Tuesday , 23 May 2017

The Walking Dead So Far

Walkers 5.14

**** The following commentary deals with the events of The Walking Dead through episode 5.14,
“Spend”, which aired on 3/15/15. If you haven’t yet caught up to this episode, continue on at your own risk. ****

With only two episodes left of this season’s The Walking Dead, Rick and Co. are at a crossroads. They’ve
found a new home, with new people, yet they are continuing to face difficulties and suffer losses. It is how they handle these losses while dealing with these new people that will determine what lies in store for them.

As the second half of season five began, the group was at another low point in their existence. And that was pretty much all it was at that point – existence. They were alive, but they weren’t living. They did still have a sense of purpose though. Even if Eugene’s claim to have knowledge of solving the infection was revealed to be false, his goal of reaching Washington, D.C. still proved to be a destination of hope. And after the potential sanctuary, Terminus, aka, Cannibal Holocaust, proved to be anything but, the gang needed something, anything, to strive for, albeit with tremendous trepidation.

Still reeling from the deaths of Beth and Tyreese, both of whom left behind family members, leaving only Rick, Carl and Judith as an actual family unit, the group was forced to travel by foot, with dwindling supplies of food and water (ep. 5.10, “Them”). Just when things were most dire, to the point of Father Gabriel basically denouncing his faith, rains literally came down from the heavens. As this shower turns into a powerful storm (even instances of good fortune have dangerous consequences), the group finds refuge in an abandoned barn (of course, everything is abandoned at this point). As if the storm wasn’t enough, a herd of walkers eventually converges on the barn, a sort-of reverse turnaround from the time Sophia and her fellow walkers escaped from Hershel’s barn (ep. 2.7., “Pretty Much Dead Already”). Banding together to hold off this latest attack, another miracle occurs just when it’s needed most. The storm brings down a number of trees, which take out all the walkers, leaving the barn, and the group, completely unscathed.

Walking Dead - rain

I think there’s little doubt that these are acts of God which come into play just when Rick and the group are at their most desperate. The timing in both these instances, and especially the strategic taking down of the walkers, have to be considered more than mere coincidence. Despite the fact that they are living in a virtual hell on Earth, might Rick and his group have divine intervention on their side? You’d be hard pressed to think so considering all the gut-wrenching adversity they’ve faced. But as is often the case when it comes to horror, in film, television and literature, faith and notions of God come into play quite frequently, perhaps moreso than in any other genre.

After the storm, it is then that the group meets Aaron (again, so many names taken from the Bible), who, after a Ricktator initiation, leads them to a potential sanctuary, and a renewed sense of life, in a town called Alexandria. Rick, Carol and the rest of the group are wary of these new surroundings and the town’s leader, Deanna, understandable after their previous experiences with the Governor and Gareth. But they’re willing to give it a chance, as many of them are weary of being on the road, and they really have no where else to go. As Deanna videotapes her interviews with the individual members of Rick’s group, as a sort of record-keeping, she sizes them up to see what tasks are best suited for them. Rick and Michonne are soon giving the positions of constables, while others, like Daryl, have to be given more time to determine what attributes they possess, and how best they can contribute to the town.

Michonne and Rick

It is at this point where we, the audience, are shown that it may not be the people of Alexandria that Rick’s group needs to fear after all, but rather, it’s the townspeople here who need to fear Rick and company. Indeed, when they first arrive in this civilized haven, Rick and the gang appear to be more like feral animals that need to be housebroken before they can assimilate into this new society. But when Rick declares to Carol and Daryl at the end of the episode “Remember”, that he’s prepared to take over the town if it’s not going to afford sufficient protection, one has to wonder, are we seeing the rise of a new Governor? Or is Rick, at the very least, becoming more and more like his former partner, Shane, willing to do anything he deems necessary to insure survival of his group, even if it’s at the expense of others. It certainly seems that way.

Carol, who has probably seen more character growth than anyone else on the show, going from a timid, battered housewife to a fierce, determined warrior, has already shown that she is more than willing to do whatever needs to be done in order to protect the group. From killing the infected and burning their bodies back at the prison to ending the life of a disturbed and dangerous child, Carol is able to go places that no one else, including Rick, would ever be capable of going. As evidence that Carol hasn’t softened any now that she is in a more secure environment, in the episode, “Forget”, when she is caught by Sam, a young boy in town, while retrieving some of their weapons which were taken upon entering Alexandria, she shifts into “Scarol” mode. Giving the boy a choice if he rats on her between getting cookies or being tied up outside the gates until the monsters eat him alive, she clearly lets him know which way he should go. In the next episode, “Spend”, Scarol is abrupt and cross with Sam, to the point of downright meanness. Is she doing this to keep the fear in Sam so he won’t tell on her? Or is she keeping him at a distance because she’s already lost her own daughter, Sophia, and had to put down Lizzie, and she doesn’t want to get close to him in case something bad goes down again? But when she realizes that Sam is living in a home with an abusive father, something she’s had direct experience with, she wastes no time in pursuing the matter.

