The Walking Dead Goes Stag by Alex Snider

Another pretty great episode! It certainly feels like we've turned a corner and entered an age of consistently solid Walking Dead with each episode bringing us further and further from all the earlier missteps (Lori, Woodbury, Sleepytime Farm). The decision to split up the group and spend some time fleshing out underused characters has worked out fantastically for TWD. I could watch a show about each pairing (except maybe for Glenn's new crew). I'm particularly happy with the character developing happening with Beth, Sasha and Bob – three characters we knew next to nothing about. Both Beth and Sasha have existed in their more relevant siblings' shadows but separating them from those siblings and effectively eliminating their comfort zones has done wonders for their personalities. Beth is happy-go-lucky with a soft spot for optimism, Sasha is pragmatic and below that ambivalent, apathetic shell she's sensitive and sweet. Bob hates being alone and isn't above using his raw sex appeal to try and sway the ladies into following him, pied piper like. Really though I loved the cold-open and the way that solitude reverberates through the episode. Loneliness kills the soul quicker than hoards of walkers.
I've always maintained that fog is the spookiest of spooky weather formations. Try harder mist!
It's telling that for over three seasons we've been with the same group (more or less) yet the number of meaningful relationships that have been forged is negligible. To my recollection, the only surviving pairs that have had conversations that indicate a deeper bond have been Rick and Hershel, Maggie and Glenn, Michonne and Carl, maybe Carol and Daryl. Most of the time we just watch as the group bickers and hashes out everyday survival details. Watching relationships bloom now lends both gravitas and levity to the show. Stakes are raised significantly when we see the characters develop meaningful ties to one another – now we're worried about Beth both because of Beth and because of what Beth means to Daryl – and at the same time there is a much needed joy injected into the lives of the survivors. The reunion between Bob, Sasha and Maggie was such a nice moment in the show (a show very light on nice moments) made bittersweet by the trials still ahead.

TWD or a Six Feet Under hallucination??
Other thoughts:

Beth is probably not long for the world, huh? Last week we got her using her demise as a way to flirt with Daryl, this week she told him that she wouldn't need him soon (this was moments before getting stuck in a rabbit snare) plus all the talk of good people and dignity in death. Plus she has totally manic pixie dream girl-ed Daryl (right down to the twee singing) and we all know what happens to MPDG when they've taught the uptight, cranky men in their lives how to enjoy life and companionship (they die, usually). Seems to be a fair amount of foreshadowing for poor Beth but then again this show's never dealt too heavily in foreshadowing.

"Like what you see?" (A shadow of nipple)
It does seem like that adorable scruffy dog was party to Beth's abduction. Seems like the whole funeral home was a big, elaborate set-up to... kidnap Beth...

"Girl, you got blood all over your face"

So Daryl has met up with those awful men from Rick's house and it would appear that he's joined up before they encounter Rick. Does that mean that Daryl is the guy Rick overhears getting beat up? More importantly does this mean that Daryl will be meeting back up with Michonne soon??? Michonne + Daryl 4ever.
Poncho Villa
Meeting all these very bad people almost makes me miss Shane. Or rather pine for what could have been with Shane. He would have fit in real nice with all Daryl's new crew what with all his raging and murder. He truly was ahead of his time (they were only months into the apocalypse and already he had bought half way into new guy's mantra: "why hurt yourself when you can hurt someone else"). If only the show hadn't been preoccupied with Rick's milquetoast leadership and nailing every single female stereotype with Lori (UGH AND WITH FINDING SOPHIA) then maybe Shane's descent into villainy would have been more interestingly chilling. 

This dog lost an eye defending his owner against a car-jacker. Really.
Does anyone else feel like TWD apocalypse is a whole lot grimier than need be? Something like 90% of the world has been wiped out, surely that leaves a plethora of essentials like deodorant, soap, lotion, tooth paste (or at least tonnes of Clorets) not to mention all the stores filled with new clothes. There's actually no need for everyone to be wearing such grody clothes. Ok, yes, right now they're all on the run and wandering in some sort of endless forest circle but surely when things at the prison were stable they could've squeezed in a trip to Urban Outfitters on one of their jaunts for baby food. I guess I'm just curious how the priorities during the apocalypse would change. Obviously on TWD, they're not very concerned with sex and hygiene seems to have been dialed back to Neolithic standards – even my indoor cat spends 40% of his time grooming, you're telling me that humans would abandon cleanliness so easily? And that people wouldn't be screwing their brains out whenever possible? There needs to be some sort of distraction from the horrors of everyday life and what better distraction than sex? Just so long as dudes pull out, we've seen what happens when no mid-wife is available.

Bob comes one step further to crossing "threesome" off his bucket list
And how quickly would we just develop zombie coping mechanisms and then try to reestablish some sense of normalcy? Would we just lose all drive for consumerism and appearances? Money has been what's holding me down all these years so a global economic crash that renders all money meaningless sounds like my time to shine! No more basement apartments and public transit and found furniture for me, no sir, I'd be living fancy and look good doing it.

(Sasha has the right idea with that sweet studio loft space – exposed brick and lots of light! Bummer that Bob and Maggie cock-blocked her.)

What else would change? Now that we've watched four seasons of grimaces and frowns, is humour something else that will be thrown aside post-near human extinction? I feel like I'd still be cracking wise when not death-brawling zombies. Although, 98% of my jokes are based on Frankie Muniz's Twitter, Rizzoli and Isles and just repeating lines from comedies – eeeet's niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice – so who knows what my zombie apocalypse fodder would be. I wonder if my witty observations about the things pet owners say would still be relevant?

"We're looking for a keyboardist, you in?" 

Your pedantic nitpicking of the week:

How is it that some survivors find shelter immediately in picturesque homes on sleepy streets but others, who have been wandering in similar directions at the same time are left wandering the woods? And how do walkers always know where doors are? 

Read the previous episode recap here.

Alex Snider watches a lot of TV. Follow her on Twitter where she'll be super active for a week then be quiet for months – she's a social media cicada.


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