AMC‘s The Walking Dead Crossed TV Show Review. The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 7: ‘Crossed,’ was a step to bringing frayed threads back together, as the end of the Hunters arc had left the group splintered.
Carol (Melissa McBride) & Daryl (Norman Reedus) went chasing a white cross into a dark city, before that arc even reached its climax. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) took a contingent, for the resumption of the D.C. mission, while the remainder was left to consolidate, after losing Bob Stookey. The return of Daryl – with Noah (Tyler James Williams), instead of Carol, and mission to rescue a long absent member – prompted the balance of Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group to waste little time on mourning. After Eugene (Josh McDermitt) revealed himself to be a fraud, the Ford expedition mostly did the same – save for its namesake. Long absent Beth (Emily Kinney), however, as the (now scarred) face that launched a campaign back to Atlanta, had one more wrinkle added to her hospital-as-prison trials. Carol was now at hospital security head-as-warden, Dawn’s (Christine Woods) mercy.
Not everyone at St. Sarah’s Episcopal church was up for the post-Hunters order of things. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), having agonized at the sight of his church being buttressed, as a momentary survivalist post, was left with Carl (Chandler Riggs) & Michonne (Danai Gurira) – and to him, it was a case of the lamb being locked in with the wolves. Both meant well (as only hardened survivalists can), but Gabriel may have felt some pressure to abandon his core principles. It was something he had already done – given the nature of both his survival, and the guilt it had left him – and the desecration of the church was the last straw. If the curse, carved into the siding of the church, didn’t make enough of a point, the point of a nail (likely left over from the buttressing) saw to it that his latest escape would be costly.
For someone who believes in the protective power of absolute faith – to the point of refusing to fight for himself – Father Gabriel has remained a very fearful character. Yes, he fears Walkers, but also fears the corruptive influence of those who fight, the ramifications of his previous failing, and the notion of breaking faith any further. Maybe it was his panic, that allowed a lone Walker to get the drop on him; but while instinct did allow him to fight it off, the power of Christ compelled him to not follow through.
Carl has been lft to ponder the line, between being safe, and dependency on safe havens; Michonne, on the other hand, seems to have been sidelined, so far, this season. All things considered, though, she was as good a choice as any, to leave behind with Carl, Judith, and Gabriel. Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) makes for a good last line of defense, but lacking even Carl’s aggression makes him unlikely to back up aggressive action, if needed. Besides, Ty had a different role to play.
As the rest of the group headed into Atlanta, Ty was still insisting that Sascha (Sonequa Martin-Green) take some kind of measure, to deal with Bob’s death. For her part, Sascha regretted having abdicated her responsibility, in securing Bob’s passing – a fact that would greatly influence later events. With Noah’s inside track, Rick devised a simple & direct plan, to retrieve their people. Too simple & direct for Ty, who advocated for more of a ‘fair trade’ approach, less likely to involve mass gunfire & death with the slightest glitch. Rick overruled, but was undercut from a surprise source. Apparently, Carol has been having something of an influence on Daryl; it was not to be the last time he’d play good cop, to Rick’s bad.
Speaking of good cops, two of the supposedly decent ones fell for Noah, as bait. There was an instant professional acknowledgement, between the lead & Rick; but between a coincidence with his name, some unfinished business in common, and a remark about there being no real cops left, a bad end – where his story crossed Sascha’s – seemed telegraphed. Considering the set up, and how many steps back were taken, I had actually feared a worse outcome. This could have been another case of a throat cutter, with angel wings; but it was just another fearful person, making a run for it – and understandably so. Have you seen Rick, lately?
I had long considered The Walking Dead to be the story of murderers & plunderers, by way of the slow-boiled-frog method. Rick, Carl, Carol, Michonne, all becoming Governors & Gareths, in their own right, with the likes of Ty & Beth slowing that progression down. Daryl, of course, was already there (thanks to big bro, and their background); but then started going all protective of his women-folk. From the search for Sofia, to quality time with Michonne, to Beth’s influence, to concerns over Carol surrendering to the void – and maybe even his time among the Reavers, in-between – Daryl has become more than a team player, he is a team builder. With Rick’s focus on getting his people through anything & anyone, by any means necessary, having a heavy hitter, like Daryl, challenging the imperative, might be a challenge ill-afforded.
