After another excruciating mid-season hiatus, The Walking Dead will be returning on February 8 (THIS SUNDAY)! So far, season 5 has been so much better than I expected. I will admit, after suffering through season 4, with its snail-like pacing and ridiculous antagonist, I was afraid to hope. Luckily, TWD got its act together for season 5, so, in honor of the upcoming premiere, I’d like to share with you what I’ve been loving (and not at all liking) so far this season.
1. Sasha and Bob
If you’re looking for my heart, I left it in episode 3. I was feeling Sasha/Bob (Sob? Basha? I don’t know, I can’t think through the pain) so much. My adorable black-love-in-the-time-of-zombies OTP has been torn apart by the cruel hand of (un)death. I should have known it wasn’t going to last but I let myself dream.
Oh well. It was nice while it lasted (2, 3 scenes maybe?).
I can’t go into all the ways the hospital subplot failed to make sense (Rape is the key to a high functioning society? Say what now?). I’ll simply appreciate it as the narrative vehicle necessary to deliver unto us Noah, who has been a contender for my favorite character since he uttered what was arguably the best few lines of the season (or at least the episode): “They think I’m scrawny. They think I’m weak – but they don’t know shit about me, about what I am, about what you are.”
I love this kid. Please don’t let him die.
3. The Church Massacre
Look, it was pretty brutal to watch – Rick and company hacking away at the Terminus crew – but I’m so glad it happened. I in no way wanted to get stuck watching yet another season starring another crazy white boy antagonist who was allowed to exist for longer than the story should have allowed (I’m looking at you, Governor, you unkillable bastard). Unlike with Woodbury, the Terminus subplot was nipped in the bud before it got a chance to get old, and the story was allowed to progress. The Walking Dead is at its best when it’s not allowed to run in endless circles around the same lackluster target.
4 .Tyrese Existing
This kumbaya, let’s-not-fight-you-guys, pacifist thing Tyrese has going on is both annoying and endearing: annoying because he needs to face reality and get with the program, and endearing because a Black male character on a major TV show is being written not as mindless muscle, but as a conflicted human being who struggles between the need to survive and protect and the desire to maintain his humanity rather than lose himself in the violence and barbarity of the situation.
But seriously, why would you just walk across the room and leave Lil Asskicker next to someone who is clearly the bad guy? If ever ‘stranger danger’ was relevant…
Rick is looking like some weirdo dude who lives by himself in the woods and I love it. Just wanted to put that out there. Remember back in season 1 when he was the babyfaced Nice Guy ™, always trying to do the right thing and unironically wearing a sheriff’s hat? Oh Rick. How times have changed.
1. Everyone gets stupid for no reason – again.
This is where the show gets bad, where it always get bad. If your characters have to make uncharacteristically foolish mistakes and out-of-character decisions in order for the plot to move forward, you’re doing something (everything?) wrong. Let’s look at episode 3 – it’s a perfect example. It becomes clear that the group may be split up again because Team Abraham wants to get to DC like right now, and Rick isn’t down with that.
Here’s what I didn’t get. Why is it again that Abraham couldn’t wait like two days to start their ‘Save the World 2k14’ road trip? The threat was eliminated. It’s explained later that Abraham isn’t thinking clearly when it comes to the DC mission (wanting to rush headfirst into a horde of zombies is all the proof we need of that), but why the heck wouldn’t anyone else call him out on this?
Times like these, I wish Shane was here, and not just because his reckless, unstoppable rage made everything more interesting (and kinda hot – don’t judge me, Jon Bernthal brought the sexy every week). Say what you will about the man, but he didn’t play that mess. Abraham wouldn’t have made it half way to the front seat before Shane would have taken him out, no hesitation. (On another note, someone should write a fic where everything in the show is the same except Shane did kill Rick and he’s the leader of the group now. Maybe T-Dog would still be alive. No, I’m never letting that go, and will reference it in every post on TWD henceforth).
Whatever. By the end of the episode, Rick is suddenly ok with Team DC taking the bus… Why? I don’t know. Just last night he was ready to lay hands on Abraham for even implying that he was thinking about taking their only vehicle, but I guess he’s not really about that life after all, because by the next day he’s just like ‘Ok have a good trip, here’s some snacks for the road, call me when you get there, later guys’?
And then Glenn and Maggie left and joined Team DC at the drop of a hat… Why? Glenn was all ‘We’re not splitting up again!’ just last night. I guess he was kidding. Someone needs to tell both him and Maggie that ohana means family (and family means no one gets left behind) because they both up and left way too fast. Part of the reason I hate when the group splits up is because it’s rarely for a good reason and then the season slows down to a snail’s pace as we spend entire episodes trudging through all of these pointlessly separate plotlines.
Can we talk about the scene in the thrift store/Rick’s decision to abort the plan and save Gabriel? Why is he risking his life and the lives of his people (or as he likes to say, ‘MY PEOPLE!’) to save some dude who doesn’t even know how to follow directions? Gabriel decided to step out of line. Gabriel decided to be an idiot. Gabriel should deal with the consequences, not sweet, adorable, hilarious, used-to-be-on-The-Wire-now-we-here Bob. This bootleg priest who’s probably been wearing the same nasty suit for like two years broke up my favorite WD couple since Shane/violent rage. Sorry, but I officially hate that guy.
3. That time Maggie forgot she had a sister until someone reminded her
Maggie is that girl in middle school who forgets your name as soon as she gets a boyfriend. She found Glenn and was like ‘Beth who’? I know it’s just holes in the wiring but geez, what a giant, stupid, easily avoidable hole. To fix it, the show only needed one scene of Maggie asking after her ONLY LIVING RELATIVE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. But then you wouldn’t have been able to have her leave the group and hop on a bus for an impromptu road trip with near-strangers, so.
1. Lack of common sense
Why doesn’t the group use walker blood to disguise themselves when traveling? Until they tie up this loose end, I’m going to keep bringing it up. If I found out that smearing walker guts all over myself could protect me from actual hordes of walkers, everything I owned would be covered in blood and guts at all times. My entire wardrobe would have been updated. Blood and gut-covered Ponchos. Cargo pants. Jordans. I’d get up in the morning and smear walker guts on my face like it was Neutrogena. I honestly just do not get it. If I am missing something obvious, please let me know so I can finally shut up about this.
Michonne apparently is the only one who knows the deal, because as soon as she’s alone she finds new walker bodyguards. I don’t understand why she’d ever stop. Does proximity to Rick’s group decrease common sense? Why doesn’t the group keep a few neutered walkers around for extra protection?? Why did they only use walker guts for protection that one time in season 1 even though it worked fine until it started to rain?? Why do they learn important things and then forget it all in the next episode??
2. In the ZA, only the most clever graffiti artists will survive.
Why has everyone in the zombie apocalypse been writing dark, clever little phrases on buildings in blood and scratching messages into walls with their fingernails?
Take the scene with Gabriel’s backstory. I’m supposed to believe that the people he kept locked out of the church – who were about to get eaten alive by terrifyingly savage zombies – stopped to leave a an angry note? Were they just like ‘Hold up, zombies, lemme scribble this ominous message on the wall that he’ll probably never see anyway’? That was embarrassingly heavy-handed. The scratches on the wall were enough, writers, I think we get it.
So I’m sure there’s a lot I failed to mention, so feel free to share your favorite (and least favorite) moments of season 5 in the comments. In the meantime, what are you looking forward to with the return of season 5? Will Morgan ever catch up with the group – any group? Will Michonne get more lines? Do you think Beth is really dead? (Me? Yes. Some Beth/Daryl shippers? Apparently not. Keep hope alive, I guess.)