Cowardice. Tonight’s episode was all about cowardice. Alexandria is made up of cowards, and this episode shows that, while the Atlanta group may have gotten too hard being out in the wilderness for so long, the Alexandria group has gotten soft.
Glenn is leading a group that includes Tara, Aiden, Nicholas, Noah, and a resistant Eugene to go raid a warehouse for parts to fix the power grid. Everyone seems fairly jovial as they prepare: Noah is going to learn architecture from Reg, Tara has her eye on a girl, and Aiden has some ghastly dub step in the van. Eugene does not want to go, citing cowardice the whole way, but they drag him along to find the right parts.
Upon arriving at the warehouse, Glenn wants to set a plan of attack; Nicholas thinks that since there is a front door and a back door, that is all the prep they need. Even still, they sweep the exterior in pairs (where they discover the front entrance is thick with walkers) and then enter very, very slowly. Tara and Eugene start searching for the parts they need while Glenn and the rest secure the place. They find some walkers enclosed behind a gate and decide it is safe. Aiden spots one zombie lurching towards them, wearing riot gear. He starts firing, but the gear prevents the bullets from causing a meaningful hit. Glenn urges him to stop, but he doesn’t, and he hits a grenade. Everything blows up. When the dust clears, Aiden is dead, impaled on some broken shelving; Tara is alive but unconscious with a massive head wound; and the gate was blown open, letting a horde of walkers into the warehouse. The group retreats to an office to figure out their next move and stem the bleeding from Tara’s head.
While in the office, they see Aiden start to twitch on his impalement – he is still alive. Nicholas isn’t too keen on going to save him, but Glenn and Noah insist. Eugene stays with Tara, swearing that he will protect her no matter what. After a time left alone, Eugene decides that he can get them out safely. He sneaks out of the office, Tara over his shoulder (probably not the best position for someone with massive head trauma, but lesser of two evils and all that) and shoots any walker that gets in his way.
Glenn and his group are not having much luck with Aiden. He is stuck pretty good, and walkers, initially distracted by a flare, are now finding them interesting. Nicholas decides he can’t do this and bails – or tries to. Glenn won’t let him, but he leans to Aiden and reminds him this is who he is, and he runs. Aiden finally admits that the group he and Nicholas lost while out scouting were lost because he and Nicholas freaked out and left them to die. It is partly due to this realization, and partly due to the fact that they are about to be overrun with zombies that Glenn and Noah abandon this exercise. The walkers set upon Aiden in a bloody feast, with tight close-ups on hands ripping into Aiden’s gut. It was a scene taken directly from Cannibal Holocaust and it was glorious.
Noah and Glenn shoot their way to the front of the warehouse before they run out of bullets. Nicholas is trying to get out the revolving door, but there are too many zombies outside. With few options, Glenn and Noah wedge themselves into another quadrant of the door. So the three of them are locked in, with zombies on either side. Nicholas has ammo but no gun; Noah and Glenn have guns but no ammo, and no way to get them from Nicholas. The only option is to run through the mass of walkers in the front parking lot, but there is little chance of survival.
Eugene saves the day. He made it safely, with Tara, to the van, and drives by really slowly, making lots of noise, to lure the zombies away and give his friends a chance to survive. Glenn wants to break through the glass so he can get some ammo, then they can shoot their way to the van. Nicholas freaks out, wedges the door open enough that he can squeeze out and race to the van. Unfortunately, that also means that Glenn and Noah’s segment opens to the walkers inside the building, and they don’t waste a second. The walkers grab Noah by the ankle and drag. Glenn does his best to save his friend, but the zombies are too strong. Not only do they take Noah, they throw him up against the glass, forcing Glenn to watch as they rip his jaw off and take big, bloody bites. Noah’s was probably the most gruesome on-screen death this show has ever had.
