Monday, March 16, 2015

(TV) The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 14 “Spend” TV Review

Tonight’s episode left an awful lot of questions that need to be answered but the main questions that popped into my head was just how did the Alexandrians last this long?
The honeymoon between the Rick and co and the Alexandrians is truly over as death visits both groups outside the walls which is not surprising but what was surprising was the cause of the deaths.

We’ve already seen that the Alexandrians are ignorant of the danger outside their walls and have super lax security measures but in this episode we two separate dangerous situations caused or exacerbated by the dangerous combination of cowardice and recklessness on the part of the Alexandrians.

The show has been setting us up to see the Alexandrians as desperately naïve and ignorant to the point it’s quite obvious the writers of the show are engineering a conflict between the two groups as Rick and co already know that the Alexandrians cannot hold their camp without their help.

The events of this week’s episode will surely bring the two groups at loggerheads as the the group loses Noah and Deanna lose her son Aidan. These two deaths will set up the mother of all conflicts between the two groups and no brainer who’s going to come up trumps.

Things started so well as we see Noah talking to Reg about learning how to build and reinforce the walls and Reg gave him a notebook. While the group is secretly split over the merits of the Alexandrian camp, Noah is one of members of the group who has bought in what the Alexandrians are trying to do and because of this Noah made the worst mistake you can make in The Walking Dead: aspire to keep hope alive by building a better future for himself and others.

We’ve seen the endeavor either get people killed in the most gruesome manner possible or turn them into a monster due to the moral compromises they had to make and in either outcome the character loses whether he or she lives or dies.  

Whatever happened this episode you knew that supply run was going to end badly given the lack of planning by Aidan and Nicholas despite Glen’s advice to come up with a different route out of the warehouse should things go pear shaped. Glen, at least up to this point, has never lost anybody on a supply run. On supply runs he saved Rick and Tara and gotten crucial supplies for the group but he mostly did supply runs by himself or with one other person  just as experienced out there as he was. However in “Spend” he found himself having to follow the lead two inexperienced but cocksure scouts in Aidan and Nicholas and watch the back of Eugene, who in his own words, “is not combat ready or combat inclined”.

Things start well on the supply run as they find what they’re looking for and prepare to leave but not before Aidan, neglecting to listen to Glen advising him to let the military clad walker come closer in order to kill it, shoots a live grenade which blows up which made a simple run ten times more deadly than they already was. In the next scene we see that everyone is more or less okay except for Aidan who is impaled by a forklift courtesy of the blast he caused and Tara knocked out with a bad cut to the head.

In the next scene we see Eugene, Noah, Glen and Nicholas in an office with Tara on a table unconscious pinned down by walkers which would have been fatal for all involved if Glen didn’t step up and come up with a plan to get them out of the office and save Aidan who came to after Nicholas thought he was dead.

So far just about every scene we’ve seen with the Alexandrians has shown us how unprepared and inexperienced they are to deal with threats outside and inside their walls as the scenes at the warehouse and building site show  both Glen and Abraham being forced to take the lead thanks to the recklessness and cowardice of  the Alexandrians.

Aidan and Noah wouldn’t have died if Aidan had listened to Glen and let the walker get close enough to kill it and the Alexandrian group would have watched one of their own get eaten alive if Abraham didn’t go commando and singlehandedly handle a whole herd with a little assistance from one of the Alexandrians who got over his fear thanks to Abraham’s display to badassery.

This episode also revealed that Deanna’s concerned that the group is taking leadership positions in the town too fast with Rick and Michonne already constables and after the incident at the building site, Abraham in charge of the community’s expansion which is understandable but takes a bit of gloss off her grand plans for the camp and doubt her motives when she’s worrying about the ascent of the only people in her group she knows who can keep the camp safe long enough to realize them. Sure almost everybody in the group is capable of cold blooded murder and sometimes struggle to know when to turn it off and on but the Alexandrians don’t have that kill switch and if they did, wouldn’t know what to do with it. We see that in the building site incident and fatefully, we see it in the poorly planned that gets Noah killed in the most gruesome way possible.

Noah death was particularly gruesome as we watch Glen, who’s never lost anybody on a supply run, watch Noah get torn apart by walkers thanks to Nicholas’s cowardice when they get cornered by walker in a revolving door. “Spend” was a big Eugene episode as we saw him step up as he carried Tara back to the van and drew the walkers away from the revolving allowing Nicholas, Noah and Glen to escape. Unfortunately, after panicking when Glen couldn’t break the glass of revolving door, Nicholas bailed on Glen and Noah leaving them susceptible to the walkers on the other side which lead to the walkers grabbing Noah and pulling him back into the lobby despite Glen’s best attempts to pull him back.

The writers of the show laid the gore on thick this week as the camera lingered on the horrible deaths of Aidan and Noah as both were eaten alive and torn apart literally by walkers making sure we didn’t miss a second of the whole ideal. The Walking Dead is comfortably the goriest show on TV right now and “spend” made sure we didn’t forget.

Not all the drama in “spend” was reserved for the events at the building site and the supply run from hell as the Rick, Jessie and Pete love triangle takes a new turn as we learn from Carol’s rather cold interaction with Sam and the tense doorstep visit to Pete’s and Jessie’s house (the kid she threatened to kidnap and leave in the woods last week) that creepy Pete, who in every scene we’ve seen him in is either trying to get Rick drunk or asking to check up on his kids is abusive towards Jessie and maybe Sam.

We already see that Rick doesn’t like Pete and would probably kill him anyway but thanks to Carol’s experience as a battered wife and being able to spot the signs, Rick has the perfect reason to get Pete out of the picture. While the way we deal with domestic abuse in our context leaves a lot of be desired given the alarming rate of death surrounding the issue, executing someone for being an abusive asshole to his wife and potentially his kid isn’t the answer either particularly in the post-apocalyptic world. Rick and Carol have elected themselves as judge, jury, and executioner before and we know they’re waiting for the slightest instance the Alexandrians get out of pocket to do it again.

And with the revelation of Pete being a domestic abuser and the death of Noah and Aidan sure to split the camp once Glen, Eugene, Tara and Nicholas make it back, Rick and Carol might just get their chance.

All in all, “Spend” was a great episode  that going to definitely split the group in two and I can’t wait to see what happens next week’s even though we have pretty good idea that it might not turn out of well for the Alexandrians in any case.

Till next week.

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