The Walking Dead: "Try" (Season 5, Episode 15)

Flabbergasted

The Dead was mediocre tonight. Simply put, this episode was too obviously just arranging pieces for next week's finale, yielding too many storylines that felt brief and forced. No one will care, however, if next week is good. Bridging episodes are, after all, kind of written to be forgotten.

The flow is choppy. Lots of short interludes constantly cross-cutting between storylines In no particular order we have that coward Nicholas trying to malign Glen for the deaths Nicholas caused last week, Sasha's PTSD veering into self satire, Carl making time with a young lady, Darryl and Aaron finding weird stuff on the outside, and Rick getting drawn further into the abusive relationship between Jessie and her wife Pete. As you might have guessed from reading all that, it's not an easily congruent set of story bits. The last one (Rick vs. the wife beater) seems to matter most.

To no one's surprise, Nicholas crafted a bunch of lies to cover his own cowardice. Deanna doesn't necessarily believe them. Glen confronts Nicholas later and tells him he's not going outside the walls anymore. That's called saving the idiot's life. Nicholas pouts, then goes to dig up a gun. There's one piece dutifully arranged for next week. The interest level is Low.

Sasha spends all her time in the clock tower sniping Walkers. Off shift she goes over the walls to hunt them on the outside because she's "tired of playing defense." Seriously. She's all bug-eyed and refusing help as well; there's no real depth to any of it, just standard Hollywood PTSD clichés. Michonne and Rosita head out to bring her back to Alexandria. The three of them kill a bunch of Walkers in passing. The interest level is, again, Low.

I like Carl. I like that maybe he could be getting some action. It's cute enough, I suppose. Yet I needed this bit not at all in an episode that already has too much going on. The interest level tonight was nonexistent.

Aaron and Darryl stumble across something truly creepy. It's a field of hacked off arms and legs, immediately calling to mind that truck with the collection of Walker heads on torsos from Richmond. Even worse, they find a dead, nude woman tied to a tree, left there for Walkers to feast upon. I'll spare you the exact nature of her fatal injuries. And yes, a W is carved on her forehead. This is a piece for next week that is arranged with gruesome style. The interest level is High. Alas, it gets very little time.

Rick meanders around amidst the certainty that Pete is a wife beater, something Deanna already knew. She's just reluctant to lose a surgeon, which I can understand. Rick behaves like an ass. Pete behaves like a drunken ass. Jessie tells Rick to leave her alone, then seconds later wants his help as she tells Pete to leave their house. The subsequent fistfight between Pete and Rick spills out on to the street, drawing a crowd whom Rick proceeds to unhelpfully lecture at gun point about having to fight for survival whether inside or outside the walls. He's scaring the straights, so Michonne knocks him out from behind. Pawn to Q4. One last piece in place. The interest level is Low because it's all so paint-by-the-numbers.

Next week will surely start with a debate about whether to exile Rick. Presumably, whatever looming threat is carving all those Ws out there will also reveal itself, giving Rick a chance to become necessary again. The roll out seems pretty predictable so far.

Tune in next week to see if they surprise me.            

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