TWD Season 6, Ep 14, “Twice As Far”

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

“Twice As Far”

“I wish it didn’t have to end. It was never my intention to hurt you. But this is how it has to be. We have so much here…people, food, walls…everything we need to live. But what we have, other people want, too, and that won’t ever change. If we survive this threat, an it’s not over, another one will be back to take its place.

I love you all here, and I’d have to kill for you.

And I can’t. I won’t. 

Rick sent me away, and I wasn’t ever going to come back, but everything happened, and I wound up staying…but I can’t, anymore. I can’t love anyone because I can’t kill for anyone. 
So, I’m going like I always should have. Don’t come after me, please.”

ūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒūüíĒ

 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Devastating, really, all around. It didn’t hit me as hard with the first watching, but Ep 614 really did it to me the rewatching, picture-taking, posting.

A very heartfelt (and heartbroken) Deadie to Denise Cloyd, and the incredible actress who plays her, Merritt Wever. 

Doc Denise, you died doing one of the things you did best, giving the righteous biz, and even though your very real message got cut off mid-sentence, we, and Daryl and Rosita, heard every word. ‚̧ Mad props, much love. ‚̧

There was a whole segment of Ep 614 that I couldn’t even tackle, basically the apothecary scene to after the Denise-almost-gets-chomped-killing-the-Orange-Crush-Walker-and-throws-up-oatmeal-on-her-glasses-and-starts-yelling-at-Daryl-and-Rosita scene. It was too upsetting, too sad. This whole second half of TWD Season 6 is really doing a number on me, truth be told.

My dreams every night are basically set in the post-zombie apocalypse, with Negan and his cult army taking front stage center.

And now, there’s this:

  
It all makes me so stressed, and these days, when I’m stressed, I work in the garden a lot and make memes:

IMG_0043IMG_0237IMG_0334

It seems in 2016, my playlists are quite often tribute playlists, honoring our fallen musical heroes and visionaries, and this playlist is no exception.  In honor of Phife, Tip, and our sweet gang, I offer the following playlist, and will, in this and future posts, often and lovingly refer to Rick, Daryl, and our sweet, sweet gang as The Tribe.  ‚̧

RIP Phife Dawg ‚̧

Much love, dear readers, and enjoy the playlist.

The Tribe Playlist

A Tribe Called Quest, “Can I Kick It?”

EPMD, “Please Listen To My Demo”

Deep Purple, “Hush”

Brilliant Colors, “Painting Truths”

Queen Latifah, “Love Again” (for Doc Denise <3)

A Tribe Called Quest, “Scenario”

The Hives, “Tick Tick Boom”

Converge, “Aimless Arrow”

Tijuana Panthers, “Time”

Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”

A Tribe Called Quest, “Buggin’ Out” (We #TWDFamily all be buggin’ out right about now…)

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 14, “Spend”

“Spend”

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

As The Walking Dead’s Episode 514, “Spend,” opens, we see shots of another day dawning in Alexandria…the sun rises over the stately homes. The birds are singing. ¬†All is quiet and peaceful within the steel walls of the enclosed community, hearkening to days gone bye.

We see Father Gabriel step into a garage that has been converted into a church.

We see Father Gabriel step into the opening of a garage that has been converted into a little chapel. He stands there, hesitating, before entering with an air of one who is resigned, and who is going through the motions.

Gabriel makes his way up to the front of the room, which has been decorated with care. Sunlight streams through the windows, and a pane of stained glass has been hung behind the altar to catch the light. Chairs are arranged in rows, and a brightly colored throw rug has been carefully placed before the makeshift altar. A bible is opened on the altar, surrounded by candles.

Gabrielsteps up to his place at the altar, and begins to leaf through the pages of the bible which is placed, open and waiting, for Alexandria's new priest.

Gabriel steps up to his place at the altar, and carefully places a wrinkled piece of tracing type paper in the pages, which are open, and ready, for Alexandria’s new spiritual leader’s use. ¬†It is easy to imagine that the citizens of Alexandria are excited to resume worship, and eager for some spiritual comfort and guidance from their new priest, in these times.

Gabriel looks over and spies...

Gabriel then looks over and spies…

...a bowl of fresh strawberries, and a sweet note welcoming the new priest.

…a bowl of fresh strawberries, and a sweet note welcoming the new priest.

This sweet offering to Gabriel from a member of his new congregation seems to be bringing up some painful memories and self-loathing for Gabriel.  Seth Gilliam once again delivers a powerful performance as the tortured priest who cannot forgive himself for the sins of his past.

This offering to Gabriel from a member of his new congregation seems to be bringing up some painful memories, and self-loathing, for Gabriel. Seth Gilliam once again delivers a powerful performance as the tortured priest who cannot forgive himself for the sins of his past…when he kept his church doors locked and refused his parishioners the safety inside the church walls, leaving them outside to be torn apart by walkers.

Gabriel turns back to the altar, and the bible before him.  The top page has a tiny tear at the top of it, and Gabriel slowly tears the page out of the bible, and tosses it aside.

Gabriel turns back to the altar, and the bible before him. The top page has a tiny tear at the top of it, and Gabriel slowly tears the page out of the bible, and tosses it aside.

Gabriel continues tearing pages out of the bible.

Gabriel continues ripping page after page out of the bible.

gabriel losing it

Faster and faster, Gabriel rips out the bible's pages...

Faster and faster, Gabriel tears out the bible’s pages…

...until he has torn away all the pages, leaving the spine and back cover of the bible.

…until he has torn away half the bible, leaving the spine, back cover bare. He slams the bible shut.

After he destroys the bible, Gabriel looks over, once again, at the note and strawberries. His face shows the torment inside.

After he destroys the bible, Gabriel looks over, once again, at the note and strawberries. His jaw clenches, and his face shows the torment inside as he looks at the sweet offering.

Gabriel then lifts his gaze towards the heavens with the manner of one who does not feel worthy of divine forgiveness, or salvation, for his mistakes and misdeeds.

Gabriel then lifts his gaze towards the heavens with the manner of one who does not feel worthy of divine forgiveness, or salvation, for the sins of his past.

Meanwhile, as the gates of Alexandria roll open…

Yes...

Yes…

...yes...

…yes…¬†

...YES!

YES!

Daryl and Aaron head out on their first recruiting run together as Alexandria's Dynamic Duo.

Daryl and Aaron head out on their first recruiting run together as Alexandria’s Dynamic Duo.

Across town, in a gazebo, Reg apologizes to a waiting Noah for being late…the power’s out again.

Reg jokes to Noah,

Reg jokes to Noah, “How is it that you’re the one who called this extremely early morning meeting, yet I’m the one bringing breakfast?”

As Noah takes the cup of steel cut oatmeal that Reg offers, he jokes back,

As Noah takes the cup of steel cut oatmeal that Reg offers, he jokes back, “Because you’re a good guy?”

After the banter back and forth, Noah asks Reg if they can start meeting in the mornings, so Reg can teach him “how to build things.” Reg asks him if he wants to be an architect, and Noah replies, “I wanna make sure those walls stay up.”

Reg, surprised, asks Noah if he thinks the walls could fall. Noah looks around, replies:

“I think they could get knocked in.” Surely, Noah is thinking of his family, and what happened to the¬†Shirewilt Estates.

Noah softens this train of thought at Reg’s alarmed reaction, saying it could happen years from now, and then tells Reg, “It wouldn’t hurt if I knew some of what you knew.”

As Reg regards him, Noah continues,

As Reg regards him, Noah continues, “The walls, the houses, some new buildings…”

Reg stares at the young man before him.

Reg stares at the young man before him. “So, you’re in it for the long haul?”

Noah looks down, shyly, says that he is. Reg pulls out a black journal notebook, opens it, and begins writing in it.

reg notebook 1

Noah asks Reg what he’s writing, and Reg replies that he writes everything down, everything of note, that is. ¬†When Reg looks up, he sees the young man watching him, so he takes his notes out of the notebook and hands it to Noah.

“Now you should,” Reg says, handing the notebook to Noah. “There’s going to be a lot to remember.”

Reg continues, “This is the beginning of this place.” He motions with his head towards the notebook, prompting Noah, “You should record all that…along with everything I’m going to teach you about building things.” At Noah’s look of surprise, Reg smiles, begins to dig into his oatmeal. Noah smiles, shyly looks down and begins writing in his new notebook.

Meanwhile, Abraham stands at the bathroom mirror...

Meanwhile, Abraham stands at the bathroom mirror…

...while his lovely lady sleeps in.

…while his lovely lady sleeps in.

Abraham's face is grim as he peers at his reflection in the mirror.

Abraham’s face is grim as he peers at his reflection in the mirror.

Later, as they prepare to go out on a run for a new micro-inverter for the solar grid, Noah holds out a gun for Eugene to take.  Eugene tries to decline the offer.

Later, as the Run Crew prepares to go out on a goods run for a new micro-inverter for the solar grid, Noah holds out a gun for Eugene to take. Eugene tries to decline the offer. “Oh, no thank you.”

Nicholas, walking by, laughingly says, “Just take it.” “C’mon,” says Noah, “you gotta protect yourself.”

“Not if I don’t go,” replies Eugene. The one thing Eugene is not afraid of, it seems, is owning up to his cowardice.

Aiden walks up, informs Eugene that he’s not driving all that way to come back with the wrong shit…Eugene tries to tell them that there are at least a dozen different options of this “shit”, clearly-marked and¬†available through a variety of manufacturers, and “the shit will be right,” and he, of course, will be available to “install said shit” once they return, and the solar grid will once again be operational…

In reply, Noah presses the gun to Eugene's chest. No backing out, dude. You're the only one who knows what to look for...you're going.

In reply, Noah presses the gun to Eugene’s chest. His unspoken message is clear. No backing out, dude. You’re the only one who knows what the hell we’re looking for…you’re going.

Eugene reluctantly takes the gun, looks down at it with dismay.

Eugene reluctantly takes the gun, looks down at it with dismay.

As they load up the van, Tara says to Noah, “Heard you talking to Holly last night…what’s her story?” Noah plays dumb. “Why do you ask?”

They are so young and cute and full of life...am drowning my serious sorrow right now with Modelos.

They are so young and cute and full of life…am drowning some serious sorrow right now with Modelos as I rewatch this scene. Damn you back to the hell that spawned you, zombie apocalypse!

As Noah turns away, smiling, Tara calls after him,

As Noah turns away, smiling, Tara calls after him, “What? It was an innocent question…don’t make me hurt you!”

Aiden, meahwhile, says goodbye to his parents.  He assures them that everything's set, and the mission is a straightforward one. They'll be fine.

