The Walking Dead: Spend Review

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Like Game of Thrones, 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.


“Satan…he disguises himself as an angel of light.”

The prevailing theme in “Spend” was the glaring contrast in survival skills between Rick’s group and the settlers of Alexandria. Everyone in Rick’s group are better shots, have better instincts and better tactics. There’s something about them that galvanizes those in the settlement to the point where they feel they can learn from them. This point was made evident by the various daily routines of the settlement that Rick’s group assisted in.

Noah feels a little lost and wants a new life. That life involves learning to be an architect, if for nothing else to have something to do. He’s one of the newer members of the group and he was unofficially “traded” for Beth in a sense. It’s good to see that—as a new character—he’s being given some direction. He shows survival talent in the run with Glen, as both are much better equipped to handle the rigors of a run gone wrong. Glen especially offered hints and bits of advice reflective of an extended run in the wild.

There’s clearly some lingering resentment toward Eugene for his admission of the truth regarding his capabilities. His view of the situation is slightly different, as he feels as if they group owes them for getting to the settlement. Speaking with Tara gave him a chance to hear a different take and it was a pretty brutally honest assessment by Tara regarding his new worth to the group. His talents are still appreciated, but he obviously doesn’t have the courage it takes to live in the new world without the protection of others. By the end of the excursion Eugene proved some worth in tending to Tara and taking a stand, but he still has a long way to go before he will be fully embraced by the group again.

Abraham was especially damaged by Eugene’s admission of his grand lie. Abraham pinned his entire reason to exist on getting Eugene to Washington, DC, and when Eugene admitted he didn’t have a cure, it shattered Abraham’s world. He’s exhibiting something akin to PTSD, which is to be expected in putting a hardened survivor into a suburban setting. He almost welcomes the carnage at the work site, jumping right into the fray to save the life of another worker, even if it meant risking his own. It was another instance during the episode where Rick’s group showed they were ready for the world when the others still aren’t.

What was especially galling though was how little the other survivors really know about surviving. While at the work site, Abraham had to be the one willing to sacrifice himself to save Francine, one of the survivors dropped into the fray after one of the other settlers misfired. Glen was witness to two completely foolish incidents. The first involved poorly handling a walker decked out in SWAT gear. The second was in the revolving door, when the other settler chose to save himself and—in the process—cost Noah his life. There’s a prevailing sentiment among the settlers to cut bait and run at the first sign of trouble, which is something practically unheard of in the tight-knit camaraderie of Rick’s group.

Gabriel finally got a character payoff. He’s spent much of the season struggling to atone for refusing to help those who needed his help most. That came to a head when Gabriel confronted Deanna about what Rick and the group has done to survive, revealing the wolf to her. Deanna’s reaction was very interesting. She didn’t outright side one way or the other, but her response did seem to indicate that she believes Rick and the others really did what they had to. Maggie’s eavesdropping will likely play a part in the final two episodes.
The disparity between Rick’s group and the others certainly isn’t going unnoticed by Deanna. Her admission to Maggie that she keeps putting Rick’s people in positions of powers was something of an omen of things to come. Since arriving at Alexandria, Rick’s people have almost been a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Sure, they haven’t arrived with any ill will or intent to take over the settlement, but they’re almost too paranoid at this point. People like Daryl and Michonne feel that a new life could be built at Alexandria, but Rick and Carol are still very mistrusting.

The most telling scene of that paranoia in “Spend” was Carol confronting Rick about Jesse hitting his wife and child. Carol especially is most sensitive to such a situation, making her one extremely capable of detecting such a situation. Her proposed solution seems a little tough in killing him, but Rick is obviously more than capable (and perhaps even willing) to go through with it. It’s probably the best example since their arrival of the lengths Rick and the others will go to in order to preserve their sense of order. And it’s clearly going to come into direct conflict with the way Deanna has been running the show so far. There are only two episodes left in the season and pieces are being moved in a way that’s pretty fresh and new for all the characters involved.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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