Monday, March 16, 2015

Spend Mother Dick on THE WALKING DEAD

"Spend," tonight's WALKING DEAD, continued some of the better work from last week, and was somewhat hobbled by some of TWD's usual problems.

It kicked off with Noah suddenly being given some focus. He says he's in it (the Safe Zone) for the long haul, wants to be an architect and begins a journal to record all the things he's going to learn. Everyone knows what that means on TWD and, indeed, before the end he's zombie chow.[1]

Noah's death is an ugly affair, graphic, protracted and gruesome, and it didn't even win the title in any of those departments. That honor belonged to Aiden, who has proven himself to be a Grade-A Dumbass in virtually every scene in which he's appeared. Tonight, his dumbassery caught up to him and he became a gory feast for a gaggle of deads. Before his end though, he confessed that the people on his previous crew had died because, when trouble descended, he and his sidekick ran off and left them.

This isn't the only such revelation. Abraham is working on a construction crew building an extension of the Safe Zone's wall. A herd of zombies comes through the site, one of the workers on lookout ends up falling in the midst of them and the rest of the crew just back away, giving up the fallen woman for dead. It's subsequently revealed that the Alexandrians' have a general policy of leaving behind anyone who ends up in such a situation.[2] As usual, everything on TWD has to be ludicrously exaggerated, every point a hammer to the face, and showing that the Alexandrians have this policy is meant to emphasize in this way their cowardice, weakness and incompetence. To note the obvious, this isn't even remotely credible--if they were this dumb they never would have survived so long, much less thrived. On the other side of the coin, both Abraham and Glenn are suddenly given ESP powers they've never previously demonstrated--both have a moment of pause wherein they realize zombies are coming before the presence of the dead is apparent. Again, an over-the-top exaggeration intended to portray our heroes as being, in contrast to those worthless and horrible Alexandrians, uber-competent and indispensable. Deanna, who oversees the Safe Zone, is concerned about so many of Rick's gang being placed in leadership positions. The godawful Father Gabriel, who had overstayed his welcome on the series about 3 minutes after he was introduced, decides to turn up at her door and even further inflame her anxieties. He locked his own congregation out of his church and let them be killed (which suggests he'll fit in well with the Alexandrians) but he tells her the new arrivals are not good people, that they're dangerous and untrustworthy and that they've committed "unspeakable" acts (the worst one, I would suggest, was keeping Father Gabriel alive and with them). Her apparent concern about the new arrivals is hardly credible given the very poor light the ep casts on the Alexandrians, but what can you do? It's THE WALKING DEAD.

"Spend" was, for TWD, another pretty good ep, but this time around I can't help but feel that judgment emphasizes the gap between "pretty good" for TWD and pretty good.



[1] Noah finally breaks TWD's black-guy-in/black-guy-out cycle; now, it seems, the writers just want to reduce the number of black guys, period.

[2] Abraham, for his part, charges into the midst of the dead, rescues her and ends up the crew foreman as a consequence.


  1. I figured the pre-Rick Alexandria stuff would be better for TWD, because that storyline was probably the borderline-soapy arc of the comics, so i figured TWD knows how to scrub it hard. I got to hand it to them, though - compared to the prison arc, they've been mostly faithful to the comics, sometimes adapting specific lines and scenes from the books.

    A few (probably spoiler-y) notes:

    1) Abraham and Fr. Gabriel's storylines are from the comics, so I'm not surprised about them, and I've given them a pass (even though Fr. Gabriel sucks in whatever adaptation he is in). Tobin was understandable, but Nicholas somehow degraded from the paranoid guy from the books to the first-rate jackass here. I hope they don't waste the rich storylines involving the character in the future by killing him off this season.

    1a) I'm thankful Fr. Gabriel is a background character in recent storylines in the comics.

    2) At this rate I'm expecting the end of the season to be either the Scavengers or the "No Way Out" storyline.

    3) I knew Noah's death was coming since Tyler James Williams was cast as a regular in the Criminal Minds spinoff. That seems to be the third death signal: give a character importance, be the black guy, and be announced prematurely as being cast in a new show. Chad Coleman (Tyreese) and David Morrissey (Governor) were examples of the latter signal.

    3a) No new black guy yet. One problem replaced by another.

    3b) The first and third problem seems to sadly be in many shows I've watched as well. The only exception for me is Lost, since each episode requires a centric character, and it makes sense if they die at the episode centered on them (and most of the time they, unlike many shows I've watched, do it well).

    4) I liked the Bee Gees song in the end of last week's episode. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. Kind reminded me of "30 Days..." back in season 4.

    5) This is probably Matthew Negrete's best episode, although it's not saying much, because his resume is inconsistent ("Indifference", "Inmates", "Slabtown", "Consumed"), all coated with soap. No offense to the guy, though; I don't like calling writers "bad" just because I didn't like stuff they wrote.

    5a) Off-topics, but the writer of last week's episode, Corey Reed, is one of the newbies this season, and it's his first solo episode after "Four Walls and a Roof" and "Consumed". Not a bad debut. Unlike you, I sincerely believe that all the writers have potential to be great. They just don't have the best vision sometimes.

    1. More notes:

      1) Tara was brought into the spotlight after months into the background, yet she survives the episode, albeit injured.

      2) The music in Eugene's van has the lyrics "You're gonna die soon." I chuckled a bit. Closest thing to humor the show has.

    2. TV TWD degrades everything it takes from the comic. The comic construction crew was made up of strong backs who aren't so bright (which, there, is a plot-point), but they had an actual defensive procedure in the event of trouble. The "procedure" of the tv Alexandrians, revealed in two separate incidents, is simply to leave for dead anyone who gets in a jam. "Retreat 'til we're safe in the trucks!"

      TV "Nicholas" is just an entirely new and different character on which they've slapped the name. It's impossible to believe Glenn would take him back to the Safe Zone after he murdered Noah. What in hell are they going to do with him?

      Any time one discusses the writing of a tv series, one is describing a process that takes place via committee, which is why I usually refer to "the writers" collectively and, when discussing individual writers on individual eps, always note someone is the "writer of record" for that ep. The plot for an ep, the events that occur in it, even at least some of the dialogue is typically hammered out by the group before individual scripts are assigned; you're never seeing the product of just the mind of whoever's name is on it. I won't call shit writing anything other than shit writing but with tv it is a collective process.

  2. The warehouse was also the prison set dressed up different. Thats such a copout they need to film in virginia and get the hell out of georgia.

  3. The way black men go on this show, the priest's days are numbered.

  4. I think it was a mediocre thing, but as u say, it was pretty good for TWD.

    I wouldn't say thatNoah broke the cycle of the one-out-one-in-thing yet. Morgan seems to be on his way in.

    No thoughts on Rick and Carols screen time this week?

    1. Before this episode, I was fully expecting Morgan to show up when Noah inevitably dies.

      Probably the "black-in, black-out" thing was delayed.

      Also, I was at least hoping for Heath & Denise, which are some of my favorite characters from the books. No such luck. :(