TV Show Review

TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD: Season 4, Episode 13: Alone [AMC]

Lawrence Gilliard Jr. The Walking Dead Alone

AMC’s The Walking Dead  Alone TV Show Review. The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 13: ‘Alone,’ opened with another musical montage of misery; the subject, this time around, being Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.). It had been stated, almost from the beginning, that The Walking Dead title referred to the survivors, rather than the zombies, and this was as apt a description of Bob, for this flashback, as any. With Lee DeWyze‘s ‘Blackbird Song’ adding to the tone, a very numb Bob Stookey went through the motions of just surviving. So numb, in fact, that he he offered next to nothing, in terms of relief or concern, when Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) first happened upon him, and allowed him to join the prison community.

Flash forward, and Bob was back to back with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), facing a Walker pack that had managed to get right on top of them, due to heavy fog. The experience underscored Sasha’s view that they cut off all expenditures, regarding finding the others, and just focus on their own immediate survival. With Bob’s upbeat attitude lost on them, the two women eventually went their own way. First Maggie, electing to spare them the trouble of sharing her quest to find Glenn, then Sasha, choosing not to pass on an opportunity to hold up at a secure location, in order to track down Maggie. For Bob, it was as simple as not allowing Maggie to wander alone, as he once did. He made his feelings for Sasha known to her, then continued down the tracks. The railroad junction Terminus being the likely place Maggie and Glenn would seek each other out, and where Sasha would learn for sure about her brother’s fate. An answer to a question Sasha was not willing to confront.

When a track, stalk, and kill lesson ended with Beth (Emily Kinney) stepping into a hunter’s trap, team Deth had to make a pit stop, settling on a mortuary that turned out to be free of Walkers. Free of active ones, anyway, as at least one was being fitted for a proper burial. Daryl thought it a little twisted, while Beth saw it as acknowledgement of the Walkers’ past humanity (much like her father did, back at the farm). It occurred to me that it may have simply been an act of habit by the mortician. It was a mortuary, after all.

Its well kept state, and full pantry, however, suggested it was either still in use, left as a survivor rest stop, or both. With Beth somewhat hobbled, Daryl allowed himself some domestication, and finally admitted that there may be some decent folk left abouts. This was as much an admission of Beth’s influence on him, as it was an appreciation for the their current lodging. Nothing like emotionally charged silence to enhance the sound of the other shoe dropping.

Daryl even made some consideration for a not too feral one-eyed dog, that tripped their improvised warning cans, at one point, and it was here that things got careless. I’m guessing an assumption that the dog had returned kept Daryl from noticing Walkers at the door, before opening it (I could see them through the boards, over Daryl’s shoulder). With the one entrance, it also might have been wiser to focus on keeping them out, than letting them in, hoping to get around them and out the door. There was also a matter of a long standing gripe I’ve had, regarding animals in a Zombie Apocalypse, but I won’t get into that, here.

Three characters I never worry about in a Walker jam: Michonne, Tyreese, and Daryl. The action was a close call, but still: Daryl. Beth, on the other hand, went missing – presumably inside a car Daryl spotted speeding away, as he got outside.

I may be risking sounding cynical, but if the plan was to separate Daryl and Beth, all along, then that would mean the point of the previous episode, ‘Still‘ (along with a sizable portion of this one), was to ensure that Daryl felt something when it happened, and he was left alone. In any event, Daryl chased after the long gone vehicle well into the next morning, ultimately breaking down where the road crossed the train tracks.

In the previous episode, Daryl had referred to a history of hanging with the wrong crowd. Well, in the midst of his despair, over having apparently lost Beth, the wrong crowd caught up with him. A group I have taken to calling the Reavers came across Daryl, as he knelt at the road junction. Even in his given state, Daryl was not about to go down without swinging. The suckerpunch knockdown of lead Reaver Joe (Jeff Kober), added to his appraisal of what being a bowman said about Daryl, resulted in a stay of execution, and an offer for Daryl to join them.

Casting Jeff Kober as lead Reaver, Joe, told me all I needed to know about whether we’d be seeing them again. Joe’s line, “why hurt yourself, when you can hurt others,” likely told Daryl all he needed to know about the company he was about to keep.

The Bob Stookey book-ending concluded as it began, with Bob walking alone to the tune of Blackbird Song. This time around, however, Bob walked with a purpose, and had a much more passionate reaction to the company that caught up to him.

I will admit, I have always felt uneasy about Bob. His place among the source material characters had been the only thing keeping me from distrusting him, outright; but the series has made a point of breaking from comic canon. I suppose bristling at his advances towards Sasha, from his very first appearance, might have poisoned my opinion, some; but I’ve been thinking better of his efforts, through eternal optimism, to wear down Sasha’s guarded resistance. In the face of Sasha’s eternal pessimism, however, I’ve been growing inclined to think that he might be too good for her.

‘Alone’ provided a clearer picture of just how far his character had come (even if the circumstances of his previous orphanings remain unknown), some context to his borderline annoying optimism, and why he might not be such a bad fit for Sasha, after all. It also provided a reset for Sasha; putting her on the same page as Bob and Maggie, and restoring the natural order of things. The one where I can go back to grumbling about Bob making the moves on Sasha (only now with some begrudging acceptance).

Having been alone on the road, on two separate occasions, Bob couldn’t help but appreciate a new found sense of family, and wanting to stick together. Sasha and Maggie, having been part of a group from the beginning, had to come around to his point of view the hard way, each finding going solo not all it was cracked up to be. Something should be said for the power of coincidence, however, as both solo turns resulted in serendipitous discovery of – and for – the sought after person. Hopefully, this won’t become a habit.

It seems fairly obvious, at this point, that season 4.2 will be a drawn out resolution to what was a mid-season climax. With all the survivors of the prison attack now on track to Sanctuary (I am making an assumption, regarding Beth), the Reavers now in play, and the Washington roadtrip sidelined, all that seems left is a question of who gets all the way to Terminus, and what will everyone (including the viewers) find awaiting them, there.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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