I’m in shock. Shock, denial, outrage. Probably more, too, but I can’t think of the words right now.
Don’t get me wrong, “Spend” was a well-produced and overall good episode of The Walking Dead. It’s setting things up for the next episode well, specifically making known the conflict between the Alexandrians and the Ricktators. But when it comes down to drama, this episode overdosed.
Let’s start at the very beginning. Daryl, Sasha, and Michonne are absent for the most part from this episode: Daryl is off recruiting on his motorcycle, Michonne is probably on solo sheriff work, and Sasha is beyond the wall, as per Deanna’s orders from last episode.
Noah has a meeting with Deanna’s husband on securing the walls and making it bigger. In Noah’s words, he’s “in it for the long run.” (Solo shots of Noah? Sound the alarms –- this can’t be good).
Rick meets up with Jessie in her garage where he finds her mending her owl statue, which has been broken down by someone. With lots of sexual tension hanging in the air, Rick promises her that he’ll find the person who did this and make them pay. At first, the way Jessie says “stuff like this didn’t happen before” made me think she was insinuating that it was one of Rick’s crew, but we later see that that’s really not the case.
Meanwhile, Glenn, Noah, Tara, Eugene, and the Alexandrians Aiden and Nicholas set out beyond the wall on a supply run for power transformers. Right before they embark, Eugene turns to Tara and hypes himself up, saying shit like the only reason they’ve succeeded this far and has gotten to where they are now is due greatly to Eugene’s contributions. Tara of course sees through his bullshit and calls him out.
Noah and Glenn are really developing their relationship into a wonderful and beautiful bromance, which makes me super happy. It seems like all that they’ve needed but hadn’t had before is what they have in each other: a solid friendship, no walkers attached. They have a good time together, and that’s what matters.
They arrive at a store supplied with these transformers. As they enter, they soon realize that they’re not alone: walkers surround the perimeter and areas outside the store. Where mostly everyone succeeds in hitting their targets, the Alexandrians fail miserably. Aiden hits a walker dressed in riot gear and ends up shooting a flash grenade.
Everything stands still for a couple of seconds. Each person in the room is strewn across the area. At first, it looks like there are no casualties. Sadly, however, that’s never really the case here. Tara hits her head badly and is unconscious on the ground, with blood pouring effusively out of her head. And Aiden, poor, stupid, douchey Aiden was flown backwards straight into a pole and impaled.
Over near Alexandria, construction for building more of the wall is underway. Something’s up with Abraham, and it’s honestly really unclear why. While he’s standing alone by a truck, he starts huffing and puffing as he closes his eyes and rocks back and forth. Clearly, he’s about to undergo some type of mental breakdown, and for no apparent reason. Then suddenly, the alarm bells go off as the construction crew are suddenly surrounded by walkers. Abraham’s attitude turns a full 180 degrees as he jumps over to everyone else, pulls out his rifle and starts shooting. And laughing. Maybe his moment was just about repressed anger of being in suburbia and not being able to take out his guns? (both of them). He even creates his own swear word in the process: “Motherdick.”
Back in the suburbs, Rick is treated to a visit by Jessie’s husband, Pete. Something is off right at the start: he’s tipsy and a little irritated. The purpose of his visit? Basically to show Rick that he knows he’s been talking to Jessie, and to show who’s really boss here.
The drama continues in the store, where Glenn, Noah, Eugene, an unconscious Tara, and Nicholas are fighting for their lives. As they reach a safe section of the store, they discover that Aiden is actually still alive. Glenn, Nicholas, and Noah run over to help Aiden while Eugene guards Tara. They try to extricate Aiden but quickly find out that it’s impossible, especially with the threat of walkers looming near. Nicholas, living by “every man for himself,” runs off from the crew. As Glenn tries helplessly to save Aiden before his body is taken by walkers, Aiden mentions to Glenn that his crew, the Alexandrians, are the ones that are the real cowards.
Over at Carol’s house, everything seems fine and dandy until she discovers a fugitive: Sam! Begging her to show him the recipe for cookies, Carol obliges and they soon start cooking. Carol obviously exudes mother figure 24/7 in this environment, but is still very wary of showing her true colors, especially after her last encounter with Ron in the gun room. Very casually, Ron brings up this moment, and then casually yet again asks “Can I have a gun?” Carol asks for whom might this gun be, before Ron bolts out of the kitchen.
