It’s the second-to-last episode before the winter break, and there’s entirely too much guilt to go around here. It seems everybody’s got a bad case of it, from Sasha in her survivor guilt to hothead Abraham and the shady security guards of Grady Memorial.
Here’s the thing about guilt, though: it’s a luxury. We hardly have time for it now, in the relatively comfortable New Gilded Age of corporate robber barons and endless work. In the zombie apocalypse, guilt is a dangerously idiotic waste of time.
Sasha doesn’t seem aware of this, as she chops church pews to smithereens. Abraham too is clueless, as he kneels sulking in the heat. Only Father Gabe may have a fair idea of how little the gospel of guilt has served him. He spends most of the episode trying to scratch a hole in the floor of his own church.
Meanwhile, the survivor Away Team — Rick, Daryl, Tyrese, Sasha, and Noah — are planning to take Grady Memorial and free their captive friends. Rick’s plan is ambitious, but Ty knows the fate of best-laid plans. He’s also worried about Sasha, whose grief over Bob is clouding her judgment.
Michonne and Carl, tasked with babysitting Father Gabe and Baby Asskicker, soon find that the priest is a much bigger baby than Judith. Dude doesn’t want to accept Carl’s weapons training, doesn’t want to listen to Michonne, doesn’t want anything.
I thought you should know. The things that we do: They’re worth it. – Michonne to Father Gabe
The one thing Gabe does seem to want is a rest. Once alone, he yanks up the floorboards of his room, jumps down into the crawl space, and hobbles off into the zombie wilderness. Who’s the patron saint of bad ideas?
Over at Grady Memorial, Beth has figured out that Carol is the car-accident victim in Exam Room 2. She finds out from the lousy doctor that epinephrine should revive her friend; thanks to a fellow orderly with a real knack for dramatic coughing, she gets it.
Carol. It’s Beth. I just wanted you to know that I was here. – Beth
While we haven’t seen the epinephrine work yet, it’s in the IV. (My decades of TV-watching indicate that this maneuver always works.)
Still, the real drama of the episode happens between Grady Memorial and the ruined streets of Atlanta, as the survivor team faces off against the hospital’s security force. The survivors are weary, resourceful, almost wordless, dressed in rags; the well-rested guards zoom around in cars, wearing body armor. The whole thing recalls the nightly showdowns in this place.
When one of the guards fails to take down Daryl, he turns on his partner, telling the survivors what they want to hear. Bob the Cop claims that Dawn’s hold on the hospital is weak, and this might even be true. But in telling the group his name, Bob the Cop reminds Sasha of her own recently-departed Bob, and she lets her guard down.
Do I really need to remind people of the basics? In the zombie apocalypse, you NEVER let your guard down. Least of all to a cop!
Final episode thoughts:
- Somewhere in the ruins of civilization, Tara has found a yo-yo. I think a yo-yo could be an excellent weapon, if deployed with sufficient force.
- Noah’s decoy play against the security guards was a nice, redeeming touch. Welcome to the team, Comrade Noah!
- The Street of Melted Zombies was the most disgusting thing I’d seen on this show since the “we need more guts” scene in season 1 … for about two minutes.
- Then Daryl bowling-balled a nearby zombie’s head and clocked Bob the Cop with it. That moment may end up in the show’s Hall of Gross Fame.
- My vote for Doing The Most Without Help this week goes to Maggie, who fashioned a very simple shade from the sun for comatose Eugene while Abraham perfected his catatonic stare. I think it’s entirely to her credit that our mulleted friend woke up.
- That said, did anybody else think the waking Eugene sounded exactly like a zombie? I’m not saying he’s turned, necessarily. I am saying it’s been a hot, stressful day; I wouldn’t want to make that judgment call on half a cup of water.