wounded soldiers: Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green).

Playlist:

Lightning Bolt, “Ride The Sky”

Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ In The Wind”

Phantogram, “Turning Into Stone”

City and Colour, “Sleeping Sickness”

Georgiana Starlington, “Dry As A Bone” (currently not available on Spotify, but great track if you can find it…I’ll keep checking in to get it directly to readers if and when I can…perfect for this episode)

Tori Amos, “God”

Aaliyah ft. Missy Elliot, “Best Friend” ( for the PSOAM‘s, Maggie and Sasha)

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 8, “Coda”

“Coda”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, and The Talking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Well, loves, if you watched the The Walking Dead’s Season 5 mid-season finale, “Coda,”  last night, you probably know how I am feeling this morning. Devastated. Deflated. Melancholy. Haunted. And a little hungover, truth be told.

My WD buddy, after driving a hellishly long end-of-Thanksgiving-weekend commute in back-to-back traffic, came armed with champagne for us to watch the mid-season finale together.  After many Coronas, and re-ups of champagne, and OMG’s, and Holy Fuck’s, and hand holding, and tears, we watched TWD, then TD, then bid each other farewell and went our separate ways, come midnight, to brave the night’s sleep (all six and a half hours of it), and wake up to get the kids to school, ourselves to work, and to start the new week.

(This morning, my WD buddy texted me that she called in sick to work. Good call, friend! I wish I could, too, but there is a post to write, and work to do, and appointments to keep, and so, life must go on…but in honor of Beth, I am wearing black under my work attire. Nobody will see it on the outside, but I will know it is there.)

My night’s sleep was filled with dreams of Beth, and Emily Kinney.  I have been wondering how Emily Kinney is doing right now, checking on her via social media.

While I know, ultimately, that Emily Kinney will be just fine (being a young, supremely talented and beautiful It Girl on the rise), it was really hard to watch her try not to cry, to keep it together, on Talking Dead last night,. She said she only found out about the Beth story line for the midseason finale when filming Episode 7, “Crossed.”

Even Kirkman, who was also a guest on TD, looked like he was feeling super guilty, and near tears himself, as Emily Kinney was talking.

Kirkman said that it’s the hardest part of being in the WD writers’ room, having to decide who, and when, a beloved character gets killed on the show.  He said that with writing the WD comic series, it was just a matter of telling Charlie Adlard, the incredible artist who took the helm after The Walking Dead, Issue #7, “not to draw the lines” of the deceased character anymore. But, with the show, the actors become incredibly bonded with one another, with the writing and production team, and the crew…and with the fans.

I find it challenging enough to write a blog about a show. I cannot imagine the challenges writers like Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple must face to keep such a powerful, intricate, complex story going, staying focused and true to their creative vision while navigating the storm of fan response, social media ebb and flow, and the vast scope of production such an endeavor requires.

Much love, kudos, and Deadies all around to Kirkman (Dad), Gimple (NewDad), and Nicotero (Crazy Uncle Greg…the fun uncle!). Thanks, guys.  Thanks for bringing the pain, and levelling the playing field. We Prime Time Pollyannas needed to toughen up and get us some street cred with the Comic Book Set.

And.speaking up mad props, and much love…it’s time to start talking about this beautiful lady: ❤BETH

IMG_9064

Emily Kinney posted this amazing drawing a young fan sent her on her Instagram account @emmykinney

Beth Greene, beautiful badass, speaker of truth, bringer of light, and song, with the voice of an angel.  It has been amazing to watch the transformation of Beth, especially from the second part of Season 4, on, as she came into her own as a strong, sensitive young woman whose pure, artistic spirit, and clear, beautiful voice carried the message of truth, love, and justice in a world grown dark, grim, and seemingly devoid of such light, purity and hope.

Despite the dire circumstances she found herself in, Beth’s fire never dimmed, and despite the brutality of the world around her, Beth’s wild spirit refused to be cowed by it.

On Talking Dead, in the Dead Notes section, it said that Beth represented purity and honesty to Daryl.  My WD buddy and I have discussed this subject at length,  and while she thinks that Daryl thought of Beth as more of a little sister, I personally think that Daryl felt romantic love for Beth, as well, to some degree.

While Daryl was certainly older than Beth, there did seem to be a real and powerful attraction between them, whether or not that connection would have ever manifested itself into a romantic relationship.

Daryl had a very childlike and innocent, unexplored way about himself, especially in the beginning of the series. His painful, abusive childhood and teen years never seemed to let him truly experience, or explore, the rites and rituals of coming of age, and from those experiences, fully develop into manhood. So, instead, poor Daryl became closed off, distrustful of others, for his very survival, until he got free of his older brother, Merle, and was able to find his own identity among the good, loving people of the prison group.

The way I see it, Beth’s pure and honest expression, her openness and innocence, and her ability to accept Daryl unconditionally for exactly who, and where he was in the moment, allowed Daryl to feel safe enough to really open himself emotionally to her.  I think, with Beth, Daryl was able to have the experience of young love that he never got to have growing up.

In the short time they were together, Beth taught Daryl to open his heart, to be sweet, and allow himself to feel, and to show tenderness and love to another person.  In turn, Daryl taught Beth to be strong, and resourceful, to listen to her instincts, to fight if she needed to…to survive. Daryl and Beth were firey, kindred spirits, and I think if they had remained together longer, just the two of them, that something sweet and romantic would have blossomed between them.

Saying this, I feel that Daryl and Carol also have a deep, undeniable love connection between them. Carol and Daryl have a lot in common. They both suffered abuse in their pasts, and they both got to free themselves of their former personas, their former lives, and start afresh, be who they were “always meant to be”, in Carol’s words, in the apocalypse. They connected early in the series, when Daryl kept hope alive and tirelessly searched for Carol’s missing daughter, Sophia.  There was always a chemistry between them, and as Carol is a grown woman, and a consenting adult, she and Daryl were able to explore a physical relationship back in the days at the prison (while that has never been confirmed outright, I think, especially after watching “Consumed,” that it’s safe to say that Daryl and Carol had a romantic relationship of some kind back at the prison).

I think that Daryl fell in love, on different levels, and in different ways, with both Carol, and Beth.  In doing so, Daryl got to explore, and develop, crucial aspects of himself with both relationships. I think Daryl needed both Carol and Beth, and sharing love with these two catalytic, amazing women, Daryl was able to finally fully develop into a man, and tap into the emotional depth, sensitivity, and sweetness that he always had.

I really do hope that Daryl can heal his heart, and come to terms with the loss of Beth in the second part of Season 5. I really hope the entire group can. I also really hope that Daryl’s grief doesn’t drive a wedge between the new level of connection that he and Carol established with one another in “Consumed.”

I think, as the group has needed to remember Hershel’s wisdom, and teachings, as they navigate through these dark times, they will also need to invoke Beth’s spirit, and keep a small part of her purity and light within themselves, so they can keep love, hope, and faith alive in the times ahead.

I would like to take this moment to award Beth Green, and Emily Kinney, with a Deadie of the highest honor:  MVP of the first part of The Walking Dead, Season 5.

Emily Kinney’s amazing portrayal of Beth Greene has catapulted Beth’s character to, I predict, legendary icon status.  I can see many incarnations of Beth and Daryl fan fiction in the future of pop culture…maybe even in the anime genre?

Please, please, oh please, somebody do it, and send me a link if, and when, you do!

As for Emily Kinney, while she may need a moment to process this loss (keep.showing her the love on social media, people!), once she recovers, I do believe this beautiful, talented, and multifaceted young actress, songwriter/musician, and model has a bright future ahead of her.

One of Emily Kinney’s hot upcoming projects is being the new face of the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection, the haute, music-and-art inspired clothing line collaboration of designers Nikki Lund and Richie Sambora.

Check her out:

emily kinney green pool emily kinney nikki rich 2015

Images used are from the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection.

(Images used are from the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection.)

Young, hot, and on fire…not such a bad takeaway for being on a hit show that has become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. Something tells me that Emmy Kinney’s star is on the rise, and that she will be just fine, thank you very much!

Much love, mad props, and life eternal, Beth Greene. You are a true badass.

Beth Forever! 

_______________________________________

“Coda”

In the opening sequence of “Coda,” we see a pair of (fine-ass) lean legs, clad in black jeans and boots, running fast on the concrete…

We soon recognize the fine getaway sticks as belonging to Rick Grimes.

We soon recognize these fine getaway sticks as belonging to Deputy Rick Grimes.

Next, we see a pair of hands, bound behind the back by a zip tie, trying frantically to cut the tie against the edge of a Grady Memorial police car’s front bumper…

Going somewhere, Lamson?

Going somewhere, Lamson?

Meanwhile, the Stoner Trio Walkers lurch aimlessly around...just another day in the parking lot…

“What are we gonna do today?” I dunno...what do you guys wanna do?” I dunno…what do you wanna do?” “I dunno…”

“Hey, look, there’s a dude over there!” “Awesome! Hey, I know…let’s go eat that dude!” “Righteous idea, bro…let us, like, totally go forth, and eat that dude!

Meanwhile, quick as a blur, Deputy Grimes speeds by, and disembowels, Spill Yer Guts Walker…

<Slice!> “S’cuse me, just passing through…”

Hey, man…”

“…those were my guts and shit...what the hell, buddy?!”

Rick finds the cop car, gets in quickly, and begins speeding towards Lamson.  We see a picture framed on the dashboard of the squad car, of Lamson in better days, arm around a woman and smiling happily. In a crazy twist of fate, the tables are turned, and now Lamson is on the lam, son, running as fast as he can away from his own squad car, which is now tailing him, about 30 yards back.

Deputy Rick Smash! grabs the microphone and commands Lamson’s retreating form, “Stop!”

Lamson does not comply, however, and Deputy Smash! barks into the microphone, “Stop right now!”

deputy smash says stop

When Deputy Smash tells you to stop two times, you should do as he says, Lamson...

When Deputy Smash! tells you to stop two times, you should do as he says, Lamson…

...because you get three strikes...

…because you get three strikes…

...you're out.

...third strike, You’re Out!

Ouch! That's an insane stunt...

Ouch! That’s gotta hurt…what an insane stunt!

“Crazy…” Lamson manages. “I think you broke my back!” Rick stands over him, says, “It didn’t have to be like this.” The beautiful man’s got a point, Lamson.

Lamson tries to get Rick to take him

Lamson tries to get Rick to take himBack…take me back to the hospital.”

Deputy Smash! echoes Gareth's words to Bob back at Terminus,

Deputy Smash! echoes Gareth’s words to Bob back at Terminus, “Can’t go back, Bob.”

As walkers approach, Bob tells Rick that, “You’ve been out here too long…you’re gonna die…you’re all gonna die.” Rick Smash! pulls the trigger, silencing Bob Lamson with a bullet to the brain.  “Shut up,” Rick Smash! growls, looking down at Lamson’s lifeless form.

A couple of thoughts on this scene…being a little deafened by years of blasting rock n’ roll, I didn’t quite get what Lamson was mumbling to Rick as he lay, broken and bloody on the pavement.  If Lamson gave any clues as to why he knocked out Sasha and ran, instead of letting himself get traded back to Grady Memorial, and, in his words, “sleeping in my own bed tonight,” my half-deaf ass didn’t catch it….the only reason I can think of as to why he made his ill-fated escape attempt was pure pride.

I think that Lamson, once a real cop, (and a sergeant, no less) could not abide the thought of being marched back to Dawn Lerner, hands zip-tied behind his back, in a disgraced hostage situation, especially if he was being groomed to take over as head cop of Grady Memorial once the others “took care” of Dawn Lerner.

I can see where Dawn Lerner, with her acid tongue, and predilection for belittling and humiliating others, would have had a field day with Lamson, both during and after the trade-off. Maybe death, to him,  was preferable to her mockery.

Pride indeed goeth before a fall, Lamson.

Anyway, my WD buddy and I of course enjoyed many champagne toasts to Rick Grimes throughout this opening scene, once again blown away by the man.  How did he know not to leave right away, to hang back and see if Sasha was ok, and if Lamson was for real?

As my WD buddy and I have asked, many times, Why does anybody question Rick Grimes any more?

The man is just a chiseled, lethal brand of pure dreamy, people, and btw, he is looking really good in those black jeans of his.

Gael Anderson, Andrew Lincoln’s wife, and daughter of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, is one lucky woman, and rock royalty, no less.  She also has really cool hair, and she looks all lean and stealth, like she could scale silently up the side of a building, knife in her teeth, and quickly dispatch an entire enemy camp in their sleep, ninja-style. 

Another beautiful, badass woman, who I really do not want to piss off.

(Gael Anderson, if you ever read this, I mean no disrespect, ever…while I admittedly have been giving your man the “hungry eyes” on the tv screen, for years, now, if there is such a thing as respectful ogling, then that’s what I, and my WD buddy, have been doing when we go on and on about how beautiful and hot your husband is. We, like you, are happily married women, who love our husbands, but who do like to sneak a look now and again at our pretend boyfriends, like Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, to file away in our fantasty rolodexes, for later.  You are married…you know what I’m talking about, I think...but maybe, in retrospect, you don’t!)

Anyway, respect, Gael Anderson, much love, and P.S., Congratulations!

Now, speaking of rock royalty,  I have a very special announcement…today, at the time of this writing, it’s Ozzy’s Birthday!  Whoooo hoooo!  Happy Birthday, and much love, Ozzy Osbourne!  

All hail the Dark Prince of Metal…and smoke ’em if you got ’em, bitches.

Ahhh, the pause that refreshes…

I must say that I am very glad that Rick, Daryl, and Tyrese came back to check in on Sasha, and she’s safe, for the time being, anyway. For a moment there, last week, I really did imagine that they may return to that warehouse and find her dead, and reanimated into a walker.

Shudder!

Meanwhile, back in the woods, the Schoolhouse Walkers, still locked inside the schoolhouse, are seething, snarling, and pawing at the glass of the school doors, trying to get to Gabriel, who is outside, poking around the former campsite of Gareth and the Terminans.  

Exactly why he is there, and what the hell he is doing, I do not know, children. If I knew, I would tell you.  My guess is as good as yours, and aside from moving along the plotline in a more “walker mayhem” direction, there is no earthly reason I can think of for that man to be there, sleuthing around like some misguided Matlock, instead of being holed up, safe, inside the church.

Boggles the mind, truly it does.

As Gabriel pokes around outside, the walkers in the school get more and more agitated...

As Gabriel pokes around outside, the walkers in the school get more and more agitated…

...and as they continue to bang against the glass, we see the window starting to crack...

…and as they continue to bang against the door, we see the glass is starting to crack…

Outside, Gabriel finds a couple of pages of either a school event flyer, a yearbook page, or a couple of missing person flyers, a pack of cards, and a student’s backpack with a bible inside.  As Gabriel thumbs through the bible, he sees a girl’s name written on the inside cover, with a little heart over the “i.” His face shows his distress at this, until he lowers the bible and sees something else truly distressing, and awful to behold…

Bob's charred leg, on the Terminans' makeshift grille, with maggots crawling over it.

Bob’s charred leg, on the Terminans’ makeshift grille, with maggots crawling over it.

Horrified, Gabriel stares at the leg, then, with a cry, he upends the grille and throws it aside. (Guessed while watching this that Gabriel was probably not in cahoots with the Terms after all, but I definitely still thought he was a major dumbass for busting out of that church, for no good reason, immediately stepping on a big-ass nail, and hobbling, unarmed, right to the worst possible place he could have chosen to go…the overrun schoolhouse, where a band of cannibals had recently set up camp…I mean, really, Gabriel? Really?)

Then, of course, this happens:

The Schoolhouse Walkers bust through the glass doors and start pursuing Gabriel...

The Schoolhouse Walkers bust through the glass doors and start pursuing Gabriel…

...who, hobbling and tripping along the way, leads the walkers through the woods...

…who, hobbling and tripping along the way, leads the walkers through the woods…

...right to the church. Way to blow it, dude.