Aiden, meanwhile, says goodbye to his parents. He assures them that everything’s set, and the mission is a straightforward one. Aiden assures his parents, “We’ll be fine.”

His father, Reg, protests lightly that he's a worrier...that's how that wall over there got built.

His father, Reg, protests lightly that he’s a worrier…that’s how that wall over there got built.

Aiden kisses his mom and bids his father farewell.

Aiden kisses his mom and bids his father farewell.

Now, it's time for Glenn and Maggie to say their goodbyes.  Maggie assures Glenn that he's got this...he always does. Although her words inspire confidence, her face shows her worry. Every  run has its risk.

Now, it’s time for Glenn and Maggie to say their goodbyes. Maggie assures Glenn that he’s got this…he always does. Although her words inspire confidence, her face shows her worry. Every run is a risk.

Glenn and Maggie kiss goodbye.

Glenn and Maggie kiss goodbye.

As Glenn and the gang turn to go, Deanna makes a point of thanking Glenn again.

As Glenn and the gang turn to go, Deanna makes a point of thanking Glenn once again.

As they load into the van, Tara tries to ask Noah about Holly once again when the loud techno beats of Dubstep flood the van.

As they load into the van, Tara tries to ask Noah about Holly once again when the loud techno beats of Dubstep flood the van.

“Oh, great, another mix,” mock enthuses Noah.

As Noah and Tara make funny faces at each other in silent commentary about the ridiculous music, the song's lyrics announce,

As Noah and Tara make funny shrugs and faces at each other in silent commentary about the ridiculous music, the song’s lyrics announce, “Now, you’re going to die.”

As Glenn, Tara, and Noah prepare to suffer the long drive with bad 90's techno blasting in their ears, Glenn tries to look on the bright side...

As Glenn, Tara, and Noah prepare to suffer the long drive with bad 90’s techno blasting in their ears, Glenn tries to look on the bright side, “At least it lures them (the walkers) away.” From the community and the fences, he means, but his words unknowingly foretell events that will to come later in the episode.

As the van drives away, Gabriel emerges, looks at Reg and Deanna significantly. Reg raises his hand in greeting. Gabriel seems to be thinking, already, coming to some conclusions, decisions about his course of action.

As the van drives away, Gabriel emerges, looks at Reg and Deanna significantly. Reg raises his hand in greeting. Gabriel seems to be thinking, already, coming to some conclusions, decisions about his future course of action. As I have said before, Seth Gilliam is killing it in this episode…at this point, he has not spoken yet in Episode 514, but has already communicated so much with just his eyes and facial expressions. After a moment, Gabriel turns away and goes back into his garage chapel (perhaps to try and tape the pages of the bible back together…can’t exactly ask for another copy, can he?)

¬†Meanwhile, in another garage across town…

Rick stops by and sees Jessie in her garage, picking up pieces of owl sculpture...it seems someone finished the owl demolition job that Rick accidentally started when he crashed into the sculpture during his wack attack a couple of episodes back...

Rick stops by and sees Jessie in her garage, picking up pieces of the wrecked owl sculpture…it seems someone finished the owl demolition job that Rick accidentally started when he crashed into the sculpture during his wack attack a couple of episodes back, in “Remember.”

Jessie says stuff like this never happens around here...

Jessie says stuff like this never happens around here…

Constable Grimes has a caper to solve...the case of the Villianous Owl Vandal.

Constable Grimes has a caper to solve…the case of the Villianous Owl Vandal.¬†(“Did the owl have any enemies that you know of?”)

Rick and Jessie share a joke and a laugh about the situation...any opportunity to flirt and smile at each other, they'll take it!

Rick and Jessie share a joke and a laugh about the situation…any opportunity to flirt and smile at each other, they’ll take it!

Rick tells Jessie about the Broken Window Theory...keep the windows intact, keep the society intact.  Besides, he adds with a smile, he's gotta do something today...

Rick tells Jessie about the Broken Window Theory…keep the windows intact, keep the society intact. Besides, he adds with a smile, he’s gotta do something today…

Rick gives Jessie one more hot look before walking away. I must cop to being a total jealous B about Jessie at first...my WD buddy and I agree that we really like her, and it's super cute how Rick acts with her. Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Jessie, imparts a realness and sweetness to her character that makes her really endearing and easy to relate to.

Rick gives Jessie one more hot look before walking away. I must cop to being a total jealous B about Jessie at first…my WD buddy and I agree that we really like her, and it’s super cute how Rick acts with her. Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Jessie, imparts a realness and sweetness to her character that makes Jessie really endearing and easy to relate to, like in this shot, as she processes her smoking hot crush on Rick Grimes. ‚̧

Meanwhile, the young crew in the van has made it to the warehouse, where they hope to find a new micro-inverter for the solar grid.  A micro inverter converts direct current (DC) generated by solar modules to alternating current (AC), which is then fed back into the electrical grid.

Meanwhile, the young crew in the van has made it to the warehouse, where they hope to find a new micro-inverter for the solar grid. A micro inverter converts direct current (DC) generated by solar modules to alternating current (AC), which is then fed back into the electrical grid.

After taking a quick survey of the outside of the building, Aiden remarks that the one door visible to them “is the fastest way in and out.”

Glenn points out that they should know all the exits before going in,

Glenn points out that they should know all the exits before going in, “so there’s a plan if things go south.” He’s right, of course.

But Nicholas, being, well, Nicholas, chimes in with,

But Nicholas, being, well, Nicholas, chimes in with, “I already got one…it’s called ‘going out the front.’” Even Aiden is looking at Nicholas like, “Dude, you’re kind of being a huge douche right now.”

Tara alerts Noah to an approaching walker, and Noah aims his gun, drops it with one shot. Aiden commends Noah on his aim, then turns to Nicholas and voices his agreement with Glenn’s plan, to do a perimeter check of all the exits before entering the building.

I definitely was railing on Aiden before, but I have seen how he seems to be able to roll with the reality and accept, on some level, that Glenn and his people do have the goods to back up what they are talking about. Glenn nods at Aiden’s plan.

Nicholas, however, shoots Aiden a sour look before shrugging on his backpack and glumly going about the business of splitting up into pairs and checking the exits.

Eugene and Tara pair up, and after Tara rekills a walker by plunging her knife into its skull, Eugene feels the need to “go on the record” as saying:

“Just so you know, I’m on record as stating that I should not be here. You will know that I am not combat ready or even for that matter, combat inclined.”

Tara replies, wisely, “You never are ’til you are.” She then tells Eugenge,¬†“You gotta start pulling your weight…you know, I did.”¬†

In response, Eugene stops, looks at Tara. She stops, looks at him. “What?” she asks.

Eugene makes his case.

Eugene makes his case. “All things being equal, I do believe my weight’s been pulled. I got you all to D.C., which is, in this man’s opinion, is damn near close to nirvana, judging by current standards.”

I do feel he has somewhat of a point, here…they certainly would not have lucked out with being recruited for Alexandria if Eugene hadn’t brought D.C. into the collective consciousness, even if it was based on a total lie…

Tara, however, is like, um, no.

Tara, however, is like, um, no. “Except you didn’t get us here…we got you here.” Ouch, Eugene, truth hurts!

Eugene continues to plead his case. “If it were not for me and my mention of this city’s potential for home and hearth, not a one of you would have had the vision to come here, let along the cojones to travail such a fraught and punishing pilgrimage.”¬†

“That, sister, is a fact,” concludes Eugene. “That’s as cold and hard as they come.”

Tara shakes her head at this. “God, you’re really that much of a coward,” she marvels. Eugene once again slows his step, looks at Tara.

“Yes, I am,” Eugene states, baldly. “I told you I was.”

Tara has no response to this, merely shakes her head and walks away. After a moment, and a nervous look around, Eugene takes off after her.

Meahwhile, Glenn and Noah are paired up, walking together. Glenn commends Noah’s aim back there, with the walker.

Noah replies that target practice has helped...

Noah replies that target practice has helped…

...and then laughingly admits that last week, he was pretty close to doing some

…and then laughingly admits that last week, he was pretty close to doing some “target practice on Aiden.” Glenn joins the laughter at this statement.

Glenn and Noah reach the front left corner of the building, and what they see beyond the tall chain link fence enclosing the property makes them stop in in their tracks.

Glenn mutters,

In front of the building, there is a large group of walkers, milling about. Glenn mutters, “Well, we’re not getting out the front.”

The gang enters the warehouse cautiously, led by Glenn, who bangs his hand on the door to draw any walkers inside the buiding to them. But all is quiet.

The gang enters the warehouse cautiously, led by Glenn, who bangs his hand on the door to draw any walkers inside the buiding to them. But all is quiet.

Glenn motions for them to wait a moment more, then Aiden speaks up, suggesting they get a move on...they go in, be careful, get it done. Glenn agrees, pulls out his gun.

Glenn motions for them to wait a moment more, then Aiden speaks up, suggesting they get a move on…they go in, be careful, get it done. Glenn agrees, pulls out his gun before entering the building.

Holding guns steady, shining flashlights into the darkness, the gang slowly and carefully begins to make their way into the warehouse, where they split up (Tara and Eugene in one aisle, Glenn, Noah, Aiden and Nicholas in another), moving cautiously through the aisles, looking for boxes marked with the name, brand, serial number of the micro-inverter they came for.

Glenn hears the faint sound of walkers, somewhere in the building. He motions to  the rest to be quiet, listens.

Glenn hears the sounds of walkers, somewhere in the building. He shushes, motions to the rest to be quiet, listens. “They’re stuck behind something,” he says. “How do you know?” Aiden asks. “I don’t…but they aren’t here.”

Glenn moves the gang forward, and as they turn a corner, they see:

A sizeable group of walkers, locked behind chainlink gated doors. The walkers begin to get loud and agitated as they see, and smell, the living.

A sizeable group of walkers, locked behind chainlink gated doors. The walkers begin to get loud and agitated as they see, and smell, the living.

There are a lot of walkers.

There are a lot of walkers.

It is probably one of the few opportunities someone like Aiden has had to really observe the walkers, close up...he looks really freaked.

It is probably one of the few opportunities someone like Aiden has had to really observe the walkers, close up…Aiden looks really freaked…

...especially when his eyes lock with the vacant, hungry stare of one of the walkers.

…especially when his eyes lock with the vacant, hungry stare of one of the walkers.

Aiden, rattled, says to Glenn, “You know your stuff.” Tara tells him that they were out there a long time.

Tara then turns and shines her flashlight on Eugene, who gapes in fear and horror at the trapped walkers...

Tara then turns and shines her flashlight on Eugene, who gapes in fear and horror at the trapped walkers…

...and tells him,

…and tells him, “You’re up.”

