The Walking Dead: Thank You 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.

“Get back safe.”

With the horn still blaring, viewers were taken back to the other side of things, where Rick and the group were executing their extremely ambitious plan. Rick’s calling audibles on the fly, while Michonne and Glenn are tasked with getting some of the other Alexandria residents back to the community.  Rick’s approach to them has been nothing short of impatient, realizing that hesitation is what gets people killed in the new world. He confided in Glenn and Michonne to get get as many of the group back as possible to the settlement, even if it means sacrificing some of the others.

This season to this point has emphasized the vast disparities in preparedness between Rick’s group and the others, which was exemplified in their quest to get back. For instance, the group happened upon a group of walkers where Michonne and Glenn jumped into with no hesitation whatsoever. The other citizens were a lot more reluctant to jump into the fray. The examples of Rick’s group making hard choices without blinking an eye while the Alexandria citizens are still learning are pretty jarring. It’s fascinating to see the Alexandria citizens coalescing around the concept of camaraderie and trust. It’s the exact same thing Rick and his group went through way back in the day, yet it bears tremendous positive results when reinforced.

The most sobering moment of the episode (and quite possibly the series) was Michonne’s lecture about not realizing the atrocities that are truly out in the world. She offered pretty powerful words about losing track of oneself when out in the world for a multitude of reasons. While it’s true that the members of Alexandria were familiar somewhat with venturing outside (largely through making supply runs), they knew nothing of the true dangers lurking. Dangers associated with surviving and having no choice but to make tough decisions. Tough decisions like those Glenn and Rick made without hesitation.

Rick’s ventured on his own to continue carrying out the plan as expected. Considering the herd was moving as such, any deviation from their course would lead to even more dangers down the road, which is why Rick saw it as so important to see the mission through. There was a moment where he encountered some walkers on the road and ended up cutting his hand in the process of fighting them; that’s something to keep an eye on. Rick ended up having a run in with some of the Wolves who raided the town, successfully holding them off while in the RV after letting a bloodlust come over him. Rick’s fate was a little vague at the end of the episode, seeing as how the RV wouldn’t start and the herd began passing through.

Probably the most heart-wrenching scene of the series was Glenn’s scene in the alley. Glenn made the decision to venture out and set off a distraction to get his group out of their predicament. It was interesting to see Nicholas step up and offer to help as well, seeing as how he viewed Glenn as a nemesis for much of last season. Glenn’s trust in him was pretty powerful, even if Nicholas did evidence some lapses in decision-making that drew one the larger chunks of the herd right toward him and Glenn in a dead-end alley. Turns out that even Nicholas couldn’t redeem himself, as his moments of PTSD led him to commit suicide and take Glenn down into the masses of zombies with him.

The Walking Dead has had pretty major characters die in the past, but none of them were as pivotal to the group as Glenn was. There were signs throughout the episode that Glenn might not be making it back—things like his commitment to doing so, checking Hershel’s watch before leaving, the other citizen vowing to return to his wife of three months and even Michonne promising Glenn would make it back. The truth is that anyone is fortunate to survive even a day in this world, so Glenn’s survival so long was a testament to his perseverance. Watching the herd chase those into the alley presented a pretty bleak outlook from the start, which is what made Glenn’s likely evisceration at the bottom of the herd even more traumatic. It’s wholly possible that it was Nicholas’ body on top of his that was being worked over, but it still doesn’t bode well Glenn to be at the bottom of  a massive pile of zombies.

It seems pretty apparent that Glenn is no more, which is really sad since he was one of the most likable characters on the show. There’s likely a greater initiative at play where the showrunners want viewers to know that anyone is expendable on the show, but you have to wonder if this death might be too much for viewers. Rick’s fate is a little murkier, but even if he does survive there remains the issue of his hand. Whether or not walker blood comingled with it will likely lead to Rick losing his hand (something readers of the comic know something about). Still, losing Glenn will be devastating for the group and will again call into question Rick’s leadership.

It’s possible that Rick’s group will know why he came up with the plan in the first place and they’ll accept it somewhat. Others in the community likely won’t be so open-minded, especially when viewed through the prism of the number of casualties. Sure, the assault on the town was unexpected and completely threw a wrench into the plan, but surely the settlement should have had some defenses in place. That’s not to say Rick would/should have predicted the attack; rather, it’s not really clear why such a large party needed to venture out for the plan in the first place.

Hindsight is 20/20 and at the end of the day Glenn is now dead, Rick may not make it (highly doubtful though) and the group lost a great number of casualties in between. Half the herd is still moving as intended, while the other half is breaking up and venturing in different directions. The group will need to make it back to the settlement to lick their wounds and mourn the dead, wasting no time in the process as they prepare for the inevitable next assault on Alexandria. Getting to that point certainly wasn’t enjoyable for anyone involved and things are only going to get even more emotional as the season progresses.

4 out of 5 stars


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