AMC’s The Walking Dead will enjoy its mid-season finale next weekend, so tonight’s episode was all about the setup, as you might have expected. Before they take a two-month break, however, Rick & Company have quite a bit of work to do. There are two of their own who are currently in the hands of some crazed hospital employees, and any wrong moves could cost numerous lives. While there’s a good chance that next week’s hour will end in a frustrating cliffhanger, at least tonight’s penultimate run put all the pieces in place.
Hit the jump for The Walking Dead recap.
When first we begin “Crossed,” most of our heroes are still under the same church roof. It doesn’t stay that way for long. Sasha is chopping up the church pews (and working out some frustration) while Tyreese and Daryl are pulling the pipe organ apart; they’re using the pieces to shore up the defenses of the church, blocking the doors and windows with the wooden planks and using the pipe organs as defensive spikes around the perimeter. Father Gabriel, Carl and Judith, and Michonne stay behind while Rick & Co. return to Atlanta with Noah to free Carol and Beth from the crazies running Grady Hospital. Here’s where everyone splits up, so let’s break tonight’s hour down into its disparate settings, shall we?
Still at the church, Father Gabriel feverishly tries to scrub away the bloodstains on the church floorboards while Carl lays out an array of weapons for him to choose from. Carl offers to teach him how to defend himself, and starts to spout the rhetoric he’s heard the leaders of his group say before. Gabriel is basically a child at this point while Carl is now a man grown. Gabriel takes a machete, reluctantly, and retreats to his own room. Later, Michonne has a heart to heart with him in which she explains that their actions are “worth it,” but he doesn’t seem convinced. Instead, he’s busy prying up the floorboards with his machete in order to break through to the crawlspace beneath the church. After all that effort, he’s felled by a nail through his shoe, which causes him to limp away through the graveyard. While alone in the woods, a random Walker sneaks up on him, but he manages to lift her body and slam her onto a broken tree, impaling her and exposing her guts. He’s about to smash her head in with a rock, but notices her cross hung around her neck. Does anyone still feel badly for this guy? At least Eugene, spineless though he may be, used his particular set of skills to survive … that is, if he’s still alive.
When last we left the D.C.-bound crew, Eugene had revealed his true colors as a liar with no particular insight into the undead epidemic. Abraham reacted violently before falling into a stupor, a state in which he stayed for a majority of this episode. With Abraham and Eugene out of commission, Glenn stares down the long road ahead of them that’s plagued with Walkers, who don’t know they’re there just yet. He then joins Tara and Rosita to fill up on water in a nearby creek (and they come across a few Walkers trapped under a fallen utility pole); Maggie remains behind with Abraham and Eugene. The three discuss Eugene, and each of them react differently to his behavior: Glenn’s upset at him, Tara says he was using the only skill he had available to him, and Rosita just wants him to be okay. She rigs a water filter from her shirt sleeve (a trick Eugene taught her) and they spend some time filtering it so it can be boiled. A perfect time for her to share the story of how she met Abraham and Eugene. While filtering, Glenn sees ripples in the stream; he seems to think they’re in a prime fishing spot. Rosita, Glenn, and Tara take out the fallen Walkers and pilfer their corpses for supplies. They use the mesh lining of their jackets as a fishing net (while Glenn and Rosita flirt a bit) and Tara goes through a backpack, finding a screwdriver and something even more useful apparently…
Meanwhile, Abraham sits and stews while Maggie rigs up some shade over Eugene’s unconscious form (rather than just moving him into the shade…). Maggie takes the opportunity to chastise Abraham for his childish behavior, saying that it’s never going to get any better than it is right now. Abraham’s still on his thirst/hunger strike but snaps out of it when Eugene regains consciousness. Glenn, Tara, and Rosita return (Tara has a yo-yo).