A little ways down one of the aisles, Eugene and Tara find the box marked with the information for the micro-inverter they are looking for.

eugene finds the microinverter

It is indeed the type of micro-inverter they are looking for. As Tara digs them out of the packing, Glenn gives props,

It is indeed the type of micro-inverter they are looking for. As Tara digs them out of the packing, Glenn gives props to Eugene, “All right, Eugene!”

While the gang, and their mission, seem like they are in the clear, the happy moment is short-lived, for behind Aiden, who is stealthing along another aisle, weapon held high, comes an unwelcome visitor…

Swat Walker!

S.W.A.T. Walker!

It takes Aiden a bit to hear the walker, whose riot gear face shield may have muffled the walker’s hissing and slavering. Aiden finally whirls around and sees the walker coming towards him.

The walker is encased in military-issue full-protective gear, including helmet and face shield.

The walker is encased in military-issue full-protective gear, including helmet and face shield.

Aiden faces the Swat Walker, and begins firing upon it, but the walker's protective gear makes it hard to get the head shot...

Aiden faces the S.W.A.T. Walker, and begins firing upon it, but the walker’s protective gear makes it hard to get the head shot…

...and the Swat Walker keeps coming.

…and the S.W.A.T. Walker keeps coming.

Hearing shots, Glenn shines his flashlight over the shelving and sees the armored walker approaching Aiden. Glenn advises Aiden to let the armored walker get closer before trying to rekill it.

Hearing shots, Glenn shines his flashlight over the shelving and sees the armored walker approaching Aiden. Glenn advises Aiden to let the armored walker get closer before trying to rekill it.

glenn sees SWAT walker

Aiden says he's got it, busts a cap into the walker's knee, dropping it.

Aiden says he’s got it, busts a cap into the walker’s knee, dropping it.

But, instead of going forward and rekilling the walker by hand at this point, Aiden keeps on firing bullets into the walker. ¬†Glenn, who has come forward, peers more closely at the downed walker, who is writhing and hissing on the floor, and sees…

The S.W.A.T. walker's armor has a grenade clipped to its shoulder, and Aiden continues to shoot at the walker.

SWAT walker's grenade

The S.W.A.T. Walker’s armor has a grenade clipped to its shoulder, and Aiden continues to shoot at the walker.

Glenn cries out to Aiden not to shoot, to stop shooting, but Aiden either does not hear, or heed, these warnings, takes a few more shots at the walker…

Aiden fires the fatal shot...

Aiden fires the fatal shot…

…and we hear Glenn’s cries, warnings, before the blinding explosion of Aiden’s bullet connecting with the S.W.A.T. Walker’s grenade rocks the warehouse.

After a much-needed commercial/bathroom/beverage re-up break, we are taken back to the warehouse, as the smoke and dust begins to clear from the blast. We hear the sounds of the walkers, louder now, and we see figures lurching forward in the haze. Glenn shines his flashlight, calling for,¬†“Noah, Tara, Eugene..!”

As Glenn calls for the others, we see the shadowy figures of the walkers in the background, coming closer.

As Glenn calls for the others, we see the shadowy figures of the walkers in the background, coming closer.

Noah emerges, dazed...Glenn tells him the cage is open. Noah turns and sees the walkers, freely moving about.

Noah emerges, dazed…Glenn tells him the cage is open. Noah turns and sees the walkers, freely moving about.

Glenn and Noah hear Eugene’s voice, and they rush over and peer over the shelving, to the next aisle…Eugene is there, looking frightened, pale, sweaty…they shine their flashlights down and see Tara, lying unconscious on the floor,with a pool of blood at her head.

Glenn asks if she is breathing...Eugene replies that he doesn't know, he can't tell from where he is...then Eugene starts saying, over and over, with growing alarm,

Glenn asks if she is breathing…Eugene replies that he doesn’t know, he can’t tell from where he is…then Eugene starts saying, over and over, with growing alarm, “Walker…”

“…walker!”

From the next aisle, unable to get to Eugene right away, Glenn coaches him, “Eugene, it’s yours, take it out.”¬†

Terrified, Eugene backs away from the advancing walker...

Terrified, Eugene backs away from the advancing walker…

...and raises his gun with shaking hands. But, before Eugene can pull the trigger...

…and raises his gun with shaking hands. But, before Eugene can pull the trigger…

...Eugene gets grabbed from behind by Sneaky, Snappy Walker...

…Eugene gets grabbed from behind by Sneaky, Snappy Walker

...who ends up on top of Eugene, snapping at his face as poor Eugene turns his face away, unable to get himself free.

…who ends up on top of Eugene, snapping at his face as poor Eugene tries to turn away, unable to get himself free.

Glenn leaps through the shelving and manages to pull Sneaky, Snappy Walker off of Eugene, and Noah comes through and throws down the death blow, smashing the butt end of his rifle into Sneaky, Snappy Walker’s¬†slimy, squishy skull.

Noah is a badass.

Noah is a badass.¬†‚̧

Glenn blasts another oncoming walker's brains all over the lens.

Glenn blasts another oncoming walker’s brains all over the floor, and the lens.

Noah pulls Eugene up, and Glenn orders them to get to the office, and he’ll get Tara. “Go!” Glenn barks, before leaping over the boxes to get to Tara.

Glenn is a total badass. ‚̧

Meanwhile, back in Alexandria…

Carol hears a rustling noise downstairs...she pads lightly, quickly down the stairs...

Carol hears a rustling noise downstairs…she pads lightly, quickly down the stairs…

...and opens the cupboard door, quickly, and finds Sam inside.

…and opens the cupboard door, quickly, and finds Sam inside.

Carol pulls Sam out of the cupboard, asks him angrily what he's doing there...Sam cheerfully informs her that he didn't tell anybody about the guns. That kid sure doesn't scare easy!

Carol pulls Sam out of the cupboard, asks him angrily what he’s doing there…Sam cheerfully informs her that he didn’t tell anybody about the guns. That kid sure doesn’t scare easy!

Carol growls out, “Answer the question!” Sam pauses a moment, then asks Carol if she has any more cookies.

Personally, I am amazed by both Sam's bravery and the fact that he still likes cookies, after that Creepy Carol Cookie encounter the other night!

Personally, I am amazed by both Sam’s bravery and the fact that he still likes cookies, after that Creepy Carol Threats & Cookies encounter the other night.

Carol tells him the cookies are gone, while turning him around and trying to march him to the door. “Go home,” Carol tells him. Sam protests that his house doesn’t have any power, and he wanted to paint his owl sculpture, but somebody broke it…

Carol narrows her eyes at Sam, tells him these aren't problems, and besides, she doesn't care...she tries once again to march him to the door.

Carol narrows her eyes at Sam, tells him these aren’t problems, and besides, she doesn’t care…she tries once again to march him to the door. Sam asks her if she can make more cookies…she tells him no, and when he asks why, she tells him that she doesn’t want to.

Carol shoves Sam out the door and is about to close it in his face when he suggests that if she shows him how to make cookies, maybe he won't have to ask her for them all the time...kid's letting loose a hail mary pass at the last second runs down on the clock...

Carol shoves Sam out the door and is about to close it in his face when he suggests that if she shows him how to make cookies, maybe he can make them himself…kid’s letting loose a Hail Mary pass as the last second runs down on the clock…anything not to have to go back home, it seems.

Corrosion of Conformity Carol narrows her eyes again, asks Sam if he wants cookies. He nods enthusiastically. COC Carol tells Sam if he wants cookies, he'll have to steal the chocolate from Olivia, and he is to get an extra bar, for her...and if he gets caught, and tells anyone why he is stealing, he's not going to like what happens next...

Corrosion of Conformity Carol narrows her eyes again, asks Sam if he wants cookies. He nods enthusiastically. COC Carol tells Sam if he wants cookies, he’ll have to steal the chocolate from Olivia, and he is to get an extra bar, for her…and if he gets caught, and tells anyone why he is stealing, he’s not going to like what happens next…

“Now, go,” orders Carol, shoving Sam out the doorway. Easy there, sister…but poor Sam, who is probably used to getting shoved around, simply turns and runs off to do Corrosion of Conformity Carol’s bidding.

¬†Meanwhile…

We see Tara, unconscious on a table, blood still seeping out of her head wound.

We see Tara, unconscious on a table, blood still seeping out of her head wound.

Glenn comes over, asks how she’s doing…Eugene replies that she’s suffered serious head trauma and is losing blood fast. ¬†We can see and hear the walkers, hissing, slavering, and batting at the outside of the office door and windows that overlook the inner warehouse space.

Noah asks how they can stop the bleeding.¬†Nicholas replies that there’s a meds kit in Aiden’s bag, which got blown to hell…Glenn says there’s one in the van.

To this, Eugene looks up, replies,

To this, Eugene looks up, replies, “She’s on her way out…”

Eugene looks over at the door, the walkers pawing at the windows, trying to get at them.

Eugene looks over at the door, the walkers pawing at the windows, trying to get at them. “We need to get her there,” Eugene says, meaning they need to get Tara out of that warehouse, to the van, to the meds kit, then back to Alexandria asap.

“All right, we’ll get her there,” Glenn assures Eugene and the others. ¬†I have to give Glenn mad props on being a solid, capable leader, especially in this mission, where everything is starting to go wrong at every turn…and then, right on cue, there is a loud, agonized cry from across the warehouse…Aiden!

Glenn stops at this sound, horrified to realize that Aiden is still alive.

Glenn stops at this sound, horrified to realize that Aiden is still alive.

At Aiden's cry, Nicholas whirls around and looks out the windows.

At Aiden’s cry, Nicholas whirls around and looks out the windows. “Oh, Jesus,” he laments.

aiden is alive

Aiden’s head moves, but the rest of him looks immobilized as he starts to come to. He is impaled on something, probably thrown back onto it from the grenade’s blast.

“He’s still alive?” Glenn asks.

“I checked him, I thought, I…I…” Nicholas stammers to a stop. You were saying, Nicholas? ‘I…I…I am a total dumbass who can’t be relied on to do anything except fuck it up worse for everyone else?’¬†Yes, we fully agree, Nicholas. You are.

Glenn-In-Charge¬†looks out at Aiden, assesses the situation quickly. “It’s gonna take at least three of us,” he says. Noah, his second, turns to Eugene. “Do we have that kind of time?” he asks him.

Nicholas offers his attempt at a cowardly out, probably, regrettably, something he and Aiden would have come to, together, when faced with a highly dangerous rescue scenario of a trapped or wounded comrade, in times before…he offers that lifting Aiden off of whatever he’s impaled onto could kill him…

Noah whirls on Nicholas, asking, “Are you saying we leave him?”