…right to the church. Thanks, dude. Really, thanks for that.

Once again, a cruel, karmic twist of fate plays its fickle hand as the priest, who barred the doors of his church to his parishioners, leaving them outside to be torn to pieces by the undead, finds himself now barred from his own church, begging and pleading to be let inside as the horde of walkers close in on him.

Inside the church, Carl and Michonne, who is holding Baby Judith, are shocked to hear Gabriel screaming for help outside the church.

Inside the church, Carl and Michonne, who is holding Baby Judith, are shocked to hear Gabriel screaming for help outside the church.

Thankfully for Gabriel, the Morgan-style spikes that Daryl and Tyrese fashioned from the organ pipes hold the walkers off, buying him a couple of minutes' worth of time...

Thankfully for Gabriel, the Morgan-style spikes that Daryl and Tyrese fashioned from the organ pipes hold the walkers off, buying him a couple of minutes’ worth of time…

Wearing Baby Judith on her back, Michonne looks like the most badass momma ever, chopping at the boarded up church doors with an axe...babywearing, zombie-apocalypse style!

Wearing Baby Judith on her back, Michonne looks like the most badass momma ever, chopping at the boarded up church doors with an axe...babywearing, zombie-apocalypse style!

Doors chopped open, Gabriel makes it into the church, while Michonne, still toting that baby on her back, holds the walkers off.

(Now, not to be a dick here, but that baby on Michonne’s back looked totally like a doll, stiff and unyielding, as Michonne did her badass momma walker kills and katana flourishes.  Maybe next time, the effects crew could fashion a softer, jelly-filled doll that would move and flow a little more like a real baby would, as of course a live stunt baby is not an option.)

I officially declare Michonne as being beautiful and badass enough to be Rick Grimes' girlfriend...

I officially declare Michonne as being beautiful and badass enough to be Rick Grimes’ girlfriend…and Carl and Judith’s NewMom.

...just casting my vote, for the record.

Just casting my vote, here,  for the record.

The church, however, gets overrun with the walker horde, who push through the doors’ opening…

There are too many to fight off, and Gabriel calls to them to get to the rectory, his room in the back of the church.

There are too many to fight off, and Gabriel calls to them to get to the rectory, his room in the back of the church.

Gabriel finally steps up, bravely barring the door to allow Carl, Judith, and Michonne to escape through the crawlspace under the church.

Gabriel finally steps up, bravely barring the door to allow Carl, Judith, and Michonne to escape through the crawlspace under the church.

And as Gabriel dives for the crawlspace hole in the floor, Machete Walker falls through the door, towards Gabriel...

And as Gabriel dives for the crawlspace hole in the floor, Machete Walker falls through the door, lunging towards Gabriel…

...and Gabriel's machete makes its first kill, as Machete Walker falls right into the sharp blade, slicing her head in two. (Bravo, Nicotero & Co.!)

…and Gabriel’s machete makes its first kill, as Machete Walker falls right into the sharp blade, slicing her head in two. (Bravo, Nicotero & Co.!)

Once outside the church, Michonne quickly closes the doors on the walkers, boarding them closed...and fickle fate once again plays her cruel hand, as the walkers are now locked inside the church, unable to get out.

Once outside the church, Michonne quickly closes the doors on the walkers, boarding them closed…and fickle fate once again plays her cruel hand, as the walkers are now locked inside the church, unable to get out.

Meanwhile, back at the warehouse…

Sasha's feeling pretty dumb right about now...don't take it too hard, girl...not the first time a righteous sister's been taken in by a smooth-talking man with an agenda.

Sasha’s feeling pretty dumb right about now…don’t take it too hard, girl…not the first time a righteous sister’s been taken in by a smooth-talking man with an agenda.

Rick returns, as they see, alone.

Rick pulls Daryl aside.

Rick pulls Daryl aside. “He wouldn’t stop,” Rick says, simply. They must think quickly, come up with a new plan, as this development changes things.

As they turn back to their kneeling hostages, Officer Shepherd doesn’t need much time or encouragement to flip the script on the Lamson situation.

Shepherd is quick on the uptake of the situation.

Shepherd is quick on the uptake of the situation. “He was a good man,” she intones, as if eulogizing Lamson. “He was attacked by rotters. I saw it go down.” Rick Grimes sizes her up, remarks snidely, “You’re a damn good liar.” Shepherd replies, “We’re hanging by a thread, herehe was attacked by rotters.”

Daryl steps forward, asks Shepherd that she initially thought the trade was a bad idea, so what changed? Shepherd replies that Lamson was their shot, and now that he’s off the table, it’s either say he got attacked by rotters, or go in guns blazing. Rick turns to the other cop, Licari, who says that Dawn won’t want to look weak in front of the other officers, and she’ll think that the trade is a rip-off if she thinks that Rick and them took out Lamson, so, “It’s a good thing that he (Lamson) was attacked by rotters.”

Rick looks at Daryl, who nods back at him.

Back at Grady Memorial…

As she tidies Dawn Lerner's office, Beth overhears Dawn try to radio Lamson, Licari...to no reply, of course.

As she tidies Dawn Lerner’s office, Beth overhears Dawn try to radio Lamson, Licari...to no reply, of course.

Dawn swears softly, and Beth asks her, with false concern, if something is wrong. Dawn tells her that the officers out on runs don’t always radio back, which drives her, Dawn, crazy.

As Beth goes to put the framed picture of Dawn and her mentor, Hanson, on the desk, Dawn (being totally OCD) tells Beth that no, the picture goes up there, by the badges.

When Beth asks her if that's Hanson in the picture, Dawn Lerner looks down as she pedals the stationary bike, and asks Beth if someone said something about him, Hanson, to her.

When Beth asks her if that’s Hanson in the picture, Dawn Lerner looks down, as she pedals the stationary bike, and asks Beth if someone said something about him, Hanson, to her.

Beth replies innocently that she just heard that Hanson used to be in charge. Dawn Lerner replies that Beth will probably hear stories about him, about her, Dawn, and what Dawn did…

Beth looks down, digesting this new piece of information...seems like Dawn took out Hanson at some point to take control of the hospital.

Beth looks down, digesting this new piece of information...seems like Dawn took out Hanson at some point to take control of the hospital.

Dawn finishes her cardio, and as she towels the sweat off her face, she tells Beth that Hanson was her mentor, her friend…she looks at Beth, says, “I miss him.  That’s the part the stories leave out.”

Beth asks her what happened to him. Dawn walks over to where Beth stands, looks at the framed picture.  She tells Beth that every time the officers go out, they risk their lives, so the runs have to be for a good reason, have to be worth it.  Dawn says that Hanson lost sight of that, and so, “He lost them,” meaning, Hanson lost the officers’ fealty and respect.

Dawn looks right at Beth, then, and tells her that in this job, not everyone is going to like whoever is in charge, but they need to respect that person.

Dawn looks right at Beth, then, and tells her that in this job, not everyone is going to like whomever is in charge, but they need to respect that person. “Lose that (respect), and everyone goes down.” Dawn looks at Beth, tells her, “Hanson lost his way.”

This scene is very telling, as it explains, later, why Dawn Lerner makes the choices she makes, especially at the end of the episode…she knows her position as leader is in jeopardy, already, and she is terrified of losing face with her fellow officers, and ending up like Hanson did.

Back in the woods, outside the church…

As Gabriel takes a rest, Michonne touches Juith's sleeping head (and that, my readers, is all a stunt baby should be expected to do...look adorable, and take a nap!).

As Gabriel takes a rest, Michonne touches Juith’s sleeping head (and that, my readers, is all a stunt baby should be expected to do…look adorable, and take a nap!).

Michonne then turns to Gabriel, asks him where he went.

Gabriel replies that he went to the school, because he had to see it for himself, had to know. (Whatever, dude.)

Gabriel replies that he went to the school, because he had to see it for himself, had to know. (Whatever, dude.)

The walkers, however, are pretty much over being inside of the church, and they begin to break away at the barred doors keeping them inside.

Hey, you out there! This place blows…there’s nothing to eat, and you fuckers drank all the damn wine!  We’re busting down these freakin’ doors, then, ZOMBIES OUT!”

As the walkers begin to break down the doors, Gabriel, Michonne, and Carl back up...Carl asks,

As the walkers begin to break through the doors, Gabriel, Michonne, and Carl back away in fear and alarm. Carl asks, “Where do we go?” Michonne looks around, trying to come up with a plan, when…

...a perfectly timed fire truck smashes through, barring the doors and saving the day!

…a perfectly timed fire truck smashes through, barring the doors and saving the day! Yay!

The gang reunites, and Michonne, smiling, tells Maggie that Beth is alive, in a hospital in Atlanta, and the others have gone to go get her back.

The gang reunites, and Glenn breaks the bad news about Eugene lying, and D.C. being a bust, before asking where everyone else is. Michonne, smiling, tells Maggie that Beth is alive, in a hospital in Atlanta, and the others have gone to go get her back.

Maggie, overjoyed at hearing this news, grabs up Glenn in a hug, while Tara says,

Maggie, overjoyed at hearing this news, grabs up Glenn in a hug, while Tara says, “Let’s blow this joint and go save your sister!” (Ugh, feeling like I am about to cry, and vomit, rewatching this scene.)

Meanwhile, at the Grady Memorial Hospital from Hell, Beth has turned a corner to find Officer O’Donnell bullying poor Percy in the hallway, chewing the poor elder gentleman out for forgetting to sew the hole in Officer O’Donnell’s shirt.

Poor Percy, the fine man who faked a coughing attack for Beth in exchange for strawberries, dares not look Officer OD in the face as he stammers an apology...

Poor Percy, the fine man who faked a coughing attack for Beth in exchange for strawberries, dares not look Officer OD in the face as he stammers an apology…

...to no avail, as Officer OD mocks and shoves the elder gentleman to the floor, then sees Beth watching...

…to no avail, as Officer OD mocks, then shoves the elder gentleman to the floor, then looks up to see Beth watching…

Officer OD challenges Beth,

Officer OD, looking down the hall at Beth, challenges her, “What about you? Are you any good with needle and thread?” Dawn Lerner walks by, says nothing about the pushing, as she briefly regards poor Percy, lying on the floor. Seems Dawn Lerner picks her battles, and this isn’t one of them.

Beth stares, frozen, unable to reply right away as Dawn quickly cuts in, telling Officer OD,

Beth stares, frozen, unable to reply right away as Dawn quickly cuts in, telling Officer OD, “I need her..sorry.. we have a lot of work to do. Come on, Beth.” It seems Dawn Lerner is taking Beth under her wing, making her Dawn’s new ward. I can see how Dawn Lerner had this relationship with Noah, protecting him, confiding in him, but still abusing him like all others if she deemed it necessary…probably worse. Being Dawn’s ward would have both its benefits and steep cost.

(Now, before I go on, I must say my piece about this.  I am one crazy Irish mutha, and the blood of O’Donnell flows through my veins.  O’Donnell is my maiden name, the name of my birth, and as such, I hold it very dear to my heart.  It pains me greatly to see the name of my kin, and my ancestors, be represented in such bunk fashion by this shrill, bullying a-hole. I am sure that the actor who plays Officer O’Donnell is a wonderful human being, but the character of Officer O’Donnell can eat a bag of dicks.

I think I speak for all O’Donnells when I say, “This character in no way, shape, or form represents the true spirit of O’Donnell.”  

Because he sucks, Officer O’Donnell shall be demoted from O’Donnell status and referred to henceforth in this post as Officer OD.)

As Beth sits at the elevator shaft, legs dangling, and daydreams about escape, Dawn Lerner comes in, interrupting Beth's quiet time. When Dawn tells Beth that Percy is going to be ok, Beth replies,

Later, as Beth sits at the elevator shaft, legs dangling, and daydreams about escape, Dawn Lerner comes in, interrupting Beth’s quiet time. When Dawn tells Beth that Percy is going to be ok, Beth replies, “Nothing’s ok.”

In reply, Dawn asks Beth, with mock gravity, “Are you gonna jump?” Beth rolls her eyes at this, tells Dawn, “I wanted to be alone…you left your elevator key where it was.” Dawn replies that at least she knows Beth isn’t going anywhere.

Beth replies,

Beth replies, “Neither are you.” She turns to face Dawn, tells her that “you keep telling yourself you’re going to do whatever it takes until this is all over…but it isn’t over. This is it. This is who you are, and what this place is, until the end.”

Dawn Lerner isn’t having it.  This place saved you.  I saved you…twice. The others don’t know what you did…they think Joan was just trying to get back at me.”  Dawn tells Beth that she, Dawn, saw the smashed jar, and closed up the office before the others could figure out what really happened, what Beth did to Gorman in Dawn’s office.

Dawn looks at Beth, tells her, “You’re a cop killer.” Beth protests that she would never kill anybody, to which Dawn replies, “But you did.” Dawn asks Beth what she thinks the others would do if they found out what Beth did…Dawn continues, telling Beth she protected her, she helped save that woman in Room 2, not because she had to, but because she, Dawn Lerner, wanted to. “But there’s a way that things have to happen around here…don’t you get that?

A noise from down the hallway startles Beth and Dawn...they turn to find Officer OD standing there. It seems he has been there a while, and has overheard all the dirty deets.

A noise from down the hallway startles Beth and Dawn…they turn to find Officer OD standing there. It seems he has been there a while, and has overheard all the dirty deets.

Dawn asks Officer OD, hands held loosely at her sides, but ready to reach for her guns if need be, “What are you gonna do?” Officer OD fires back, “No, Dawn, what are you gonna do? Starting with her?” He motions to Beth.  “She’s my ward,” Dawn replies. I’ll handle it.”

Officer OD steps closer, tells Dawn that he thinks the other officers should know who they’re working for, “So are you gonna tell them, or should I?”

Dawn narrows her eyes, begins to step closer to Officer OD. You don’t get to threaten me, she says, dangerously.  “This isn’t a threat,” replies Officer OD. “These are the factsyou look like shitthe guys are talking, they think you’re cracking. This is Hanson all over again.”

Officer OD turns to the door with the parting shot, “It’s time to make a change.”

(Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am all about Officer OD, and the other officers, ousting Dawn Lerner as the head chief if it were about her being crooked, and they were wanting to make a clean slate and some much-needed changes.  But, if Dawn Lerner is the only tenuous thread holding them back from going full rampage on the female wards of the hospital, or abusing the weaker ones like Percy, then Officer OD and the other male cops who are rapists and bullies are just as shitty, if not more shitty, than Dawn Lerner.  The whole place sucks, really, when it comes right down to it.)

The click of a gun behind him stops Officer OD in his tracks. Dawn Lerner has pulled out her pistol, cocked it, tells him that he’s wrong, that she’s nothing like Hanson…she killed Hanson, remember?

Dawn Lerner's getting the Crazy Eyes.

“I was the only one who could go through with it.” Watch out, Dawn Lerner’s getting the crazy eyes!

Officer OD turns to face Dawn. “Lower your weapon, Dawn,” he says. “All I have to do is shout.” Dawn replies that all she has to do is say that he came at her.  She orders Beth, who is behind her, to get out of the way.  Beth complies, moves to the other side of the hallway. Dawn then orders Officer OD towards the elevator shaft opening. “Don’t do this,” he tells her.

“Don’t make me,” Dawn replies.

As he walks slowly towards the elevator shaft, Officer OD reminds Dawn that they were rookie cops together, that she had cigars with him and the other officers in the parking lot of this very hospital when his son was born. (It’s crazy to think how these hospital cops were once good people, with lives, and families, who were on the police force, wanting to help others in the community…and now, they are reduced to this…enslaving people against their will, raping and abusing them because they are in control of them, and can.)

These remembrances seem to be rattling Dawn even more than she already is. She tells Officer OD to stop, that the man he was, once, is gone.

“Look at you,” Dawn tells Officer OD. “You’re pushing the old man, you’re laughing with the others about that poor girl getting raped...that’s who you are now.”

