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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 14 - Spend

16 March 2015

There was something disappointing about how quickly the equilibrium between our survivors and the Alexandrians began to collapse. We don't want the story to be too predictable and because we've seen multiple communities fall apart it feels too soon for this one to be headed that way. However I'd like to think that things will be more complicated than that. Our survivors are still very conflicted and the season could end with them leaving, staying, taking over or running. Let's not give up yet.

I begin with a call for patience because there was plenty of annoying material here. The centre of the problem is the characterisation of the Alexandrians. Cowardice in the face of Walkers is understandable but it felt lazy to have both Nicholas and the construction crew run away while our survivors stood tall. Nicholas' cold blooded selfishness is perhaps realistic but it felt as contrived as any time the Lost producers wanted to us to dislike a character and cheer at their death. Tobin's graceful decision to resign in the face of Abraham's superior leadership skills felt equally ridiculous. But perhaps I should be grateful because to see him bitching and moaning and blaming the new guy for not following procedure would have felt cliched.

The most familiar trope is of course abusive drinker Pete. The only hope for that story is the potential for Carol to have made a mistake. Maybe Pete is an aggressive drunk but hasn't actually hurt his family and is in need of professional help. But Carol (understandably sensitive to that issue) and Rick (looking for an excuse) jump the gun and make a huge mistake. Sadly such nuance doesn't seem likely given Pete's slurry drama school performance.

Far worse was Gabriel. Seth Gilliam has been woefully exposed in this role. He looks so anxious ALL the time that it appers he has three competing facial ticks. I did like his warning to Deanna though. His behaviour followed a more plausible pattern. As he's insulated himself from the horrrors of the world and gone into denial about his own part in it he is emotionally stalled. Despite the kindness they've shown him he is so new to surviving that he is disgusted by the immorality of our survivors and looks at Alexandria as a chance to forget all of this and start again. So he sells them out in the hopes that the world will continue to bypass these walls and not punish him for his sins.

The search through a dark warehouse is a logical story for this universe. But unfortunately it can't avoid feeling repetitious because we've seen so many similar scenes. And it was foolishly repetitious to have both Noah and Aiden horribly eaten alive in front of us. It would have been better to have Aiden die off screen and thus drive home the sheer grossness of Noah's demise. As a visual sequence the latter was very strong. The use of the revolving doors was very clever and dramatic and Glenn gave one of his best performances in showing his loss. Eugene's discovery of his inner strength was fine.

However I have to question the use of Noah. What was the point of his storyline? It seems like he was only introduced to be killed off. It seems like Tara might not make it and Gabriel will surely be satisfyingly eliminated too. The show needs to avoid seeming like it has "untouchables" or it will lose one of its key strengths. As much as Noah's death was well staged it did nothing for me emotionally. I did ask myself at the start of the episode why it was the guy with a limp is the one being sent on dangerous missions.  I also question the editing which cut away from a certain death scene to Carol in the kitchen.

This was largely disappointing and continued the show's trend of being poor at characterising new people. However there's still hope for the last two episodes to deliver something special.

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  • I hear the season Ender (episode 16) is an hour and half! There's sure to be something big I would assume going on in that one.

    Posted by Fluids, 18/03/2015 4:05pm (5 years ago)

  • :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 18/03/2015 9:21am (5 years ago)

  • 'We don't want the story to be too predictable and because we've seen multiple communities fall apart it feels too soon for this one to be headed that way' The next episode we see them all being escorted out the front door and Carol says to Rick 'I shouldn't have been so greedy with stealing all that chocolate. I didn't know Olivia wielded so much power.' Rick glares at her and shakes his head. :)

    Posted by Fluids, 17/03/2015 6:26pm (5 years ago)

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Thoughts:

    I understand how loud music can draw walkers away from the compound; however wouldn’t it equally draw walkers that weren’t necessarily going to head into that area? Wouldn’t it also alert hostile human groups of their presence as well? It really was dropped in there so Eugene could use it later to help rescue Glenn, Noah and Nicholas.

    Here are my some things I picked up from interactions in this episode:

    Abraham: Suffers from an anxiety disorder.