Even if fans have been too invested in these characters to consider the parallels to the Hunters, or Reavers, I’m thinking that by now, the people they will be coming across may see it, themselves. As far as the episode’s second runner may have been concerned, it might as well have been a parlance with the governor; so no point in sticking around, hoping things go as promised.
Things did go wrong, of course, though I’m not sure what went into the Goon Cop backup springing into action, like he did. Daryl seemed uncharacteristically careless, in the subsequent stalk (points to Sascha, for actually using a scoped rifle to effect), but won “best improvised weapon” of the season. Not to take away from another good cop-bad cop moment, between Daryl & Rick, but if someone with Rick’s look gets you under the gun, you probably should leave “asshole” out of your submission line.
The unwitting third column, to Rick’s Atlanta expedition, had a more immediate problem. Carol was considered dead weight, by one of Dawn’s goons, and Beth’s interference only forced Dawn to give the order to pull the plug. Keeping up appearances, and all – only decisively harsh action allows for the semblance of control. Dawn, however, may have been a better politician, than she has been a top cop. Acknowledging both the binds of the system she has been maintaining, and Beth’s stronger qualities, she allowed Beth the means to solve her own dilemma. Some second hand warning came with that gesture; but given the state of the place, it may yet be impossible to tell who’s angling over who. After calling in a favor, from the
prison hospital shank, and some prison yard styled distraction (from a resident too harmless to search for contraband, I’m guessing), Beth gave Carol the shot she needed to make it to the mid-season mash-up.
The Ford expedition was the weak link, where the mash-up prep was concerned; but it was a thing that needed to be done. Eugene was looking iffy, but Abe was definitely out of it; conscious, but defaulted to somewhere between homicidal & suicidal. One attempt to get through to him, by Rosita (Christian Serratos), seemed to almost result in both. While Maggie (Lauren Cohan) took it upon herself to watch over Abraham & Eugene, a water run, by Glenn (Steven Yeun), Rosita, and Tara (Alanna Masterson), provided much of the episode’s optimism.
Regarding the point I had made earlier, it was only some source material credibilty, on Abraham’s part, that made leaving Maggie alone with him seem like anything other than a really bad idea. It was for the best, however, as I suppose the combination of sternness, a more controlled environment, and, ultimately, the vindication from murder, all contributed to cleaner Abraham reboot, than had up ’till then seemed likely.
On the water run, Tara made the case that Eugene shouldn’t be cast to the pit , for utilizing his one survival skill. Agreed. It’s the people who died in the name of his lie, that he should answer for. Tara’s straight talk & upbeat approach was annoying only at first (although, unlike her companions, I appreciated her D.C. crack immediately; but team GREATM ain’t happenin’, sistah), the field rigging moments were useful, in the overall ‘get over it approach,’ of the episode, and we finally got some real detail on Rosita’s background. The best thing to come out of the Ford expedition thread, however, was the prospect of Rosita officially stepping out of Abraham’s shadow. No more mission likely means no more Geisha girl. I’ve been waiting for her to put more of her own voice, into the mix, and I like what I’ve heard, so far.
Things may not be shaping up to the kind of mid-season finale some viewers would have hoped for – certainly not after last season’s, and the first three episodes of this one. Last season’s finale, however, was the culmination of season three’s Woodbury vs Prison arc, and season five had only just resolved the Road to Sanctuary arc, of season four’s second half. This is shaping up to be a mid-season finale that will largely stand on its own, and should be treated as such. It will likely serve to officially kick-off season five, with a brand new arc, and ‘Crossed’ did well to set up the likely reunion, that could make the new arc worthwhile. The pieces are set, the players are primed, and mostly everyone has gotten over themselves. Not Father Gabriel, per se, but how badly can one cowardly holy man screw up the works (knock on one-true-cross)?
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