In recent weeks, The Walking Dead’s attention has been split and shared across the several splintered groups that the show is now operating with. With the next episode being the mid-season break (yes, it’s that time already), this week’s Crossed looks to integrate the narrative of the separate groups once more. Of course, this never feels forced for the strong foundations laid out earlier this season, not to mention through the previous four seasons, lend well to episodes like this.
In case you’ve missed the last few episodes (in which case, it has to be asked why are you reading this in the first place? But continue… ), Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the majority of our familiar survivors are holed up in the church of Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Beth (Emily Kinney) is at the sinister Grady Memorial Hospital, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) had been on a mission to rescue Beth. Carol ended up in a bad way and taken to Grady, whilst Daryl came across relative newcomer Noah (Tyler James Williams) before having to retreat back to Rick and Co. in order to mount another rescue mission to this time get Carol back as well as Beth. Elsewhere, the white elephant in the room was finally exposed when Eugene (Josh McDermitt) revealed to Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Glenn (Steven Yeun), etc, that he wasn’t really a scientist who knew how to heal the world and make it a better place (yes, that’s a Michael Jackson reference right there). Despite Eugene wowing us with the introduction of Tennessee top-hat as a new term for a mullet, Ford promptly beat the party firmly out of the back of Eugene’s barnet. So there we are, as Crossed opens and, for the first time in several weeks, the show spreads its attention equally across the key groups.
Checking in with Ford, Glenn, Maggie (Lauren Cohen), Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Tara (Alanna Masterson), the topic of the day is the condition of Eugene in the aftermath of Ford laying the smackdown on the mullet-wearing maestro. Ford is seemingly alone with his ginger rage in his own enforced solitary confinement, with the concern for Eugene’s health on everybody’s agenda. There’s also the fallout of the mission to Washington, D.C. now being off the table after Eugene’s reveal that he’d been spewing billy bullshit since before he was even introduced to the show’s viewers. And as such, different people react in different ways to this bombshell; some aren’t okay with it, whilst others can fully understand just why Eugene would spin such an elaborate yarn.
Over with Rick and his crew, the aim of the day is to simply break into Grady Hospital and rescue Carol and Beth. Using Noah’s knowledge of Grady, Rick draws up a plan of attack. The big question here, though, as has been the case for the last little while, is just how far gone is Rick Grimes at this point? Whilst it’s a far stretch to say he’s now lost all humanity, the softly-softly Rick that wants what’s best for everyone is fading away with each passing appearance. Crossed sees Daryl and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) having to step in to question Rick’s plan of carnage, with the group instead deciding to take a more stealth-like approach that won’t leave as many corpses. And so their attack on Grady is firmly on, although they hit a few obstacles once they do arrive at the medical facility. During these moments, it's slightly surprising to see Father Gabriel’s church being dismantled to forge weapons for Rick’s group. Not that we’re ones to get heavy into religion, but surely if there ever was a God, would he be so forgiving at people tearing apart his holy place of worship? Maybe the Buddy Christ cleared it with him, mind.
Grady-based shenanigans, pre-Rick’s groups’ arrival, see Beth making extremely valid points about DVD players seemingly being more important than potentially saving a human life, although she only gets chastised for this. Well initially, at least. Things are left a little murky for the youngest surviving member of the Greene clan, but you have a sense that she’s maybe being set up for a fall. With Carol’s life in the balance, what happens with Beth, with Grady, and with Rick and Co.’s arrival at Grady could certainly have major ramifications on The Walking Dead going forward. After all, the next episode is the show’s mid-season finale, which likely means something big is to go down.
Crossed delivers an excellent episode of AMC’s never-faltering walker-filled show; there’s some extremely tense moments, such as Daryl’s struggle with one of Grady’s rogues (but would the show ever really kill off such an iconic character?); there’s still question marks lingering over the state of Eugene; there’s the weaselling Father Gabriel’s self-serving, cowardly mindset; there’s the prospect of yet another huge tear-up between Rick’s group and A.N. Other “community”; what will happen to young Beth; and then there’s the small matter of fan-favourite Carol’s life hanging in the balance. Crossed manages to brilliantly set things up for the show’s mid-season finale yet still makes this episode feel a gripping and engaging outing itself. The gloves are off. Hell, the gloves have been off for a long time, particularly where Rick has been concerned. Humanity is more-or-less void from most corners of The Walking Dead by this point. Even the once naïve, not to mention once massively annoying, Carl (Chandler Riggs) has had what seems like any sense of childlike wonder and idealism stripped away. Things are in a bleak place, and it will certainly be interesting to see how things play out next week and for the rest of Season 5.
And we’ll end with the exact words as last week’s review of Confused.
Surely not Carol, right? Right…?
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