For most of this episode, not much happens. Then… the ending. Oh man. Dat ending…
My sister has complained about this show a lot. For some reason she thinks it is horribly paced and incredibly slow. She is, of course, a wrong person with wrong ideas. Or so says I, the person writing this review, so let’s just go with my opinion for now, shall we? But yes, for the most part this show has done well combining slow character driven moments with the fast action that helps characterize a zombie invasion of the planet. But this latest episode? The story comes crashing to a halt. Oh man, does it get slow. Not much happens at all… and then the ending. “Oh, I see,” I said to nobody in particular. “This is a transition episode. All it does is set up the next episode.” Well, okay, while that’s nice and all we do only have six episodes this season and, hey, guess what episode this is? Five! So we don’t really have time to have a slow episode like this.
But enough aimless bitching for right now. Let’s talk about what this episode is actually about.
The first half of this episode is just dealing with the aftermath of the last episode. The camp has been invaded by zombies. Nobody feels safe anymore. People are dead. Relationships are strained. Nobody knows who to trust and who can lead them out of this nightmare. Rick’s leadership is being doubted as some feel that if he hadn’t gone into Atlanta when he did, they might have had enough manpower to fight off the zombies. Further damaging his credibility is his insistence that they pull up camp and travel to the Center for Disease Control. Shane, of course, is also on Rick’s ass about his plan, mostly because he is really starting to miss banging Rick’s wife. Most of the camp, in the end, agrees to go, though Morales and his family split off to make a try in finding family elsewhere.
The good parts about this half of the show are two plot points. We see Adrea hovering over Amy’s body, pulling a gun on Rick when he comes to get her. She is obviously not right in the head at this point in time. You can really see just how brutal the death of her sister has weighed on her. There’s a fantastic part where Dale comes in to pay his respects and tells Andrea how close he and they had become since meeting; that they’re the first people he’d been close to since his wife died. Andrea stays with Amy right until she comes back as a zombie, at which point Andrea says her goodbyes, unburdens herself of some longstanding guilt and shoots her in the head.
The second major plot point is the revelation that Jim got bit during the attack. This is what spurs Rick on to find the CDC. Rick, ever the man to try and save everybody, hopes they can get Jim there and get him cured. This actually helps Shane’s point that Rick might not be thinking clearly as everybody else, including Jim, knows that he’s dead already. Finally, after they have already gotten on the road, Jim convinces Rick that he’s had enough. It hurts to move. He’s obviously dying. So Jim asks to be left behind. And so we see our last of Jim as the other survivors drive away and he closes his eyes beneath a tree on the side of the highway, looking forward to seeing his family again.
These parts are fine and all, but somehow this episode still feels so damn slow. It moves at, well, a zombie’s pace. This is the calm before the storm. Or after the storm in this case. It is… it is calm, alright. Everything is handled subtly. Andrea just sits with her sister until she dies… again. Jim just kinda asks to be left behind. We all know what is going to happen with those two people. We know Amy is coming back as a walker. We know Jim is gonna get all chompy soon. So nothing is really a surprise. The drama is there, but its kind of a repressed drama as we know the outcome already. Oh, and before I forget, there is one more part I like. Carol asks to personally make sure her abusive dead husband doesn’t come back. Most people take up knitting or making buildings out of matchsticks to release tension. Carol takes a pickax to the skull of her dead husband. Hey, whatever works for you.
But man, when we get to that ending… it’s really the best way to end a show all about death. The survivors literally walk into the light. I’m not gonna spoil much here, but just let it be known that the next episode, if the promises made here are paid off, is gonna be intense.
With one episode left to go and only six overall this season, it really does seem like a waste to have such a subdued episode. You’d think they’d want to wring as much tension and drama and action out of these people as possible in the time allotted to them. Yet, you can also see why such an episode exists. This is kind of a decompression, a chance to gather ourselves after all that has come before and a chance to steady ourselves for what the last episode has prepared for us. As Rick and the others walk into the light, we can only wonder if they have indeed found a safe haven or if they are dead wrong.
I apologize for that pun. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I really don’t know what is wrong with me.