You’re up, Eugene.

“Go. Save. Him,” Eugene tells them, his hands on Tara’s head, keeping pressure on her bleeding wound. “She’d do it, I know she would. “

Eugene looks up at them.

Eugene looks up at them. “I’ll stay with her. I’ll keep her safe, I assure you. I will.”

After Eugene's proclamation, Noah and Nicholas turn to Glenn, who must channel Rick-In-Charge in this moment. What would Rick do now?

After Eugene’s proclamation, Noah and Nicholas turn to Glenn, who must channel Rick-In-Charge in this moment. What would Rick do now?

Glenn-In-Charge thinks fast.

Glenn-In-Charge thinks fast. “All right, we’ll knock ’em back…you still have that flare?” Nicholas says he does.

Glenn tells Nicholas,

Glenn tells Nicholas, “You fire the flare over the shelves.” Glenn walks quickly to the office door. “I’ll draw some of them over.”

Glenn tells Noah,

Glenn turns now to Noah, “We’re going to hit the rest hand-to-hand.”¬†Glenn turns to Nicholas. “You ready?” Nicholas says he is. Glenn prepares to open the door into total walker mayhem as the others brace themselves.

Glenn counts to three, then he and Noah shove the door open, hard, knocking the walkers back. Nicholas points and shoots the flare gun into the far corner of the warehouse aisles and shelving.

flare shot

Glenn-In-Charge leaps into action, spearheading the Against All Odds Aiden Mission.

Glenn-In-Charge leaps into action, spearheading the Against All Odds Aiden Rescue Mission.

¬†Meanwhile, back at the construction site…

It seems Abraham is working with a team led by Tobin, gathering materials from the abandoned mall construction site...

It seems Abraham is working with a team led by Tobin, gathering materials from the abandoned mall construction site, to bolster a compromised section of Alexandria’s protective wall…

...the men load the materials, to bolster a compromised section of the wall, while a woman stands watch high in an excavator bucket.

…the men load the materials, while a woman stands watch high in an excavator bucket.

Abrahmam asks another guy if Tobin really thinks the job will take four weeks. The guy shrugs, says that last time, the job took twice that.  Abraham's look says, 'Not on my watch, it wouldn't.'

Abrahmam asks another guy if Tobin really thinks the job will take four weeks. The guy shrugs, says that last time, the job took twice that. Abraham’s look says, ‘Not on my watch, it wouldn’t.’

After a moment, the guy checks in with Abraham, makes sure he's ok to hold it all down here...the guy then excuses himself to go

After a moment, the guy checks in with Abraham, makes sure he’s ok to hold it all down here…the guy then excuses himself to go “send a fax to Cleveland,” waving some papers and walking off.

I don't understand what that was all about either, Abraham.

I really don’t understand what the hell that guy was talking about, either, Abraham…is that code for poop?

As Abraham watches over the site, a group of birds startle somewhere deeper in the woods and fly quickly away, over the trees, over the site. Abraham watches them fly overhead, gripping the edge of the flatbed where his gun lay. He breathes deeply, readying and steadying himself.

Watching this, I feel like this is a coping mechanism that Abraham must have relied on before, being a soldier returning from duty overseas back to home and family.

Watching this, I feel like this is a coping mechanism that Abraham must have relied on even before the turn, being a soldier returning from duty overseas, back to home and family.

Breathing, and steadying oneself. Not every startle means emergency, crisis...

Breathing, and steadying oneself. Not every startle means emergency, crisis…

...except when it does.

…except when it does. Like now.

Enter Stage Right, the Job Site Walkers!

Enter the Job Site Walkers!

Abraham rushes forward to help Tobin and the others fire upon the oncoming walkers.

Abraham rushes forward to help Tobin and the others fire upon the oncoming walkers.

Unfortunately, a stray bullet from Tobin's rifle hits a piston on the excavator's workings, releasing the dumper and sending poor Francine to the ground, hard...

Unfortunately, a stray bullet from Tobin’s rifle hits a piston on the excavator’s workings, releasing the bucket and sending poor Francine to the ground, hard…

...far out into the path of the oncoming walkers, who begin to close in around her.  Tobin orders everyone back, to take shelter in the trucks.

…far out into the path of the oncoming walkers, who begin to close in around her. Tobin orders everyone back, to take shelter in the trucks.

Abraham turns to Tobin. “What about Francine?” he asks. Tobin looks at Abraham helplessly, shakes his head.

Abraham rushes forward, alone, to help Francine.

Abraham rushes forward, alone, to help Francine.

Abraham nails two of the I Wanna Eat Francine Walkers in the heads, rekilling them...

Abraham nails two of the I Wanna Eat Francine Walkers in the heads, rekilling them…

...before grabbing up Francine...

…before grabbing up Francine.¬†The walkers are beginning to swarm in from all sides…

Abraham gets Francine inside the safety of the truck...

Abraham gets Francine inside the safety of the truck…

...before turning and facing the swarm of walkers. Abraham's surrounded, but does he look scared? Hell, no.

…before turning and facing the swarm of walkers. Abraham’s surrounded, but does he look scared? Hell, no.

Facing the press of walkers closing in on him, Abraham marvels, with a laugh,

Facing the press of walkers closing in on him, Abraham marvels, with a laugh and a shake of his head, “Mother dick!”

¬†Ladies and gentlemen, another instant classic from the mouth of Abraham Ford.¬†‚̧

The Job Site Walkers begin to swarm the truck...

The Job Site Walkers begin to swarm the truck…

...while Abraham quickly slides under truck, taking momentary cover there...

…while Abraham quickly slides under truck, taking momentary cover there…

...and drawing the walkers under the truck, after him.

…and drawing the walkers under the truck as they come after him.

Abraham begins blowing the Under The Truck Walkers away by firing into their heads...

Abraham begins blowing the Under The Truck Walkers away by firing into their heads…

...rekilling them.

…rekilling them.

Francine offers Abraham her hand, wanting to pull him up into the truck with her, but he tosses her his rifle instead, instructing her to take care of the rear end…

...while he

…while he “takes care of the uglies in the front,” hand-to-hand style.

Abraham taunts,

Abraham taunts, “C’mon, don’t be shy,”¬†and throws in another “Mother dick!” ¬†when he loses the ball and chain part of the mace thing he’d been using to bludgeon the oncoming walkers. Abraham continues going to town on them with just the metal pole part. Francine seems take brief moments to stare in disbelief at Abraham’s berzerker style before turning the rifle once again on the Bringing Up The Rear Walkers.

Abraham's heroics seem to inspire the others...the

Abraham’s heroics seem to inspire the others…the Fax 2 Cleveland guy inches forward, aiming his rifle at the swarming walkers. “Son of a bitch is still alive,” he marvels, watching Abraham brain the walkers who come at him. As the F2C guy continues to make his way towards the mayhem, Tobin calls out, with alarm, “What are you doing?” “Making sure he stays that way!” answers the F2C guy, before rushing forward in a burst of bravery.

Abraham continues to singlehandedly massacre the oncoming walkers, armed with only a wrench-sized metal stick.

Abraham continues to singlehandedly massacre the oncoming walkers, armed with only a wrench-sized metal stick.

¬†Back in Alexandria…

Dr. Petey McBeaty has been catching a daybuzz, it seems, and he's come knocking on Rick's door with a beer offering. He greets Rick but does not look him in the eye as he steps inside.

Dr. Petey McBeaty has been catching a daybuzz, it seems, and he’s come knocking on Rick’s door with a beer offering “for helping my wife earlier today.” McBeaty does not look Rick in the eye as he steps inside the home.

Rick puts on a smile and politely declines the beer. You can tell by the look on his face that he really hates this guy.

Rick puts on a smile and politely declines the beer. You can tell by the look on his face that he really hates this guy and wants to smash him.

“Don’t tell me you’re still on duty,” presses McBeaty. Rick replies, politely, that he kind of always is.

“Not at Deanna’s party…I saw you,” says McBeaty, his voice sounding careless and slurry as he leans against a support beam, facing Rick.

Rick faces McBeaty, standing loose and casual, but definitely always at the ready. He waits. McBeaty raises the beer bottles in his hands, says, “You had some, right?”

Rick Grimes is like, Yeah, bitch, I had some.

Rick Grimes is like, Yeah, bitch, I had some.

Rick looks down, takes the high road, says that he wished that he could have done more, today…he asked around, but nobody seemed to see or hear anything like someone going to town on an owl sculpture.

McBeaty says,

McBeaty says, “Well, it was just an owl…in the grand scheme of things, I think we’ll live.”

Rick Smash! seems to be thinking, 'In my grand scheme, McBeaty, you may not...live, that is.'

Rick Smash! seems to be thinking,¬†“In my grand scheme, McBeaty, you just might¬†not.”

An awkward silence follows, and then McBeaty ups the awkward a few thousand notches by saying, loudly, “I’m sorry…I heard you lost your wife.”

McBeaty, McBeaty, McBeaty...I don't know how Alexandria managed to keep the vast amounts of beer and booze on hand to feed your alcoholism these past two years, but I don' think they did you or your family any favors by enabling your addiction or your stupidity. Can't you read the non-verbal cues the man in front of you is giving, that he wants to kill your stupid  ass, hard, right now?

McBeaty, McBeaty, McBeaty...I don’t know how Alexandria managed to keep the vast amounts of beer and booze on hand to feed your alcoholism these past two years, but I don’t think they did you or your family any favors by enabling your addiction or your stupidity. Can’t you read the non-verbal cues the man in front of you is giving you, right now, that he wants to kill your stupid ass, hard?

Between head shakes, nods, sighs, and belches, McBeaty goes on some sodden¬†soapbox¬†soliloquy about how “I’m sure it looks like we haven’t lost much, but we have…”

“We’ve lost things, “ muses McBeaty, nodding and looking off, somewhere.

McBeaty looks at Rick.

McBeaty looks back at Rick. “Other things, we’re fighting like hell to hold onto.” Whatever, McBeaty. Nobody cares.¬†I do think, however, that Rick Grimes is feeling more and more justified in his “end justifies the means” imaginings right about now.

McBeaty continues on his soap box, telling Rick that he doesn't know if Rick and his people, after everything  they've been through, can see that...

McBeaty continues on his soap box, telling Rick that he doesn’t know if Rick and his people, after everything they’ve been through, can see the plight of the Alexandrians, or McBeaty in particular…

“We do,” says Rick, with the barest of a smile. Oh, he sees it, all right, McBeaty.¬†Rick Grimes sees everything.

Somewhat mollified, McBeaty takes a swig of his beer.

Somewhat mollified, McBeaty takes a swig of his beer.

