The Walking Dead: "Thank You" (Season Six, Episode 3)

Flabbergasted

Well that was one weird episode. It strongly indicates the death of a major character in an uninspired fit of nihilism, while also hedging its bets so they could still chicken out. It also continues this season's trend of simple through line action, but tonight weighs the action down with some tired rehash material. Overall, it's still a thumbs up. Just not as enthusiastically as the last two weeks.

Last week was a flip back to Alexandria to find out what caused that extended horn blast; this week is a flip back to the road to find out what's happening with the great Walker herd reroute plan.  As you might expect, it's not going all that good. Or at least half of it isn't going good.

Half the herd is still following Abraham and Sasha in their car. The other half has turned toward the sound of that horn. Which is to say, towards Alexandria. The improvised new plan is for Rick to run back to an abandoned RV and use it to draw the herd back onto the road. While he does this, Glen and Michonne will guide the rest of the Alexandrians back to home base. Sounds like some good action coming, right? Unfortunately, the Glen and Michonne side of the story drags.

We get it. The Alexandrians are hopelessly soft, the kind of people who can't kick a can without twisting an ankle. The kind of people who can't hear a Walker until it's chomping into them, or who've never met a critical moment that can't be wasted on hapless introspection. Okay. The show has been making that point since last season. It's no longer fresh, and tonight it ramps up into jumping-the-shark caricature.

The first hapless Alexandrian thinks Rick is the problem. Of course, he does. He's just too feckless to actually do anything about it other than mouth off twice. Then , within a minute, he's getting munched on by a Walker. Another feckless Alexandrian runs away. The odds that he'll be Walker food midway through this episode? Oh, about 280%. The next Alexandrian twists her ankle. Another one somehow hurts his leg as well in an unclear manner (other than he's bleeding). And for good measure, one last Alexandrian gets bit. He spends the rest of the episode talking about his wife as Michonne promises she'll bring him home to say goodbye.

The odds he won't reach Alexandria? The opening line is 10,432%.

I don't mean to sound callous, but this whole shtick is half-baked and overdone. The writers are kind of phoning it in tonight. The upshot is that Glen and Michonne think they're ahead of the herd until they run into a few Walkers, at which point they decide to hole up in an abandoned pet store. One amusing aside. The  way the camera kept lingering over all those cages, I was half expecting to see a zombie parakeet or snake. No such luck.

Glen's new plan is dumb. He and the coward Nicholas will run off to find some feed store that they will set on fire to draw the approaching Walker half-herd away. Supposedly there's lots of stuff that will burn in the feed store. Well I've got news for them--there's lots of stuff that will burn in that pet store, too. There are a lot of buildings that will burn throughout the town we see Nicholas and Glen walking through. What's so damn special about this feed store?

The Walkers cop to Michonne and company in the pet store. Our gang makes a break for it and lose two Alexandrians along the way. One is the guy who wanted to see his wife, but it's done in a ridiculous manner. He's trapped on one side of a tall metal gate. As the others watch, Walkers swarm him, biting away. In a touch of needlessly gratuitous cruelty, the letter to his wife is torn free to get a close-up shot on the ground below. He's screaming. Our idiotic gang futilely shoot at the Walkers.

Would it kill them to just shoot him in the head? Instead, they look on mournfully as he's torn to pieces.

Thanks, guys. Sloppy stuff like that tears me out of whatever mood is being established.

Glen and Nicholas reach the feed store only to find it's already been burned down some time ago. Oddly enough, it looks quite small. Even odder, the buildings immediately adjacent to it don't show a trace of soot, let alone any damage. Then a bunch of Walkers trap them in an alley. They take refuge atop a dumpster until the coward Nicholas says "Thank you" to Glen for not hating him, then shoots himself in the head. Being a total loser, his body knocks Glen off onto the ground. Walkers swarm.

Is Glen dead? He kind of has to be given the number of Walkers involved. Yet the whole thing is oddly shot. We see intestines being ripped out, but as depicted, those would be coming from Glen's shoulder, which isn't how that anatomically works. This implies Nicholas fell atop him and Glen may have some very brief reprieve before he's torn to pieces. Again, that shouldn't matter based on the number of Walkers. Still, it feels like a trick, coming as it does fifteen minutes before the end of the episode with a quick fade out and no further coverage. The producers are playing coy as well.

I don't like it. If Glen doesn't die, this is cheap chicanery. If he does, it's a crummy way to show a major character the door. Not only is it anticlimactic, it's mean-spirited as well, the implied message being that Glen died because he was decent to a loser--DECENCY KILLS. It's not like it was in the day, we've got to make tough choices, yada yada. If that's the intent, it's tonally off in this episode.

Maybe I should see "The Martian" again to restore my faith in humanity.

Rick spends most of his time running to that RV. He kills three Walkers along the way, cutting his hand in the process. They make a big deal about his cut in a vague, nonspecific way. He looks at it. He covers it with tissue. He looks at it some more. Are we supposed to assume he might be infected with Walker blood. I dunno.

He drives the RV to an intersection and waits for the herd. Some of the Wolves who escaped from Alexandria attack the RV. Rick kills them all because he's Rick. He then finds a jar of baby food in the pocket of one. Does that mean they kidnapped Judith? Does that mean they stole some of her baby food? Or does that just mean they like baby food? I dunno.

The Walker half herd show up. And wouldn't you know it--Rick's RV won't start now.

For the first time this season, this sequence of events is starting to lose focus. The Alexandria travelling idiocy show was a step backward. Let's hope it was just a minor misstep.

Is Glen really dead? I dunno.

But this show just lost some storytelling credibility if he isn't.                              

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