Monday, March 2, 2015

Good & Bad: 'The Walking Dead' (3/1/15)

Season 5, Episode 12 "Remember"
Plot: On last night’s “Walking Dead” we got our first look inside Aaron’s Party, the town which I guess prefers to go by the much more boring name of “Alexandria,” and it was a bit touch and go. See, Rick’s crew has some trust issues when it comes to new people and so even though things seem kind of amazing in “Alexandria” – they have hot food, running water, videogames, mansions plum for the pickin’ and herds of free-roaming barbers, everyone on Rick’s side does their best to remain unimpressed. Alexandria’s leader gives the gang jobs, but the assimilation process doesn’t go smoothly since Rick’s gang is still super suspicious of the Alexandrites, who they see as weak. At the end of the episode, there’s a brief scuffle between the head of Alexandria’s son and Glenn over the best way to treat walkers, there’s a lot of tension, Rick gets named sheriff and then he immediately launches into a plan to overthrow the Alexandrites and steal their town and their walls and their solar-powered dealys. Because survival. Hunt or be hunted. The Alexandrites are weak and thus deserve to lose their town. And so what if Rick’s gang maybe cooks and eats one or two of the Alexandrites? Is that so wrong? If they’re too weak to take care of themselves, at least the strong should benefit from them, right? Claim that town!


  • Good: So Rick’s crew is pretty much the bad guys at this point, right? They are, at the very least, massive bullies. Like, I know the show doesn’t think they are, but they totally are. Suspicion is one thing, but Rick pretty much laid out that if his people don’t like how Alexandria is doing things, it’s completely cool for them to just take over. It wasn’t just if the Alexandrites turned out to be bad people, it was “They want trash day to be on Tuesday and we prefer Wednesday, so let’s F them up and take their S.” I like this change. I’m suddenly completely rooting against nearly all of the main characters on the show I’ve followed for five seasons. It’s a bold step by the writers. It’s probably completely inadvertent, but whatever. I really hope Rick goes through with his plan and just becomes the next Governor or something. You want to liven things up on a show that’s gotten a little stodgy? Killing lukewarm side characters one at a time isn’t the way to do it. Turning your hero into a one-eyed, power-hungry psycho is absolutely the way to do it.  
  • Good: Additional bully evidence: Sasha turns around and shoots a walker and then she announces: “It’s a good thing we’re here.” A good … That one walker probably followed the sound of your cars to Alexandria, whose gates were only open – thereby putting the community at a slight risk – to let your dumb-asses in. And those people are lucky you’re there? That’s basically the zombie apocalypse version of “Stop hitting yourself.” I’m telling you. Bad guys.
  • Good: Also, this storyline absolutely needs to end with Rick dying, right? In “Dark Knight” terms, he’s very nearly lived long enough to see himself become a full-fledged villain. He’s traveled all the way back to where he started in terms of hair style and profession, now he needs to die to put a nice bow on things. The gang will learn a valuable lesson and can go on surviving the right way, the audience will get a fun twist and Andrew Lincoln can finally go film “Love Actually 2.”
  • Bad: So, I’m not sure this Deanna person is the best actress. Every time she talks I feel like she’s going to strain something.
  • Bad: A few weeks ago Daryl was a depressed emo kid with a penchant for self-harm. This week? He’s the younger sister from that movie “Mama.” He’s a feral child, raised by an unseen wood-spirit, incapable of adapting to a civilized life. He refuses to shower, skins a possum on the porch of a house, lurks by windows with his crossbow. I wouldn’t have been surprised if we came back from the second commercial break and he was suddenly non-verbal and walked around in a tight circle a dozen times whenever he wanted to sit down.
  • Good: Rick shower scene. Ladies, fellas, we’re all happy about that one.
  • Good/Bad: Rick’s makeover. I think I was sadder about the death of that beard than I was about Ty and Beth combined. Still, it was cool seeing Rick shed the unwashed, greasy shackles of life on the road and rejoin season one of this show, even if it was in appearance only.     
  • Bad: I find Deanna’s insistence on interviewing the important members of the gang and videotaping all of it very annoying because of how out of place the first-person stuff feels. It’s like someone on the crew just saw “Blair Witch Project” and thought, yeah … we could shoehorn that in.
  • Good: Deanna’s giving them all jobs that play to their strengths. Rick gets to be a cop. Michonne gets to be a cop. Noah gets to go on runs.
  • Bad: Wait, what the shit? I couldn’t figure out why they’d send the limpy guy on runs and then I realized he’d miraculously healed.  Remember last week when Noah could barely move? Suddenly his limp has gone from “My leg is hanging on by a thread and a prayer” to “I think I tweaked something while I was at the gym doing seven hundred thousand lunges.”
  • Good: Even though all of this is set up completely wrong if you want me to side with Rick, I do like the idea of people who’ve been hiding behind walls since the world went to hell hiring people who’ve been out there fighting tooth and nail to survive to be their mercenaries. You can enjoy our Wi-Fi, we’ll enjoy your headshot capabilities. Wonderful exchange.  
  • Bad: Carol was the worst part of this episode by leaps and bounds. I couldn’t stand her “Don’t mind me, I’m just a kindly old den mother act.” She wants to portray herself as weak and useless so she goes to homemaker. Bullshit. Maybe it’s because in doing so, Carol pretty well showed she has zero respect for people who aren’t good at headshots, but who are good at cooking and cleaning and basically helping their friends survive in non-killing ways. You know, now that she’s a bad ass, that domestic crap is just so pathetic. The thing about societies is, people pick each other up. Some people suck at headshots, other people suck at feeding themselves. In societies, people work together to survive. So stop looking at people who haven’t blown up a compound full of cannibals as a less evolved version of yourself. Oh also, what’s the point? What does she gain by having everyone think she’s weak? Is that one extra weak person going to really be the deciding factor that leads the Alexandrites to reveal their theoretical sinister true selves? Brilliant. You’re the new worst, Carol.  
  • Bad: Meanwhile, Carl has found himself a weird, socially-awkward love interest.
  • Good: But he’s also found some friends who want to play videogames with him. Hopefully all of this will keep Carl busy in the background and none of these relationships will be thrust into the foreground.
  • Good: Tensions over walker rights. Deanna’s son (whose name I won’t bother to learn) strung up the walker that killed some of his friends. It gets out and nearly kills Tara. Glenn kills it instead, saving her life. This leads to heated words. Glenn puts sonny boy on his bum.
  • Good: Deanna’s son is so instantly hate-able even though he doesn’t do anything in this episode until the very end. He’s pretty much that kid whose dad is the coach of the little league team and so the kid thinks he’s hot shit and should be allowed to pitch and catch and play short all at the same time. If you don’t hate that kid, it means you were that kid.
  • Bad: What happened to Aaron? Where’d that dude go?
  • Good: Officer Rick, master of betrayal, clear-cut bad guy.
  • Bad: Please don’t ruin this, writers, by revealing next week that the Alexandrites are all cannibals who only dine on the flesh of babies and honor students. Keep Rick and crew on that hook I’m sure you didn’t notice you put them on.  


  1. Among the many sad and tragic things in fiction is Lear carrying the dead body of his daughter in his arms; Angel saying goodbye to baby Connor, not knowing Wes will take Angel's son to Holtz, where Holtz will betray Wes and then whisk Connor away to a hell dimension, where he'll learn to hate his father; Dawson not realizing that dairy killed his father, not Joey; but nothing is more tragic than Rick shaving his beard.

  2. It got a little dusty in here too sir. It was the most developed character on the show.