He's barely swallowed the beer when he utters another classic McBeaty non-sequitar, urging Rick to

McBeaty’s barely swallowed his mouthful of beer when he utters another classic McBeaty non sequitar, urging Rick to “Bring your kids in for a check-up…they were out there a long time, right?”

Rick Grimes smiles a secret smile in response to this, bounces back and forth a bit lightly between his feet, like, 'Yeah, right, asshole, so you can either drunkenly molest my kids or mismanage their care in the throes of a violent hangover...I don't fucking think so.'

Rick Grimes smiles a secret smile in response to this, bounces back and forth a bit lightly between his feet, like, ‘Yeah, right, asshole, so you can either drunkenly molest my kids or mismanage their care in the throes of a violent hangover? I don’t fucking think so.’

Instead of voicing his real thoughts, Rick politely agrees and thanks Pete for the offer while motioning with his head towards the door, like, ok, dude, time to go. All falls silent again for another moment of pure awkwardness between the two men.

Once again oblivious of nonverbal cues, Pete lurches forward until he comes face to face with Rick.

McBeaty leans in conspiratorially to Rick.

McBeaty leans in conspiratorially to Rick. “Let’s be friends, man,” he says.

McBeaty continues,

McBeaty continues, “We kind of have to be, right?”

Looking right into McBeaty's eyes, Rick smiles and agrees,

Looking right into McBeaty’s eyes, Rick smiles and agrees, “Yeah, we do.” Notice how McBeaty has dropped his gaze, does not meet Rick’s eyes. Universal sign of submission to an alpha.

“So we will,” says McBeaty, grabbing Rick’s hand for another fake, gripping handshake that is a little too hard, and a little too much like arm wrestling to be fooling anybody.

After the handshake/arm-wrestle, McBeaty slaps a couple of hard ones on Rick's shoulder as he luches out.

After the handshake/wrestle, McBeaty slaps a couple of hard ones on Rick’s shoulder as he lurches out. “See you, Rick.” Rick shoots McBeaty this look over his shoulder as McBeaty beats a hasty retreat.

Watching McBeaty's retreating form, Rick thinks a moment.

Watching McBeaty’s retreating form, Rick thinks a moment, then looks down at his left hand…

Then he reaches down and twists his wedding ring...is it time to take it off?

Rick reaches down and twists his wedding ring…is it time to take it off?

¬†Meanwhile, back at the warehouse…

Eugene's going all

Eugene’s going all “empty chair therapy” on Tara as she lay unconscious…

“I take no responsibility for this…I told you what I was. You should have listened.

“All of you…you should have listened.”

Looking down at Tara's still form, Eugene seems to know what he must do.  The sounds of the walkers have died down, and there are none around the office...they are surely being diverted by the others.  Eugene stands to his full height...

Looking down at Tara’s still form, Eugene knows what he must do. The sounds of the walkers have died down, and there are none around the office…they are surely being diverted by the others. Eugene stands to his full height…

...and the next shot we see is of Eugene, peering fearfully out the office door...

…and the next shot we see is of Eugene, peering fearfully out the office door…

...and then, Eugene is carrying Tara over his shoulder, making his way down the hallway.  He hears a walker approach...

…and then, Eugene is carrying Tara over his shoulder, making his way down the hallway. He hears a walker approach…

Eugene fires at the walker...

Eugene fires at the walker…

Yes, Eugene!

Yes, Eugene!

You can do it!

You can do it!

Eugene busts a cap in another walker's leg, dropping it.  The door is right there...

Eugene busts a cap in another walker’s leg, dropping it. The door is right there…

¬†Alas, things are not looking as hopeful for poor Aiden…

It's not good.

It’s not good.

Glenn tries to reassure Aiden.

Glenn tries to reassure Aiden. “Aiden, it’s gonna be ok…we’re gonna get you out of here…it’s gonna be ok. I just need you to stay quiet…”

Aiden nodds, dazed and shocked.

Aiden nodds, dazed and shocked.

But, it's so not good...

But, it’s so not good…

As Glenn and Nicholas attempt to pull Aiden off the metal bars he is impaled upon, Aiden screams in pain. Noah turns and tells them the flare is burning out.

Aiden begins to panic. Glenn says, “Again!” Nicholas, being ever-fucking helpful, says querulously¬†that, “We’re never gonna make it.”

What a total whiner! Way to inspire confidence and calm in your poor friend who is gravely wounded, impaled on metal bars, and who is currently freaking the fuck out, Nicholas. 

Nicholas, after this episode, we TWD fans hereby ban you to the Land of Suck.¬†(Of course, I am sure the actor who plays Nicholas is a lovely person in real life…just hating on the character, not the man. ūüôā )

Nicholas may suck ass, but Glenn needs him. He pulls Nicholas close and tells him, yes, they can, but he needs his help.

Nicholas may suck ass, but Glenn needs him. He pulls Nicholas close and tells him, yes, they can, but he needs his help. “You can do this!” urges Glenn.

Aiden pleads to his friend, “Don’t leave me.” Nicholas looks at him, nods, but it’s not in his eyes. ¬†The sound of walkers approaching gets louder, closer.

Nicholas and Glenn try to pull Aiden off, again. The sounds of Noah’s shots piercing the oncoming walkers ring through the air…Nicholas winces with each shot like the bullets are piercing his body, and he seems to be more vested in reacting to his own growing panic than helping pull Aiden off the jagged metal bars that are impaling him in two places…one bar is up by the left shoulder, where Nicholas is, and one bar down by the right lower belly, where Glenn is.

Instead of grabbing his friend and pulling, hard, Nicholas lay his hands on the metal spike, on his friend’s chest, wincing. Nicholas looks at Aiden.

Nicholas leans in, tells Aiden, in his ear,

Nicholas leans in, tells Aiden, in his ear, “You left them…we both did. That’s who we are.”

“I’m sorry,” says Nicholas, repeating it as he backs away, then hurries off, leaving them. Glenn turns to Aiden, and begins trying in earnest to singlehandedly pull the young man free. Noah warns, “They’re coming,” and continues firing on the walkers.

Aiden confesses to Glenn,

Aiden confesses to Glenn, “It was us…the others before…”

“…they didn’t panic. We did.”

Glenn takes a brief second to register this sad confession, then pulls in earnest one more time…“No,” Aiden says, then Noah is there, pulling Glenn away, “They’re here!”

As Noah pulls Glenn away, just in time, Glenn looks at Aiden, anguished. Poor Glenn!

As Noah pulls Glenn away, just in time, Glenn looks at Aiden, anguished. Poor Glenn in this episode…

And then, it becomes...awful.

And then, it becomes…awful.

Poor Aiden! :(

Poor Aiden! ūüė¶

I know I was mocking Aiden before, in Episode 512,

I know I was mocking Aiden before, in Episode 512, “Remember,” calling him a “budussy” and joking about him getting chomped…

...but I assure you, I get no pleasure from this. I see Aiden now as just a young man, full of brash and swagger, who had shelter and priveledge on his side for a long time...

…but I assure you, I get no pleasure from this. I see Aiden now as just a young man, full of brash and swagger, who had shelter and privelege on his side for a long time…

...who fell into, or volunteered for, a role in this new world order that he wasn't fully equipped for...

…who fell into, or volunteered for, a role in this new world order that he wasn’t fully equipped for…

...but who was basically just a young man, on the verge of adulthood, who just wanted to stay alive, and who now must suffer a painful, lonely, horrific death. RIP Aiden :( <3 Sorry I was a dick.

…but who was basically a good person, a young man on the verge of adulthood, who just wanted to stay alive, and who now must suffer a painful, lonely, horrific death. RIP Aiden ūüė¶

It’s not even noon, but it’s Spring Break, and the kids are at the grandparents’, and so I am cracking open a Beck’s…to raise a toast to poor Aiden, and to an incredible acting job by Daniel Bonjour, who supposedly interrupted his honeymoon for the chance to play Aiden on The Walking Dead;¬†and to Glenn, who tried so hard, and was getting it done, and to Noah, who stayed true and solid, and to Eugene, who stepped up…and to Michael Traynor, who plays Nicholas. Cheers to all! ‚̧

And so, we continue…and you know what’s coming. So, I drink again, and onward we go…

Back at the job site, Abraham shoves Tobin, gives him The Biz.

Back at the job site, Abraham shoves Tobin, gives him The Biz.

“Is that how it works with you?” demands Abraham. “You leave people behind to die?”

Tobin stammers, indignantly, “We have a system…tell him, Francine!”

Francine rushes up and tells Tobin with a surprise right hook to the jaw...ow, this is not a good day for you, Tobin!

In reply, Francine rushes up and tells Tobin with a surprise right hook to the jaw…ow, this is not a good day for you, Tobin!

Abraham looks down at Tobin, slumped against the truck, as Francine mutters,

Abraham looks down at Tobin, slumped against the truck. Francine mutters, “Asshole!”

F2C guy tries to interject that all this noise will attract more, and maybe they need to just call it a day…Abraham has other ideas, however. ¬†They still got daylight…it’s time to get back to work. Abraham turns to Francine, asks her if she’s ok to continue on…

Francine replies yeah, they got three hours of daylight left.

Francine replies yeah, they got three hours of daylight left.

Tobin, doubled over, and F2C guy look at Francine, disbelieving, as Abraham starts calling for two lookouts, one in the bucket, and one at the trucks, to see if any more come along after the Bash and Pop.

Tobin, doubled over, and F2C guy look at Francine, disbelieving, as Abraham starts calling for two lookouts, one in the bucket, and one at the trucks, to see if any more come along after the Bash and Pop…he actually calls his one-man walker massacre the “Bash and Pop”… ha!

“Now pull the cobwebs outta your asses and MOVE!”¬†

Abraham looks back at Tobin, F2C guy, nods. “We have a wall to build.” (Yes! Totally drinking to Abraham..and for bravery. <3)

Meanwhile, the shit is majorly going down at the warehouse. We see Nicholas making a run for the front exit, where Glenn and Noah saw the swarm of walkers milling about earlier. He runs for the revolving doors. “You’ll never make it!” Glenn tries to call after him.

Nicholas is going to try, but he doesn't really have the fortitude or hand-to-hand skills to even have a fighting chance.

Nicholas is going to try, but he doesn’t really have the fortitude or hand-to-hand skills to even have a fighting chance.

It's a tough one, even for seasoned warriors like Glenn and Noah.

It’s a tough one, even for seasoned warriors like Glenn and Noah.

glenn and noah after nicholas 2

Nicholas quickly gets overrun by the swarm outside, and Noah, Glenn are out of bullets and out of time, inside. Nicholas runs in, as Noah and Glenn run out, and the three men take refuge in the only space available to them, the revolving doors.