Officer OD steps forward, asks Dawn, “So who the hell are you?”  Dawn Lerner replies, “Someone who isn’t going to let it happen anymore.”

“That’s not what this is about,” replies Officer OD. “It’s about holding on to what you have.”

Dawn asks, incredulously, What the hell do I have?”

Officer OD distracts Dawn with some mindfuck shit about Hanson, then ambushes Dawn, tackling her into the wall. A super burly beatdown ensues between Dawn Lerner and Officer OD…it happened too fast for me to get any good pictures of it, but Dawn was holding her own pretty well against an enraged male cop who was also trained in hand-to-hand combat.

Officer OD does get the best of Dawn, clamping his hand around her throat in a chokehold and lifting her up high against the wall.

“You think you’re better than us?” he asks through clenched teeth. Beth tries to pull Officer OD off Dawn, and he knocks Beth to the floor. “Stay in your lane, bitch!” he screams at Beth. This gives Dawn Lerner the opening she needs…she punches Officer OD hard in the throat, then side kicks him, sending him towards the opening of the elevator shaft.

I did get this shot...watching this, I was thinking,

I did get this shot…watching this, I was thinking, “Why can’t Dawn Lerner be one of the good guys?” She definitely has some mad fighting skills, and some leadership & other smarts to offer a group…such a waste for her to be so twisted at this point.

Before Officer OD can get his bearings, Dawn Lerner screams, “Beth!” and with one hard shove, Beth pushes Officer OD off the edge of the elevator shaft and sends him flying down the steep blackness, until we hear his body crash down below…then the sounds of the walkers descending upon him.

That scene is a hard one to watch…we get glimpses of who Dawn Lerner and Officer OD were before the change: idealistic, rookie cops, with families, and normal lives. We see what they have been reduced to, exchanging words, accusations, then pulling guns and coming to blows, all in the quest for top slot at Grady Memorial.

We see glimpses of Beth, what she has had to do in the short time at Grady Memorial, (things that she never would have thought she would do) like killing someone, just to survive in this hellish place.  And now, she has just pushed a cop down an elevator shaft, and helped Dawn Lerner stay in power, which I guess was the preferable option than letting Officer OD and his goon squad have full reign of power…but either option is hardly ideal.

Poor Beth.

Poor Beth.

Later, we see Beth, dozing against the wall of Carol’s room, sitting on the floor, looking so sad and lonely there.  Carol is Beth’s only friend there, and she is still unconscious. Beth has nobody to turn to, to talk to, and she is just a young girl.  She has been through so much, and had to be so strong throughout all the horrible shit that has gone down at this hospital.

One moment, she was sitting at a table, exchanging a sweet, loving moment with Daryl, and now, she is here, in a living, daily hell in a hospital prison.

Wake up, Carol!

Wake up, Carol!

I am so sad for Beth in this scene.

I am so sad for Beth in this scene.

Dawn Lerner comes into the room, a little loud and sloppy, carrying a flask and a glass. She’s drunk, you can tell. She tells Beth that it’s ok to cry.

Beth states, with a young defiance, that she doesn’t cry anymore…

“I do,” says Dawn, pouring herself a drink

Dawn offers the cup to Beth, who turns away, refusing the offering.  Dawn places the cup on the edge of the sink. “It’s from my own stash, no strings, “ Dawn tells her.  She goes over and sits on the end of Carol’s bed, and takes a long pull from her flask.

I have thought about the character of Dawn Lerner a lot since watching this episode...definitely felt some sympathy for her during moments like this, while still knowing what she is capable of.

I have thought about the character of Dawn Lerner a lot since watching this episode…definitely felt some sympathy for her during moments like this, while still knowing what harm she is capable of doing, and how quickly she can turn on others.

Beth tells Dawn that she knows why Dawn covered for her…she was actually covering for herself.  Gorman, Jeffries, and O’Donnell were problems for Dawn, and now they are gone, and Dawn didn’t have to do the dirty work.  “That’s how things get done around here,” Beth says. “Everyone uses people to get what they want.  You aren’t the ones who have to remember.”

Dawn peers down at Beth’s face.  “Is that what happened with Edwards and Trevitt? He used you?” (Dawn is astute, I’ll definitely give her that.)

Beth says then, “I’m getting out…just like Noah.”  Dawn tells her that Noah will be back. “He’s going home, “ Beth tells her. Dawn tells her that they always come back, that they don’t make it far…for one thing, they can’t, but, also, they really don’t want to.

Beth leans forward, tells Dawn angrily that Noah is going home.

Dawn smiles a little smile at Beth, tells her that she, Dawn, was like Beth, once. “Nobody could tell me anything.” Dawn tells Beth that she isn’t stupid…she motions towards Carol with her head, says, “You know her…and somehow, you both ended up here. Maybe that means something.”

Dawn goes on to tell Beth that they, Beth and her friend, can be a part of “this thing,” what they have going at the hospital, and that it may be the most important thing she, Beth, has ever done.  Beth cuts a look at Dawn as she says this, but says nothing.

Dawn continues, “And what you did back there…” and with this, Dawn puts a hand to her throat, remembering O’Donnell’s hand clamped down on it. She tells Beth, after a moment, that Gorman and O’Donnell hurt people…the world didn’t lose anything when they died. Dawn then tells Beth that she’s wrong about her, Dawn.

“I didn’t use you,” Dawn says.  “And I will remember.”  As Dawn sits, lost in her thoughts, Carol, unnoticed, turns her head slightly on the pillow.

Meanwhile, on the top of a building in downtown Atlanta…

At their sniper station, Tyrese is telling Sasha to stop beating herself up for not rekilling Bob.

At their sniper station, Tyrese is telling Sasha to stop beating herself up for not rekilling Bob.

As Daryl leads the hostage cops to their waiting places on the roof, Tyrese goes on to tell Sasha about Martin, the one she killed at the church.  He tells Sasha that he was left with Martin, and how he maybe should have killed him, but didn’t, even though he said he had.  Tyrese muses that maybe they haven’t changed so much, after all, from the way they used to be, and maybe that’s good.

Sasha looks at her brother, tells him that he hasn’t changed from who he was, and that is good. But she, Sasha, can’t go back to who she was, before…

Sasha peers through the rifle scope, refocusing on the task at hand.

Sasha peers through the rifle scope, refocusing on the task at hand. “Not anymore,” she says, as she takes aim at the target below.

As Daryl and Sasha see the cop car approaching, Daryl signals Tyrese to radio as much to Rick.

As Daryl and Sasha see the cop car approaching, Daryl signals Tyrese to radio as much to Rick.

We see Rick get himself in the zone of Negotiation Mode, then we see a shot of the red flag they’ve erected to mark the meeting point, blowing in the wind, as Rick raises his arms and begins to walk towards the cop car that slowly approaches.

I love the homage to old cowboy movies in this episode...so many shots, like this one, and the hallway scene between Dawn Lerner and O'Donnell...

I love the homage to old cowboy movies in this episode…so many shots, like this one, and the hallway scene between Dawn Lerner and O’Donnell…

...look like they were taken from right from the old western classics. Love it.

…look like they were taken from right from the old western classics. Love it.

As the cops get out of the car, guns raised and levelled at Rick, he addresses them both by name.

“Officer Franco, Officer McGuinley…I’m Rick Grimes.” (Mmmm hmmm, he sure is.)

Rick tells them that he was a deputy at the Kent County’s Sheriff’s office, that he’s here to make a proposal.  The officers, taken aback by this approach and familiarity, exchange looks. One officer tells Rick to lay his weapon on the ground. Rick agrees, moves slowly, complies.  Daryl and Sasha hold their aim, have the cops’ heads in their sights.

As they move closer to Rick, the other cop asks Rick what his proposal is. “You have two of our people, we have two of yours. We want to make an even exchange, then we walk away…no one gets hurt.”

The officers ask Rick who they have. Rick replies they have Officers Shepherd and Licari. Rick then tells the cops that they have two of their people: Beth, and another woman who was hit by one of their cars and brought in yesterday.

The cops exchange looks at this, and the one cop asks if Noah is with them.  “Yes, he is,” says Rick.  As a walker approaches, one of the cops asks where Rick’s people are.

In reply, a perfectly placed shot by Sasha, sniper style, takes out the walker behind them.

In reply, a perfectly placed shot by Sasha, sniper style, takes out the walker behind them.

“They’re close,” Rick replies, nonchalantly.  The cops looks around, spooked.  Rick takes a step back. “Radio your lieutenant, I’ll wait,” he tells them.

And then, it has become time to make the exchange.  We see Rick’s group, with Rick and Daryl marching Sheppard and Licari in front of them, at gunpoint, walking through the maze of hallways and stairwells in the hospital, led and flanked by the cops at the negotiation, towards the meeting place.

rick marching shepherd to exchange point

We then see Beth, getting ready to go, with the bloodstained yellow shirt she got back at the country club, the Pine Vista, where she and Daryl went in search of her first drink…as Beth gathers her things, she thinks a moment, then reaches under her mattress and gets the scissors she took from Doc Edwards’ office.

We watch as Beth slips the scissors into her cast, just in case...

We watch as Beth slips the scissors into her cast, just in case…

We see Beth wheeling Carol down the hall in a wheelchair, with Doc Edwards behind them.

We see Beth wheeling Carol down the hall in a wheelchair, with Doc Edwards walking behind them.

They approach the group of Dawn and her officers, and wait.

They approach the group of Dawn and her officers, and wait.

As Officers McGuinley and Franco rejoin Dawn Lerner's group, Rick tells Dawn the the officers in their keeping haven't been harmed.

As Officers McGuinley and Franco rejoin Dawn Lerner’s group, Rick tells Dawn the officers in their keeping haven’t been harmed.

Dawn immediately asks where Lamson is.

Dawn immediately asks where Lamson is.

Shepherd says, a little too quickly, that

Shepherd says, a little too quickly, that “rotters got him.” Licari adds that they “saw it go down.”

Dawn Lerner isn’t buying it. She narrows her eyes, nods, says, “Oh…I’m sorry to hear that…he was one of the good guys.

Dawn then tells Rick, “One of ours for one of yours.” Rick nods to Daryl, who releases Licari forward, and one of Dawn’s cops wheels Carol forward to Rick’s group.

Then, Dawn marches Beth forward, herself, and Rick follows suit, bringing Shepherd forward.  The exchange is made, and Rick reaches out and touches Beth’s head, tenderly, while looking at her face and checking in with her for a brief and wordless moment.

I love how tender he is with her...she is so close...so hard to rewatch this scene.

I love how tender he is with her…she is so close…so hard to rewatch this scene.

As Rick and the gang turn to leave, Dawn says to their retreating backs,

As Rick and the gang turn to leave, Dawn says to their retreating backs, “I’m glad we could work something out.” Rick turns to look at her. “Yeah,” he replies, hoarsely and with barely concealed contempt.

Dawn glances back at her officers, afraid to look like she is losing face in this deal...

Dawn glances back at her officers, afraid to look like she is losing face in this deal…

...and with a slight shake in her voice, Dawn says, loudly,

…and with a slight shake in her voice, Dawn says, loudly, “And now, I just need Noah.”

At Dawn's words, Rick stops in his tracks. He turns to Dawn, walks back towards her,

At Dawn’s words, Rick stops in his tracks. He turns to Dawn, walks back towards her, “That wasn’t part of the deal.”

Dawn replies that Beth was her ward, and now she's lost a ward...and she, Dawn, lost good men who were killed looking for Noah, so she needs a new ward, and she needs Noah.

Dawn replies that Beth was her ward, and now she’s lost a ward…and she, Dawn, lost good men who were killed looking for Noah, so she needs a new ward, and she needs Noah.

Daryl steps foward, says Noah isn't going back to Dawn. Rick says the boy wants to go home, and that Dawn doesn't have any claim to him.

Daryl steps forward, says Noah isn’t going back to Dawn. Rick says the boy wants to go home, and that Dawn doesn’t have any claim to him.

Dawn says,

Dawn says, “Then we don’t have a deal.” Rick protests, rightly so,  that the deal was done.

Noah steps forward,

Noah steps forward, “It’s ok,” he says. Rick tries to hold him back, but he looks at Rick, tells him that it has to be done. Otherwise, it’s war.  He hands his gun to Rick. From behind, Beth’s voice is clear, shaking, “It’s not ok.”

As Noah limps forward, Dawn Lerner says, with satisfaction, “It’s settled, then.”

“Wait!” Beth rushes forward and hugs Noah, hard, not wanting to let go.

Noah tries to reassure Beth that it's ok, while Dawn Lerner cannot bring herself to watch. Even she knows how wrong this is.

Noah tries to reassure Beth that it’s ok, while Dawn Lerner cannot bring herself to watch. Even she knows how wrong this is. But then, she recovers herself, turns to Noah….

...and says, softly, smugly,

…and says, softly, smugly, “I knew you’d be back.”

Beth looks at Dawn with pure hatred.

Beth looks at Dawn with pure hatred.

She walks up to Dawn, looks her in the eye, says,

She walks up to Dawn, looks her in the eye, says, “I get it now.”

In one quick instant, Beth stabs Dawn Lerner with the scissors...

In one quick instant, Beth stabs Dawn Lerner with the scissors…

beth stabs dawn 2

And, in a moment of pure reflex, Dawn Lerner shoots Beth through the head, killing her instantly.

And, in a moment of pure reflex, Dawn Lerner shoots Beth through the head, killing her instantly.

rick disbelief noah disbelief

sasha disbelief

Dawn Lerner shakes her head in disbelief, and fright, mouths that she didn't mean to...

Dawn Lerner shakes her head in disbelief, and fright, mouths that she didn’t mean to…

In fury and grief, Daryl steps forward and shoots Dawn Lerner through the skull.

In fury and grief, Daryl steps forward and shoots Dawn Lerner through the skull.

dawn falls back shot

As the officers draw their weapons, Shepherd tells them to hold their fire...

As the officers draw their weapons, Shepherd tells them to hold their fire…“It was just about her (Beth), “ she says. “It’s over. Stand down!

Poor Daryl! :(

Poor Daryl! 😦

poor daryl2

tyrese crying

Officer Shepherd offers for the gang to stay, if they like.  One of the men pipes up, says that they are surviving here, that it’s better than “out there.”

Rick, dazed, stricken, shakes his head. “No,” he disagrees, refusing.  He says that anybody who wants to go, is coming with them…but only Noah comes forward.

Outside, Abraham pulls the fire truck into the hospital parking lot…the gang steps out, takes care of stray walkers as they approach, walking toward the hospital.  As they get closer, Maggie allows herself an excited, happy smile at the thought of seeing her sister again. Rick and the others file out, Rick giving a little shake of his head.

Maggie allows herself a hopeful smile, and then they see...

Maggie allows herself a hopeful smile, and then they see…

The image that has seared itself into the hearts of all WD fans worldwide...Daryl carrying Beth's body. So heartbreaking, the worst ever.

The image that has seared itself into the hearts of all WD fans worldwide…Daryl carrying Beth’s body. So heartbreaking, the worst ever.

Upon seeing Beth, Maggie screams, collapses on the ground.

Upon seeing Beth, Maggie screams, collapses on the ground.

IMG_9048

:(

😦

The final shot of the Season 5 midseason finale...

The final shot of the Season 5 midseason finale…

Wow. I don’t even know what to say, even now.  Watching it again, finishing this post, I feel really overcome. TearsBeth!  We love you, girl.

So many of my friends are saying that there is no hope, that The Walking Dead is just going to keep getting more and more bleak, that nothing in the world that is being portrayed in the show is going to get any better.  I do hope that’s not true, but as I said before, the comic series doesn’t exactly lead to chocolates and roses.

Kirkman, Gimple, be kind.  It’s all I ask.

A couple of things, before I sign off for a while…I would like to thank all those who have found me, and my crazy tweaker blog, and who have given me encouragement, posted comments, shared with friends.  I am gaining new readership all the time, at unprecedented rate.  Thanks, gang.  I appreciate your showing the love.

