This week served as a Cuisinart for all the story lines we’ve been following this season, blending the diverging storylines together into a big stew of confusion. Hopefully next week’s episode will be the oven, cooking this mess into a cohesive dish of a narrative. Sorry about the weird cooking analogy, I just have food on the brain. Happy Thanksgiving, people!
Before I get into the episode, I wanted to take a minute to step back and look at how time is passing in the WD world. Time seems to be going in super slo-mo on the show, as a little less than two weeks have passed since the Governors attack on the prison. Two weeks for them, but it’s been almost exactly one year for us. In that time, the gang has survived the prison attack, a lonely week of separation on the road, the Terminus outbreak, and the massacre at the church. Now the hostage exchange at Grady looms large. Rick and Co has been quite busy kicking ass, and they definitely deserve a little down time. But I don’t think they’re going to get it without losing some of their crew first. (Please not Carol, please not Carol, please not Carol….)
The episode starts with small snippets of life back at the church. Sasha angrily hacks into a church pew with an axe while Tyreese and Daryl dismantle the organ. Daryl carries an armful of the pipes out to the front of the church, anchoring them in the ground as spikes. Gabriel asks him snidely if they’re going to take the cross, and Daryl responds matter-of-factly, “if we need it.”
As the rest of the crew board up the windows, Rick and Michonne have a family meeting. Rick will go to Atlanta because he owes Carol more than anyone else, and Michonne will play stay-at-home-mom with the kiddos. No one mentions anything about rescuing Beth.
After the church is secure, Rick gives Judith a kiss and hands her over to Michonne. He hugs Carl and leaves, and Judith promptly starts to wail. Gabriel notices the Termite bloodstain on the hardwood floor and starts to scratch at it with his nails, and then with his palm, sweat on his brow, crazy in his eyes.
(Side note - There are brief cuts to the church throughout the episode but here’s the brief synopsis of what happens there: Carl gives Gabriel a machete, Michonne makes flirty eyes at him as she tries to console him, and then he runs away. Why? Who knows? IMHO he’s super annoying and I presently don’t care for his character. Previews show that we’ll be seeing more of him next week so I won’t spend too much time speculating on what’s going on with him in this episode.)
Back on the road, Tara dubs the group ‘GREATM’ based on the initials on the tops of their water bottles. Other configurations include TARGEM, MEAGET, and my personal favorite, GR-TEAM. You can’t spell GREATM without GR-TEAM.
(Sorry, I had to do it.)
Tara tries to keep it light, staying that she’s going to get GREATM tattooed on her knuckles, but in other news, they’re out of drinking water. They talk about going back to the church, but they fear that moving Eugene may make him worse.
Rosita tries to force water on Abe and he whacks it out of her hand. She yells in his face, trying to get him to look at her, when he stands up and starts to come at her. Just then a click of a gun is heard off screen. It’s Maggie, doing her best cowgirl impression, aiming a pistol at Abe as she growls, “sit down or I’ll put you down.” Abe softens his gaze, and silently folds himself back onto the ground.
Elsewhere, the Grimes gang strategizes in an abandoned warehouse in Atlanta. Rick wants to go in, guns blazing, but Tyreese proposes another option. He wants to kidnap a few cops and do an even trade. Rick protests, but Daryl quickly agrees with Tyreese’s way of thinking. Oddly enough though, the more ‘merciful’ option allows the hospital to remain under Dawn’s oppressive regime, and the rest of the wards would remain prisoners. I guess Tyreese and Daryl aren’t really thinking of anyone other than their own people. To be fair, I don’t think Rick is either.
A bit down the road at the hospital, Beth’s mop has given her the power of invisibility. She rolls her bucket around freely, popping her head into Carol’s room, and then makes her way down the hall where Dawn is having a conversation with another officer. They discuss sensitive topics such as Noah’s escape and the state of the patients. When the male officer suggests that they pull the plug on Carol, Beth jumps into action. She’s super ballsy, getting in the officers face and yelling at him about his selfish priorities.
