Schlock.

I spent all day trying to think of a decent metaphor to describe this episode and it’s relation to last week’s. I eventually gave up on the task, since the writers of the show clearly gave up on this episode. Let’s dive into what was aired last night and try to figure out what happened.

I hesitate to use the phrase “nothing happened” because there are a ton of dead bodies laying about and because I generally like to avoid using that otherwise overused phrase. However, I used it once for Fear the Walking Dead, so I’ll allow myself one more use of the word.

Nothing happened. Seriously, nothing happened. There was a ton of action and death and fighting, but it was without purpose. The only characters that died were nameless citizens of Alexandria, so we had no real sense of loss. The closest thing to a real character we saw die was Smoking Lady and, well, we don’t care about her. The death was distant and detached, so we really can’t say the raid took an emotional toll on us.

Did the action serve the characters in any way? Well…no. Carol, the character who was front and center for the whole thing, pretty much just reaffirmed to us that she is battle hardened and can hold her own in a fight. There was no big change in her as a result of the raid. Nor for Maggie, who I can only assume just stood outside the whole time, since she watched the beginning of the attack but took no part in the fight. Carl, likewise, didn’t do much besides shoot a guy (nothing new there).

The only two characters that I could say had an arc (albeit with a chuckle) were Morgan and Jessie, who thought to themselves “Okay, maybe I might need to kill bad people” and left it at that. The rest of the kids were there to prompt other people to spout off exposition, so they didn’t do anything. Oh, and Gabriel continued to do nothing the whole episode.

So no character development there. Okay, so the action didn’t actually develop any characters. Did it further the overall narrative at least? No. No it didn’t. One of the walls was weakened by having a truck crash into it (more on that later!), and while there is a giant horde of zombies inbound, Rick had previously established that the existing fortifications were insignificant. So while Alexandria may have taken a beating from these crazy attackers, it didn’t make them any less equipped to take on the horde than they already were.

Maybe, just maybe, the “W on the Head” people will serve a purpose down the line, but in all honesty, I can’t really see what this hour-long fight scene did to establish them as villains. They killed people, sure, but that’s pretty common for this universe and villains have been established with less in the past. I don’t really think of them as threatening either, because the only people they killed were unarmed citizens who were too weak to fight zombies with Rick’s crew. And I guess they have some motive, given the photographs they had of the place, but I just see that as “they wanted Alexandria for themselves and did their homework for once.” I don’t know, I just don’t care about these villains because all I’ve seen is schlock. They weren’t established in any substantial way.

I will concede that the action was well done. The slashing, stabbing, and beating looked legitimate on screen, don’t get me wrong. That one crazy guy really did sell me on how much he wanted to sever that one person’s arm. But it was insane. It was all types of ridiculous. Right before the commercial break, when Smoking Lady got slashed by the first attacker, I turned to my girlfriend and said something to the effect of: “That was out of the blue. I really hope that was a hallucination or dream or something.”

It was not. Instead, rather than watch a clever puzzle-solving quest, riddled with conflicting ideologies and personal conflict…we got an endless murder fest. I really can’t put into words just how out of place and lazy this whole episode felt. Truly, I can’t. So I’ll just leave you all on one final note:

SHUT OFF THAT HORN. 30 SECONDS OF NON-STOP HORN IS UNBEARABLE.

Or maybe it was symbolism for how I feel about this whole episode. Whoa. Meta.

Odds and Ends

  • This episode sucked
  • Next episode is, I assume, going to be the culmination of this little episode trilogy. But will it be The Matrix Revolutions or The Last Crusade?
  • This episode sucked.
  • This episode sucked.

  • Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

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