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“Crossed” isn’t a great episode of The Walking Dead. But it wasn’t supposed to be. All “Crossed” had to do was set things up for the Rick-Dawn showdown that will end the first batch of season five episodes next week. And, in terms of its limited purpose, “Crossed” works pretty well.
The gang has once again been split up into four separate groups (technically five, if you consider Father Gabriel’s trek, which I’ll get to in a minute), and this continues to be a mixed bag. The “Save Beth and Carol” contingent is by far the strongest of the storylines, as it is comprised of several of the show’s most interesting characters and has the most to do within the context of the episode. We are also treated to small instances of character development within this crew, with Sasha coming to terms with her own inability to kill Bob and Rick ceding some decision making power to Tyreese and Daryl when discussing their plan to save Beth and Carol (although, it’s starting to look like Rick’s shoot first, ask questions if people are still alive plan might have been the way to go). This particular story didn’t really pop the way other stories this season have, but the action and plot flowed smoothly, and this story did what it needed to.
The next, and smallest, group saw Carol and Beth reunited at Grady Memorial- even though Carol remains in a coma and has been slated to be taken off all life saving measures. I honestly cannot see the show killing Carol in such a blah manner, so I have every hope that she’s going to wake-up next week and help Beth kick some serious ass (and writers, this better happen). But Beth continued her own transformation from meek and mild farm girl into one of the show’s most capable characters as she takes control of the situation and tries to save Carol’s life. I’m not 100% certain, but I don’t think Carol and Beth have ever had a scene alone together throughout the entire series. Which, considering that these are the two most complex characters currently on the series, is a total shame and something that must be rectified next week.
The greatest character development within the episode came from our check-in with Abraham’s band of not-so-merry men and women. While two weeks ago we were treated to the history of Abraham, this week we were given a look into Rosita’s past and what makes her tick. I’ve been a bit hard on this particular gang of survivors (mostly because the show has turned Glenn and Maggie into the show’s most annoying characters and refused to develop the rest), but I particularly enjoyed this storyline this week. Rosita, whose most notable characteristic until now was her sexual relationship with Abraham, could easily join Carol and Beth in the land of strong badass ladies. She’s clearly unafraid of Abraham and his temper (which says a lot about her, since Abraham is pretty dangerous when he’s angry), and she has survived a journey that would have (and, from her own account, did) claim the life of someone without her inner strength. She might not have received a large portion of screen time in “Crossed,” but it was enough to offer a look into what makes Rosita tick. She does not suffer fools.
Finally, the brief moments of interaction with Father Gabriel, Michonne, and Carl were the weakest elements within the episode. Unlike the time spent with Rosita, wherein we learned more about her, the time spent with Gabriel only served to show us how little we actually know about him. He’s suffering from some serious survivor’s remorse, but there has to be something more going on than simply that. What has inspired his idiotic escape from the church? I mean, there was no clear reason behind it, save for a desire to get away from Michonne and Carl. And, considering Gabriel has absolutely zero skills when it comes to dealing with walkers or any other unsavory types he might meet along the way, his actions are basically a death wish. I don’t understand Gabriel’s motivations and the show needs to take steps to show us why he would leave a position of strength and safety to fend for himself on the open road.
While this wasn’t a particularly strong episode, it did adequately set the stage for next week. Judging from past mid-season finales, I’m sure there will be plenty of blood and gore, and likely at least one character won’t make it out alive (smart money is on Gabriel, but I’m worried it might be someone more interesting- Tyreese perhaps?). The stakes are high (which, considering past seasons, is quite a change), but I believe in the series and think it will stick the landing for the first half of this rejuvenated season five.
— I don’t usually comment on walker kills and the like, but man, those melted walkers were amazing. I don’t usually find myself grossed out by the show anymore, but those guys were super realistic and I was plenty grossed out. Great work there.
— How did that walker sneak up on Gabriel? Walkers, by definition, aren’t fast. He had to see it coming.
— Remember when Michonne was awesome and killed people? Yeah, I had forgotten she used to be one of the show’s best characters, too.