Not one to be told what to do, Dawn orders that the machines be turned off, and the officer walks out with a smirk. Once they’re alone, Dawn swivels around to Beth and changes her tune. She tasks Beth with saving “that woman” and hands her the key to the drug locker. Beth face is all like “whaaa?” and she asks Dawn why she’s trusting her with the key. Dawn responds by saying that she thought Beth was weak, but she’s proven otherwise.
Beth springs into action, and goes to powwow with Doc Stevens. She consults with him and asks what meds he would give the woman in Room Two. I have no earthly idea why she’s trusting him at this point because the last time he gave her a prescription it killed a man, but I guess there’s no one else she can trust, and she certainly can’t Google it. He deduces that Beth has the key, and gives her an order for a 5mg epinephrine drip. However, before she goes he cryptically refers to Dawn saying, “if she gave [the key] to you, she didn’t do it out of the kindness of her heart.” What does this mean? What possible motive could Dawn have to save Carol? Is she trying to frame Beth for theft? What is going on?! Dawn is psycho, that’s what’s going on.
Back with GREATM, Glenn, Rosita and Tara go get water while Maggie volunteers to stay with Abe and Eugene. She nabs a ladder and blanket from the truck, creating a makeshift shade for Eugene’s lifeless body. After she secures the blanket, she stalks over to a mute, motionless Abe, snapping at him to get over himself. She lets him know that he’s “not the only one who lost something today.”
At the creek, the water is murky but Rosita MacGyver’s a filter out of some rocks and a piece of her shirt. She notes that Eugene showed her this method. The group chats for a bit about how Rosita met Abe, and Glenn spots a fish downstream.
The MacGyver spirit continues as Rosita and Glenn strip some windbreakers off a few walkers and tear the netting out. Tara unearths a backpack and inventories the contents as Glenn and Rosita succeed in catching a pretty large fish with their net. Rosita shares that she has some pretty sweet fish gutting skillz, and Glenn smiles at her. He tells her that they’re going to need her, wherever they go. In a sweet and genuine moment, Glenn steps up as the new leader of GREATM, asking Rosita if she’s “in”. She gratefully accepts.
Back in Atlanta, Noah draws the cops out. He lamely limps around some brick buildings when Dawn’s officers approach and quickly disarm and cuff him. They’ve drastically underestimated Noah, and are not paying one iota of attention when the Grimes gang comes out from hiding and quickly surrounds the two officers. Rick takes charge of the situation, saying, “you do what we say, we don’t hurt you.”
The officers drop their weapons and dutifully kneel on the ground. The male officer asks if Rick used to be a cop, and Rick stands there in silence looking nothing like a cop, but definitely like a deranged lumberjack. But despite his silence, Rick’s mannerisms give him away and the cop has the answer to his question. Noah identifies the cop as ‘Lamason’ and tells Rick that he’s one of the good ones. Before he can elaborate, another car races over and scoops up the two officers, guns blazing. As the vehicle tries to make a getaway, Sasha shoots out one of the tires and the gang turns the corner in hot pursuit.
Just around that corner is a hot mess of destroyed city. A literal field of walkers, melted to the ground from the Atlanta bombings stretches out before the group. Our gang fans out, searching for the officers, careful to avoid the charred and goopy skeletons that dot the scorched pavement. Daryl takes point on the disabled car, but no one is in it. He moves over to a bombed out FEMA trailer, and a bald cop ducks out and tackles him.
After wrestling for a few moments, the cop pins Daryl to the ground and shoves his head precariously close to one of the melted walkers. Daryl fumbles around, hands seeking something, and he barely escapes getting his fingers snapped in a walkers deadly chompers. I gasp and scream at the TV, “What the hell is he doing?!” when his plan becomes clear.
Daryl wins best DIY weapon of the season, hands down, as he grasps the walkers skull like a bowling ball. Squishing his fingers into the walkers jello-y eye sockets he wrenches it up and slams the cop squarely in the head. Steeee-rike!!! Daryl rolls away to recover as the cop starts to retaliate, but it’s too late for baldy because Officer Grimes steps onto the scene.
This moment is tense, as Rick has his pistol trained on the cops face. The cop snarls, “you win asshole” to Rick as he gets to his feet. Rick is about to pull the trigger when Daryl stumbles over. He stops Rick, making an interesting point as he says, “three is better than two”, and Rick reluctantly drops his gun. At this moment, I can’t help but think of the immortal words of Pretty Woman – Big mistake. Huge.
