Just another peaceful morning in Alexandria and Father Gabriel is busy preparing for his new role as the town’s priest. However, instead of taking notes for her sermon, he rips pages out of his bible and nearly has a breakdown. This will probably end well, right?
In a more robust reveal on this episode, Daryl rolls out on his sweet new ride, Noah is meeting with the town’s architect (who is also Deanna’s husband) to learn how to help rebuild the town, and Abraham’s just trying to get himself together. The town’s best and brightest are heading out to get some much-needed parts to patch up the spotty electrical grid and to get material for the wall. While Noah and Glenn are clearly capable, and the Alexandria folk are coming around to this fact, Tara and Eugene are trying to find where they fit in. Eugene thinks he’s partly responsible for getting the group to the safe zone of Alexandria, while Tara suggests he starts pulling his weight. He makes a good step forward when he finds their necessary part for the grid.
This season has really upped the environmental variety in which our team finds themselves battling Walkers, and tonight’s venture into the infested warehouse is just the latest example of this. Our heroic survivors have just about seen it all and are able to cope with any threat in any setting; unfortunately the Alexandria folk aren’t nearly as seasoned. This is made perfectly clear when Aiden continues to shoot a body armor-wearing Walker, ignoring Glenn’s pointers and accidentally detonating a live grenade on the Walker’s gear.
In the aftermath, the team is separated and stunned. Tara lays unconscious and is about to be Walker chow, but Glenn and Noah take out the threat (no thanks to an ineffectual Eugene). With the Walkers now on the loose, they not only have to protect Eugene and Tara, but have to retrieve the impaled Aiden (whom they had previously left for dead) before the Walkers get to him. Eugene takes Tara’s safety (literally) into his own hands, while Glenn is abandoned by the other Alexandrian. Glenn tries to save Aiden, who confesses to him that they panicked and abandoned their friends once before. Noah pulls Glenn to safety as Aiden is disemboweled and eaten alive by the horde.
Things aren’t great for the survivors though since they get trapped in a revolving door with Walkers on either side of them. They’re cut off from their ammo supply, but luckily Eugene arrives with the panel van and awful dubstep music to draw the Walkers away. Though Glenn and Noah form a plan to get them all out alive, Nicholas once again throws them to the Walkers. Glenn has to watch, helplessly, as the show’s most horrific death scene yet unfolds with Noah being torn to pieces by the horde. On the bright side, Eugene gets another chance to stand up for his teammates by holding Nicholas up long enough for Glenn to get ahold of him.
Elsewhere, Abraham’s team has been tasked with retrieving the metal sheets and equipment needed to expand their protective wall. He looks to be in the throes of some sort of withdrawal, but snaps out of it when a horde attacks the workers. A stray shot on a hydraulics line dumps a sniper out of a front end loader’s protective bucket, and Abraham soon finds himself defending the lone woman while the Walkers close in. He pulls one of Rick’s old tricks and escapes by crawling under the heavy equipment. While the other shooters take out some members of the horde, Abraham enjoys himself a little melee action, bludgeoning a line of them as they approach. I haven’t seen him this happy in quite a while, and it’s in part because he’s found a new team to lead and partly because he can bust some heads.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Rick is helping Jessie clean up a pile of junk that used to be her owl sculpture, and resolves to get to the bottom of just who busted it up. (My guess? Rick himself. Or maybe the neighborhood kids dared Carl to do it.) And Jessie’s kid, Sam, is pestering Carol for more cookies; he wants her to show him how to make them. In a fun twist, Carol agrees to show him if he’s able to successfully steal the ingredients from Olivia without getting caught. Success! Carol’s resisting the urge to be motherly to Sam, and it’s no surprise considering her track record with children. Sounds like Sam already has his own issues to deal with as he “breaks stuff” when he gets upset, and is responsible for smashing the owl statue.
Rick is soon paid a visit by Jessie’s husband, Pete, who tries to impress on the sheriff that although Rick may have lost his wife, the townsfolk of Alexandria have lost things too. He drunkenly extends an offer of friendship to Rick, whose fingers stray to his wedding band after Pete leaves. Carol then visits Pete herself, sensing that something isn’t quite right in the Anderson home. If Rick needed another reason to take Pete out, Carol gives it to him when she reveals to the sheriff that Pete is abusing his family, and that Rick should kill him.
Closing out the episode, Father Gabriel warns Deanna about Satan’s arrival within their own walls. He says that, while he’s happy to be there, Rick and the others have done horrible things to people. Deanna actually stands up for them, saying that these survivors are just the sort that they need. Gabriel repeats his warning that Rick and Co. will one day take over the town and destroy it. That’s bad news for our gang, but worse news for Gabriel since Maggie overheard the whole conversation.
Tonight, we saw some interesting reveals in the way the Alexandria folk work: the construction foreman giving up his position in favor of Abraham taking over, the fact that Aiden and his partner turned tail and abandoned their cohorts, and Deanna’s consideration of Gabriel’s warning. All of this, however, was overshadowed by the death of Noah, who was lost to us not because of any mistake or inaction on his part, but by a cowardly betrayal. Noah’s death will surely send shockwaves through Rick’s group, but the way in which the citizens of Alexandria handle Nicholas’ punishment is the most interesting aspect of next week’s penultimate episode, as far as I’m concerned. His possible execution may just be the first domino to fall.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good — Damn fine television
(An explanation of our ratings system follows here.)
If that mix is the music of the post-apocalyptic world, then the Walkers deserve to win.
Abraham: “Mother dick.”
Pete: “Let’s be friends, Rick. We kinda have to be.”
“We have a system. Will you tell him, Francine, we have a sys…” ::slugged::
Deanna: “I put one of your people in a position of power, you vouch for them … it’s becoming a pattern.”
Sam: “We don’t have to be friends, we just don’t have to be quiet.”
Everybody Hates Noah. (RIP though, for real.)
I think the show has reached its limit for killing off minority characters this season…
“This is the beginning.”
Father Gabriel: “Satan disguises himself as the angel of light.”