Aug 6, 2017
The Walking Dead: The Revolving Door of Death
This week on The Walking Dead: Two more surprise deaths, both gruesome. Rick gets an excuse to take what he wants. Father Gabriel takes on Satan. And Carol bakes more cookies.
You know what’s great about The Walking Dead? The interpersonal struggles of complex characters in a dangerous, post-civilized world. You know what’s annoying about The Walking Dead? Gratuitous gore that does nothing but show off how phenomenally talented the practical effects team is. This week, we get both in equal measure.
We start with Father Gabriel, back in his priestly collar. Looks like the villagers have gone and made him their new minister. Someone’s left him a nice welcome note and a basket of strawberries. But Gabe ain’t smiling. He’s on the verge of tears—and he takes it out on a poor, innocent Bible, shredding the pages. Won’t someone please think of the epistles!
Hey, Daryl’s got his motorcycle running! Hope that gave you a thrill, because that’s all the Daryl you’re getting this episode.
Noah is meeting with Deanna’s husband, who is somewhat important as the architect who built the city walls, but mostly important because he’s Mr. Deanna. Mr. Deanna apologizes for being late, but the electricity’s out, so no alarm clock. That electricity thing will be important later, but not yet. First, some happy nice time: Noah wants Mr. Deanna to teach him to be an architect. He wants to learn to keep the city walls repaired and strong, and at some point down the road, the town’s gonna need new buildings and someone who knows how to build them.
Mr. Deanna is thrilled that Noah is thinking so far into the future. “You’re in it for the long haul,” he beams. He agrees to teach Noah everything he knows, starting now. He gives Noah a notebook and tells him to start writing. “This is the beginning,” Mr. Deanna says, gesturing at the town.
It’s a heartwarming scene, which should set off alarm bells for the audience. We’re being set up for something horrible to tear this promising start away from us.
Hey, look, it’s Abe shirtless! He’s no Rick. And that’s all there is to this scene.
Aiden—Deanna and Mr. Deanna’s son—is prepping an away team for a trip beyond the walls. The mission is to recover the parts needed to repair the town’s power station. Since Eugene is an engineer, he’s in charge of identifying which parts they need. Glen, Noah and Tara on the team, too, plus Aiden’s buddy Nicholas. Everybody loads up in a tacky 1970s van, and off they go. Aiden immediately blasts some techno music that drowns out every other noise—which is as obnoxious as it is reckless when venturing into the outside world.
(Sidenote: I said last week that the dude flirting with Sasha was not Aiden, but it must have been. I just didn’t recognize him for some reason.)
Rick comes across his love interest Jessie while she’s rummaging through the pieces of the owl sculpture she was building with her kids in her garage. Oh no, who could have destroyed it?! Jessie says this type of thing NEVER happens here. Rick promises to look into it, but Jessie wonders what they’d do with the culprit if they caught him. “Consequences,” says Rick. Vague + stern = manly.
The away team arrives at a long-abandoned warehouse where power station components can be found. Aiden and Nicholas are ready to walk right in, but Glenn advises them to scout out all the possible exits and escape routes first. Aiden agrees, without any apparent bitterness, so good for him. They discover a ga-zillion zombies, but all of them are trapped in a parking lot on the other side of a chain link fence so they can be safely ignored.
Tara gets paired up with Eugene, who refuses to carry a gun and is trying to take credit for leading the crew to paradise in Alexandria. Hey, it was his idea to head for D.C., so what does it matter if he was lying about what they’d find there? He was right about which direction to go, wasn’t he? It does not endear him to Tara or the audience.
Inside the warehouse, there are more zombies… but again, they’re stuck on the other side of a chain link barrier. Eugene is quickly and easily able to find the micro inverter they need to fix the power station. Yay! Everyone back in the van!
Not so fast, of course. A zombie in full military gear, including bulletproof armor and helmet, is ambling towards Aiden.
Slow learner that he is, Aidan keeps trying to shoot it in the head. Finally, he gets a clue and caps it in the knee. The zombie falls, and Aiden riddles it with bullets. Hey, is that a grenade on the zombie soldier’s chest? Why yes, it is. And it does not react well to bullets.
