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. Â 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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