Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
After weeks of teases, we finally get an answer to the biggest cliffhanger of the fall. I’m speaking, of course, of where the people of Alexandria got all that helium for those balloons. It’s been bugging me for a while now, and I’m glad to see the show finally address it. The helium? It came from a tank.
Okay, okay, I’m making a dumb joke. We’ve all be waiting around to find out what happened to this guy:
Well, just as I had feared, the rumors of Glenn’s death had been greatly exaggerated. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like Glenn a lot. He was my favorite character throughout most of the earlier years of the comic, and I think he’s been incredibly strong on the show too.
The problem is when The Walking Dead uses one of the fan favorite characters as a cheap ploy to generate buzz. I guess, based on the rabid discussion on social media and at the water cooler, it worked. But a cheap ploy is still a cheap plot, no matter how effective it happens to be. Had they done a big fake-out with Glenn in one episode, and then resolved it in the next, well, I still would have been annoyed. But the way they drew it out over several weeks really chapped my ass.
I was reasonably certain that Glenn wasn’t dead. I wouldn’t have put money on it. I’m not saying that so that I sound smart. I’m not saying, hey guys, look at smarty-pants over here. I figured it all out. I couldn’t say that, because pretty much everyone else figured it out too.
What really bothers me is that this has been a hell of a strong season so far, and this thing with Glenn just cheapens things.
Okay, I’m done now; let’s talk about some other stuff that happened. Like this:
This was pretty dumb, right? I’ll give Spencer style points for using a grappling hook, because grappling hooks are super cool. Unfortunately, he falls and is almost eaten, saved only by people pulling him to safety and Tara creating a diversion.
All told, it really wasn’t a terribly interesting plot point, except for the fact that it gave us Rick’s reaction, in which he scolds Tara for risking his life for the Alexandrians. It was a really nice illustration of the way his us versus them mentality is isolating him not just from the people there, but his own group as well. If people are going to survive, they all need to work together. It finally looks like the show is acknowledging that Rick needs to understand this as well.
Machete lessons all around!
“Head’s Up” had a lot of other great little moments spread throughout. My favorite being Rick tearing down Gabriel’s posters advertising his prayer circle. I definitely want to see more of how religion and faith intersects with survival. Gabriel might not be the best way to represent that, but he’s all we’ve got.
We also got some more about Morgan and the man he’s got secreted away in the abandoned house. It seems that Carol is wise to his shenanigans, and that doctor lady is maybe, sort of, getting involved.
And then there’s the teenagers. Carl was moody and needed a haircut. That weird kid got some shooting lessons, and then steals some bullets and starts stalking Carl, all murdery. And the Enid spends some time being Enid.
The less said about the teenagers, the better.
The episode ends with the community starting to come together to start fixing the wall. Unfortunately, it looks like they were too late to save the church, which collapses and presumably opens a pretty substantial hole in Alexandria’s defenses.
The stuff with Glenn aside, this was a solid episode. I love the way the season is spending time breaking down a single event, and all the fallout from it. It’s been interesting to see how it’s forcing the two groups together and apart at the same time, and I’m eager to see how things shake out.