While the yo-yo is … fun, I guess, Rick & Co. have more important things in mind, namely getting Carol and Beth back safely from Grady Hospital. The good news is that Beth, the group’s sole insider, is currently looking after Carol’s health. She overhears the cops talking about Carol and their decision to pull the plug on her, and it turns out that Beth’s interference was a direct cause of their decision. While Dawn gives Beth a key to the drug locker (in order to help Carol), a report comes in of a solitary gunshot; their security team goes to investigate. In the meantime, Beth pays a visit to the doc to inquire about Carol’s treatment, which results in her going to give Carol an epinephrine injection. Beth walks the halls of Grady and bribes an orderly with strawberries so that he’ll cause a distraction long enough for her to steal the epinephrine. She injects it into Carol’s IV feed, holds her hand, and talks to her. Let’s hope she keeps this patient of hers alive long enough for the cavalry to arrive.
While en route to Atlanta, Sasha’s still upset about Bob, but doesn’t want to hear about him from Tyreese. Instead, Rick & Co go over the plan to storm Slabtown. The plan is to go fast and silent, using knives and silencers to take out as many of the guards as possible. Tyreese is playing devil’s advocate and suggests making an even trade for two of their cops and two of their own. Rick doesn’t want to play that game, but Daryl sides with Tyreese, so they opt to go the diplomatic route.
At this point, I can see why Rick would want to take the brutal road; he’s certain his group will have the upper hand and will be the ones to walk away whole. Giving the opposition a chance to strike back has yet to work out well for the group. Still, the Slabtown crew haven’t exactly been up to the level of murderers and cannibals we’ve seen so far, so perhaps a more humane solution is in order here after all.
As planned, Dawn’s ordered patrol finds Noah stumbling through an abandoned factory and they knock him over with their car before handcuffing him. Rick & Co step out of the shadows and get the drop on them. They ziptie the cops and offer them food and water in exchange for a conversation. One of them asks Rick if he’s a cop. Noah says the guy is named Lamson, and he’s one of the good ones, but another car storms in with guns blazing and attempts to rescue the Slabtown officers. The car gets caught up in a dead end and the team investigates amidst a tar-filled road with half-melted Walkers trapped in it. Daryl gets separated from the group and one of the cops ambushes him, strangling him just inches from a biting Walker. Daryl narrowly avoids getting his face and his fingers bitten off, and uses a nearby Walker’s skull to hit the cop (very cool/gross scene); Rick returns just in time to keep the man at gun point; he looks about ready to ice him, but Daryl stops him. (I wonder how many Daryl fans were ready to riot at this point.)
Now with three hostages, things should be easy sailing, right? Well these three cops apparently aren’t on great terms with Dawn (so they say) so it’d be easy for her to write them off, leaving Rick & Co with nothing. They offer to take care of Dawn for them if they let them go. One of them, Lamson, offers to help since he’s known Dawn the longest. At the same time, Tyreese is still trying to talk Sasha through her grief, while Sgt. (Bob) Lanson is talking Rick through his negotiation with Dawn to prepare him.
Before long, Sasha gets a little too close to Lamson for my liking, but he starts telling her a sob story about Tyler, a former officer he knew, one he saw rotting in the parking lot outside, melted into the asphalt. He offers to take her to his body, but she says she’s a good shot and can take care of him if he tells her where he is. Lamson points Tyler out to Sasha and lets her take the shot … or not. He rushes her and smashes her head against the window, knocking her unconscious before running away. Should have gone with Rick’s plan from the outset.
While “Crossed” certainly felt like the penultimate episode before the mid-season finale, the pacing and plotting kept things interesting. If only the characters and their decisions would be less frustrating, I’d have been much happier with this hour. I’m all for our heroes attempting to maintain whatever semblance of humanity still exists, but when it comes to the safety of their own, all bets are off. Time and time again we’ve seen that giving others the benefit of the doubt leads to more hardships and bloody losses for the altruistic group. I’d imagine that whatever the fallout of this decision is, it’ll remind the survivors that this new world does not tolerate the meek and the mild.
Odds & Entrails:
- Rick: “I owe Carol.” Michonne: “We all do.” Rick: “I owe her more.”
- Tara: “Great news for G.R.E.A.T.M.”
- That melted tar-Walker scene was great, especially the moments of Daryl in Peril.
- Daryl: “Rick! Three’s better than two.”
- Beth: “Carol, it’s Beth. I just wanted you to know that I was here.”
- I’m happy to see the survivors using everything at their disposal to make their lives just that much more convenient, but what’s up with the yo-yo? Was that something from the comics?