As the crew marches back into the warehouse, the lady cop starts to protest. She reveals that there’s about to be a regime change in ole Slabtown as most of the cops don’t like the way that Dawn’s been running things. They want Dawn out, and Lamson in. Dawn is probably hip to this, so she won’t be too keen to trade for his safety. Despite the fact that this sounds super logical, Lamson tells lady cop to shut up. I’m not really loving Lamson, but Noah vouched for him earlier so I give him the benefit of the doubt. For now.
Lamson lays out his strategy, saying, “you can make this work, but you have to be able to talk to her.” He says his only interest is “peaceful resolution”, and he divulges that he’s known Dawn for eight years. Daryl is intrigued and calls Rick over.
Inside the hospital, Beth launches Operation Save Carol. She palms a few strawberries to a ward who looks like a sad Santa Claus. Once his prize is in hand, he breaks into a coughing fit to distract attention from Beth. She sidles over to the drug locker and grabs exactly what she needs. This seems like a missed opportunity to stock up on some sleeping pills to slip into Dawn’s water or something, but whatever. She quickly locks the cabinet back up and walks purposefully to Carol’s room.
Beth expertly administers the meds to Carol, and then tenderly squeezes her hand, saying, “It’s Beth. I just wanted to let you know I was here.” OMG CAROL PLEASE BE OKAY!!!! I’M HERE FOR YOU TOOOOO!!!!
Outside of the hospital, Tyreese and Sasha work on changing the tire on the officers’ vehicle. They chat a bit about Bob, and Tyreese croons some choice lyrics from Frozen, telling Sasha to “Let It Goooooo, Let It Gooooo!” Okay, maybe he doesn’t actually sing, but if Frozen existed in the WD world, he totally would’ve. Despite the best efforts of her brother, Sasha is inconsolable. She’s still mad at herself because she couldn’t stab her boyfriend in the head. Zombie World Problems, amiright?
Before Rick leaves, Lamson is giving him some advice. He urges him to, “know who you’re talking to.” I would give anything to hear what Lamson had to say about Dawn, both pre and post apocalypse. I’m thinking we’ll get a bit more background on her before she (hopefully) meets her demise next week.
Rick plays the good host, asking if there’s anything Lamson needs before they leave. Martha Stewart would be proud. Come to think of it, Martha would totally be alive in the apocalypse. Lamson says no, but asks them to call him Bob. Sasha’s eyes go all wide and teary.
Sasha watches after New Bob (presumably because the group has decided that Dawn won’t want anything to do with him as a hostage) and he starts to bewitch her with a sweet backstory monologue. Back before the Atlanta bombings, New Bob had been a part of a Dawn-led crew, evacuating the survivors from the hospital. His buddy Tyler had been put in charge of the last van of survivors when the bomb hit. Tyler has been stuck in the ground, like a “part of the street” since then. Fully smitten, Sasha offers to help him.
Cut back to the road. Maggie walks over to Abe and tries to hand him a water bottle. She gently kneels down, like Margaret Mead approaching a hostile gorilla, and asks Abe if he wanted her to shoot him. He says, “I thought I did, but I didn’t.” She tentatively leaves the bottle. Just then, some walker-like sounds come from the front of the fire truck. Eugene’s awake! Maggie jogs over to him, and we linger on a tight shot of the water bottle as Abe’s bandaged and bloody hand swoops down and grabs it. He’s back.
Back in the warehouse, Lamson leads Sasha to the window and points her in the direction of Tyler’s body. He backs his ass up, and as Sasha goes to aim her rifle he runs into her full speed and rams her head against the glass, knocking her unconscious. New Bob < Old Bob.
Some thoughts before I go:
- I loved that Tara got so excited by the discovery of a yo-yo. Also, she’s definitely a welcome breath of positivity and humor on the show, and I hope she sticks around for a bit.
- Upon fleeing the church, Gabriel steps directly on a rusty old nail. He’s totally going to get tetanus if he doesn’t get to a hospital ASAP. How ironic.
- Please don’t let Carol die. Please don’t let Carol die. Please don’t let Carol die…..