Back at the van, Nicholas urges Eugene to go. Eugene wants to know what happened to his friends, and Nicholas lays it out for him: he gets in the van and goes back to camp with him, or he can stay here and face the same fate as his friends. Eugene goes for his gun; Nicholas knocks him out. Before he can get in the van, Glenn appears and beats him silly. Because he is a nice guy (aka – he’s not Nicholas) he tosses him in the back and the four of them drive off. Glenn is deeply traumatized by Noah’s death, and I suspect it will haunt him for a long, long time.
Abraham deals with a similar problem on his job, collecting construction equipment so they can widen the fence around Alexandria. Things seem to be going fine, other than the fact that Abraham seems to be depressed with this new, banal life, when a few walkers wander out. Then a few more. And a few more. Abraham and the others on his crew seem to have an okay time handling them, but one of the guy’s bullets hits a bulldozer, knocking Francine to the ground, unarmed and very close to the walkers. The other guys on the crew are ready to leave her behind, but that is not an option for Abraham. He rushes in and gets her into the cab of a vehicle before the zombies can fully descend. Abraham ducks under the vehicle, shoots the zombies he can, then pops up on the other side, hands his gun over to Francine while he bashes whatever he can with a tool. With the threat taken care of, and no men (or women) lost, one of the guys wants to pack it in. After checking that Francine is okay, Abraham demands they get back to work. Tobin, who is supposed to be in charge, later goes to Deanna and tells her that Abraham should be put in charge of the construction crew.
Rick visits Jessie’s house, where she is trying to fix the owl sculpture that someone broke. Later, Pete shows up at Rick’s house with a couple of beers, but he has clearly been drinking. It is an awkward, “Let’s be friends, we kind of have no choice in the matter” meeting not so subtly suggests that Rick should stop nosing around his house. Meanwhile, Sam sneaks into Carol’s house, begging for more cookies. Carol is almost unnecessarily cruel to him, but finally agrees to show him how to make cookies if he steals a piece of chocolate for the cookies and an extra for her. She is surprised when he actually returns, and relents. She doesn’t want to talk while they bake. Sam doesn’t need for them to be friends, but he doesn’t need it to be quiet, either. He makes two very important admissions to Carol: that he breaks stuff when he is sad (but won’t admit to breaking the owl), and that he wants a gun for protection, but not for himself. When pressed on this second thing, Sam runs.
Carol goes to Sam’s house, but a drunken Pete answers the door. He won’t let her see Sam or Jessie and slams the door in her face. She goes straight to Rick and announces that Pete is an abuser. She knows the signs, and it is plainly obvious. Carol knows there is only one way to deal with this situation: she wants Rick to kill Pete. Rick almost looks excited at this prospect.
Preacher Gabriel finally had a storyline this week, and it was a good one. Clearly, he is going to be the town’s religious leader, and a woman named Rosemary left him a bowl of fresh strawberries and a note, blessing him for coming to their community. In response, Gabriel tears apart a bible (he is alone). But he realizes that this is where he wants to remain – but his time here may be in peril if Rick or the others tell about his cowardice with his own parishioners. So he goes to Deanna. Buried beneath some religious rhetoric, Gabriel states that Rick and his group are not good. They have done horrible things, they cannot be trusted, and it will only be a matter of time before they turn on Deanna and ruin the paradise she has set up here. The fun part is that Maggie hears all of this from the hallway.
Gabriel is clearly acting on cowardice here – which means he will fit right in. He worries that he will be kicked out, so he sets up doubts about Rick and his crew preemptively. I don’t think Deanna really believes this, but she might when she finds out that Aiden is dead. I have no doubt that Nicholas will blame his death on Glenn, and between that and the grief of losing a child, I think Deanna is going to turn on them pretty fast. Plus I think Rick is going to kill Pete, so add another measure of doubt to this crew.
You can check out a clip from the penultimate episode of “The Walking Dead” Season 5, along with a behind-the-scenes look at Daryl’s new motorcycle, in the players below.