Thoughts on the last two episodes of The Walking Dead for 2014

Over a week ago, I finally made it onto a much-delayed and overcrowded Green Line train toward Newton, bound for a holiday party. Looking around at all those grumpy, cold people, I thought: One of you is going to get me sick. Turns out I was right. That’s why last week’s episode post is delayed. Blame the people of Boston.

Also, let’s be honest, that episode was kind of boring and I barely remember it. So this week, things may get muddled in terms of what happened when. But here are my thoughts (not that anyone asked):

  1. If being glad that Beth is dead is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’ve never been a fan of Beth. She was always whiny, and when she wasn’t whiny she was presented as this shiny, blond object of innocence. Zzzzz. That’s what babies are for, and we already have one of those (Judith, who did a pretty good job of keeping her trap shut this past episode. Kudos.). What did she think would happen when she stabbed Dawn? They tried to give Beth more oomph this season, but it didn’t work for me. She was still dead weight in terms of a character, and it felt a shame to spend so much time on her storyline, which was not at all compelling–except the whole dying part.
  2. I’m equally happy that Dawn is dead. Her speeches were too much. And she never seemed sinister to me. She was more like a caricature of sinister. Good riddance, Atlanta!
  3. Last week, when I saw Maggie, I remembered that she and Beth are sisters. And then I wondered, isn’t it funny how Maggie doesn’t seem a bit troubled by the absence of her sister? Oh, no worries, guys. She remembered this week when the fire engine magically came back to life and the “Atlanta Mission” crew magically showed up right as the zombies were crashing through the church doors because Michonne, Gabriel and Carl stood right in their line of sight, ensuring that the zombies would for sure beat down the door to get out and eat brains? The whole school doors scene with Gabriel foreshadowed that situation. Do these people learn nothing from their experiences? At any rate, Maggie remembered that she had a sister just in time for the big finale, which magically found the Atlanta Mission crew at the doors of the hospital right as the “Beth and Carol Rescue Mission” crew came through them with dead Beth in Daryl’s arms. I bet I was supposed to cry. Sniffles (from cold meds).
  4. Speaking of magic: Carol wakes up from injuries that the doctor said would kill her just in time for the big tradeoff! And she can walk! Without a wheelchair! Or a cane!
  5. Speaking of Gabriel. Lord have mercy. That boy is an absolute mess. What was he thinking leaving the church when he can barely keep his shit together at the sight of blood on the floor? Also, I might add: he’s all there enough to remove the floor boards and escape the church unnoticed by Michonne? Dubious. So, he needed to see for himself that the school was overrun? Or there were cannibals? Huh? Look, these people haven’t killed you yet, Gabriel. They offered to help you. Get over it! But of course he can’t because he’s TORTURED. And then he ends up leading all the suddenly fast-walking zombies back to the church. Gabriel ruins everything.
  6. Further: How is there any Bob leg left for Gabriel to ponder after the Bob’s Leg Burger fest held by the cannibals? I’m pretty sure they used all the meat.
  7. Abraham gets a pep talk and is suddenly a-okay, guys. He will fix all of the fire trucks.
  8. Are we sure that Eugene isn’t just pretending to be asleep?
  9. I enjoyed the Glenn, Rosita and Tara expedition to catch fish. That was fun.
  10. What else? What else? Oh yeah. Rick ran a car into one of Dawn’s cops, possibly breaking his back. And then he shot him in the head and said, “Shut up,” which reminded me of 80s movies, where the heroes / supervillains get to say something snarky to make the audience laugh. Rick will never be Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, in summary: MAGIC.

Why do I keep watching this show given how much I bust on it? Shrugs. It’s something to do on Sunday nights until Game of Thrones returns. And it’s not all bad. I bust because I care, and these are the types of things I’m always looking for in my own manuscripts and others: where are the holes? When am I removed from the fictional dream?

It’s still a good show despite some of the plot holes and characterization mishaps. But I keep wanting it to be as great as its first season. And based on the previews for the upcoming February episodes, I’m excited to see where the writers will go. The survivors no longer have Atlanta. They no longer have anyone to rescue. Now we are back to basic survival. I find that far more thrilling than the requisite Big Bads that every show seems to think fans need every new season.

Reminder: The Big Bads are the zombies.