Aiden’s limp body is impaled on various metal stakes sticking out of the wall. Tara is on the ground with a severe head injury. Everyone else seems to be okay, except there’s another zombie approaching Tara—and the only one near her is Eugene. Bless his heart, he grabs her gun and… completely fails to pull the trigger. He just can’t bring himself to do it. Fortunately, Glenn and Noah arrive in time to destroy the creature.
Back in town, Carol is home alone when she hears a noise in the closet. It’s Jessie’s 10(ish)-year-old son, Sam, who caught Carol stealing guns from the town armory/food bank last week. “Cookies!” he demands. Is he going to blackmail her for baked goods? Nah, he’s just bored. Carol agrees to make more cookies but only if he’ll steal some chocolate for her. And thus another innocent child is seduced into a life of crime.
Noah, Glenn, and Eugene—oh, and Nicholas—carry Tara into an office where they can shut the door against the zombies. And oh boy are there zombies! The grenade blew a hole in the chain link fence and they’re pouring through.
Hey, that moaning doesn’t sound like zombie moaning. Oh, shit, Aiden is still alive! Nicholas says protocol is to leave him. Glenn and Noah aren’t down with that. Their plan: shoot a flare the opposite direction, which all the zombies will chase like the dogs in Up after a tennis ball. Then, the three of them will go grab Aiden while Eugene looks after Tara.
Somewhere else outside the wall… Abraham (be-shirted this time) has just arrived at a construction site. He’s practicing his deep breathing when zombies by the shit-ton start pouring out of the woods, not terribly unlike what’s going on in the warehouse. Fortunately, all of the construction workers have guns and are using them, although Abraham seems to be the only one bothering to aim.
The lookout—who was in a crane bucket lifted high into the air—somehow manages to fall out (?) and hurt her leg when she hits the ground. Welp, she’s a goner, everyone says, except Abraham, who’s not down with that (why does that sound so familiar?). He charges towards the zombies, scoops up the lookout, and shoves her in the cab of the crane.
She’s safe inside the vehicle now, but he’s stuck on the outside. He slides under the crane, and when the zombies start crawling after him, they’re easy pickings. But it’s only a temporary solution; he’s got to slide out the other side of the crane before the zombies surround him. He tosses his gun to the lady in the crane, then picks up a circular saw by the cord. He swings it around like a helicopter propeller, smashing zombie skulls in one after another.
Enough excitement. Back in town, love interest Jessie’s husband pays a visit to Rick at his house. You can smell the whiskey through the TV screen, but despite being drunk as a skunk, Mr. Jessie is being perfectly polite. Almost fawningly polite. He’s a doctor and wants to give Rick a check-up, and no that’s not a euphemism or a pick-up line. “Let’s be friends,” he says.
Back in the office at the warehouse, Eugene is rambling to an unconscious Tara. “I take no responsibility for this,” he insists, like that’s a surprise. It’s pretty much his mantra. But he wouldn’t be talking to an unconscious person if he wasn’t really talking to himself. And for once, he’s not buying his own bullshit. Suddenly, he grabs a gun, tosses Tara over his shoulder, and makes a break for it. Two zombies come at him, and he blows them both away without slowing down.
Glenn, Noah, and Nicholas are trying to pry Aidan off the metal spikes that hold him to the wall. After two pulls, Nicholas gives up. He makes his excuses directly to Aidan—abandoning people is standard operating procedure. “That’s who we are,” he says. And then he runs.
Glenn and Noah keep trying valiantly to free Aidan. Oops, now the flare is dead, and the zombies are returning. Aiden whispers his last confession in Glenn’s ear, “They didn’t panic. We did.” We know who he’s talking about. The four members of his team who got killed in the line of duty last month. They’re the reason Deanna decided to open up the town to new recruits. It’s all your fault, Aidan.
The zombies are upon them. Glenn and Noah have no choice but to flee. Holy shit, are they not at least going to shoot Aidan in the head? No, they leave him to be disemboweled and eaten alive. On camera. Wow, super gross.
Abraham is safe, and so is the lookout. Some of the construction workers ignored orders and came to their rescue. The lookout decks her boss for ordering the crew to abandon her, and he knows it’s the least he deserves. Let’s go home, he says. Abraham says no, they’ve got a job to do. At Abraham’s command, everyone jumps back to work, three times as hard as before. Zombie attacks are so much better than trust falls and ropes courses for team-building. Does corporate America know about this? I wonder if we can rent some out for the next HNTP company retreat.
