The Walking Dead Heads Up Review

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“What happened is what always happens—people died.”

To say that Glenn’s survival was a surprise would be a massive understatement, considering all the missteps the show took surrounding his “death.” At the very least they made his survival a true survival story, in that he crawled to safety under the dumpster and held out for the day. His choice to venture into the abandoned building on the side of the alley felt a little odd because when he and Nicholas realized they were being painted into a corner, there were plenty of options available to them to escape in those very same abandoned apartments.

Glenn is obviously trying to get back to Alexandria and Maggie, but it’s a little strange that he ran into Enid along the way. Enid left the settlement a few episodes back with really no rhyme or reason for leaving, other than possibly setting up this encounter between the two of them. Glenn maintains an insistence that he help people whom he thinks he can help and Enid is clearly one of them. It seems as if every episode has a character spitting out moral treatises on the difficulties of the life all the survivors are forced to contend with.

Rick is back to manning the fort so to speak. One benefit of many of the big players being out is that Rick gets to interact with some of the other, long-lasting characters. For instance, his exchange with Maggie was refreshing to see, considering it was Maggie who—through Hershel—took in Rick and the others on the farm when they so desperately needed help. While Rick and Maggie don’t share many scenes together, they’re both very important characters and it’s great to see such characters interacting.

Some of his other interactions are a little more varied. Rick is teaching youths to shoot and the juxtaposition of Gabriel putting up the signs for the prayer circle while Rick takes them down to teach others to shoot was pretty solid. It’s indicative of the times for sure. He also managed to sit down with Morgan in something of a tribunal of sorts where Rick, Michonne, and Carol essentially interrogated Morgan for letting some of the Wolves go. While the group (mainly Carol) was slightly incredulous at letting them go, Morgan had a great response.

His was essentially reminding Rick that Rick himself let Morgan live when Morgan threatened him way back when. Morgan’s approach (as so elegantly presented in “Here’s Not Here” a few episodes back) is definitely an outlier in the world of The Walking Dead as it emphasizes peaceful resolutions over shoot first, ask questions later. When confronted about whether or not Morgan could make the difficult decisions, his candid response was a little off-putting, especially considering the seemingly unprepared citizens.

While Rick is teaching youths to shoot, Rosita is training a group how to properly use a machete. Rick’s group continues to attempt to get the group up to speed and it’s nice when it works. For instance, Rick got an assist in reinforcing the wall. But when Spencer executed his daring/stupid plan, Rick was furious at having to save him—even lashing out at Tara for unloading a clip into surrounding Walkers to save him. What’s interesting is Rick’s attitude toward members of his group and some of the citizens of Alexandria.

For the longest while, Rick didn’t relish the role of leader. He reluctantly accepted the role in past seasons and has since grown into it, making tough decisions when the health of his group was on the line. Based on his reaction to Spencer and Tara, now it seems as if he relishes the power. It’s almost as if he’s become mad with power, now requiring that every decision be funneled through him. It’s one thing to be a leader, but it’s another thing entirely to becoming a dictator, which Rick has been well on his way towards for a while now.

Rick has moved from wanting to protect his group to protecting them at the expense of others. Many in the community viewed Rick and the others as saviors, preparing them for the harsh realities awaiting them outside. Even Deanna viewed Rick with suspicion when he first arrived that turned into respect for his ability to possibly protect them. She confronted him as to why he saved Spencer and didn’t buy his response that he was her son; instead, she wanted him to say that the community is growing on him. And that’s a good thing too, considering the collapse of the tower.

Much of the episode was focused on the decrepit nature of the tower that, for some reason, started to fall apart throughout the episode. It finally toppled over and took out part of the wall in the process. This was immediately after Glenn sent up the balloons as a signal that he was ok, completely undercutting the brief happiness of the moment. Makes sense that when he’s so close that he ends up being so far away because of the horde now pouring into the city. Now, the mid-season finale is shaping up to be a chaotic finish to the first half of the season, with everything going crazy and not at all the calm, idyllic lifestyle the community was used to.

Three Stars


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