“Come and get me.” – Sasha
At some point during “Forget”, I became enthralled with the idea that the concept of the episode would make for a great series finale, and the more I watched, the more it hit all the right marks. What might we want, some day in the long future, from a series finale of “The Walking Dead?” To me, there are two possible options, and one of them would be very similar to the premise of Alexandria. Our heroes finding a place that is safe for them, or at least as safe as could be. The threat of the walkers can never really go away, especially given how everyone is already infected with the disease, but it could end with that threat at its lowest.
Of course, in such a finale, I wouldn’t possibly expect everyone to end up happy. No, I would expect to see some reactions similar to what we saw with Sasha. People who can’t settle in to this, not after being through what they’d been through. And I would hope that we would see our characters’ true natures still poking through, like Rick still taking the gun inside. But overall, this potential ending would have our characters settling in, with the viewer thinking, or knowing, that they will be okay.
The second potential ending that I can see is both similar and completely different from the first. It would end with the audience knowing our characters would move forward, but in this case, they’re still out in the wild, out in our post-apocalyptic world, fighting zombies every day, fighting for their lives every day. Some would die, and more would join them, but they’d go on, as they have since the apocalypse began.
I’m more enthralled with the idea of the first, though more inclined to think the second would actually happen, especially if the show were to follow the potential ending that Robert Kirkman’s might have in mind for the graphic novels – I don’t think he’s going to end it with them in a safe zone.
Regardless, this episode showed some strong themes that I would expect to run through any finale that The Walking Dead chose. From montages like the end scene with the upbeat and unusual song choice, to the moment with Michonne and her hanging her sword, to Daryl accepting his position in the community, the episode was filled with the kind of concluding moments that I feel would fit well in a finale.
The problems that The Walking Dead has always had remain, such as the forced tension when Aaron is grabbed by a zombie in the field, and some of the more stilted and obvious dialogue (Michonne saying “This is now” and cutting to the next scene comes to mind.) However, I’ve come to learn that these are inherent traits of the show, and any finale in my mind would mostly succeed or fail based on story.
One problem that is quickly becoming apparent is the expanding cast. Father Gabriel, Tara, and Eugene were noticeably absent from this episode, and even Sasha’s story-line feels forced due to the audience’s unfamiliarity with the character. In fact, in The Talking Dead, Sonequa Martin-Green tells the audience that her character used to be a firefighter. This was a question that I asked myself during this very episode. I had no idea what she used to be. In fact, I had no idea who Sasha really was, apart from her relationships to Tyreese and Bob.
The problems will killing off characters is that to make their deaths significant, we first need to know more about them. So we were treated to more Tyreese and more Beth, just before they were killed. The second problem is that once we learn more about these characters, we are more interested in watching them on screen, yet killing them off means we start watching more minor characters instead. It’s a wheel, of course. It’s a juggling act. I just don’t think that The Walking Dead has yet nailed this performance, but it does try.
So I hope that The Walking Dead doesn’t kill Sasha this season. If I were to follow patterns, it would seem like she might be next, but I think her storyline outside the wall offers more potential than simply another death. We’ll see what happens.
- Rick’s smile throughout the episode was great. It’s very odd to see Andrew Lincoln laughing, but also very heartwarming. The dinner party as a whole was interesting, and I enjoyed the group’s interactions with Deanna and Rick’s talk with her husband.
- Carol threatening the kid was probably the most intense and excellent moment of this season so far.
- The mentions of the pasta-maker were pretty hilarious. I hope our group doesn’t burn Alexandria to the ground too quickly.
- The mysterious W on the walker’s head is sure to come back, and we’re still not quite sure what happened to the gun that Rick hid.
- The awkward kiss that Rick gave Jessie is not a sign of good things to come, both for the characters and for my enjoyment of the show.
- I kind of hoped they would catch the horse and Rick and Michonne would ride it around the streets of Alexandria.
- The Daryl and Aaron plot evolved in a way I didn’t expect. It was excellent and touching and I hope it doesn’t mean bad things for Norman Reedus.
- The final shot of Rick and the walker on opposite sides of the wall was excellent. Fantastic cinematography as per the usual.
Episode Grade: A-