One reader, Brooks, asked me in a comment a couple of months back if I would ever consider having a guest writer post on my blog.

I am sorry that I did not directly answer your question in my reply to you, at the time, Brooks.  I was honestly taken aback, as I had never even thought about it before.  I was so surprised to be asked.

But, I have thought about that question you asked me ever since, and this is what I came up with…during the midseason break, while I take a much needed rest, I would like to open up barnfullawalkers to be a forum for writers, artists, WD fans to contribute their talents, if they wish.  I will not be posting, so there is opportunity to get your talents showcased if you want to play along.

As this is a blog about The Walking Dead (more or less, sometimes more, sometimes less), I would ask that any contributions be centered around The Walking Dead as a central theme.  If you have fan fiction, poetry, drawings, art, photographs, essays, commentaries, Season 5 thoughts, synopses, that you would like to submit, or any other correspondence that you would like to send along, please send it to: barnfullawalkers@gmail.com

This is totally a new thing, and I’m not quite sure how it’s all going to work as of yet, but I promise that any submissions will be treated with the upmost respect, and if I choose to post it, I will contact you, and we will take it from there.

On a funny note, as always, the midseason and season finale episodes of WD seem to result in especially memorable Talking Dead episodes, and last week was no exception.

As Robert Kirkman, the creator of both The Walking Dead comic and television series, was a featured guest on TD,  fans were invited to Skype in questions for him, and we got a few new additions to the Kooky WD Fan Hall of Fame:

We got to meet:

Brendan and Suzanne, the wacky swinger couple whose

Brendan and Suzanne, the wacky swinger or “free pass”  couple whose “kids” wanted to know if their dad could kiss Maggie. Ol’ Brendan said it was up to his wife, but if she was down with it, so was he…and then they both gave this “thumbs-up” sign, so, I guess everyone’s ok with it, even the kids!

Christie (sp?)...she was cute, with a sweet smile and a normal question for Kirkman that I can't remember at the moment.

Christie (sp?)…she was cute, with a sweet smile and a normal question for Kirkman that I can’t remember at the moment.

Then we met Scott, who asked Kirkman if Daryl ever got to have a

Then, we met Scott, who asked Kirkman if Daryl ever got to have a “booty call” or if he was just saving himself for one special person….got my fingers crossed for you, Scott, buddy…here’s hoping!

Then we met the bespectacled girl with the quirky style who dolled herself and her little dog in fancy bow ties.

Then we met the bespectacled girl with the quirky style who dolled herself and her little dog in fancy bow ties. She asked some question about Shane, I think.

And finally, there was Gig Guy, sporting a fox pelt hat and screaming at the camera as he channeled Rick Grimes tellling off all those who doubted his leadership abilities.

And finally, there was Gig Guy, sporting a fox pelt hat and screaming at the camera as he channeled Rick Grimes telling off all those who doubted his leadership abilities.

Ah, humanity! 🙂

Have a lovely holiday, my WDO darling readers, and drop me a comment, or if you are shy, drop me an email at barnfullawalkers@gmail.com

Until Feb.8, and enjoy Beth’s playlist:

Beautiful. And devastating. <3

Playlist:  (Seven-song playlist to take Beth up to Level 7Beth Forever! )

Goat, “Goatslaves”

Lamb, “Angelica”

Jose Gonzalez, “Storm”

Purity Ring, “Obedear”

Moondog, “Bird’s Lament”

Tori Amos, “Cornflake Girl”

Guns n Roses, “Sweet Child of Mine”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 7, “Crossed”

Prologue

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 KirkmanKirkman 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!

(BTWSonequa 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!

______________________________________________

“Crossed”

(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.

Et tu, Daryl?

Et tu, Daryl?

Even Tyrese is like,

Even Tyrese looks over at Rick, like, “Uh oh…”

Rick in Charge is like,

Rick in Charge seems to be thinking, “Well, if that’s the way it’s gonna be…I was gonna ask you if you wanted to be blood brothers, Daryl Dixon, but now, fuck that.

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.

Looking majorly fine, Deputy Rick Grimes talks the cops down, telling them weapons down, hands up,

rick talks bad cops down

Looking majorly fine, Deputy Rick Grimes talks the cops down, telling them weapons down, hands up, “we don’t want to hurt you.”

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?”

“The way you talk…the way you carry yourself...you a cop? Believe it or not, I was too…”

Lawson, you may be a glorified Grady Memorial Mall Cop...

Lamson, Lamson, Lamson… you may be a glorified Grady Memorial Mall Cop…

...but Deputy Rick Grimes is a beautiful hero. No comparison, son.

…but Deputy Rick Grimes is a beautiful hero. No comparison, Lame-son.

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…

...another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene.

…another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene…

Daryl looking fine firing at the GM CreepMobile...

Daryl looking majorly fine firing at the GM CreepMobile…but not getting much done to stop that car.

Rick Blast! stands right in the car's path, firing at it...unfortunately, the windows seem to be bulletproof, and the gang must scramble out of the way, hide behind a dumpster.

Rick Blast! stands right in the car’s path, firing at it…unfortunately, the windows seem to be bulletproof, and the gang must scramble out of the way, take cover behind a dumpster.

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…

The Napalm Walkers are  all that remain of the poor people who had not yet made it out of Atlanta before it was bombed, napalmed...

The Napalm Walkers are all that remain of the poor people who had not yet made it out of Atlanta before it was bombed, napalmed…

...and this is where they have been, reanimated, melted into the asphalt, stuck and snapping, the whole time since the bombing.

…and this is where they have been, reanimated, melted into the asphalt, stuck and snapping, the whole time since the bombing. Gruesomely goretastic genius from Crazy Uncle Greg Nicotero & Co.

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…

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl...

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl

...and it's a close call for Daryl, a couple of times, as Officer Baldy tries to shove him into the snapping Naplam Walkers...

…and it’s a close call for Daryl, a couple of times, as Officer Baldy tries to shove him into the snapping Naplam Walkers

In a moment of goretastic ingenuity, Daryl grabs a walker's skull like a bowling ball and smashes it against Officer Baldy's head.

In a moment of goretastic ingenuity, Daryl grabs a walker’s skull like a bowling ball and smashes it against Officer Baldy’s head.

A click of a gun, and Officer Baldy looks up to see Rick Smash! holding a gun to his head...cue the Rick Smash! Bear McCreary theme music, dark and pulsing...Rick Smash! wants to SMASH!

A click of a gun, and Officer Baldy looks up to see Rick Smash! holding a gun to his head…cue the Rick Smash! Bear McCreary theme music, dark and pulsing… Rick Smash! wants to SMASH!

Daryl knows that look...says No Smash, Smash bad, Rick Smash!

Daryl knows that look…says “No smash, smash bad, Rick Smash!”

Rick…three’s better than two.”  (Damn, good point, Daryl, but I think I speak for all of us on Team Rick when I say, Let Rick Smash! SMASH!“)

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.”

A little later, after Tyrese and Sasha share a brother/sister moment among the Napalm Walkers...

A little later, after Tyrese and Sasha share a brother/sister moment among the Napalm Walkers…

...Lamson is cop-stroking Rick, hard, tells him that while Dawn Lerner says she won't negotiate or compromise, she will, she always does.

Lamson is cop-stroking Rick, hard, tells him that while Dawn Lerner says she won’t negotiate or compromise, she will, she always does. “Just know who you’re talking to.” (Good advice, Rick Grimes, straight from the devil’s mouth.)

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.”

You are so wrong about that one, Lamson...there is one real cop, a real hot cop, and his name is Deputy Rick Grimes.

You are so wrong about that one, Lamson, and about many things...there is one real cop, a real hot cop, and his name is Deputy Rick Grimes. ❤

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.

As Sasha pulls up a concrete block and sits beside Lamson, she practically cuts his zip ties and hands him her assault rifle.

As Sasha pulls up a concrete block and sits beside Lamson, she practically cuts his zip ties and hands him her assault rifle. Sasha, girl, you’re killing me here.

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? Continue reading

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 6, “Consumed”

“Consumed”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

The opening scene of The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 6“Consumed”  takes us back to Season 4’s “Indifference,” in the moments right after Rick banishes Carol from the prison community for her decision to preemptively kill Karen and David, who were sick with the Explodey Flu (which bore frightening similarities to Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in a misguided, one-woman effort of staunch the spread of the disease throughout the prison community. We see a close up of Carol’s shell-shocked face, as she starts the car, a parting gift that Rick has given her, and begins to drive off, alone.

Carol driving, shellshocked

Rick watches Carol drive off

While Carol does not look Rick’s way as she drives past him, Rick stands and watches her drive away, his hand working at his side, seemingly conflicted.

Set to the haunting “Bad Blood,” by Alison Mosshart & Erick Arjes, the sequence shows us the final banishment scene from Carol’s perspective.  We see, for the first time, Carol’s isolation and anguish at being cast out of her community, and it is truly wrenching to watch. We WD fans have gotten so used to seeing Carol the way she is around others, fronting tough and rarely letting anybody see her cry, or lose her composure. But alone, in the car, when she gets far enough down the road, away from Rick, Carol pulls the car over and dissolves into tears.

While I was initally totally creeped out by Carol's killing spree back in Season 4, it was clear to me, watching this scene, that she was really feeling the pain and regret of her actions.

While I was initally totally creeped out by Carol’s killing spree back in Season 4, it was clear to me, watching this scene, that she was really feeling the pain and regret of her actions.

Poor Carol!

Poor Carol!

Carol's much needed cry is soon rudely interrupted by Snoopy Walker, who snarls and flails at the car window, trying to get to her.  She screams at Snoopy Walker to leave her alone, before peeling off down the road.

Carol’s much-needed cry is soon rudely interrupted by Smack It Up Walker, who snarls, flails, and smacks its arm at the car window, trying to get to her. She screams at the walker to leave her alone, before peeling off down the road, leaving Smack It Up Walker to lurch and weave crookedly down the road, in her dust.

We see Carol pull up in front of a law office building that looks secure, windows intact.

Next, we see Carol pull up in front of a law office building that looks secure, windows intact.

After Carol clears the office and sets up camp inside, she beds down for the night on a couch in the office.

After Carol clears the office and sets up camp inside, she beds down for the night on a couch in the office.

But Carol cannot get right to sleep, and we see her thinking, processing in the darkness.

But Carol cannot get right to sleep, and we see her thinking, eyes open, processing in the darkness.

The next day, as Carol assembles a rain catcher out the window, she sees a black plume of smoke  in the horizon...it is coming from the direction of the prison.  After a moment's hesitation, Carol rushes out of  the office...

The next day, as Carol assembles a rain catcher out the window, she sees a black plume of smoke in the horizon…it is coming from the direction of the prison. After a moment’s hesitation, Carol rushes out of the office…

...and the final image, before the opening title sequence, shows Carol staring in openmouthed horror as the prison goes up in flames.

…and the final image, before the opening title sequence, shows Carol staring in openmouthed horror as the prison goes up in flames.

During the commercial break, my WD buddy and I topped off our mimosas with some more champagne and shared our thoughts on this opening.  We agreed that neither of us really expected, as the viewer, to be taken back that far, to see firsthand, flashes of Carol’s experience and process.  We also agreed that it was a fitting, powerful, and effective way to begin this episode.

I personally needed to see, and feel, things from Carol’s side…we all did, I think..  I love that this episode, “Consumed,” delves more deeply into both Carol and Daryl’s psyche…they both have developed their tough exteriors and their game faces, but it’s time for us to get a deeper insight into both of these two beloved and iconic characters.

In the next scene, it’s night.  We see a lone woman walker on the side of the road. and at the sight of headlights approaching, the walker walks into the road, just as one of the black cars from Grady Memorial speeds past, clipping the walker and sending her face down into the asphalt.

road kill walker

“Hey, watch where you’re going, asshole!”

We hear Carol’s voice, asking Daryl, “So it was just you and Beth, after?”

“Yeah,” replies Daryl.

“You saved her?” Carol asks him.

“She’s tough…she saved herself,” Daryl says. He continues, “We were out there for a while…we were cornered…she got out in front of me…and, I dunno, she’s gone.” Daryl tells Carol about how he saw a black car, with a cross painted in the back window, pull away at the moment of Beth’s disappearance. “Just like that one,” Carol says, referring to the black car they are currently following in Carol’s almost-getaway car, the one she found on the side of the road.   Before they jumped in and began tailing the black car, Daryl quickly smashed the headlights of the Carol car, so they are hanging back, and travelling in darkness, and remaining undetected by the car from Grady Memorial as it speeds along the road.

As they talk, Daryl mows down the walker in the road, not slowing down, flattening the walker’s head into the asphalt.

Road Kill Walker, another hit-and-run casualty.

Road Kill Walker, just another hit-and-run casualty.

Excellent to see you again, fine sir.

Excellent to see you again, fine sir…

New Carol riding shotgun.

…with New Carol riding shotgun.

Daryl remarks that the others are going to wonder where they’re at, and the tank’s getting low…New Carol’s take on it is pretty awesome, in my opinion…she suggests they “end it quick, just run them off the road.”  Daryl replies that they’ll be good for a bit, and New Carol replies that they can find out where Beth is, just “get it out of the driver.” Ha!  In the end, they go with Daryl’s plan, but man, would I have loved to see New Carol’s method for “getting it out of” two members of Dawn Lerner’s Douchesquad.

(And, in retrospect, maybe they should have gone with New Carol’s idea…but then, they may not have run into Noah…and, love him or hate him at this point, I believe Noah is going to be a significant part of whatever comes down the line.)

Daryl, however, has a good take as well…the driver may not talk, and right now, they have the advantage, as the black car does not know they are being followed. Daryl suggests they see who these people are, see if they’re a group, scope it out, and figure out what they’ll need to do to get Beth back.  Carol sees that the black car is going north, on I-85…

...towards Atlanta.

…towards Atlanta.

Daryl and Carol follow the black car into the city, and on a lonely street, the black car stops…and Daryl and Carol kill the engine, a block behind…and wait.

Daryl and Carol pull up behind black car

After a long moment, they see a figure emerge from the shotgun side.

After a long moment, they see a figure emerge from the shotgun side. “There are two of them, ” Daryl says, and then, upon closer inspection, “Is that a cop?” The cop turns to look in their direction for a moment before disappearing down a side street.

As they watch, and wait, Carol and Daryl are surprised by an unexpected, and unwelcome, visitor...

As they watch, and wait, Carol and Daryl are surprised by an unexpected, and unwelcome, visitor…Lemme At ‘Em Walker.

The cop returns to the black car, after dragging a couple of bodies, seemingly, out of the road, clearing the black car’s way.  He turns and looks over at Daryl and Carol’s car, as Lemme At ‘Em Walker paws and hisses as the car’s window…after a moment, the cop gets back into the black car, and it starts, makes a right turn down the side road.  Daryl tries to start their car, but the tank’s out of gas..At the sound of more walkers approaching, Daryl says they need to get out of there and find a place to hole up…Carol tells him she knows a place just a couple of blocks away, that they can make it there.

Carol rolls down the car windwo and easily dispatches Lemme At 'Em Walker.

Carol rolls down the car window and easily dispatches Lemme At ‘Em Walker.

Carol stands watch, rekilling walkers as they approach the two, as Daryl jimmies the lock of the back gate, leading into the rear entrance of the law firm.

At the office building’s rear entrance, Carol stands watch, rekilling walkers as they approach , as Daryl jimmies the lock of the back gate.

As Carol steps up to take care of

As Carol steps up to take care of “two more,” Daryl gets the lock open, and just in time…

...as the street begins to fill with a swarm of ATL Walkers of the Night.

…as the street begins to fill with a swarm of ATL Street Walkers. Daryl and Carol duck behind the tall wooden door, closing it quickly before being seen by the savage, hissing swarm.

Once inside the building, Daryl takes a ring of keys from the dead janitor’s belt and opens the door to the office.  He asks Carol, “You used to work here or somethin’?”