In the center sections, Nicholas braces himself, alone, in one enclosed middle section, while Noah and Glenn are together in the opposite enclosed middle section, with swarms of walkers on both sides, outside and in.

On one side, Nicholas braces himself, alone, in one enclosed middle section, while Noah and Glenn are together in the opposite enclosed middle section, with swarms of walkers on both sides, outside and inside the building.

revolving doors 2 revolving doors 3 revolving doors 4

Back in Alexandria, in Deanna’s office…

Tobin has come to talk about the events of the day with Deanna and Reg...Maggie, as Deanna's aide, is present for this conversation as well.

Tobin has come to talk about the events of the day with Deanna and Reg…Maggie, as Deanna’s aide, is present for this conversation as well.

“I’m sorry to lose you, Tobin,” Deanna is saying, leaning in to the man who sits beside her on the couch, looking down at his hands. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” Tobin replies. He continues, saying if Abraham had followed his orders, Francine would be dead. Reg chimes in, points out that while somebody saving another person’s life certainly makes them a hero, it doesn’t qualify them to run a construction company.

Tobin looks at Reg.

Tobin looks at Reg. “He’s out there, still working, the whole team. And he’s leading them…”

“…better than I ever could.”

Deanna and Reg exchange a look, then Deanna turns to Tobin. “It’s settled, then.” She stands, tells Tobin that she will speak to Abraham upon his return and make it official. ¬†Tobin has resigned his post, and Abraham will now be put in charge of Alexandria’s construction team.

Being a good, honest man who takes the high road, Tobin tells Deanna,

Being a good, honorable man, Tobin tells Deanna, “The thing is, I know you won’t regret it.”

Reg walks Tobin out, and as the door closes behind them, Deanna leans against the corner, thinking. Maggie quietly says, “He’s right, you know…Abraham is more than qualified.”

Deanna looks over at Maggie, gives a little laugh.

Deanna looks over at Maggie, gives a little laugh. “I put another one of your people in a position of power, you vouch for them…it’s becoming a pattern.”

Maggie quietly asserts, “We know what we’re doing. That’s why you wanted us here. That’s why Aaron and Daryl are out there, looking for more people.”

Maggie looks at Deanna, says,

Maggie looks at Deanna, says, “You wanted a future…you need us for that.”

With a little smile, Deanna agrees, “That’s right,” but her voice sounds less than convinced. ¬†Maggie smiles and excuses herself, saying that she’ll go down and get to work on those field plans. Deanna tells Maggie she’ll be down to join her in a minute.

Meanwhile, a playful knock raps on another door in town:

Carol opens the door to a grinning Sam.

Carol opens the door to a grinning Sam…

...who wags a ziplock baggie containing the chocolate contraband up at Carol.

…who wags a ziplock baggie containing the chocolate contraband up at Carol.

Carol yanks the bag from his hand and pulls the child inside. ¬†As she turns on the oven, Carol grouses to the young boy that this is the last time she’s helping him, and after this, he is not to come over or bother her again. Sam agrees, when pressed by Carol, who then goes on to tell him that he had better not be thinking that he’s getting more than half the batch of cookies, as he did barely half the work…

As Carol does her best to try to be mean and run the young boy off, Sam just looks off sadly in the kitchen.  It seems like he is used to people being mean around him.

As Carol does her best to try to be mean and run the young boy off, Sam just looks off sadly in the kitchen. It seems like he is used to people being mean around him.

Sam looks at Carol, asks her,

Sam looks at Carol, asks her, “Were you always a good cook?”

Carol tries to shut this down. “Sam, we’re not talking.” She instructs the boy to wipe the counter, and while doing so, Sam tries again to ask Carol about cooking, if she likes it…Carol turns to Sam, admonishes him again.

“We don’t have to be friends,” says Sam, looking down at the counter he is wiping. “It just doesn’t have to be quiet.”

Carol gives in. “I was good at it, it distracted me, it made me forget when I was sad,” she offers. Sam tells her when he gets sad, he breaks stuff. ¬†Carol looks at him, asks him what kind of stuff. Sam shrugs, and Carol puts two and two together.

Carol knows kids. Looking right at Sam, Carol asks him,

Carol knows kids. Looking right at Sam, Carol asks him, “You told me someone broke your owl statue. Did you break it?”

Sam looks down, nods. ¬†Carol asks him, “Why?” Sam does not answer. “Why are you here?” Carol asks him.

Sam looks at Carol.

Sam looks at Carol. “Why did you steal the guns?” he asks, looking down and wiping at the counter.

Carol drops the tough act.

Carol drops the tough act. “Because sometimes you need to protect yourself,” she tells him.

As Carol looks down at the boy, Sam stops wiping, looks up at her.

“Can I have a gun?” Sam asks Carol.

Carol asks Sam why he wants one.

Carol asks Sam why he wants one. “It’s not for me,” Sam says.

Carol asks Sam who the gun is for. He doesn't answer.

Carol asks Sam who the gun is for. He doesn’t answer. “Who is it for, Sam?” Carol asks again.

At this, Sam turns and runs off, as Carol looks after him, realizing what the little boy was really trying to tell her.

At this, Sam turns and runs off, as Carol looks after him, realizing what the little boy was really trying to tell her. She calls after him, “Sam!”

Meanwhile…

Trapped in a section of revolving door, walkers on all sides, Nicholas is buggin', hard.

Trapped in a section of revolving door, walkers on all sides, Nicholas is buggin’, hard.

Nicholas calls to Glenn and Noah, suggests they can blast their way out...they have the guns. But, as Glenn points out, Nicholas has the ammo.

Nicholas calls to Glenn and Noah, suggests they can blast their way out…they have the guns. But, as Glenn points out, Nicholas has the ammo. “We gotta do something,” Nicholas laments. “We’re gonna die in here.”

Bracing himself, sweating, Noah says there has to be another way, there has to be a way...

Bracing himself, sweating, Noah says there has to be another way, there has to be a way…

Glenn tries to think of a way as the walkers paw and push,  trying to get at them.

Glenn tries to think of a way as the walkers paw and push, trying to get at them.

Suddenly, the sound of a honking horn and the driving beats of Dubstep fill the air. Glenn whirls around, and they see…

Eugene, who has gotten Tara to the van and who pulls up, slapping the door and calling the walkers away,

Eugene, who has gotten Tara to the van and who pulls up, slapping the door and calling the walkers away, “Hey, over here! Come get me!”

Eugene leads the walkers outside away from the doors.

Eugene leads the walkers outside away from the doors.

Noah and Glenn share a laugh of relief, and disbelief, as the walkers begin to abandon the doors and follow the Eugene and the van as it slowly leads them away, blasting techno beats. Outside clear, but inside, there is still a press of walkers. Trying to escape through the front on either end would push the other person/people into the inside swarm of walkers. Glenn thinks, and comes up with a plan.

Calling to Nicholas, Glenn tells both he and Noah to hold the doors steady, while Glenn uses the butt end of his rifle to break the glass on his and Noah’s side…once the glass shatters and they are free, Nicholas can push himself out and grab the rifle. Nicholas nods, agrees.

Glenn rams the butt end of his rifle into the glass of the revolving door again and again, but is unable to break the glass.

Glenn rams the butt end of his rifle into the glass of the revolving door again and again, but is unable to break the glass.

Nicholas is having a hard time holding his side of the door steady, and panicked, yells for Glenn to stop, that it's not safe...

Nicholas is having a hard time holding his side of the door steady, and panicked, yells for Glenn to stop, that it’s not safe…

Nicholas begins to shake his head, saying that the glass is not going to break...

Nicholas begins to shake his head, saying that the glass is not going to break…

Glenn and Noah look at Nicholas, urge him to hold the door steady...they know he is about to bail, and this only works if everyone does his part, keeps the doors steady...if Nicholas bolts for it, pushing the doors to escape outside, he presses them into the walkers inside...Glenn tries to talk Nicholas down,

Glenn and Noah look at Nicholas, urge him to hold the door steady…they know he is about to bail, and this only works if everyone does his part, keeps the doors steady…if Nicholas bolts for it, pushing the doors to escape outside, he presses them into the walkers inside…Glenn tries to talk Nicholas down, “Trust me, count to three, ok? At three…”

“One…two…three,” but as Glenn gets to “three,” Nicholas pushes the door pane before him forward, hard…

...and pushes his foot through the opening of the door...

…and pushes his foot through the opening of the door…and we know how revolving doors work…an opening here creates another opening, diagnonally across, to the inside…

As Glenn and Noah frantically try to hold the walkers back, and push back, Glenn pleads with Nicholas to stop, to not do this…

Not heeding Glenn, Nicholas squeezes an arm through, trying to press through and free himself at any cost.

Not heeding Glenn, Nicholas squeezes an arm through, trying to press through and free himself at any cost…

...at any cost.  :( :( :( :(

…at any cost. ūüė¶ ūüė¶ ūüė¶ ūüė¶

Uncaring, frantic to save himself, Nicholas pushes his bag, then himself out, hits the ground, outside, thus sealing poor Noah's fate...

Uncaring, frantic to save himself, Nicholas pushes his bag, then himself out, hits the ground, outside, thus sealing poor Noah’s fate…

noah 2

The walkers grab Noah’s leg once the doorway opens enough for them to get a hold of him…and they don’t let go. ūüė¶

Noah looks at Glenn, who clings to him...

Noah looks at Glenn, who clings to him…

“Don’t let go,” Noah tells Glenn, before getting dragged inside by the walkers. On Talking Dead, Tyler James Williams (Noah) and Steven Yeun (Glenn) said that they talked about that line a lot during shooting, and they took it to mean that Noah is telling Glenn not to let go of his hope, and his humanity, and the dream of building Alexandria into a future for them all. Sadly, there is no hope for Noah, now, and they both know it.

It is horrible to watch Noah get dragged away from Glenn, into the swarm of savage walkers.

It is horrible to watch Noah get dragged away from Glenn, into the swarm of savage walkers.

noah 6

glenn watches 1

Trapped in the glass doors, Glenn must watch his friend’s painful and tragic demise.

Noah gets thrown up on the glass of the door by the walkers. The expression on his face as he looks at Glenn is agonizing to watch.

Noah gets thrown up on the glass of the door by the walkers. The expression on his face as he looks at Glenn is agonizing to watch.

glenn watches 4

glenn watches 3

The walkers begin to bite into poor Noah's flesh as he screams in agony.