Nicholas is only a few steps ahead of Glenn and Noah when they reach a revolving door. Nicholas goes in first, then there’s an empty spot, then Glenn and Noah… OH SHIT, zombies are coming from the outside, too! Nicholas doesn’t dare get out, so he keeps revolving, only he doesn’t dare go back in, so he’s stuck right where he is, with Glenn and Noah pinned directly opposite him. Like this:
Back in town, the construction boss is talking with Deanna. He’s resigning his job and handing it over to Abraham. Deanna decides to allow it, but she’s not happy. Once construction dude leaves, Maggie (now Deanna’s personal assistant) tries to vouch for Abraham. Deanna admits she’s not thrilled about giving yet another member of Rick’s crew more power. It’s not much of a revelation, except that it definitely implies Deanna isn’t working some sort of long con by making Rick sheriff. If anything, she’s just now realizing how far behind the game she is.
Hey, remember Sam and his quest for cookies? He’s back at Carol’s house with chocolate. I don’t care how much you don’t care. The standoff at the revolving door will just have to wait. Sam tries to make conversation while Carol bakes, but she’s extremely curt. “We’re not friends,” she warns him.
“We don’t have to be friends. It just doesn’t have to be quiet,” he says. It’s the perfect combination of pitiful and cute to break down Carol’s defenses. She starts talking about cooking and how she used to do it to distract herself when she was feeling sad.
Sam says he breaks things when he’s sad. Uh oh, looks like we found our culprit in the great owl statue rampage. Banish him! Burn him at the stake! Carol doesn’t neither of these things. Instead, she keeps talking. When Sam asks why she took the guns, she says, “Sometimes you need to protect yourself.”
“Can I have a gun?” he asks, then quickly adds, “It’s not for me.”
But that only raises more questions, and he runs away.
Hey, it’s Eugene! He made it to the van! Now he’s driving slowly around the parking lot, honking the horn and taunting zombies out the window.
All of the zombies outside the building start following Eugene like the pied piper. That’s good news for our heroes stuck in the revolving door, right? Not exactly.
If either side pushes the door open to freedom, it’s going to open the other side to the zombies. Damn, the laws of physics sure are a bitch, aren’t they? Glenn says he just needs to break the glass to the outside. Nicholas says fuck that, he’s out of here.
NO NOT NOAH I LIKED NOAH YOU ASSHOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As Nicholas escapes, the zombies grab Noah and pull him into the building. Glenn manages to pull the door closed again, but now he’s pinned, helpless, forced to watch through the glass door as the zombies rip all the skin and muscle off Noah’s body as he screams. Again, it’s super gross.
Nicholas reaches the van and demands Eugene gun it for home. Eugene demands a little more information than that, so Nicholas tosses him to the ground. Hey, Eugene may have found his courage, but he’s still not a fighter. Nicholas is about to hop in the van, when Glenn arrives to beat the shit out of him.
“Where’s Noah?” Eugene asks. Glenn doesn’t answer. He just throws an unconscious Nicholas into the van next to Tara. Eugene gets it, and our survivors start the long drive back to town. In the back of the van is Noah’s notebook, open to the first page. “This is the beginning,” is all it says.
Yeah, you’d think that’d be when the credits roll, but you’d be wrong. We’ve got three more scenes to go.
Number one: Carol drops by Jessie’s house, but her hubby answers the door. She inquires about Sam, but gets the brush off. She asks to see Jessie. “It’s not a good time,” he says.
Number two: “Satan… He disguises himself as an angel of light!” Father Gabriel rants. “I’m ready to be here! I am! But you made a mistake letting in the others!”
He’s ranting to Deanna, who listens patiently. “They can’t be trusted. They’re dangerous,” he warns. “They don’t deserve this. They don’t deserve paradise.”
On the other side of the wall, Maggie is listening patiently as well.
Number three: Carol comes to Rick’s house. “He’s hitting Jessie. Maybe Sam, too,” she says. “I know how this is gonna go… There’s only one way it can go. You’re gonna have to kill him.”