THE WALKING DEAD Season 5, Episode 14 'Spend'

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As this latest episode opens up, we get to share our first real amount of time with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) since The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season break. And it seems as if this Holy Man is at war with his faith.

Whilst Gabriel struggles, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is off on his new ‘career’ and he even appears to be a little cleaner than the grubby badass that we’ve become accustomed to. Additionally, it’s still startling to see the main focus of the show itself delivered with a crispness and freshness that has been vacant from so much of the desolate world we’ve seen over the show’s run. Alexandria is certainly a clean, refreshing change to what has come before. Sure, that previous stuff was great for large parts – it just started to feel a little formulaic, and this new community is a welcome breath of fresh air for the show. Slowly but surely it seems that even the most troubled, awkward and/or untrusting of our familiar group are starting to find a place for themselves in this new world. Still, whilst Glenn (Steven Yeun) and others go foraging for supplies, there is still the odd walker to deal with.

It’s with this mission for supplies that cocksure Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) goes a little trigger happy on a particular walker and lands his group firmly in the shit, particular for himself… who ends up biting the bullet as a result of his actions and down to his supposed mate being a bit of a douchebag. This incident also lends itself to showing that maybe Eugene (Josh McDermitt) isn’t quite as incapable as we’ve come to expect. Before, it appeared that he was only out to look after two things – himself and his mullet – but here he finally gets to show that he has more to him.

With how this new community is introducing our battered familiar faces back to a more civilised way of living, it also seems to have prompted the reappearance of creepy, crazy Carol (Melissa McBride), whilst there’s Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) seemingly dying to still be a soldier. And whilst this new place is supposedly idyllic in comparison to what is out there, this episode makes it only further apparent that the inhabitants of Alexandria seem to be more than willing to let other lives be sacrificed the moment that trouble rears its head. The close-knit family aura of protecting your own is something that is still very much within our familiar group, and it seems as it this is starting to rub off on some of Alexandria’s folk.

One of the coolest parts of Spend is a set-piece that ends in poor Noah (Tyler James Williams) being devoured by a horde of walkers in what is right up there with the most horribly gruesome demises that The Walking Dead has seen. We get to see Noah literally torn to pieces whilst Glenn has no other option but to take all of this in from an extremely close proximity.

As the episode comes to a close, we get to see the always shady Father Gabriel again acting like a dick, this time professing to Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) how Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the group can’t be trusted and how they are essentially ‘”The Devil”. For the shit-stirring Gabriel, unfortunately he wasn’t aware that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) was conveniently in earshot for all of this. Whilst she didn’t confront him about it, his cat has firmly escaped from the big and you have to think that Maggie will end up informing the rest of the core group of Gabriel’s snaking.

Finally, crazy Carol is seemingly onto something, suspecting Pete (Corey Brill) of beating his wife and child. But her solution to this problem is for Rick to kill the potential abuser. A tad extreme possibly, but Carol sees this as the only way to deal with such an issue. Still, Rick will have to at least look into this further at least in order to find out if Carol’s hunch is correct, and that brings further tension to what already seems to be a slight fractious relationship between Rick and Pete.

Spend was a worthwhile episode in how it contrasted the outlooks of Rick’s group and the Alexandria natives, and it only furthers the realisation that those within the walled community need Rick and Co. more than they may have realised. Added to this, there was a truly standout death that was traumatically enjoyable (if that’s a ‘thing’) viewing, and with only two episodes left in Season 5 it’ll be interesting to see how things play out for this developing community. Then there’s the prospect of a potential larger threat looming on the horizon...


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