Where Do We Go From Here?
The question has a nice little double meaning, doesn’t it? Our characters are once again bloodied, bruised, and homeless. The team is fractured and lost. It’s back to a life on the road. Where do they go now? And where do we, as viewers, expect to be taken?
I could probably sum up this episode’s events in under a paragraph. In fact, let’s do that! The tower falls, zombies get in, and the main group looks for safety. Deanna gets bit and imparts some words of wisdom, Carl and Ron fight, Carol and Morgan fight, the Wolf escapes with the doctor, Glenn looks around, and the group rehashes a fan-favorite plot point. Woooooo.
That’s it, really. We get a lot of meandering around and not a whole lot happens. So what’s the point? What, exactly, did the showrunners try to achieve with this episode beyond the basic “destroying the village so the characters must move on?” The answer, I fear, is nothing. It was an episode that delivered no emotion or knowledge or anything to us. It was a baseline way to force Rick and friends out of Alexandria.
Carol and Morgan, the two characters who could actually provide some form of intrigue, were both rendered useless. The two get knocked out and the Wolf escapes, which means the ultimate conclusion to their disagreement is delayed even further, as both characters will use this to fan their own flames. This was especially frustrating because it’s the same debate we’ve been hearing over and over, yet the show is still avoiding actually answering it. Sure, you could make the argument that it’s all done for the sake of ambiguity, but given the cheap tricks the show has pulled in the past, I’m not giving it the benefit of the doubt. To me it still reeks of lazy writing.
Speaking of lazy writing, lack of closure, and useless actions, how about Carl and Ron? While it was funny to hear, how the hell are we supposed to side with Carl when he drops such a stupid line like: “Your dad was an asshole.” Protagonists work best in shows like this when their actions are logical and well-reasoned. After that, Carl looks like a prodding little thorn in Ron’s side…are we expected to NOT sympathize in the slightest with Ron after that? Short of doing some hard drugs, Carl is about one step away from turning into a Fear the Walking Dead character.
We got even more rehashing when Deanna’s death was punctuated with wise words about what she’s learned since falling on a band saw. Frankly, I wouldn’t listen to her if I were you, Michonne. Just move along to the next recycled plot point.Maybe the one where Rick covers himself in zombie guts to get through a horde of zombies?
Hell, this was certainly a memorable and engaging sequence in the first season! Why not do it again? It was at this point where I pretty much checked out because I was getting visibly frustrated with the show. This was hardly a new episode, as pretty much every main story beat was lifted from a prior airing. The writers walked on well-trodden paths in order to meet their goal, hoping the ends would justify the means. It didn’t work out, so the means were, well, boring.
So where can the show go from here? How many wonderful societies can the characters stumble upon and ultimately destroy until they, and by extension the audience, throw their hands up and call it quits? How many insane accidents, squandered promises, and disposable characters do we need to go through before it all gets old? Ask yourself, seriously, where do we go from here?
Odds and Ends
- I am specifically not mentioning the post-credits scene. Why? Because if you wanted me to talk about it, you should have included it in the episode. I’M NOT WATCHING INTO THE BADLANDS, AMC, GET USED TO IT.
- Did anyone catch the slack-jawed zombie from Day of the Dead? It wasn’t a reference, I’m sure, so much as just a thing I saw and connected.
- Someone correct me, but did Glenn really just watch his wife get stranded on a roof and then say “Yeah, that’s her all right. Hey, Enid! You suck!”?
- Shut that damn kid up.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.