Scarol - WD

It is Sam’s apparently abused mom, Jesse, who Rick has struck a rapport with. Although Jesse’s husband, Pete, a doctor, reaches out to Rick, suggesting they be friends, Rick is uneasy, and it seems inevitable that these two will ultimately have a deadly confrontation. Especially after Carol informs Rick of her suspicions and flat out tells him he’ll have to kill Pete. Whoa, Scarol!

That’s how the last episode, “Spend”, ends. But there is so much going on prior to that in the episode, it again shows why The Walking Dead is the best and most thrilling show on television. While Daryl, back on a motorcycle for the first time in awhile, heads out with Aaron in search of new recruits, Abraham joins a construction crew looking to strengthen the town’s walls. Abraham seems to be suffering anxiety attacks, clearly not over Eugene’s deception. After losing his primary purpose in life, he relishes the chance to take charge and bash some walker heads in order to save someone during a mishap while others panic.

Abraham-WD

Meanwhile, Eugene, on a supply run with Glenn, Noah, Tara and two of the townsfolk, makes no secret of the fact that he is a coward. But he soon gets the chance to man up and actually save some lives, though, unfortunately, not everyone’s, again, thanks to the carelessness and spineless actions of the members of Alexandria. It’s a wonder how this community has survived this long with so many inept, fearful inhabitants. As Maggie says to their leader, Deanna, “We know what we’re doing…you need us.” And Rick will soon need Maggie, as she overhears Father Gabriel, still facing a crisis of faith and seemingly becoming unhinged, tell Deanna that Rick and his group are not good people, warning her that, “Satan, he disguises himself as the angel of light,” clearly referring to Rick. Though Deanna listens, she takes his advice with a grain of salt. But what will she believe when she finds out her son was one of those killed on the recent supply run?

Again, with only two episodes left in this season, things are coming to a head. What could be an idyllic situation has underlying factors that threaten to destroy everything, not just for Rick’s group, but for the community of Alexandria too. The thing is, though Father Gabriel is being traitorous, he is not entirely wrong either. While Rick’s group has brought the town the leadership and skills it so desperately needs, they’ve also stated that they will put themselves first if it comes down to it. They’ve been through too much together, and as Rick has said a number of times, he has a family to protect, not just Carl and Judith, but the entire group.

And while threats from within are cause for concern, there also remains the mysterious marauders on the outside, carving “W”s into their victims, and apparently on a rampage of mutilation and death. Might these be the “Wolves” we see referenced in the episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On” where Tyreese is killed? Maybe Rick’s group and the people of Alexandria will come together to thwart any outside attack. Or maybe Rick and company will be on their own, once again.

It should be noted that while the Gore 4 is aware of the comics, and sometimes gets wind of an upcoming character, we are not readers of anything that hasn’t happened yet on the show. While the comics are great, and of course the basis for everything Dead, the show is the thing, so anything stated here is mere conjecture. We don’t want to know what comes until it comes, but we sure do enjoy wondering, thinking and predicting what everything means and what might happen next. (In fact, one Gore 4 member refuses to even watch the preview at the end of each episode.)

WD - Noah

 

R.I.P. Noah

 

 

 

To close, here’s a link to AMC’s website and a behind the scenes look at the filming of one of the most harrowing and gruesome scenes to ever appear on The Walking Dead, and in fact, all of television, the Revolving Door of Death. This episode, “Spend”, incidentally, was directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of director, David Lynch. Enjoy:

Making-of-episode-514-the-Walking-Dead-Spend

Article by Brian de Castro

— dedicated to Joy Segarra, aka, Big Paca, who received great joy from watching horror on television. And, the scarier, the better!

About Brian de Castro

Brian worked at NBC in New York, writing and producing promotion for everything from Saturday Night Live to Letterman, Leno and Conan, as well as The Today Show and Nightly News. A graduate of Rutgers University, the New Jersey native, when he's not working on the Gore 4 website, can usually be found on a baseball field.

One comment

  1. Great article and conjecture about The Walking Dead this season! What, indeed, will happen in the last two episodes. I, myself, am expecting the marauders to make their appearance, possibly as a season cliffhanger. But I know that anything can happen. If the marauders do come, it’s too bad that Noah won’t be around to get some payback for what they did to his family and town. I’m also expecting a possible deadly confrontation between Rick and Pete, the town doctor and resident “Porch Dick” and abuser. I just hope that the group isn’t beginning to let their guard down. Michonne and even Daryl seem to possibly be lowering their guards. But Rick isn’t and, of course, Carol the “watch dog” isn’t. Poor Sasha isn’t either, but she seems to be suffering from extreme P.T.S.D. In fact, she’s the only one of the group that isn’t, or isn’t able to, put on any false fronts. Could be dangerous for the group or maybe it could help keep them safe. We shall see. Only two more episodes and then we have to wait a torturous six months or so! Hopefully the new spin-off show will help alleviate some of the the withdrawal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*