    Carol: Is probably more far gone than she was during Indifference in the fourth season. Her prescription for mental disorders (as well as substance or alcohol abuse) or any biological threat is death; just kill them.

    Rick: Aaron had mentioned to Noah they had a great surgeon at Alexandria who could fix Noah’s injury. Is that surgeon Pete? If it is, I very much doubt Rick is going to kill Pete for beating up Jessie because they are going to need Pete to save Tara’s life.

    Maggie: No doubt she’s going to tell Rick about Gabriel’s words with Deanna.

    Eugene: Is the closest person in Rick’s family to the folks at Alexandria. You need to learn how to defend yourself or others and yourself will end up dead. Abraham’s foreman knows this now and Aidan and Nicholas learned the hard way.

    Gabriel: Should be called Judas in this episode. He still doesn’t seem to understand that in this life violence is a necessary means to protect your flock and your own life. He still hasn’t accepted the world for what it has become now. This I believe is why he sees Rick’s group as being evil rather than being pragmatic. That being said Rick and Sasha did go too far with ending the lives of the Termites in his church with their brutal overkill actions.

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Symbolism:

    *Reg’s notebook (This is the beginning) *: To me, this symbolizes a couple of things. It could be prophesying a bad turn for everyone. It could symbolize how Noah was just starting a new life and then he was cut down and torn apart before he even started.

    *Strawberries in Gabriel’s church*: I suppose it’s a gift of good will. It definitely set Gabriel up with confiding to Deanna about how he felt about Rick’s group.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Good:

    *Eugene facing his fears. This really brought him more into Rick’s camp. Before that I thought of him as being as ill equipped to survive in this world as the Alexandrians.

    *Gabriel feeling like the Alexandrians were normal and Rick’s group were savages. Part of that is true if you go back to the scene where Rick hacked Alex to death in Gabriel’s church. The reality for the most part is Gabriel is strong denial of the current world outside the gates of Alexandria and his church.

    *Glenn’s reaction to Noah being torn apart in front of him was emotionally intense. That helped me feel something for him because of that.

    *The makeup and special effects for both Aidan and Noah's deaths was amazing; some of the best I have seen on the program.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Bad:

    *Peter as an alcoholic abusive husband. It’s been done in shows so many times it’s just too tropic. If he ends up being not only a Dr but also a surgeon then this might get interesting because Rick really needs him to save Tara’s life.

    *Noah’s demise was too soon. I suppose that’s the point. He was just at the beginning of his life in so many ways. The problem is I needed more of him doing things and meaning something to other people to really care about him. He was just starting to do those things, so his death doesn’t have the impact. However, Glenn’s reaction to his death was spectacular handed (SEE the good.)

    *I still don't see exactly what the guilt is that Gabriel has been burying with his denial about the apocalypse that is also causing him to try to and shift over to Rick and his crew by having Deanna give them the old heave ho.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Unknown:

    Will Tara live? Will Rick end Pete’s life or just beat the crap out of him after he saves Tara’s life?

    Who does the title of the episode refer to? Spend what?

    Will Rick confront Pete about his alcoholism and abuse?

    What will Deanna say or do after learning about Aidan's demise? Will she try and retrieve his body and Noah's and have Gabriel perform a ceremony for them?

    Will Olivia confront Carol about her chocolate thefts?

    With all the action at the Solar source warehouse it wasn't clear if Eugene was able to get the dozen micro inverters he needed to fix to Solar Power grid. Did he get what he needed or do they have to go back there?

    Viewer score: 67 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 17/03/2015 1:37pm (5 years ago)

  • This episode reminded me a lot of "30 Days Without An Accident" and "18 Miles Out", but in a good way.

    I thought this episode nicely balanced serialized storytelling, action, suspense, and I guess gore for those who love gore.

    Noah's demise could have been better if they had given him a scene or two in the last two episodes, to give a sense of tragedy to his death, as is the least important character of the gang died.

    And of course on our "black man" character watch, we see Gabriel now getting plot-centric attention after Noah's death, sigh....I guess that's a sign that Morgan is returning...

    That aside, this was a great episode that moves the plot forward while adding depth to the gang's integration into Alexandria.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 16/03/2015 4:08pm (5 years ago)

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