Carol detects that something is obviously very wrong, and follows Ron’s traces back to his house. When he knocks on the door, she is greeted by an even tipsier-than-before Pete. When Carol asks if she can see Ron/Jessie, all Pete responds is “it’s not a good time”, before shutting the door forcefully in her face.
Back at the store, Noah, Glenn, and Nicholas have found themselves in a very precarious situation. While they have all been surrounded by walkers, they take refuge in a revolving door, though on opposite side (Noah and Glenn in one partition, Nicholas in another). They orient themselves so that the walkers can’t possibly get to them, but as they quickly become surrounded, it’s obvious that there’s very little hope for their escape. At that same moment, we find Eugene at the crossroads of his heroic journey. After flip-flopping over whether he should save himself and leave Tara or not, he makes the right decision: hoisting Tara (his one true friend at this point, to be honest) over his shoulder and making way for the exit. He even manages to shoot a couple of walkers.
Glenn and Noah try to explain their plan of escape to Nicholas –- that they will break one of the window panes of the door while Nicholas holds the door steady, so that they may all escape peacefully. It seems like it may even work, as Eugene rolls over to them, stereos blaring with “You Blocked Me On Facebook And Now You’re Going To Die” (appropriate song, I’d say). After a couple of minutes however, Nicholas decides that team effort really isn’t for him and moves the door for his escape, leaving Noah and Glenn completely vulnerable to the walkers.
At first, you might think that all the characters have some level of immunity at this point, seeing as how Aiden was just brutally eaten. Well, you thought wrong. Noah is taken victim by the walkers, dragged by his legs and into the chaos outside. It’s just as painful for Glenn as he sees his friend’s face change from fright to excruciating pain, all right before his eyes. It’s brutal and disgusting. As Nicholas approaches the car and demands that Eugene leave the others and drive off, Eugene stands his ground and tries to push Nicholas off. Nicholas clearly has the upper hand physically, but thankfully Glenn jumps in and saves the day, socking much needed punches into Nicholas’s face. As Eugene asks where Noah is, Glenn can barely say anything.
Back in Alexandria, Deanna is paid a visit by none other than…Gabriel! It turns out the Gabriel is just a raving, uninspired hypocrite, proclaiming to Deanna that “Satan disguises himself as the Angel of Light,” and that she should not trust any of the crew as they are just not good people. “They’ve done unspeakable things,” except for himself. Clearly, Gabriel must be a saint right? Good thing we all know that’s bullshit.
Carol arrives at Rick’s place and is the bearer of grim news for him: Pete has been beating Jessie at home. As Rick visibly becomes enraged, Carol calmly tells him that under all the circumstances, he knows what he must do: he’s gotta kill Pete.
- Gabriel the Hypocrite: Let’s just get this right out of the way — what the hell is Gabriel about? Who was the person that was unwilling to save lives at the doors of his church awhile back? Bolting himself in his room and trying to save himself countless of times while leaving others at risk? When has he barely thought about trying to help others? If it weren’t for Rick, he wouldn’t be here. I’m hoping that none of what Gabriel said goes to Deanna’s head, but following the recent events of this episode, I know that’s wishful thinking
- Ricktators vs Alexandrians: Following the appointments of the Ricktators into major jobs in Alexandria, Deanna is beginning to feel a bit nervous. She even confesses to Maggie, her leader-in-training, that this situation can be a little off-putting. Let’s not forget the aforementioned Gabriel monologue. And now, taking into consideration the fact that her son died and most of the survivors were the original crew, they’re going to feel a very deep imbalance and ridge between the two sides. It’s gonna be really good.
- Rick/Jessie: Things are really going forward. And now, especially with news of Jessie’s shitty husband, it seems like this is the perfect cue for Rick to jump in and save the day. But will/can he follow Carol’s advice? Admittedly, I definitely want to see him rip Pete in half and then get it on with Jessie, but it may be a little difficult now that things are beginning to go South between the two groups.
- Rest in Peace, Noah: Last but not least, of course. I can’t even begin to say how sad I am about this. First off, my feelings about Noah began when I shipped Beth and Noah together furiously (they would make such a beautiful couple). That quickly went south once Beth died. Then I thought that maybe Noah would be able to survive as the adorable kid in the group. In his own words, he was supposed to be “in it for the long run.” While the way he died was crazy unique and actually kind of awesome (obviously excluding the fact that Noah died), it doesn’t soothe the pain and burn that comes with his passing.