The Walking Dead Recap: We’ve Lost Things

 Posted by on March 16, 2015 at 3:42 am  The Walking Dead
Mar 162015

melissa-mcbride-800Spend is a Walking Dead episode that asks some tough questions. What kinds of loss are the hardest? What’s worse: to suffer your first real loss, or add fresh losses to a long history of suffering? And what are the degrees of pain involved in losing someone you love? Your idea of yourself? Your mind?

It might be the most brutal hour of The Walking Dead we’ve seen this season — worse than Terminus, in some ways. There are so many losses in this episode that some of the horror has to take place offstage. When’s the last time that happened on this show?

The event that starts this week’s Avalanche of Awful is a power outage. God knows the good people of Alexandria need juice for their refrigerators, KitchenAid mixers, and video games — so a coalition of Alexandrians and survivors is tasked with finding converters or routers or widgets or whatever people use to bring those things back up. Glen, Noah, Tara, and Eugene pile into a van with Nicholas and the mayor’s son Aidan; off they go, stereo blasting. For a while, the only bad news here is that dubstep seems to have survived the apocalypse.

The good news doesn’t last: the warehouse where the power thingies are located has a zombie overstock problem. They’re all stacked up behind a gate, like so many undelivered Christmas fruitcakes. When a zombie in Robocop body armor (WHO SAID THIS COULD BE A THING?) charges the group, Aidan panics, and shoots it. Naturally, Riot Zombie is wearing some kind of grenade, and it goes off.

Back in Alexandria, Abraham gets to work building a wall, and there’s been a break-in of some kind at Jessie’s house. Rick wanders in as she’s trying to clean it up. She’s oddly terse about the whole thing, and we can soon see why: her Jekyll-and-Hyde husband Pete is having one of his Mr. Hyde days. He grabs his fifth (or twelfth) beer of the lunch hour, walks over to Rick’s house, and makes some quiet threats.

I’m sure it looks like we haven’t lost much, but we have. We’ve lost things. Other things we’re just fighting like hell to hold on to. – Pete

While Pete is nastily offering Rick his hand in friendship (he actually says, “Let’s be friends”), Carol is again hanging out with her little lurking buddy from the pantry last week. In fairness to Sam, Carol did offer him cookies for his silence. Who can blame the kid for trying to collect?

At first, Carol handles her little friend with all the matronly warmth of suburban moms I knew in the 1970’s:

None of these are problems, Sam. Get out of my house. – Carol

When the kid pesters her about needing a gun, things change. “Who is it for, Sam?” she asks — but as a domestic violence survivor, she already knows. Sure enough, when she shows up at Jessie’s door, asking for Sam and Jessie, Mr. Hyde Pete won’t let her in. “Not a good time,” he grunts.

Pete is not long for this ruined world, my friends.

He’s better off than our friends over at Zombie Storage & Shipping, though. Aidan is mortally wounded, Tara may be in equally bad shape, and the zombies are suddenly everywhere. They can’t save Aidan, but Eugene battles his fear and carries Tara to an exit. Glen and Noah run with Nicholas to another.

In a horrifying scene, the three men are trapped in two sides of a revolving door as walkers push into the other two. Eugene drives up in the van and tries to distract the walkers, but Noah gets trapped between the door and the zombies. And just like that, one of my favorites is gone.

Glen takes the loss of Noah very, very hard — especially after Nicholas tries to commandeer the van and leave without him and Eugene. He doesn’t leave Nicholas behind, but any sense of community between the survivors and the Alexandrians is gone.

As Glen’s driving what’s left of his team back to Alexandria, Carol is leveling with Rick about Jessie’s husband:

I know how this is gonna go with Pete. There’s only one way it can go. You’re gonna have to kill him. – Carol

And Father Gabe — who began the hour by ripping up a Bible, in an evident fit of madness (or textual disagreement) — is unburdening himself to Deanna. “Satan. Disguises himself. As the angel of light,” he intones, confiding that the same people who repeatedly saved his cowardly hide “can’t be trusted.”

Whatever, Father Judas.

