After weeks of dedicating episodes to individual groups, Crossed jumps between all our survivors meaning that, yes, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is back! Although his screen time and action is limited, as he leads the rescue of Carol (Melissa McBride) from the Atlanta cops. Elsewhere, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) remains stoic after Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) revelation, while the rest of the group bond over a fishing trip.
For the penultimate episode before the mid-season break, there isn’t a great deal of suspense or fear created. The problem is there hasn’t been a genuine threat to our survivors since Terminus and they were dealt with so quickly that since then, The Walking Dead has been left shuffling slowly and aimlessly onward. The Atlanta cops haven’t given us any reason to panic; Beth even knocked one of them off, so heaven forbid they meet Rick in a bad mood, which seems to be his constant disposition.
When the group formulate a plan to rescue Carol, one suggestion is to take hostages and perform a trade, the other is to infiltrate the hospital and kill anyone who gets in the way – the latter obviously being Rick’s idea. It shows how little faith Rick has left in humanity, that decency and bargaining are out the window; no trust is left. Since losing his best friend and his wife, Rick only has his children left to live for and he will do anything to protect them. This fire to keep them safe is what keeps him going and it’s something that the other survivors don’t have.
Admittedly, it would be disappointing to see either Glenn or Maggie take a bite, but losing any of the other survivors doesn’t feel as if it would currently have any real impact. Sasha mourns the loss of Bob, but their relationship really didn’t have any time to develop, which leaves us siding with Tyreese, who tells her she needs to move on, her solemnness helping neither her nor us. With no emotional investment and no overshadowing threat, Episode 7 of Season 5 is just going through the motions until undoubtedly a gang war erupts in the next episode.
While not every group encountered is going to be a Governor or a cannibal, there needs to be some sense of direction. At the moment, the show feels like it’s ambling along aimlessly with no sense of purpose. With fewer zombies appearing each week, what is the show really about? Beth and Carol aren’t in any real danger at the hospital and Rick’s group find themselves going into battle without really knowing their enemy.
The only time that real fear begins to show is as Father Gabriel encounters the undead. Still fighting with his own belief that all living creatures, even the undead, are God’s children, it’s compelling to watch him struggle as the dead come knocking. Gabriel gives us the only fright of the episode, this along with the Zombie Kill of the Week – one that will really have you squirming – are really the only redeeming features of an episode that lacks the impact one would expect from a lead in to a mid-season finale.
The Walking Dead: Season 5 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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