“Something…” Carol replies. As they move through the rooms, unlocking doors as they go from the janitor’s key ring, they come to a small room that has bunk beds, and a desk, with a large book resting on top of it…

Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse

Daryl follows Carol into the room, shining the flashlight around, taking it all in.  “What is this place?” he asks.  “Temporary housing,” replies Carol.

Daryl looks down at the book, asks Carol, with a hitch in his voice,

Daryl looks down at the book, asks Carol, with a hitch in his voice, “You came here?”

“We didn’t stay,” replies Carol. As Daryl shucks off his crossbow, bag, and jacket (Yes! Take it off! Take it off!), Carol goes over the bunk beds, tells Daryl she’ll take the top bunk, as the bottom bunk seems “more your style.”  As she moves over to the window, she tells Daryl to get some sleep, that she’ll take “first watch.” Daryl points out that the place is locked up pretty tight…

Carol, girl, if you really must keep this

Carol, girl, if you really must keep this “hard to get” thing going, then you had better stay turned around and keep your eyes out that window, because if you did turn and take a look at what’s going on behind you, right now, you would not be able to resist it…I mean, damn.

Daryl looks at Carol’s back, says, “I’m good, then…” leaves it open, a little question at the end…(Me and my WD buddy were perched on the edge of our seats, gulping mimosas at this point…I mean, OMG, weren’t you just dying, watching this?)

Carol does turn, for a moment, sneaks a peek (right, Carol, what did I tell you? He’s putting it out there, so now all you gotta do is put one boot in front of the other, walk over to him, and get it, girl! You know you want to!)

After sneaking a peek, Carol’s voice falters a bit as she assures him she’s ok, she’ll take first watch, it’s fine.

“Suit yourself,” Daryl says

Goddamn, Carol, if that's the way you're going to be about it, then I, for one, am going to suit myself and take a nice long look at the view...and I'm not talking about whatever's going on outside that window...

Goddamn, Carol, if that’s the way you’re going to be about it, then I, for one, am going to suit myself and take a nice long look at the view…and I’m not talking about whatever sad shit’s going on outside that window…

daryl love bunk 2

Mmmm hmmm…

daryl love bunk 3

…yep.

Sigh.

So, uh, how’s the view out that window, Carol?

Carol’s resolve begins to weaken…

Without taking her eyes off the window, Carol asks Daryl,

Without taking her eyes off the window, Carol asks Daryl, “So…we get to start over?” echoing his words to her at the car, before…

Daryl says, softly,

Daryl says, softly, “Yeah,” and Carol finally turns, looks at him. “Did you?” she asks him, meaning, I think, did you start over, when you were with Beth? Daryl looks away for a moment, then replies…

“I’m tryin’.”

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy and I were freaking the fuck out (quietly, you know, so as not to wake the children), guzzling mimosas.to quench our suddenly parched throats…was it getting super hot in here, or what?

As Carol weighs all this, still at the window, Daryl says,

As Carol weighs all this, still at the window, Daryl says, “Just say what’s really on your mind.”

Carol tells Daryl that, “I don’t think we get to save people anymore.” After a moment, Daryl asks her, “Why are you here?”

Carol turns to Daryl, tells him,

Carol turns to Daryl, echoes his own words back to him, “I’m trying.”

Carol (finally!) goes over to the bunk, lies down next to Daryl.

Finally, Carol goes over to the bunk, lies down next to Daryl…

But before Daryl lies back and joins her, he has a question to ask...back at the car, if he hadn't come, what would have happened...the unfinished question hangs in the air...would she have left?

But before Daryl lies back and joins her, he has a question of his own…back at the car, if he hadn’t come, what would have happened? The unfinished question hangs in the air…would she have left?

Carol truthfully admits that she still doesn't know...Daryl lies back next to her, and they look up at the top bunk, not touching, not speaking...it's like Pee Wee Herman said,

Carol truthfully admits that she still doesn’t know…Daryl lies back next to her, and they each look up at the top bunk, not touching, not speaking...it’s like Pee Wee Herman said, “Everyone I know has a big ‘but’…”

Suddenly, a loud thud interrupts their reverie...Carol and Daryl jump up, grab their weapons, and stealth down the hallway...

Suddenly, a loud thud interrupts their reverie…Carol and Daryl jump up, grab their weapons, and stealth down the hallway…

...and see a heartbreaking sight...in one of the temporary housing units, a mother and child, both now walkers, bang and paw at the glass...Walkers Interruptus.

…and what they find is heartbreaking…in one of the temporary housing units, a mother and child, both now walkers, bang and paw at the glass…Walkers Interruptus.

Daryl and Carol silently register the import of this awful sight. (Cried every time I watched this scene...this shit is why I drink, people.)

Daryl and Carol silently register the import of this awful sight. (Cried every time I watched this scene…this shit is why I drink, people.)

Carol automatically goes to the door, so used to having to be the one to take care of things like this, these days...Daryl stops her, tells her she doesn't have to do this...

Carol automatically goes to the door, so used to having to be the one to take care of things like this, these days…Daryl stops her, tells her she doesn’t have to do this…

Carol turns and heads back to the little room with the bunk beds, troubled, and finally gets some sleep.

Carol turns and heads back to the little room with the bunk beds, looking beautiful as she processes all this,  and finally falls into a troubled sleep.

The next morning, Carol awakes, sees smoke billowing outside the window.  She goes to the window, and what she sees brings her to tears...

The next morning, Carol awakes, sees smoke billowing outside the window. She goes to the window, and what she sees brings her to tears…

...Daryl has built a funeral pyre and is carrying the child's shrouded body to the fire...

…Daryl has built a funeral pyre and is carrying the child’s shrouded body to the fire…

Carol comes and stands beside Daryl.  They watch the bodies of the mother and child burn for a moment, then Carol turns to Daryl and says,

Carol comes and stands beside Daryl. They watch the bodies of the mother and child burn for a moment, then Carol turns to Daryl and says, “Thank you.”

So, while we WD fans didn’t quite get the Daryl/Carol night we were hoping for in the bottom bunk, we got something else…something a little more real, a little more gut-wrenching, a little more poignant and beautiful…to paraphrase a Tweet that one WD fan sent to Talking Dead, later, who knew that burning bodies could be such a romantic gesture?  Daryl Dixon, such a beautiful, sweet, tough and tender man…how we love him!

Heart of gold, that one.

Later, Carol is having a flashback of she and Tyrese burying the bodies of Lizzy and Mika, as she and Daryl pack up their things.  Daryl says that it looked like the black car was headed downtown, and that they should get high up in one of the tall buildings, get a good look around, see what they see.  Carol agrees, saying that if they stay close to the buildings, stay quiet, and wait, it will be just a matter of time before they see something that will give them some more information, or a location.

Daryl and Carol keep close to the sides of the buildings, running quietly through the streets of Atlanta.  Hug the shadows, hug the shadows, Daryl and Carol!

Daryl and Carol keep close to the sides of the buildings, running quietly through the streets of Atlanta. Hug the shadows, Daryl and Carol!

Daryls sees a promising building that has a bridge walkway leading into it...between them and the buidling, however, is a street full of milling walkers.

Daryl sees a promising building that has a bridge walkway leading into it…between them and the building, however, is a street full of milling walkers.

Ever handy, ever resourceful, Daryl sets a legal pad on fire and tosses it out into the street...

Ever handy, ever resourceful, Daryl sets a legal pad on fire and tosses it out into the street…

As the walkers lurch over to the flame, Daryl and Carol sneak past them, into a parking garage, where Daryl easily takes down a stray walker.  Otherwise, all clear...except, as Daryl and Carol slip through the door to the walkway bridge, we see a brief glimpse of a dark, quickly moving figure in the background of the parking garage.

As the walkers lurch over to the flame, Daryl and Carol sneak past them, into a parking garage, where Daryl easily takes down a stray walker. Otherwise, all clear…except, as Daryl and Carol slip through the door to the walkway bridge, we see a brief glimpse of a dark, quickly moving figure in the background of the parking garage.

Upon entering the walkway bridge, Daryl and Carol see a rather confounding sight…writhing, reanimated bodies shrouded in sleeping bags, and walkers pawing from inside zipped up tents…people who had been taking shelter in the walkway, camping in there, seemingly killed as they slept in their sleeping bags and tents..how did they die?.

Later, on Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick and guests CM Punk, Yvette Nicole Brown (who was armed with her own legal pad of copious, highlighted notes from her viewing of Episode 506, which I, and the entire TD audience, loved…the audience broke into applause every time she referred down to it…girl’s a WD tweaker on a level all her own…definitely my kind of woman!) and Tyler James Williams speculated on what happened to the people in the walkway, killing them and turning them into the Urban Camper Walkers.  Yvette Nicole Brown’s guess mirrored my own thoughts, that maybe when Atlanta was bombed & napalmed, that maybe poisonous gases from the bombing killed the urban campers in their sleep.

As they rekill the Urban Camper Walkers, Daryl remarks, “Some days, I don’t know what to think.” For a man of few words, Daryl Dixon really has a knack for summing it all up in these crazy times.

daryl and carol see camping walkers daryl rekills camping walker

Daryl and Carol make their way gingerly past the writhing tents, rekilling the walkers bound up in the sleeping bags as they cross to the other side of the walkway…they squeeze through the small opening of a set of double doors that have been chained and padlocked closed, but not all the way.  Carol pushes the rifles through the opening, then squeezes through, followed by Daryl, whose larger frame makes it harder to get through the small opening. He jokes that it’s a good thing they skipped breakfast..

Daryl and Carol enter through another set of doors, and find themselves in a clean, upscale office, with modern paintings, water cooler, and large windows, overlooking what was once an impressive view of downtown Atlanta.  As Carol and Daryl approach the window and take in the grim, blasted skyline, Carol asks, “How did we get here?”  Daryl replies that he doesn’t know..they just did.

As Daryl and Carol look over the ruined city of Atlanta, Carol remarks that he never asked her what happened after she got up with Tyrese and the girls...Daryl replies that he knows what happened, as the girls aren't here any longer...

As Daryl and Carol look over the ruined city of Atlanta, Carol remarks that he never asked her what happened after she got up with Tyrese and the girls…Daryl replies that he knows what happened, as the girls aren’t here any longer.

“It was worse than that,” Carol says.

Daryl tells her that’s why they need to start over, “because we gotta,”  to the way things were, before. “Yeah…” says Carol, doubtfully. So much has happened…can they really go back?

Daryl spots something, grabs the rifle with the scope, peers through, and sees:

A white van, with the telltale white cross painted on the rear windows...it looks abandoned, hanging halfway off an overpass.

A white van, with the telltale white cross painted on the rear windows…it looks abandoned, hanging halfway off an overpass.

Carol looks through the scope, says that it looks like the van has been there for a while…Daryl says that it’s a lead.  Carol suggests they stock up before leaving the office. While Carol fills her canteen with water from the water cooler and takes a long drink, Daryl stops and looks at one of the abstract paintings on the wall, remarking that it must have “cost some rich prick a whole lot of money.”

As they look at the painting, Daryl says that it looks like

As they look at the painting, Daryl says that it looks like “a dog sat in paint and wiped its ass all over the place.” “Really?” asks Carol. “I kind of like it.” Daryl looks at her to see if she’s joking then snorts. “Stop,” he says, as if she is.  “I’m serious,” Carol retorts. “You don’t know me.” Daryl reaches down, collects his things. “Yep,” he says, walking out of the office, “You just keep telling yourself that.” Oh, snap!

As Carol squeezes back through the chained doors of the walkway bridge, she does as she did before and pushes her bag and assault rifle through first, but this time, as Daryl begins to squeeze himself through, Carol quickly says:

“Daryl, don’t!” Daryl looks up to see Noah, pointing Carol’s gun at them, holding them at gunpoint.

Noah orders Daryl to get up, and tells Daryl to lay down his crossbow.

Noah orders Daryl to get up, and tells Daryl to lay down his crossbow. “You got some sac on you,” Daryl growls at him. Noah says that nobody has to get hurt, he just needs their weapons, so, “please lay down the crossbow.”

While Noah is apologetic, he is clear that he needs their weapons.  “Sorry about this,” he says, “but you look tough..you’ll be alright.” And with that, Noah takes his knife and slices open the tents, releasing the trapped Urban Camper Walkers, and giving himself time to get out of there as Daryl and Carol fight them off.

They make quick work of the walkers, Carol capping one in the center of the forehead with her handgun, then aiming the next shot at Noah’s retreating form. As she fires, Daryl pushes her arm, skewing her shot so she misses.  As they stride quickly across the parking lot, Daryl leading the way, Carol justifies herself, and her actions.

“We have three bullets…we’re in the middle of a city and he was stealing our weapons. Did you think I was gonna kill him?  I was aiming for his leg…could that have killed him? Maybe, I don’t know, but he was stealing our weapons”  

As Carol says this, Daryl does not respond, just strides quickly in front of her…they come to a door, which is locked.  Daryl curses under his breath, reaching into his bag for something to jimmy the lock. “He’s just a damn kid,” he replies.  Carol retorts that without weapons, they could die, Beth could die…as Daryl works the lock, he says, to this, “We’ll find more weapons.”

Carol stands there, behind Daryl as he pushes at the door. :”I don’t want you to die…I don’t want Beth to die…I don’t want anyone at the church to die, but I can’t stand around and watch it happen, either. I can’t…that’s why I left, I just had to be somewhere else.”

This is Daryl's breaking point, and he whirls on Carol, tells her,

This is Daryl’s breaking point, and he whirls on Carol, tells her, “You ain’t somewhere else, you’re right here, tryin’!” 

Daryl finally gets the door open, and Carol begins snatching up their belongings from the floor, saying that Daryl isn’t who he was before, and neither is she, and she doesn’t know if she believes in God anymore, or if she’s going to Hell, but if she is, then she damn sure is going to hold off on going there as long as she can.

As Carol reaches for Daryl’s bag, a book falls out of it, onto the floor…

Carol sees that Daryl slipped the book from the temporary housing into his bag, most certainly carrying the wounds of his own abusive childhood deep inside.  Carol looks at Daryl, who picks up the book and shoves it at her before stalking off through the doorway. Carol hesitates a moment before following him.

Carol sees that Daryl slipped the book from the temporary housing into his bag, most certainly carrying the wounds of his own abusive childhood deep inside. Carol looks at Daryl, who picks up the book and shoves it at her before stalking off through the doorway. Carol hesitates a moment before following him. 😦 ❤

On the bridge, Carol and Daryl approach the white van, which has gone through the guard rail and is teetering precariously half on, half off the overpass.  It is a fairly steep drop below, about three or four stories.

daryl and carol approach the white van

Behind them, a small group of walkers have seen them and are coming their way...they are still a ways off.

Behind them, a small group of walkers have seen them and are coming their way…they are still a ways off.

Daryl says “let’s get this done,” and quickly, and Carol volunteers to go in the van, as she’s lighter.  In response, Daryl looks at her and hoists himself in the van…after a moment, Carol follows suit.  In the front seat, they quickly sift through maps, papers, finding nothing that gives them a clue as to where the van came from.

On the shotgun side, Carol spies a large group of walkers approaching from her side as well…it looks like some trouble is coming fast, closing in on them from both directions.

carol sees walkes on her side

Carol tells Daryl that they’ll have to fight through them, although they are seriously outnumbered, and without most of their weaponry (thanks to Noah, you little shit, you…while I do like Noah, and realize that pretty much all of our favorite characters have had their questionable moments, Noah’s stock with me definitely dropped a few points during this scene…but I have not given up on him.)

As they file out of the van and prepare to do battle with the rapidly growing horde of walkers, Daryl spies the initials “GMH” on a stretcher in the back of the van. Carol guesses it stands for “Grady Memorial Hospital,” and then, it’s time to stop talking, because there are a shit-ton of walkers to fight through…

Carol uses one of her last three bullets...

Carol uses one of her last three bullets…

Daryl battles the bridge walkers, but there are too many and they are closing in...