Final episode thoughts:

  • WHY NOAH? 
  • Aidan’s death was particularly brutal. I was surprised that none of the survivors gave him the gift of a mercy kill — but the manner of Noah’s death made me get over that, fast.
  • Aidan’s overreaction to Robocop Zombie reminds me of something I’ve said often over the past year: it’s not a good idea to put a privileged white kid from the suburbs on your front line.
  • That said, I wasn’t ready for a zombie in law-enforcement body armor, either. (I too am from the suburbs.) Weaponized zombies? Really?
  • Abraham seemed happier killing a stagger of walkers than he’s ever been while doing anything, for as long as we’ve known him.
  • Alexandria’s placid porches and living rooms seemed odd, especially in contrast to the bloody confrontations elsewhere. This is a very strange way to live at the end of the world.
  • I do not like Pete at all. If Carol and Rick really are about to serve that dude with a permanent and irrevocable restraining order, I am all in.
  • Rick’s ‘broken windows theory’ is quite telling. “You keep the windows intact, you keep society intact.”
  • Deanna’s husband Reg had just begun mentoring Noah in architecture when he got horribly killed by zombies. He’d left his new notebook behind in the van: “This is the beginning,” he’d written.
  • Seriously: Why Noah?!

  7 Responses to “The Walking Dead Recap: We’ve Lost Things”

  1. There’s a common thread here. Both the work crew and Aidan & Nicholas’s scouting crew have standard policy of leaving someone behind if zombies approach. Not only did Aidan act like an idiot by shooting at a zombie that was armored, their fundamental policy is wrong. Nicholas didn’t just try to commandeer the van, he actively contributed to Noah’s death by deciding Every Man For Himself while Glen was working on a plan to save all of them. Glen’s horror was not just that Noah died, but that it was unnecessary.

    Bullet-pointy Thoughts:

    We should have known Noah was zombie meat the minute he joined the expedition; Noah isn’t one of our warriors; Maggie or Rosita would have done better.

    TWD has long had the reputation of killing a black character every time they introduce a new one. Are they doing that with gay characters too? Does Tara have to die to make room for Aaron and Eric?

    Carol’s role here seems to be to make Rick less morally compromised. When Pete inevitably buys it, she’s the one who said it had to be, taking Rick a tiny bit off the hook.

    Last night Arthur reminded me that he stopped watching TWD in large part because it got good. While it was a little dumb, the horror didn’t horrify him. Then it got really good, and it did, and he was losing sleep. Last night was a not-sleep-after episode, and as Noah died, I was really glad Arthur wasn’t watching.

    • I believe the show is leaning too hard on the One-Brother Rule. (I was so angry about losing Noah last night I didn’t have the heart to invoke the rule in this recap.) I know for sure that Black viewers are noticing this, and they are a significant audience segment: check the Twitter hashtags “#DemDeads” and “#DeyWalking” to see just how many viewers the show stands to lose if it keeps following this tired old line.

      I think this may be the case with gay characters too: we very rarely see them in relationship, the way we get to see Maggie and Glen. There’s always that one scene establishing the relationship, but no hint of physical intimacy afterward. Why bother having gay characters at all, if you’re just going to leave them hanging around like diversity posters?

      I think the loss of Noah bothers me so much because the actor (Tyler James Williams) looks so boyish. You know how I am about kids … 🙁

      • Everyone who has died this season has been black, or a redshirt, or a villain (Aidan). When we know for sure that our core white cast, and Glen, are safe BECAUSE THEY ARE, there’s something very wrong.

        • Or they are setting us up for the finale where some major (white) cast member will be killed because of the inexperience/panic of the Alexandrians.

          • The fact that you can even ask the question highlights the systemic racism of the show.

            • Systemic racism? Goodness… Earlier in the show, there weren’t enough black characters, so people complained. Now, there are more, and some of them are going to die, so people complain. People die in every episode. People are noticing and complaining, because that’s what people do. How many people are complaining about the lack of Asian characters, or Hispanic characters? How many black characters do there need to be at all times for people to not complain? 13%, which is the black population in the USA? 30%, which is the black population in Georgia? In a compelling show, all the discourse I see is about race.

            • “All” the discourse? Ben, Anne writes a cogent and intelligent recap every week; before Anne, I did, and two other writers preceded us. We’ve written about many things, but this is your first-ever comment on this blog.

              Perhaps complaining about other people discussing racism seems like discussion to you? I suggest you actually discuss something.

              But before you do, read the comment policy:

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