Let’s get this out of the way: The Walking Dead episode Heads Up wastes no time showing us that Glenn is alive. In a survival escape so unbelievable that only the Sexy Pizza Geek of the Apocalypse could pull it off, Glenn actually slides from beneath Nicholas’ body to the underside of the nearby Dumpster, which appears to have a clearance of about seven inches, and is safe there. That is some Houdini stuff, and also? No zombies, no matter how decomposed, can get in there!
The day passes. Then night. Then it’s morning again, and thirsty Glenn emerges, only to get bashed by a plastic water bottle, thrown by misanthropic little Enid:
Soulful hero that our buddy Glenn is, he ends up chasing Enid through the twee sitting rooms and tastefully-appointed diners of the apocalypse. They waste scene after scene, arguing over who is and isn’t her friend and whether or not the world is trying to die. This may be the first time our hero has encountered the type of person who sees her fellow humans as specimens to be studied. I’m willing to give him some time to figure this out.
While Glenn and Enid crouch by the side of a road, filling green signal balloons with helium, things in Alexandria are getting weird:
Weird thing 1: The busted tower at the Alexandria gate – scene of the truck crash earlier this season – seems to be leaking wood. As in, wood is flying out of its windows, with a certain unusual velocity. Not falling, mind you. FLYING.
Weird thing 2: Carol is spying on Morgan – who, because he’s Morgan, is concerned about the lives of others in his community. (Yes, even prisoners. Even prisoner Wolves.) So this is a thing the core survivor group is doing now: doubting the motives of those who have had their backs time and again, helped them stay alive, carried their children, protected them and fought for them. Okay! Sounds good!
Weird thing 3: People keep complimenting Rick. He’s working on the wall (he’s pretty much always working on that wall) when Spencer tries going over it, for some reason; Deanna later thanks Rick for saving her son’s life. It takes Rick a while to accept this, because Rick is kind of an obtuse ass right now. But here’s the point: Obtuse ass or no, people see Rick as a good guy.
How much of an obtuse ass is Rick? Creepy Ron, son of Supercuts, wants to “learn to shoot.” Coming from a kid who hasn’t smiled at his own mom since he was about 12, that’s not creepy at all! But Rick, who enjoys being in Jessie’s pants good graces, is quick to oblige. This endeavor leads to long minutes of Rick and Carl, man-to-manning it up with creepy Columbine Junior, who isn’t even hiding what a jerk he is. (“What about ammo?” You little shit.)
We reach peak Alexandria Weird when Carol, having really committed to this spying-on-Morgan thing, is at Jessie’s house waiting to drop Judith off for childcare. Sam, from his perch on the landing, starts peppering his old buddy Carol with questions about monsters. (“Did my Dad turn into one?”)
The poor kid. Honestly. He’s up there all alone, while his mom is off romancing the new sheriff and taking killing lessons and his brother’s gone Columbine. It’s a grim life for Sam these days, but Carol chooses this delicate moment to drop a bomb on the boy:
The only thing that keeps you from becoming a monster is killing. – Carol
Carol? Meet me in Final Episode Thoughts. Right now.
Minutes later, as Enid and Glenn’s green signal balloons float over the Alexandria walls, the crippled tower falls on those walls that Rick had sworn would hold. The stagger of walkers crowds in. I’m sure that Glenn and Enid will follow them, as well as untold others, good and bad. I know that Alexandria isn’t ready, that Carol doesn’t trust Morgan (and vice versa) … and that Columbine Junior is still in there, his gun loaded.
Final Episode Thoughts:
- Do I need to say it? I will anyway: Team Morgan. I have half a mind to fly home and dig around in my Mom’s next-door neighbor’s garage (which was our old house when I was in high school) till I find my old twirling baton, and repurpose that as a girly kind of bo staff.
- Eugene continues to entertain. “There are people in my proximity with open toed shoes.” So he doesn’t like weapons training. He’s a delicate flower. Let him bloom, Rosita.
- I think Enid likes “the outside” because this end-of-the-world thing was always kind of a dream of hers. She still quite can’t believe it’s real. It’s like Christmas, every single day!
- Spencer’s little stunt with the grappling hook was the single whitest thing I’ve seen a character do on The Walking Dead:
- It was so white, multiple people had to get involved to save him.
- It was so white, the guy in charge actually yelled at someone else for Spencer’s terrible idea.
- It was so white, Spencer actually complained afterward, “I lost my damn shoe.”
- Tara’s response to getting yelled at for Spencer’s stunt was priceless.
- Carol’s comment to Sam was likely the last advice he heard from a grown-up before the walkers crashed the gates. Think about that. Think about the power of things adults tell children in crisis. Carol, you are dead to me.
- That moment between Carol and Sam doesn’t just change my view of a character I’d loved; it changes my view of the series. Admittedly, my view has been trending downward from the beginning of the Glenn Situation; as Alan Sepinwall memorably wrote, you can’t unsound that horn. But Carol is one of those people who speaks for the viewer. For her to speak that line to a child breaks a bond I’d built with the show over years.
- I’ll see it through to next week, but after that? I’m thinking I’ll take my bo stick and some energy bars and be on my way.