Daryl battles the bridge walkers, but there are too many and they are closing in…

Daryl and Carol get back in the van, the only place to go.

Daryl and Carol get back in the van, the only place to get away from the horde of walkers…

They quickly get to the front seats, buckle themselves in...Daryl tells Carol to hold on...

They quickly get to the front seats, buckle themselves in…Daryl tells Carol to hold on…

Carol quickly buckles herself in, braces herself, frightened.

Carol quickly buckles herself in, braces herself, frightened.

Daryl and Carol brace themselves, hands on each other's, so sweet.

As Daryl and Carol brace themselves, they put their hands on each other’s, so sweet.

As the walkers swarm the van and paw at it...

As the walkers swarm the van and paw at it…

The van topples over the edge...

The van topples over the edge…

...falling, flipping...

…falling, flipping…

...landing hard.

…landing hard.

Carol is incredulous...

Carol is incredulous.“We’re ok..” As they sit, recover, walkers begin to fall on top of the van in a gorish heap.

Gingerly, they emerge from the van...Daryl seems ok, but Carol's shoulder is hurt pretty bad, it seems.

Gingerly, they emerge from the van…Daryl seems ok, but Carol’s shoulder is hurt pretty bad.

Daryl and Carol lean on each other as they help each other walk away from the totaled van and scattered walkers.

Daryl and Carol lean on each other as they help each other walk away from the totaled van and scattered walkers.

They stop to rest, and Carol is noticably hurting, although she tries to play it off. Daryl blames himself, and Carol jokes,

They stop to rest, and Carol is noticeably hurting, although she tries to play it off. Daryl blames himself, and Carol jokes, “We made good time down!”

Carol tells Daryl that there are only three blocks between them and Grady Memorial…Daryl agrees that they will find a place nearby, scope out the hospital, and see what they see. Carol asks him if he thinks they are really going to be able to find out what they need to know just by watching…Daryl tells her, “Well, it’s a place to start.”

Daryl and Carol set up a stake out in a nearby building that offers a clear view of Grady Memorial. Daryl scores both a machete and a bag with a cache of potato chips from an incapacitated walker…Daryl relieves the walker of his machete and chips, and rewards the walker with a rekill to the head with the machete.  Thanks, dude.  As they watch the hospital through the window, munching chips, Daryl turns to Carol, asks her about what she said before, about him not being like he was, before…he asks her what she means by that…”How was I?” he asks.  (Cute!  It’s Share Time.)

Daryl asks Carol about how he was before and now

Carol replies, “It’s like you were a kid…now you’re a man.” Amen to that.

Daryl ups his hotness meter even further by turning the focus on Carol, now… “And what about you?”

Carol replies that she and Sophia stayed at the temporary housing shelter for a day and a half before she went running back to Ed….at home, she got beat up, life went on, and she just went through her days like that, praying for something to happen…“I didn’t do anything…not a damn thing.” Carol looks out the window as she talks, her voice carrying the anger that she feels towards herself for taking Ed’s abuse, and not taking a stand, not doing anything, for so long.

(Really explains a lot, why Carol has made some of the overly agro, questionable decisions she has…it’s like after not doing anything for so long, the Carol pendulum had to swing too far the other way, before coming to some sort of balance, in the middle.)

Carol continues her story, “Who I was, with him, she got burned away..and I was happy about that, I mean, not happy, but…and at the prison, I got to be who I always thought I should be, who I should have been…”

Carol reveal

“And then, she got burned away…And now, it just consumes you.”

Daryl listens, looks down a moment, taps the tip of the machete  into the windowsill...he then gives Carol this sweet, beautiful, manly look, and then says the perfect thing,

Daryl listens, looks down a moment, taps the tip of the machete into the windowsill…he then gives Carol this sweet, beautiful, look, and then says the perfect thing, “Hey…” Carol looks up at him. “We ain’t ashes.”  Total tender manly perfection. <3<3

Oc course, after this amazing moment, there is a thud or slamming noise, startling them…there is always a fucking noise to interrupt Daryl and Carol’s beautiful sharing and caring sessions in this episodedamn you, cockblocking walker apocalypse!

As Daryl and Carol head down the hallway, they find a walker impaled to the wall, with one of Daryl’s arrows speared through its throat.

“Is that one of yours?” Carol asks. “Yeah,” Daryl replies.

Daryl does the walker a solid machete rekill, shutting it the hell up.

Daryl does the walker a solid machete rekill, shutting it the hell up.

Suddenly, the sound of assault rifle shots pepper the silence…Daryl and Carol know who that’s coming from…they go to investigate, and are met by a woman walker…Carol would usually be able to handle this, and goes for the knife kill upside the walker woman’s head, but her shoulder injury makes it harder, and the walker ends up on top of Carol, who is unable to fight her off.  Daryl slices the walker’s head with his machete, pulls Carol up, looks at her, concerned…Carol, barely able to speak, assures him she’s ok, to go.  Daryl rushes down the hall in pursuit of Noah.

He finds Noah, trying to barricade a door that another walker is pushing its way through with a wooden bookcase.  In one quick maneuver, Daryl strikes at Noah’s lower spine, toppling him with the bookcase on top of him.  Noah, pinned under the bookcase, pleads for Daryl to help him, apologizing for taking their weapons, saying that he needed to defend himself.

“Please!” pleads Noah. “Why are you following us?” Daryl yells at him. Noah tries to say that he thought they were following him…”Bullshit,” replies Daryl.

As Noah struggles and pleads, pinned under the bookcase, and the walker paws through the crack in the door, Daryl finds a carton of cigarettes, pulls out a pack, taps the pack, uncaring, against the heel of his hand, opens the pack, and shakes out a cigarette. Carol watches this...

As Noah struggles and pleads, pinned under the bookcase, and the walker paws through the crack in the door, Daryl finds a carton of cigarettes, pulls out a pack, taps the pack, uncaring, against the heel of his hand,  and peels opens the pack, Carol watches this…

...and Noah, terrified, watches this, weakly pleads, apologizes...

…and Noah, terrified, watches this, weakly pleads, apologizes…

Daryl pulls a 'grette out of the pack with his mouth...dude, I love a bad boy who has the art of smoking down to a sexy, natural science...a real panty dropper.

Daryl pulls a ‘grette out of the pack with his mouth…dude, I love a bad boy who has the art of smoking down to a sexy, natural science…

The money shot....Daryl lights up, then tells Noah that he helped him once before, and he's done.

The money shot….Daryl lights up, then tells Noah that he helped him once before, and he’s done. “Have fun with hoss, there,” Daryl taunts Noah, stepping over him and walking towards the door to leave.

Carol, alarmed at Daryl’s callous, uncaring attitude, calls to Daryl, looks at him questioningly to help Noah…Daryl looks at her, angry, says, “You almost died because of him!” “But I didn’t,” Carol counters, her eyes soft and pleading. Daryl looks at Carol, Noah, says, “Nah,” and resumes walking towards the door.  The walker gets free and falls on top of the bookcase, grabs at Noah…

It's a harrowing, close call for Noah, who braces himself for the bite...

It’s a harrowing, close call for Noah, who braces himself for the bite…

...when a perfectly timed arrow to the head saves Noah, just in time.

…when a perfectly aimed arrow to the head saves Noah, just in time.

Of course, Daryl won't let the young man die, but it seems he thought about it, for a moment, before doing the right thing.  A lesson, though, for both Noah, and Carol, whose pendulum seems to have found its middle ground.  Daryl looks at her significantly before walking out of the room.

Of course, Daryl won’t let the young man die, but it seems he thought about it, for a moment, before doing the right thing. A lesson, though, for both Noah, and Carol, whose pendulum seems to have found its middle ground. Daryl looks at her significantly as he draws on his smoke.

The next scene, Rambo Carol flashback…Carol in the poncho, in the woods, after killing Terminus…she sinks to her knees, shrugs off the bloody poncho, and uses it to wipe her face free of the dirt and walker blood she had smeared on it to camouflage herself, and mask her smell. She holsters her gun over her shoulder and walks off, leaving the black smoke plume of burning Terminus, rising above the treeline, and the sound of gunfire, in her wake.

The scene shifts back to the present, with Carol pulling the walker off the bookcase, and Carol and Daryl pulling the bookcase off Noah, who scrambles out from under it, thanking them.  I tell you, I am impressed with Noah’s good manners, even when he was jacking Daryl and Carol’s weapons…he was definitely taught his “please and thank you’s.”  Noah hurries to the window, looking out, saying that he has to go, that “they” will be coming, as they probably heard the gunshots…Daryl asks, “Who?” and Noah tells them, as he, panicked, turns to go, “The people from the hospital.”

Daryl grabs him, asks him if there was a blond girl there. Noah's eyes widen

Daryl grabs him, asks him if there was a blond girl there. Noah’s eyes widen “Beth? You know her?” Carol and Daryl’s reactions to hearing Beth’s name are answer enough…Noah tells them that Beth helped him escape, but she didn’t get out…they still have her.

Carol looks out the window, sees a white van with a cross painted on the back windshield cruising by, slowly…she tells them they’re here…Noah tells them they need to go, and in his haste to run away, stumbles on his hurt leg, and falls.  As Daryl reaches down to help him up, Carol rushes ahead of them, out the doors, into the street…and gets hit, hard, by a wood-paneled station wagon speeding down the street. The station wagon stops, abruptly, and Carol’s body rolls off the front hood, onto the street, where she lay, unconscious, unresponsive.

carol gets hit carol gets hit 2

Daryl, anguished, tries to run to her, but Noah holds him back, telling him that they can help her, that they have the power, and the equipment, to help her, and if Daryl runs out there, he will have to fight them, kill them, and then she won't be helped, and does he want that?

Daryl, anguished, tries to run to her, but Noah holds him back, telling him that the hospital can help her, that they have the power, and the equipment, to help her, and if Daryl runs out there, now, he will have to fight them, kill them, and then  she won’t be helped, and does he want that?

“We will get her back,” Noah tells Daryl. “We’ll get Beth back.” But, Noah tells Daryl, he needs to let them take Carol, now, to the hospital, so they can help her. It is the best chance Carol has to survive.

As they watch Carol get loaded onto a stretcher, and taken away in the station wagon to Grady Memorial, Daryl asks Noah what it will take...Noah replies that Grady Memorial has weapons, and numbers...Daryl replies,

As they watch Carol get loaded onto a stretcher, and taken away in the station wagon to Grady Memorial, Daryl asks Noah what it will take…Noah replies that Grady Memorial has weapons, and numbers…Daryl replies, “So do we.”

The final scene shows Daryl, and Noah, sneaking past a large group of ATL Street Walkers which have been diverted, once again, by Daryl, who has lobbed a flame into a dumpster, setting the contents in it on fire.  As the walkers gather, hissing, around the flaming dumpster, Daryl and Noah sneak past them, and then, moments later, come bursting through a chain link fence in a truck that has surely been hotwired by Daryl.

The final fire of

The final fire of “Consumed,” the dumpster fire, set by Daryl.

Daryl and Noah drive away, heading back to get the others. Noah looks at Daryl, who is lost in his thoughts, his anguish.  You know he is really hurting .

Daryl and Noah drive away, heading back to get the others. Noah looks at Daryl, who is lost in his thoughts, his anguish. You know he is really hurting right now.

So, Season 5, Episode 6 ends as it begins, with Daryl driving, determined...but much has happened since that first scene, bringing much change,  as the fires of transformation once again burned what was away, consuming it, and leaving something new in its place.

So, Season 5, Episode 6 ends as it begins, with Daryl driving, determined…but much has happened since that first scene, bringing much change, as the fires of transformation once again burned what was, away, consuming it, and leaving something new in its place.

A few final thoughts…first, I need to apologize if some of you got a premature notification that I had published my post on “Consumed,” the night of the episode, and were served with 385 words of my primary notes of my initial watching…in a total spaz maneuver, most probably due to my manic excitement over seeing Daryl and Carol’s insane chemistry and fire together, combined with my champagne buzz, I hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft” during a commercial break…d’oh!  

Next, I have some Deadies to award for Episode 506, “Consumed.”  Of course, the first two go to our favorite FWB’s, Daryl and Carol, for walking so honestly and fearlessly through the fires of transformation, and the fires of chemistry, and the fires of love…I do not know what the future has in store for these two iconic characters, individually, or as a couple, but I can say that my love for each of them, and for them together, has deepened to a new level with this masterful episode.  Daryl and Carol, I love you so hard. You are my total heroes right now.

Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride are such incredible actors…from the very first, their performances and portrayals of Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier have catapulted these two iconic characters to cult status, both within the realm of WD fandom and beyond, into the pop culture stratosphere. Much love, mad props. 

Deadie #3 goes to Yvette Nicole Brown, WD superfan…girl, if I ever get a chance to meet you, one day, we will have hours and hours of glorious WD to talk about! (I am def going to find Yvette’s Twitter account, and follow her, as soon as I publish this post..)

And, finally, Deadie #4 goes to our young up-and-comer, Noah (played by the supremely talented Tyler James Williams). Noah didn’t make the best first impression with Daryl and Carol, jacking their weapons and all that, but he did have impeccable manners while doing it, Gentleman Bandit-style. I, for one, welcome him into the fold, as I feel he will have much to offer, and contribute. Welcome aboard, young padawan. May the force be with you, and with Daryl, Carol, Beth, and Rick, and Team Eugene, and the entire gang, wherever they may be at this point in time. Amen.

So, much love, dear readers.  Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:

Playlist:

Stone Temple Pilots, “Sex Type Thing”

Jucifer, “When She Goes Out” (Was wanting to include a chick-fronted rager for Carol on this playlist, and then Norman Reedus posted a clip of Jucifer on his Instagram account, playing live in front of their trademark wall of amps, sending forth their trademark wall of sound into the farthest reaches of the universe…And once again, I was like, “Thank U Norman Reedus!“)

The White Stripes, “Blue Orchid”

The xx, “Heart Skipped A Beat”

Young Prisms, “Friends For Now”  (Initially, I saw that I had six songs on the playlist, and I added this spare, beautiful track from Young Prisms  to round it up to Lucky 7…it’s the Big Game,people, lots at stake here. I’m not taking any chances…Just get your ladies out of Grady Memorial Debt Castle,  Daryl Dixon, and you can all figure out this whole love triangle thing later.)

The Shins, “Caring Is Creepy”

Bittersweet, “Bittersweet Faith”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 4, “Slabtown”

“Slabtown”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Prologue

1:30 PM, Sunday, 11/2/14

On Sunday afternoon. I was putting in some overtime hours, thinking about The Walking Dead, thinking about what a wild ride Season 5 has been thus far. I kept thinking about last week’s episode,” Four Walls and a Roof,” and was feeling very unsettled about how it all ended.

I thought about Rick, and our gang, and all that they’ve been through, and how the core group keeps getting more and more separated, more fragmented. I kept seeing Maggie and Glenn looking out the window as the Abraham & Co.bus pulled away, and it still doesn’t feel real, or right, their leaving. It all makes me feel very worried and anxious.

I thought about Beth, and wondered what has been happening to her, since she was abducted in a creepy black funeral car, and taken away, somewhere. I thought about what the night’s episode, “Slabtown,” would have in store for us. I thought about Gabriel, of his terrible tale, and what his ultimate fate on the show would be. I thought about Carol, and of that final scene, of Daryl coming out of the bushes, and how, when Michonne asks him, “Where’s Carol?” I thought about the weird look Daryl gives her, before turning back to the dark bushes behind him, and saying, curtly, to some mysterious somebody, “Come on out.”

And I thought, Who is in those damn bushes?

My friends and I asked each other this question on Halloween night, as we sat around the fire and watched our kids run around the yard in their costumes, hopped up on their Halloween haul of candy. My friends and I all agreed that we wanted the person(s) in the bushes to be Carol, Beth, and maybe Morgan, hanging back in the dark while Daryl made sure the coast was clear. That would be a pretty ideal scenario, right? But…we were doubtful, worried about Daryl’s vibe in that ending scene.  He was acting so weird, on edge. Not happy, not like, “Hey guys, we found Beth, and here’s Carol, and this is Morgan…he says he knows you, Rick. Now, we can all go to Washington, and cure this thing!”

