After a few weeks where our merry band of survivors split up and the show spent entire episodes focusing on a single strand of the story, Sunday's episode, "Crossed," finally started bringing them back together. And if not all the characters managed to meet up again on screen, the show at least gave us an update on their whereabouts.
While it can sometimes be satisfying to forget everything else and drill down on one group of characters for an episode, unless you're binging after the fact, it can sometimes leave you feeling disconnected from the rest of the story. What were Rick and the crew at the church up to again? It's hard to remember since the last time we saw them was almost a month ago in "Four Walls and a Roof."
Daryl finally met up again with Rick and the church squad after his sojurn into Atlanta. He lost Carol, but gained Noah and a burning desire to go back and save her from the corrupt crew holed up in the hospital. Rick, who owes Carol big-time for saving him from Terminus, even after he kicked her out of the group, agreed to go along with a rescue. But increasingly, Rick's SOP and everyone else's SOP are diverging. With Rick, it seems the most violent, brutal way is best. Everyone else still seems to have a soft, sticky middle for their fellow man.
While Rick wants to go in, quietly kill a couple of the hospital people and get Carol and Beth out, Tyreese and Daryl advocate for a prisoner swap. To Rick's credit, he allows the nicer plan to get carried out.
It's a situation like this that's ripe for audience debate. Are you a Rick or are you a Tyreese?
Unfortunately, the events that play out seem to show that the series is siding pretty heavily in Rick's favor. The prisoners they take are just as slippery as their leader, Dawn. And we're left with Sasha knocked out cold and one of the prisoners on the run. The one that seemed like the most calm, cool and collected.
Something tells me this prisoner swap is going to be bloody. And it could have been a lot less bloody if they'd just followed Rick's plan. Oh well, not everyone can be a hollowed-out, ruthless bundle of aggression and fear. The different personalities are what make them all so lovable, right?
This episode had a bit of everything, with Abraham seeming to come to grips with his own aggression in the aftermath of his epic Eugene beat-down. And Father Gabriel apparently undergoes his own personal crisis of cowardliness that is all tied up in his personal faith. (He couldn't bring himself to end a walker's non-life when he saw it was wearing a crucifix.)
Everyone has their own crises around here. But it's what they choose to do after those crises that's essential. Carol had hers after she was booted from the group, and she rebounded admirably. Judging from Abraham's moments this week, it appears he'll come through just fine as well. Father Gabriel? He has my vote for becoming the Dr. Smith (of "Lost in Space" fame) of this show, losing his cool at a moment's notice.
There was even an opportunity to give us some threatening walkers in a way not quite seen before. Daryl battled one of the Atlanta cops. And as they rolled around on the ground, maimed walkers, left to lie mostly helpless in the sun, dragged themselves over to try to take a bite out of the living. It was an unexpected use of their threats, and Daryl's unique way for concluding the fight, using a walker's head like a bowling ball, will go down on the eventual Daryl highlight reel.
Next week brings the mid-season break for "The Walking Dead" and it's a pretty safe bet that we're going to get a major death. No insider knowledge, that's just the way this show goes. If I had to pick a character whose time is probably up, I'd pick Carol. But we'll see.