The walkers begin to bite into poor Noah’s flesh as he screams in agony.

glenn watches 6 glenn watches 7

Shut inside the glass doors, Glenn must watch Noah's savage demise.

glenn watches 9.5glenn watches 10

glenn watches 11glenn watches 12

glenn watches 13glenn watches 14

It takes a while, and poor Glenn must bear witness to it all, the sights, the sounds, the sorrow of his friend and comrade being torn apart, and eaten, before his very eyes.

It takes a while, and poor Glenn must bear witness to it all, the sights, the sounds, the horror of his friend and comrade being torn apart, and eaten, before his very eyes.

It is hard to imagine anyone, even someone as strong as Glenn, coming back from this.

It is hard to imagine anyone, even someone as strong as Glenn, coming back from something as unspeakable as this.

Meanwhile, Nicholas chases down the van, orders Eugene to “Move over, we’re leaving!”

Eugene looks at Nicholas, turns off the engine, and begins to step out of the van, despite Nicholas's orders to get back in.

Eugene looks at Nicholas, turns off the engine, and begins to step out of the van, despite Nicholas’s orders to get back in.

Eugene faces Nicholas, not backing down.

Eugene faces Nicholas, not backing down. “Not until you tell me where they are,” he says. Nicholas looks down a moment…

...before telling Eugene that he, Eugene, can go with him, Nicholas, now, or he can stay and

…before telling Eugene that he, Eugene, can go with him, Nicholas, now, or he can stay and “die with your friends…your choice.”

Eugene fumbles for his gun, and Nicholas throws him to the ground, grabs the keys and jumps in the van, but before he can start it…

Glenn runs up and grabs Nicholas out of the van...

Glenn runs up and grabs Nicholas out of the van…

...Glenn throws Nicholas down and pounds him into the pavement until he's out, cold.

…Glenn throws Nicholas down and pounds him into the pavement until he’s out, cold.

glenn looks down at nicholas

As Glenn stands over Nicholas’s unconscious form, Eugene comes forward and looks questioningly at Glenn. Glenn tells Eugene, miserably, to help him get Nicholas in the back.

“Where’s Noah?” Eugene asks him.

Glenn looks at Eugene, too distraught to answer. His look, and his red, swollen eyes say it all. He walks away.

Glenn looks at Eugene, too distraught to answer. His look, and his red, swollen eyes say it all. Glenn turns and walks away.

¬†Back in Alexandria…

We see Carol knocking on someone's door...and after a moment, Dr. Petey McBeaty answers it, forgets, then remembers, her name, and asks if she needs something...is she sick?

We see Carol knocking on someone’s door…and after a moment, Dr. Petey McBeaty answers it, forgets, then remembers, her name, and asks if she needs something…is she sick?

Trying to peer past him, into the house, Carol hedges, then says she was just with Sam...is he ok?

Trying to peer past him, into the house, Carol hedges, then says she was just with Sam…is he ok?

McBeaty leans in closer to Carol, shutting the door a little tighter around him, blocking her view, asks, peevishly,

McBeaty leans in closer to Carol, shutting the door a little tighter around him, blocking her view, asks, peevishly, “Why wouldn’t he be?”

Carol puts on a smile, asks if she can talk to Jessie. ¬†“Not a good time,” whispers McBeaty, before closing the door in Carol’s face.

mcbeaty shuts the door on carol

Glenn drives home, silent. The daylight is beginning to wane.

Glenn drives home, silent. The daylight is beginning to wane.

Holding the gun, in case Nicholas wakes up, Eugene first looks towards Nicholas, then at Tara...

Holding the gun, in case Nicholas wakes up, Eugene first looks towards Nicholas, then at Tara…

...and finally, at Noah's first, and last, journal entry,

…and finally, at Noah’s first, and last, journal entry:¬†This is the beginning

Meanwhile, there is a knock at Deanna Monroe’s door…it is Gabriel, asking to speak with Deanna privately.

Gabriel gets right to it.

Gabriel gets right to it. “Satan,” he begins, “disguises himself as the angel of light.”

Deanna Monroe's like,

Deanna Monroe’s like, “Say what?”

Gabriel continues,

Gabriel continues, “I’m afraid that false light is here, inside these walls.”

Gabriel tells Deanna, “Your community, you say it’s not a paradise, but it is. I’m grateful to be here, I am…”

“…but you made a mistake letting in the others.”

“How so?” asks Deanna, as Maggie creeps up the staircase, from working downstairs, and listens.

As Maggie listens, Gabriel says, conspiritorially,

As Maggie listens, Gabriel says, conspiritorially, “Rick, his group, they’re not good people.”

(I am not sure how, or why, Maggie stays silent throughout this exchange, but she does, continues to listen to Gabriel talk some mad shit to Deanna Monroe about Rick and the gang…I would have been all busting up those stairs, like, “YOU LITTLE BITCH! Why don’t you ask him what happened to his last congregation, Deanna?¬†Right, Gabriel? You wanna tell Deanna here what happened to them? Why don’t you tell her what happened to them, Gabriel, you cowardly, shit-talking, little bitch?)

I am sure Maggie has her reasons, and I am certainly not always known for my impulse control, so perhaps Maggie is showing good judgement, and caution, in staying still and listening to Gabriel’s whole spiel to Deanna Monroe:

“They’ve done things…they’ve done unspeakable things…”

And we see a shot of Rick, looking out the window, fiddling with the wedding ring on his left hand…he turns, and Carol comes in the house, looks at Rick.

Carol tells Rick,

Carol tells Rick, “Pete’s hitting Jessie, maybe Sam, too.”

Rick's all like,

Rick Smash! is all like, “Grrrr…”

We see a shot of Deanna, as she tries to placate Gabriel,

We see a shot of Deanna, as she tries to placate Gabriel, “To make it out there as long as they did, they had to have done things…Rick said as much. They survived…that’s what makes them assets.”

Gabriel Snitch, the Little Bitch whispers,

Gabriel Snitch,¬†The Little Bitch¬†whispers, “You’re wrong.”

“They can’t be trusted.”

Gabriel continues, “They’re dangerous. You may believe that they did what they had to do, that they were afraid…but the day will come when they put their own lives before yours, and everyone elses, and they will destroy everything you have here, and everything you are trying so hard to build.”

Shots of Abraham, at sunset, praising the crew for a good job that day, advising them to call it an early night, as they are sure to have another long day of work tomorrow.

We see a shot of Rick, asking Carol she knows this...how? Did Sam tell her?

We see a shot of Rick, asking Carol she knows this…how? Did Sam tell her? Carol looks at Rick, tells him, “He didn’t have to.”

We hear Deanna’s voice asking Gabriel, “Why are you just now coming to me with this?”

Gabriel says, again,

Gabriel says, again, “Satan…disguises himself…as the angel of light. His disciples are the false apostles of righteousness…”

Gabriel whispers,

Gabriel whispers, “They don’t deserve this…they don’t deserve paradise!”

Deanna thanks Gabriel, tells him she has a lot to think about...

Deanna thanks Gabriel, tells him she has a lot to think about…

...and as Deanna holds the door open for him to leave, Gabriel stops, leans in, tells Deanna that he wishes he had come to her sooner.

…and as Deanna holds the door open for him to leave, Gabriel stops, leans in, tells Deanna that he wishes he had come to her sooner. “I just hope it isn’t too late,” he tells her.

Hidden in the stairwell, Maggie listens to all this, troubled.

Hidden in the stairwell, Maggie listens to all this, troubled.

Deanna closes the door, processing this, as we hear the van pull up, and somebody starts screaming for help...

Deanna closes the door, processing this, as we hear the van pull up, and somebody starts screaming for help…

And Rick, pacing, thinking…from behind him, Carol tells him that she knows how this is going to go down, with Pete…there’s only one way it can go…

carol says to rick your gonna have to kill him

“You’re gonna have to kill him,” Carol tells Rick.

Well, like I said before, shit’s getting cray in Alexandria.

I apologize again for getting behind in the posting, dear readers. Life, and all that. I, along with you all, will be watching Sunday night’s 90-minute finale episode, and I will be sending the love to all of you in the TWD family. Get your coping mechanisms, your Daryl Partner, your tissues ready. Don’t be afraid to call in to work on Monday if you can pull it off without getting fired. Be strong, my darlings.

I will probably hold off and publish the posts for Episode 515, “Try”, and the WD Season 5 finale episode, Episode 516, at the same time. ¬†I have thought about it, and it makes more sense for me to do it like that.

It is ideal for me to post before the next week’s episode airs, but this time around, posting for the Season 5 2.0 episodes didn’t quite go like that. It is what it is. But, I promise when the posts do come out, they will be full of the love, with epic playlists. And, it’s gonna be a long summer…lots of time to read, recap, reminisce about the wild ride WD¬†Season 5 has been for us all.

Episode 514 Deadies go to: Tyler Jesse Williams, and the character he plays, Noah.¬†Amazing performance, this episode and all around, especially during Noah’s harrowing death scene. Tyler Jesse Williams is one smooth, classy young dude, a consummate actor who really brought the character Noah to life, as a young man who joined the crew later on in the game, but who stepped up and became family, a solid team member, and a great friend. #RIPNoah

Deadie #2 goes to: Steven Yeun, and the character he plays, Glenn Rhee. Steven Yeun delivered an incredible performance once again, and with this episode, set the bar even higher than he has before. ¬†As a character, Glenn displayed incredible leadership abilities in this episode: unparalleled heroics, quick-thinking, bravery, heart, compassion. ¬†I am worried about Glenn on many levels in this moment, and I am thinking that he has become one of my very favorite TWD¬†characters, ever. Much love, Glenn Rhee. ‚̧

Deadie #3 goes to Josh McDermitt, and the character he plays, Eugene Porter. Amazing throwdown performance in this episode by Josh McDermitt, who manages again and again to blend comic genius with real heart and depth in his portrayal of Eugene Porter. Eugene, you finally did it. You stepped up, you got Tara out of there, and you stood up to Nicholas. You even killed a walker! Good job, buddy! ‚̧

Deadie #4 goes to Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel, a.k.a. Gabriel Snitch, The Little Bitch. I saw on Talking Dead that Seth Gilliam even rented a place far away from the rest of the TWD cast, to keep a separation between himself and the others, and to stay in character, more or less, in his portrayal of the odd priest. That is some dedication, because I would want to be all up in whatever fun those beautiful, inspiring cast members are having at any given moment!

And Gabriel, as far as you are concerned, you better watch out…as @therickygrimes¬†account posted on Instagram:

IMG_0747

Deadie #5 goes to Daniel Bonjour,¬†the young actor who plays Aiden Monroe. Cheers on a job well done, and once again, sorry I was a dick before, Aiden. #RIPAiden ‚̧

Deadie #6 goes to Michael Cudlitz, and the character he plays, Abraham Ford, for once again being a total badass, and for the line, “Mother dick!”