As I worked, I thought about all this.  And there was something about that line...‘Go to Washington, and cure this thing.’  Where had I heard that line before?  Gareth.  In my mind, clear as day, I could hear Gareth’s voice, saying, “You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

That scene, of Gareth, saying those words, was in the Season 5 trailer, which I deconstructed at length, in my Season 5 prepost, “ReEntry.”  In the post, I even provided a Youtube video link for the reader to watch the trailer, if they wanted. I must have watched that trailer 20 times myself in the writing process, and I could hear Gareth’s voice saying those words.  And, sure enough, when I went back to my “ReEntry” post, and played the trailer again, later, there was Gareth, sitting in the dark, talking to someone (presumably Rick and the gang), saying:

“You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

Watching it again, I was like, “Wait…that scene hasn’t happened yet.”

Now, if you actually read this crazy blog, you know that if this Gareth scene had indeed happened yet, I would have probably transcribed it for you, word for word, in one of my Season 5 posts by now. While I don’t strive to recap every little scene in every WD episode, that scene would be a significant moment, significant enough for me to transcribe, significant enough for Kirkman, Gimple, & Co. to put in the Season 5 trailer, right near the beginning. It’s important. It’s a plot-changer.

And, that scene hasn’t happened yet.

But wait…Gareth’s dead…right? But, there he is, in the trailer, in that scene, sitting there in the dark, uttering those words, in that scene that hasn’t happened yet.

???

I called my WD buddy, and told her all this, and told her the crazy theory I was putting together in my head.  Then. I saw my other WD buddy, Mona, and while we walked dogs together, I told her what I was thinking, and shared my theory with her. They both went back to my “ReEntry”  post, and watched the trailer, again. And yep, there was Gareth, not dead, sitting in the dark, saying that line.

My WD buddy asked me, “Are you sure that hasn’t happened yet? He didn’t say that yet?”  I told her, “It hasn’t happened yet.”  And we were silent, as we tried to make sense of this.

So now, I ask you this, my readers…is there an Evil Twin Situation happening here? Does Gareth have an identical twin brother, a brother who was put in charge of Bob, and the other five Terms in his group, while Gareth went off to capture Carol, or do some other evil shit elsewhere  in the woods, using the markings they carved into the trees to keep track of where they were during their night lurkings?

Or…was Gareth the one who stayed back, because his shoulder was shot (by Rick, in the Season 5 premiere), while his evil twin brother, Greg (?), went after Carol (and was this close to getting her before Daryl’s fine self showed up and foiled his evil plan)?  And, so while Gareth got hacked to death by Rick’s Red-Handled Machete of Bloody Justice, evil twin brother Greg, or whatever his name is, is still out there, in the woods, on the loose, maybe lurking behind Daryl in the bushes in that final scene? (I actually have another guess as to who is in those bushes, a guess shared by many…we’ll get to that later in the post.)

Hmmmm....

Hmmmm….

...could it be?

…could it be?  Evil twins? Crazy…or crazy genius? 

An evil twin brother?  I wish I had one of those! (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers...just sayin'.)

“An evil twin brother? I wish I had one of those!” (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers, long ago…just sayin’.)

Welcome to my Evil Terminal Twin Conspiracy Theory, aka the ETTCT.  my WDO darlings.  In the ETTCT, I theorize that Gareth had an identical twin brother, probably Greg, (because Gareth and Greg just sounds right together, like names that identical twin brothers would have, and Gareth did refer to a “Greg” almost capturing Carol, before Daryl showed up). In the ETTCT, one twin brother gets killed by Rick, leaving the other twin out there in the woods, with weapons, and a small Term army, and a plan in the making to mete out some Terminal Revenge on Rick and the gang, probably in the form of making Rick and the gang join forces with them, and going up to Washington D.C. all together, “and cure this thing.”

Crazy? Perhaps…believe me, I’ve been called worse. My WD buddy thinks that maybe the trailer is messed up and that scene with Gareth got cut. Maybe… but the ETTCT could explain why we are seeing a dead man, in the Season 5 trailer, in a scene that hasn’t happened yet, making a deal with (probably) our gang, to ostensibly join forces, go up to D.C.together, and cure the walker epidemic, right?

Maybe I am totally wrong, which is fine, because evil twins are just super fun to talk about in general, as are conspiracy theories.  Maybe you all theorized that Gareth may have an evil identical twin already, and I’m just a step behind, and just now catching up, or catching on. If so, mad props, once again, to the forward thinkers…and to evil twins, and conspiracy theories.

But, before you say nay to the ETTCT, let us remember the Law of Kirkman, darlings….Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions.

I suppose all shall be revealed in due time…and btw, if there isn’t a band already named Evil Twin, well, there should be.

_______________________________________________

“Slabtown”

The opening scene of fourth episode of The Walking Dead’s Season 5, “Slabtown,” shows Beth’s eyelids, closed and still for a moment, then beginning to flutter, and move, as Beth blinks awake.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings. We know she’s thinking, “Where am I?”

The first thing that captures Beth’s attention in the bright, sterile room is the second hand of a working analogue clock, as it moves around the clock’s face. As the camera pans back, Beth sits up in the hospital-type bed she is in, looks around. She has a deep cut across her left cheek, which looks like it’s been stitched closed, and she is hooked up to an I.V.. Beth gets up from the bed and moves to the window, taking the I.V. stand with her.  As she peers out the window, Beth takes in the grim sight of the blasted skyline of Atlanta.

beth sees bombed atlanta 1

As the second hand of the clock ticks from line to line, number to number, Beth moves to the the door, and finding it locked, begins rapping on the door loudly, calling out. When she hears footsteps approach, Beth quickly pulls the I.V. needle from her arm and holds it ready, to use as a weapon if she needs to.

The door opens, and a smallish dark-haired woman of sporty build, wearing a cop’s uniform, strides into the room first, followed by a lanky, bearded man wearing heavy-framed glasses and a white doctor’s coat.  The lady cop’s manner is stern, no-nonsense, aggressive, as she charges through the door, while the doctor’s manner is more submissive, placating, nervous.  He motions Beth down with his hands, as he walks through the door, behind the lady cop, tells Beth quickly that, “Everything’s ok, ok?”

beth meets dawn and the doc

The lady cop isn’t as placating. “Put it down,” she orders Beth curtly, referring to the I.V. needle, poised and ready, in Beth’s hand. “Drop it, right now.” There is no leniency in her voice, or manner, and Beth immediately complies, drops the needle to the floor.

The doctor introduces himself, with a slight, annoyed sigh in his voice at the lady cop’s hardball antics. “I’m Doctor Steven Edwards,” he says, “and this is Officer Dawn Lerner,” motioning towards the lady cop slightly with his head.

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is...his hands are stuffed into  the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready...

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is…his hands are stuffed into the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready to shut down any insubordination, whatsoever.

Doc Edwards asks Beth how she is feeling…Beth asks immediately, “Where am I?” Doc Edwards tells her that she is at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.  Beth asks how she got there, and Officer Dawn answers quickly, telling Beth that “her officers” found her on the side of a road, surrounded by “rotters.”

Doc Edwards adds that Beth’s wrist was fractured, and that she suffered a “superficial head wound.” Beth takes all this in in shocked silence, and my first thought, while watching this, was that those wounds were incurred most probably by Beth’s resisting Dawn’s “officers” as they forced her into the funeral car, against her will, and subduing her by force.  The injuries that Beth sustained don’t seem, (to me) to be the type of wounds one would get by fighting off walkers, although, of course, they could be. But, I’m not really buying Officer Dawn’s story here, and it doesn’t look to me like Beth is, either.

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately,

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately, “Beth.”

Then, hoping against hope, Beth asks, in a shaky voice, if “the man I was with, is he here too?” Officer Dawn replies quickly, “You were alone.  If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them, right now…” ,  and Officer Dawn motions her head towards the window, towards the outside world, full of “rotters.”

And as we watch, Officer Dawn’s eyes narrow, from a look of wide-eyed concern and do-right vigilance, to something darker, harder, angrier…

Officer Dawn looks at Beth, says,”So, you owe us.”  And with those words, another debt meter starts running at Grady Memorial Hospital.

After this scene, the nimble, strident strings of the Bear McCreary opening title sequence build, and it is clear to Beth, and to all of us, what Doctor Edwards, judging from his cowed demeanor, already knows: Officer Dawn Lerner is a crazy bitch, and scary.  If Officer Dawn isn’t crazy, by the court-definition-legal-sense-of-the-word, she has at least four or five serious personality disorders kicking, with a vicious mean streak twisting and winding through it all. If Gareth could hold a grudge for a thousand years, it seems like Officer Dawn could hold a grudge for a thousand light years.

Later, as Beth joins Doctor Edwards on rounds, she follows him into one patient’s room, with the respirator and monitors all hooked up to batteries and generators. Doc Edwards explains that the patient was found on a recent run, under a bridge, suffering cardiac arrest and extreme dehydration. He was brought to the hospital, but, despite Doctor Edward’s efforts, the patient was showing no real signs of improvement.

cardiac arrest goner guy

code red is declared

.”I tried to do what I could,” Doctor Edwards says, resigned, as he reaches over and turns off the respirator.

“Wait,” says Beth, “that’s it?” We hear the cardiac monitor beeping in quick, irregular succession, then flatline. “If a patient doesn’t show signs of improvement,” Doctor Edwards explains. “Dawn calls it.” He walks away, leaving Beth to digest this disturbing piece of information, and gets what looks like the patient’s chart, and a scalpel, which Doc Edwards knifes matter-of-factly into the man’s temple, rekilling him. Beth looks away.

As she helps Doc Edwards wheel the body out of the room, Beth sees Officer Dawn talking with another officer in the hallway.  As they pass, Officer Dawn looks down, eyes the body of the dead patient on the stretcher, prompting Doc Edwards to stop, explain his decision to Officer Dawn as she listens for a moment before finally nodding her approval. Beth  takes this unsupervised moment to peer down the hallway, as if making mental notes to herself as to the layout of the hospital.

It seems Officer Dawn's approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

It seems Officer Dawn’s approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

Beth ventures a little further down the hallway, looks in one of the rooms, sees a young woman inside, dressed in hospital scrubs. The young woman, looking fearful, quickly closes the door in Beth’s face. Officer Dawn strides by, bids Beth to, “Come on, the body’s getting cold.”  Led by Officer Dawn, they approach a set double-doors, and Officer Dawn steps forward, pulls out a large set keys, and unlocks the doors, holding the door open and nodding Beth and Doc Grady through.

As they wheel the stretcher down the darkened, empty hallway, Beth asks Doc Edwards how many people are at the hospital. “Just enough to keep us going,” he replies. Doctor Edwards adds that while some people started here, others arrived later, as patients, and that “everyone has a job.”  When Beth asks if they could just bury this body, Doc Edwards replies that they “only go out when we need to,” and while dumping the bodies down the chute to the basement isn’t the most dignified system, it’s the safest and easiest way available to them.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows of the bottom floor were blown out, and they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers...

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows on the bottom floor of the hospital were blown out, but they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers, so it seems that entry and exit from the hospital is not so easy…

...and if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement

Doc Edwards adds if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement “take care” of some of the mess.

Beth watches the body fall down the tall, dark chute, and then hears the loud crash of the body hitting the basement floor, far down in the blackness below. Immediately, we hear the savagery and carnage of the walkers as they begin to feast upon the dead patient’s remains.

Later, Beth enters a small cafeteria room, and as she cautiously begins to select the offerings from the warming trays and spoon them onto her plate, she is approached by.. Gorman.

Gorman's opening line to Beth,

Gorman’s opening line to Beth, “You’re lookin’ better and better.” Ewwww.

Gorman is disguhhsting

Gorman is a disgusting, creepy nightmare.

Gorman recounts to Beth how he and another officer got a lead on some guns, so one night, they were “way out there” when they saw her, “wrigglin’ around in the road” with a “rotter” on top of her.  Beth continues to focus on loading her tray, does not respond, nor look at Gorman,. prompting him to ask her, “You don’t remember me, huh?”

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black,

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black.

Gorman leans forward, with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter

Gorman leans forward, and with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter “high on her thighs” when he and the other officer found her, but, lucky for her, “I got there first.”

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this creepy statement oozes over her.

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this lewd statement oozes over her.

Watching Beth silently load up her tray, Gorman introduces himself, “I’m Gorman.” When Beth continues to not engage with him, Gorman tells her that when someone does something nice for someone else, “it’s courtesy to show some appreciation.” Beth registers his meaning, but still says nothing, does not look at him.  Gorman adds, “Unless you want me to write down everything you’re taking,” and motions to Beth’s tray, full of food, drink. says, “Everything costs something, right?” Beth looks at him now, wide eyed and totally creeped out,  but says nothing. She turns with her tray, walks out of the room.  Gorman checks out her ass as she leaves, goes back to his business, whatever that is.

I find it a show of real strength that Beth did not cow down to Gorman in this scene. Although Beth is still young, and has questioned her own strength and value in these dire times, she is demonstrating how much she has learned from her father, from Daryl, from Maggie, Rick and the rest of the prison gang.  She is staying focused, assessing her situation, playing the game, until an opportunity arises for her to break free of this hospital of horrors .

As Beth walks down the long hallway, carrying her tray, she hears Officer Dawn’s voice coming from a room, instructing Noah, the young man who Beth saw mopping, earlier, “We’ll find Joan…until then, you’re on laundry duty, and I want my uniform washed,” and Noah echoes Officer Dawn’s next words, words he has heard many times before, “separately, and pressed.” Noah looks through the window, through the slats of the horizontal blinds, out at Beth as he says this, then turns with raised, joking eyebrows at Dawn, who regards him coolly from the recumbent stationary bike she is pedaling.

dawn and noah noah echoes dawn

“Smartass,” Officer Dawn Lerner mutters, and Noah salutes her playfully, with a small smile, before turning back to his task.

Beth steps into Doc Edwards’ lair, finds him spinning some vinyl…

doc edwards listens to some vinyl

A little blues by Junior Kimbrough…Beth says she can’t remember the last time she heard a record. Doc Edwards says playing  records is one of the few perks he gets as the only doctor at Grady Memorial.

doc edwards suffocating in boredom

Doc Edwards tells Beth that at one point in his life, he felt like he was drowning in research, but “now the oceans are dry, and I’m suffocating in boredom.” Beth tells him,”If you’re safe enough to be bored, you’re lucky.”

Beth tries to give her tray of food to Doc Edwards, and when he asks her about her food, she replies, “The more you take, the more you owe, right?” After Doc Edwards promises he won’t tell Dawn, he bids Beth to sit, try the not-quite-delicious guinea pig creation that is constituting the meat entree on Beth’s plate. Doc Edwards cuts her off a bite, holds it out to her…

Mmmm...guinea pig.  I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate...is there a garden somewhere?

Mmmm…guinea pig. I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate…is there a garden somewhere?

Chewing, Beth’s face says it all, but she gives Doc Edwards a good-natured smile of thanks. She turns to notice the large painting to her right, “The Denial of Saint Peter,” by Caravaggio.  Doctor Edwards says that he found it outside of the High Museum of Art, in the trash. Beth remarks on the beauty of the painting, and Doc Edwards regards the masterpiece, says that it has no place in this world anymore…art has nothing to do with survival…art is about transcendence, rising to a higher level.

“We can’t do that anymore?” Beth asks.  Doc Edwards turns to look at her. “I don’t know,” he replies.  Beth tells him she still sings…he smiles at her.  Doc Edwards seems to have a genuine liking for Beth.  She seems to represent a light, a spark of life, that he hasn’t encountered in a long, long time.

