It only took seven episodes, but we finally got all of the regular characters in The Walking Dead into one episode, and perhaps that is one of the reasons why the momentum that the series has enjoyed so far in this fifth season kind of took a hit this week in “Crossed.” Then again, maybe it was just because “Crossed” was setting the table for next week’s midseason finale, which, as per usual, will likely be consequential and bloody for our cast of characters struggling through the zombie apocalypse. But saying that “Crossed” is far from the season’s best doesn’t mean that it wasn’t compelling, and the table being set for next Sunday’s “Coda” includes what looks like some very tasty morsels.
As predicted, Daryl arrived back at the church with Noah. Rick, Sasha and Tyreese are returning to Atlanta with them to get Beth and Carol, but before they go, the group decides to fortify the church, taking apart the pews and the organ for material. “Are you going to take the cross?” Gabriel asks. They might if they need it, replies Daryl.
Life with people catches up to Gabriel this week, and he bails on rudimentary zombie survival school with Carl, before peeling up the floor boards in the rectory so he can escape through the crawl space under the church. On his way out, Gabriel steps on a nail, which I’m not sure is a religious message or just a way to start him out on a bad foot, but either way, it’s not too long before he encounters zombie trouble.
Of course, if there’s one person more useless than Gabriel in terms of zombie fighting, it’s Eugene. Eugene spent most of the episode knocked out after being nearly beaten to bloody pulp by Abraham when he confessed that he was no scientist with a magic zombie killing cure. Team GREATM (standing for Glen, Rosita, Eugene, Abraham, Tara and Maggie) spent the week in a holding pattern as Eugene recovered and Abraham tried to re-center himself. For GREATM, the episode became about the little things: pushing on in spite of disappointment, finding fish in a nearby creek, and a yo-yo in an abandoned backpack. Tara took the first steps in forgiving Eugene, pointing out that they can’t blame him for using his one skill, which is lying convincingly in order to survive. If I were to guess, it will be GREATM that somehow meets up with the running Gabriel, but what does that bode for Michonne, Carl and Baby Judith, who are keeping the lights on at the church?
The interesting stuff this week was Atlanta-centric. At Grady Memorial, Beth keeps an eye on Carol without tipping her that the two of them are acquainted. Dawn is persuaded by another officer that keeping the unconscious Carol alive is a waste of resources, but when Beth makes a fuss, Dawn gives her the key to the drug cabinet and an invitation to keep Carol alive “if she can.” Beth’s confused, but Dawn says she’s being given this trust because Beth has proven herself tougher than Dawn thought.
That’s kind of a 180, isn’t it? Even after Beth helped Noah escape, it seemed Dawn was only keeping Beth around because the bigger waste would be to get rid of two able pair of hands. Edwards warns Beth that Dawn doesn’t so something for nothing, but if Dawn does want something, it’s probably allies. As implied this week, she may have precious few.