“Crossed” had a lot of table setting to do for the mid-season finale, cutting back and forth between four segments of the group in order to bring them all back into the scope and establish where they are and where they will be when the final episode for 2014 airs next week. After a few episodes of micromanaging these different arcs, it feels like a rush having scenes constantly flick back and forth, and this might have worked well had some of these arcs not dragged a bit.
The episode made a great decision to skip Daryl and Noah bringing the group up to speed about Beth and Carol in Grady Memorial, edging towards the wholly exciting, war-ready scene that had everyone strip the church in order to fortify it – and possibly make a few weapons. I’m starting to like this resourcefulness of the group; in “No Sanctuary” the first thing we saw was everyone attempt to turn the train cart prison into an environmental trap, stemming out from the series of traps Rick, Carl, and Michonne found in Season 3’s excellent “Clear”. This is something the show needs much more of, and it makes sense that in a world where resources – like weapons – are scarce, that this ever-evolving band of survivors start using their environment more in the fight against both walkers and other people.
With Carl and Michonne left behind to take care of Father Gabriel, there isn’t much for these characters to do besides try and talk the reverend out of his increasingly frustrating cowardice. Watching him desperately try and wash the blood stains off his church floors, attempting to cling to something that doesn’t exist anymore – peace – becomes a bit grating when you realise that his lack of practicality is probably going to get someone killed – again (if it wasn’t for him, Bob may have not been bitten). The Father escaping through the church floor, after both Michonne and Carl really did try and help him, only added to his general unpleasantness, though it did lead to a fairly gory scene where Gabriel is forced to (unintentionally) impale a walker on a ground spike, though he ultimately refused to smash her head in after he saw that she was wearing a cross necklace.
Beth had a few ‘check-in’ scenes as she attempted to save Carol, at the behest – surprisingly – of Dawn, who attempted to undermine her own orders to have Carol cut off from medical treatment due to a lack of resources. Aside from showing Beth’s capable attempt to save Carol, there wasn’t really much we could do here but be reminded where the side that will oppose Rick’s team is and what their current situation is – and it’s not too threatening.
Moments with “GREATM” – as Tara deemed them – felt like the most drawn out of the arcs, with Abraham quite clearly in shock from Eugene’s revelation and the fact that is possibly dead from that cracking TKO punch a few episodes ago. This leaves room for the show to ultimately focus on fleshing out Tara and Rosita a bit more by having them flex survival skills with Glenn. Tara’s quirky humour is starting to grow on me, as she moves from the girl constantly trying to atone for her time with The Governor, to a girl who is growing more comfortable within the group and introducing a much needed, lighter perspective after Eugene basically told them all that they split from their group for absolutely no reason.
The greatest parts of “Crossed” occurred when we flashed over to Atlanta and got swept up in the rescue mission that Rick, Tyreese, Sasha, Daryl, and Noah were on. Tyreese continues his distaste for violence here as he opposes Rick’s more ruthless plan and counters with something which would require a bit of trust on their behalf. Unfortunately, Tyreese ends up ultimately in the wrong as the Grady cops that the group do manage to capture give Rick what seems like misguided information.
For a second there, it did seem like Lampson was – like Noah said – one of the good ones, but his quickness to dispatch Sasha and escape was expected given the timing of the scene where Sasha agrees to help Lampson kill a walker-fied buddy; it’s towards the end of the episode so you just know things aren’t going to turn out right. Her willingness to trust him seemed because his first name was Bob, and her emotional vulnerability which would have seemed a bit frustrating had it not been for some great scenes with her and Tyreese giving weight to the final sequences.
Undoubtedly the high point this week came from Daryl as he brawls with Licari, coming unbelievably close to being bitten, and ripping of a walkers head to use it as a weapon. Special mention must go to the design team for those walkers half-melted into the pavement, it was one of the most disturbing walker scenes I’ve seen in a long time, and it made for some amazing, dark visuals.
With Sasha knocked out cold and the ‘good guy’ cop on the loose, things aren’t looking to good for Rick’s plan to get Carol and Beth back; but then again, if things always worked out fine then the show wouldn’t have the tension and great sense of balance it has.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
1. Daryl VS Licari, using walker head
2. Tara’s humour is refreshing, situation given
3. Carl taking charge and offering guidance to Father Gabriel
1. Four separate arcs can get a bit too messy
2. Abraham on his knees the entire time
3. Grady not intimidation enough to make next episode’s battle exciting
Episode MVP: Daryl
Walker Kill of the Week: Father Gabriel
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