Just then, Officer Dawn pokes her head in the doorway, announces, “We’ve got a new one.” As they gather around the new arrival, an unconscious man, a male officer announces they found his wallet, and his identification.  He then goes over to Officer Dawn, whispers something to her that catches her attention, as the female officer recounts how the man dropped from the first floor of a building, trying to get away from…something, presumably a walker (or a rotter, as they say in these parts).

Doctor Edwards is quick to announce that the man’s vitals are dropping, he’s lost a lot of blood, and concludes, “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Officer Dawn tells the male officer, “I’ve got this,” pushes her way through, and tells Doc Edwards, “You said you wanted to save people, so save him.”

Doc Edwards tells Dawn,

Doc Edwards tells Dawn, “You told me not to waste resources…this guy’s a loser.”

“Well,” replies Officer Dawn, “this time, I want you to try.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Doc Edwards gets to work, asking Beth to plug the ultrasound and EKG into the battery pack.  As he moves the ultrasound over the unconscious man’s lungs, Doctor Edwards sees on the imaging monitor that the man has a punctured lung, which is filling the thorax cavity up with blood, making the man unable to breathe.  The EKG monitor starts to beep quickly, signalling cardiac distress. When Doc Edwards hands Beth a set of keys and asks her to get him a large hollow needle from the cabinet, Officer Dawn grabs the keys from Beth’s hand, shoves her aside, unlocks the cabinet and grabs a needle and syringe from inside, and hands it to Doctor Edwards.  Doctor Edwards plunges the needle through the man’s chest, releasing the blood in a spray.  The man immediately begins to breathe easier.

needle plunge

When Officer Dawn asks Doc Edwards if the man is going to make it, Doc Edwards pulls up the man’s shirt, exposing the severe bruising on his abdomen, suggesting internal bleeding…Doc Edwards is pretty hell bent on pronouncing the man a lost cause, which sends Officer Dawn into a silent fury.  She hauls off and slaps poor Beth, hard, right on the cut on her cheek, reopening the wound, causing it to bleed anew. Bitch!

It's like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by...

It’s like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by…

As Doc Edwards looks on in shock and horror, Officer Crazy-Ass Dawn Lerner looks him in the eye, tells him to “consider the stakes, here.” As Dawn the Devil Spawn stalks out of the room, Beth lifts a shaky hand to her bleeding cheek.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Later, as Doc Edwards tends to her wound, Beth asks him if she, Officer Dawn, is always like that.  “Only on her bad days, ” Doc Edwards replies. “Unfortunately for us, those are the only kind she has.”

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt...Dawn likes things neat.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt, as Dawn likes things neat. “She must love your office,” Beth says sarcastically.  Doc Edwards grins at this.  “We all have ways of making her pay.”

After Doc Edwards steps out to let Beth get changed into her clean shirt, Beth discovers that Noah has left her a gift in the clean shirt’s pocket…a green lollipop, like the kind a doctor’s office would keep on hand to give to children. This brings a small, secret smile to Beth’s face.

Her respite doesn’t last long, because outside in the hall, two officers are bringing in a young woman, who is wearing the telltale blue scrubs of Grady Memorial Hospital and struggling against them.  Joan, the woman who Officer Dawn spoke of “finding” earlier. She has a walker bite on her arm.

So gnarly.

So gnarly.

As they strap Joan down to the bed, Dawn begins by chastising Joan, telling her she doesn’t know what she was thinking, but Joan has two choices now…either they cut off her arm, or Joan does. Clearly, Officer Dawn’s bedside manner leaves something to be desired…

screw you says joan

Joan replies, through clenched teeth, “Screw you!” She then looks at Gorman, and I think she says, “And your little bitch, too!” Enraged, Gorman lunges towards Joan, only to be pushed back and ordered out of the room by Dawn.

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire...

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire…”We are not going to let you die, we are not going to let you turn,” Officer Dawn yells at Joan before Doc Edwards does the deed. “I’m not going back to them!” Joan yells at Officer Dawn. “You can’t control them!” Officer Dawn insists, “I will!”

After this horrific incident, Beth brings some bloodied scrubs into the laundry room. Noah is there, ironing clothes with an old-timey style iron. He introduces himself as the one who put a lollipop in her shirt pocket.  Beth thanks him for that, to which he replies that it seemed like she could use a pick-me-up.  As he takes the bloodstained clothes, he adds that after this day, he should have given her the whole jar.

Beth asks him about Joan, asks if she had just stayed, and worked, couldn’t she have done her time, paid her debt to the hospital, and left?  Noah shakes his head, with a wry little smile, replies that he hasn’t seen it work like that, yet.  Beth asks him how long he’s been there…he replies that he’s been there just over a year.  Beth’s face registers her dismay and horror at this news, as the gravity of her situation sinks in.  Noah shows her a long scar on the back of his leg, tells her that he and his dad were pretty messed up when Dawn’s officers found them…at least, that’s what they told him. They told Noah that they could only save one of them, either him, or his dad.

Noah tells Beth that he believed that story for the longest time…but now, he knows. His dad was bigger, stronger, and would have fought back…his dad was more of a threat. “So they left him behind,” Beth says.  Noah says that Dawn looked the other way, that while she says she is in charge, she is, only just barely…and it’s getting worse. And that’s why, when the time is right, Noah says that he is leaving this place, going to find his uncle, and make his way back up to Richmond to get his mom.

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak,

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak, “But they don’t know shit about me, what I am, what you are…” And as he says this, Beth smiles, the first real smile since she woke up in Grady Memorial.

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, relieves the female officer standing guard. She has a try of food for Beth, bids her eat. Beth replies that she doesn’t eat much, that she’s “not staying longer than you make me.”

Dawn says nothing, sits, pats the spot next to her for Beth to join her.

dawn has a chat with beth

Dawn advises Beth not to look at her stay at Grady Memorial as a sentence, that they are giving Beth clothing, shelter, protection…and when have those things ever been free? Beth tells Dawn that she didn’t ask for their help, and Dawn replies, “But you needed it.”  Beth sits with her hands folded, says nothing. Dawn continues her proselytizing, saying that one day the world will return to what it was like before, and until then, they have to tow the line, and people like Beth, who have been given help, need to give back.

Beth looks at Dawn, asks her if she really thinks that someone is going to come save them…Dawn seems assured that there are “people like us” out there, people who will restore order to the world, and until then, they all need to chip in, to work, and give back.  She tells Beth to keep working, and she’ll pay off her debt, be out of there in no time.  Beth, after hearing Noah’s story, knows better, but says nothing.  Dawn tells Beth in order for her to do all this, she needs to eat, to get strong, and heal.  So, Beth reaches over, spears a bite of food on her fork, and begins to eat in small bites. Satisfied, Dawn leaves.

Later, Beth is in Joan’s room, mopping up blood from the floor.  She is humming a little tune to herself. and Joan smiles, says, “That’s really nice.”

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her,

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her, “Not yet.”

Beth, at a loss for what to say, tells Joan, “I’m so sorry.” Joan replies that she (Officer Dawn) can control them, but she won’t, because it’s easier not to, because “she’s a coward.” Beth asks Joan what he, Gorman, did to her. Joan replies that it doesn’t matter.  She looks off sadly, says, “I guess it’s easier to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”

The implication here, the way I see it, is that Dawn has the male officers do her bidding, provide the muscle to get her will done, and take on the dirty, dangerous work, like going on runs, and “savenapping” people (Chris Hardwick’s term on Talking Dead for the Grady Memorial officers’ predilection for “saving/kidnapping” vulnerable and injured people), bringing them back to Grady Memorial, and keeping them there against their will, while the poor savenapped people incur debt to the hospital by needing treatment, and getting their most basic needs met…a debt that they can never seem to pay off, to one day leave the hospital.

In return, Dawn looks the other way while the officers harass, rape, and brutalize the female patients, or whomever they want to…and lately, it seems that the balance of power is shifting. Dawn Lerner calls the shots, but she is more and more of a figurehead, while the male officers do as they please, under her nose, without her knowing the full extent of what is really going on.  And instead of confronting the officers, Dawn has taken the path of least resistance, and looks the other way.

Later, Beth is in her room, washing bloodied bandages…she stops, and goes to her bed, feels under the mattress for the lollipop that Noah had slipped her.  It is not there. Beth is startled by a voice behind her. “Lose somethin’?” She turns around to see Gorman, who is holding up her lollipop.  “This is yours, ain’t it?”

Gorman pulls the plastic wrapper off the lollipop and begins to suck on it. “Mmmmm.”

I may never eat another lollipop again.

I may never eat another lollipop again…

After making a big show of eating Beth’s lollipop, Gorman offers it to her, telling her that maybe he’ll let her have a taste…

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless...

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless.

So. Gross.

So. Gross!

Before things can get too much grosser (and things are pretty much at gross max-capacity right about now), Doc Edwards steps into the room, tells Gorman to back off of Beth.  Gorman is pretty pissed at being interrupted, says that “the girl should have been mine.” Doc Edwards replies that nobody is his, and that Gorman isn’t getting Joan back, either.  Gorman disagrees, saying he will get Joan back…he turns to Doc Edwards, asks, “Do you think Dawn’s gonna stop me?” Doc Edwards says that he will stop Gorman.

Gorman, with a little laugh, asks Doc Edwards if he’s stepping up…Doc Edwards steps closer to Gorman, asks him what’s going to happen if Gorman gets sick, or gets an infection, or gets bitten…Gorman points the lollipop at the doctor, replies that he thinks that maybe someone else will be there to help, someone who isn’t Doc Edwards…just then, Dawn appears in the doorway, summons Gorman.

Without missing a beat, as he backs away from Beth, Gorman tells Doc Edwards, and Beth, just out of Dawn’s earshot, that maybe, just maybe, someone else will be in charge, someone who’s not her, (meaning, of course, Dawn Lerner)…

...and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room.

…and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room. Damn!

After Gorman takes his leave, Beth turns to Doctor Edwards, asks him why he stays when he can leave any time he wants to. In reply, Doc Edwards brings Beth to the bottom floor, and shows her…

welcome to the ground floor of grady memorial

“Welcome to the ground floor of Grady Memorial Hospital.”

Doc Edwards then brings Beth up to the roof of the hospital, where we see the rooftop garden, and this…

...the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

…the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that after the turn, after they began to evacuate people from the hospital, they heard the bombs, and the screams, outside the hospital.  All the people they had evacuated were…gone.  They stayed put inside the hospital for a while, until the food ran out. Then, they began to go on runs, and they encountered people in need of help, of healing.  Doctor Edwards wanted to help them, but Dawn told him they couldn’t spare the resources.  One day, Doc Edwards saw a boy, covered in napalm burns and needing medical assistance, so he struck a deal with Dawn…those who were treated at the hospital would stay on, once they were healed, and work to compensate for the resources used in their treatment.

Doctor Edwards tells Beth that it was Dawn who kept them going, kept them alive…Beth asks him, “You call this living?” Doc Edwards laughs a little at his, says that at least they are protected, breathing…not out there.

Beth hedges, says that she should get back. Doc Edwards suggests that Beth go check on Mr.Trevitt, the man who was brought in earlier, and then call it a day. He tells her that Mr. Trevitt is stable, and is due for another 20 mg of clozapine. Tomorrow is another day, and they can start fresh.  Beth agrees, and goes to do as he asks.

Beth prepares the clozapine, crushing the capsules into powder, adding water, and filling the syringe.  As she injects the solution into Mr.Trevitt’s arm, Noah comes by to check on her.  As they greet each other, Mr. Trevitt begins violently convulsing in his bed, the EKG beeping wildly.  Not good.  Beth stares, helpless, unbelieving, saying, “No…no…”

Mr. Trevor goes flatline...so not good for poor Beth.

Mr. Trevitt goes flatline…so not good for poor Beth.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevor.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevitt.

After rekilling Mr.Trevitt, Dawn whirls to face Beth, pointing the bloody point of her scissors at Beth. “What did you do to him?” she demands.  Beth is at a loss for an explanation.

Officer Dawn says,

Officer Dawn says, “He was fine until you two were alone with him…something happened.”

Noah speaks up, covers for Beth, tells Dawn that while Beth stepped out to get some gauze, he was mopping and accidentally unplugged the ventilator, just for a second, before plugging it back in again…Dawn orders Gorman to take Noah to her office, and Noah is roughly led away.  Doc Edwards tries to step in, telling Dawn it was an accident, to no avail.  She stalks off after Gorman and Noah.

Beth tells Doc Edwards that Noah’s version is not what happened…Mr. Trevitt just started seizing…Doc Edwards furrows his brow, asks her, “You gave him clonazepam, right?”  Beth thinks a moment, says, “Clozapine…you said clozapine.” Doc Edwards looks at her like, poor stupid girl, denies this, says he told her clonazepam (which he didn’t, he said “clozapine,” and set Beth up…what a douche).

Suddenly, they hear the sounds of Noah’s savage beating in Dawn’s office…Beth tries to run to help Noah, while Douchey Doc Edwards holds her back.

Poor Noah!

Poor Noah!

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, closes the door behind her.  She informs Beth that she knows what really happened, that while Noah is one of her “best workers,” he is not a good liar. Dawn tells Beth that they are there to serve the greater good, and that, she, Beth, is “not the greater good.” She tells Beth that she is weak, and when Beth protests, Officer Dawn asks her how many people had to risk their lives to save hers?

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that “the wards work to keep the officers happy, and if the officers are happy, they work harder” at serving the greater good, by keeping the system going.

Officer Dawn says that one day, they will be rescued, and they will then help put the world back together, and while there have been compromises that have had to be made, their system is working…she tries to cut Beth’s self-worth down, telling her that while in here, she is worth something, out there, she is somebody’s burden.

When Beth calls “bullshit” on this, Officer Dawn yanks up Beth’s arm,  showing the scars from when Beth tried to cut her wrists in despair, back in Season 2, at her father’s farm, back in the early days of the turn.

Then, Officer Dawn tells Beth that it’s ok, “some people aren’t meant for this life, but they shouldn’t hold back the people who are.”  And with this shitty proclamation, Dawn Lerner leaves Beth standing in the room, alone, closing the door behind her as she walks out.

Later, Noah, sporting a black eye, tells Beth “it’s not as bad as it looks.” Besides, in an act of contrition, Dawn has been generous with the painkillers.

Noah  shows come compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn's

Noah shows some compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn needed Trevitt for something, that that’s what the whole thing was about.  He says, of Dawn Lerner, that she is “trapped, too.”

Beth tells Noah they're not trapped.

Beth tells Noah they’re not trapped. “I’m going with you,” she says.

Noah looks away for a moment, then they begin to make plans.  Down the chute is the fastest way out, and landing on the bodies below would muffle any noise. Noah tells Beth that he can keep Dawn occupied if she can find the spare key to the elevator bank in Dawn’s office. Beth nods.

Later, while helping Dawn reorganize a room, Noah gives Beth the signal to go ahead…she slips away and stealths into Dawn’s office…

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth finding Dawn's secret porno stash.

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth happening upon Dawn’s secret porn collection as she looked for the spare key.  While Beth doesn’t find any porn, she does find…

...poor Joan's body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out.  So sad, but so kind of badass too...Joan really doesn't seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker...she's like, bring it, bitch, and I'll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

…poor Joan’s body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out. So sad, but so kind of badass, too…Joan really doesn’t seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker…she’s like, bring it, bitch, and I’ll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

Unfortunately, Joan's deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth's need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and  she gets busted by Gorman...

Unfortunately, Joan’s deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth’s need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and she gets busted by Gorman…but not before she scores the spare key…go, Beth!

gorman sez maybe theres another solution

Gorman works the angle that Dawn doesn’t have to know…it can be our little secret. a lil win-win for both of us…”So how about it, Betty? We gonna work somethin’ out here?” Beth plays along, nods…

beth looks to joan walker

…and as Gorman moves in, Beth looks over to Joan’s body, waiting for her to turn…

joan walker wakes

…and right on cue, Joan Walker begins to wiggle her fingers.