And, last but never least, lucky Deadie #7 goes to the inimitable Bear McCreary,¬†for composing one of the most haunting, disturbing, exceptionally beautiful soundtracks I have ever heard for the second half of WD Season 5. Don’t think I haven’t noticed, Bear McCreary! Mad props to a true genius. ‚̧

Much love, my WDO darlings, stay strong, end enjoy the playlist.

#NoahForever¬†‚̧

Playlist:

Jimi Hendrix, “Castles Made Of Sand”

TV On The Radio, “Crying”

Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There”

Panda Bear, “Bros”

The Spinners, “I’ll Be Around”

Mos Def, “Hip Hop”

Radiohead, “Knives Out”

Nick Drake, ” ‘Cello Song”

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!¬†ūüė¶

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! ūüôā

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 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!

(BTW,¬†Sonequa Martin-Green was one of the guests on¬†Talking Dead after the airing of “Crossed,” ¬†looking very glowing and happy, beautiful and healthy, so whatever happens to Sasha with the mid-season finale, I think this beautiful mom-to-be is going to be just fine with the outcome!)

Norman Reedus said in an interview that he had to go off and have a good cry for about an hour before he was able to film the mid-season finale…sounds pretty intense. ¬†We are going to lose at least one, or more people in the mid-season finale, so I would recommend that you get yourself a Daryl Partner, get some coping mechanisms ready, and keep reminding yourself that while the shit may go down on our favorite show, and while we may lose some beloved characters as the storyline progresses,¬†we all must remember that¬†this is a show. It’s not real, as much as some of us out there say they wish it were. ¬†I am not one of them. I enjoy warmth, and creature comforts, and being alive, thanks.

So, while our show does feel so real to us WD obsessed fans (because we love it, and our gang, so much), and while some¬†of our¬†beloved characters may get killed off, the actors who play them will remain alive, well, and rich off the royalties that The Walking Dead will generate for the rest of their lives…and I say amen, and hallelujah, to that!

______________________________________________

“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 5, “Self Help”

“Self Help”

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

The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 5, “Self Help” begins with a shot of the white church shortbus from Father Gabriel’s church, chugging noisily (and somewhat unevenly) down a quiet country road. ¬†The sound of gospel music pours out the bus windows.

Seems like, these days, a vehicle with a working CD player, and some CD's, would be one of the few opportunities to rock out to some tunes...sad times, these!

Seems like, these days, a vehicle with a working CD player, and some CD’s, would be one of the few opportunities to rock out to some tunes…sad times, these!

We see Abraham’s hands on the steering wheel.

It's pretty clear who's driving this bus...

It’s pretty clear who’s driving this bus…

Abraham practically purrs while Rosita plays with his hair, remarking,

Abraham practically purrs while Rosita plays with his hair…she remarks, “It’s getting a little messy, for you.” Abraham smiles, says, “I’m getting ready for retirement, relaxing the grooming standards,” while Eugene looks on, seeming very ill at ease, from the back of the bus.

Abraham continues that maybe he’ll become a “plumber, sheep herder, something like that,” causing Rosita to chime in, “We ain’t herding sheep now, Abraham, eyes on the prize.” This sweet affirmation of their lasting union, a brighter future for Rosita and Abraham, together, makes Abraham’s smile deepen and his eyes twinkle.

He nods, “Damn right…that’s my girl.” ¬†Abraham smiles a moment at the road, then adds, to Rosita,¬†“Maybe I’ll let you shave me down, all over…dolphin smooth!”

dolphin smooth

This hilarious Abrahamism had #dolphinsmooth trending worldwide by the time Talking Dead ended. Rosita laughs, tells Abraham she’ll “cut it for you tonight.” “Yes ma’am!” Abraham replies, with a knowing smile.

Tara turns to Eugene, quips, “Hey, uh, maybe Rosita can give you a trim while she’s at it…party’s getting a little long in the back.

Ha! ¬†There is definitely some fun banter bouncing around in that short bus, already; and then, Tara goes and ups the funny by officially calling Open Season on Eugene’s Mullet.

When Eugene doesn’t respond, Tara adds, “Unless it’s your source of power!

The Source of Power

the Source of Power

Now, before we go further into this recap, I would like to take a moment to address this whole Eugene Mullet situation. Eugene’s mullet has taken pop culture by storm, and attention must be paid.

I, like all of you, am obsessed with Eugene’s mullet,¬†have been ever since I first laid eyes on it, and as many of you know, I have made several mentions of it in my posts. I even named it “The Eugene.”¬† I contemplated writing sonnets in its honor, but honestly, who has time?

Last night, after watching “Self Help,” I dreamed about Eugene and his mullet. No lie. I really did. ¬†Fleeting moments and recurring images of Eugene and his mullet were interwoven throughout my entire night’s sleep. ¬†By the time I woke up, I felt kind of haunted by Eugene and his mullet…and it all felt so weird, and so right, somehow.

In my first-ever post for¬†barnfullawalkers,¬†my “Introduction” post, I took readers back 10 years, to 2004, when I walked into a comic book store, and walked out with the first two issues of “The Walking Dead” comic series, which had just hit the shelves and was taking the comic book/graphic novel world by storm. On that fateful day,10 years ago, “The Walking Dead” came into my life, and my life has never been the same since.

Now, let us rewind 10 years before that, to 1994, to the day when the mullet came into my life…and my life has never been the same, since.

The story goes something like this: ¬†I was hanging out with my then-boyfriend at his apartment, sharing a laugh over a hilarious article in his latest issue of Grand Royal,¬†the Beastie Boys’ brief and brilliant foray into the magazine world. This particular issue, I believe, boasted a cover photo of Lee Perry, smoking a big ol’ j, against a bright orange background::

I think this was the one...I can't believe that was 20 years ago! Grand Royal was awesome.

I think this was the issue…I can’t believe that was 20 years ago! Grand Royal was awesome.

The Grand Royal article we were laughing at featured the many different examples and incarnations of the “mullet,”¬†Grand Royal’s name for the hairstyle that was shorter on the top, longer in the back, and strangely ubiquitous in all corners of the United States, and probably the world (although I do not profess to be an expert on overseas mullets, aside from a good British Invasion/ Eastern European punk, mod, or techno Euromull …if anyone is knowledgeable about International Mullets, send pictures, won’t you?¬†Enlighten me, please.¬†This inquiring mind wants to know!).

Anyway, back to “94, and the Grand Royal article..the mullet was a hairstyle I recognized, of course, and had definitely seen, many times, on many different kinds of people…kids, rednecks, older ladies (a “femullet” is what Grand Royal termed a mullet on a woman), younger ladies, aging hipsters, young hipsters. The mullet took on many forms, transcended social and economic barriers, but all in all, a mullet was defined by its sheer dimensions…if a hairstyle was shorter in the front, and longer in the back, it was a mullet. ¬†Period.

And that, to me, was the strange beauty of it.

That day, and that article, opened up a whole new chapter in my life.  From that day on, from that issue of Grand Royal on, I, and many others, became obsessed with mullets.  It started out, for me, at first, as mullet-watching (much like people-watching, except you are watching people with mullets).  

My friends and I were keeping an endless tally of them. If we were standing in line in the grocery store, or waiting to buy movie tickets, and if the person in front of us, or behind us, had a mullet, we’d nudge each other, surreptitiously point, nod, or make some other gesture indicating a mullet sighting, and we’d exchange knowing looks, nods, faces, giggles. Sometimes, you’d see an entire family, and they all would have mullets. That was like a triple thousand bonus score…the endorphin rush from a family mullet sighting could last for hours.

(Remember, darlings, this was the mid-90’s…we didn’t have internet, or social media, yet…We had to amuse ourselves somehow!)

Anyhow, our mullet-watching antics expanded into the naming and classification of mullets, a practice shared by only a few…you had to be pretty obsessed with mullets to take it to this level. You would sight a mullet, either in real life, or in a picture, or in a music video, TV show, or movie…and as quickly as you were able, you would name it.¬†¬†I think I loved naming and classifying mullets more than just about anyone. If I could have gotten a doctorate in the study and classification of mullets, I probably would have. ¬†I found them endlessly fascinating.

And talk about an endorphin rush…to me, finding the perfect name for a mullet, or a mullet-moment, was a rush like none other. ¬†When I would nail it,¬†that was like, the total tits. The El Dorado, Ladies’ Choice, the Skywalker, the Han Molo, the Darth Mullinator, the ABBA, Salt & Pepper¬†are examples of some of my more memorable mullet monikers (except maybe the Han Molo¬†…my friend may have come up with that one).. My naming and classification of mullets was a source of great personal pleasure, and a practice that carried over into the new millennium. ¬†At some point, I stopped, probably because nobody cared that much anymore. Nobody except me, that is!

Through it all, however, mullets have endured, as omnipresent as they ever were, and¬†20¬†years¬†later¬†after that now-classic¬†Grand Royal article gave the “business in the front, party in the back” hairstyle its official title, the term¬†“mullet” is¬†a household name. Nowadays, everyone knows what a mullet is…we just haven’t been talking about them much, to my quiet and constant inner dismay.

Until now!

Earlier this year, in the glow and blossom of new spring, we WD fans got our first glimpse of Eugene Porter, in all his mulltastic glory, flanking his protector, Abraham Ford, on one side, with the lovely Rosita on the other, and  with that moment, Kirkman, Gimple & Co., and their poster boy, Eugene Porter, singlehandedly brought mullets back to the forefront of pop culture.

Hallelujah!

To celebrate Eugene, and his mullet, I am going to spice up this post for WD’s Season 5, Episode 5, “Self Help” by inserting pictures of Eugene, in various iconic poses, moods, and mullet moments, and I will come up with the best name for the mullet in each picture that I can think of, as the caption.¬†

Many of the mullet names will come straight from the Mouth of Eugene.

And if you like,dear readers, please play along..send me your Eugene pictures, and your names for the different Eugene mullet moments...I will probably be playing this game on my Twitter account as well:

https://twitter.com/barnfullawalkrs  #NameTheMullet

Eugene’s mullet…it’s bigger than all of us, people.

So, thanks for going along with that, and now,¬†back to our story: ¬†as the¬†Team Eugene short bus¬†chugs down the lonely road, Tara has just openly and hilariously mocked Eugene’s mullet, but Eugene does not respond to her jibes right away..he looks ahead, troubled, pensive.

Mullin' It Over

Mullin’ It Over

At Tara’s good-natured “source of power” dig, Eugene spouts off some incomprehensible response….I usually try to pay attention to this stuff, but this time, after a couple of playbacks, I just couldn’t do it…something about “the jawbone of an ass.”