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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Walking Dead 5x06: Consumed


This episode had its moments. My initial reaction was that it was perfectly decent. However, the more I thought about it the more I realized this wasn't a very good episode. Despite some decent moments, a lot of things bothered me. (And no, it's not because it was a Carol-centric episode.)

The episode started rough. The opening montage of what Carol was up to between her exile and her return didn't impress me. The flashback felt wholly unnecessary. Carol was the same person when she returned as when she left. There was no transformation we needed to see. Nothing was shown to us that we couldn't infer on our own.

Then we get to the silliness of Carol and Daryl following a police officer who never figured out he was being tailed. Sure they didn't have headlights but cars still make noise. Beyond that, I have a feeling that the reasoning for all the vehicles at the hospital having a cross on them will never be explained except that it helps the protagonists follow them.

Then Carol and Daryl end up meeting Noah. This scene commits the writing sin of coincidence. How big of coincidence is up for debate. Carol and Daryl were tracking people from the same group that Noah came from. But, seriously, what are the odds that the timing would line up for them to meet each other? This issue wasn't egregious but, hey, I'm a roll.

Meeting Noah prompts Carol to try and shoot Noah. I'll be the first to admit that her actions here are defensible considering he was stealing their weapons. But Daryl stopped her and that's fine. Carol defending herself saying she wasn't going to kill him but, instead, only shoot his leg is laughable, though. Obviously those two aren't mutually exclusive. Carol is either lying or stupid. If she did shoot Noah in the leg his odds of survival aren't much better than shooting him in the chest. If Noah didn't bleed out or die of an infection he'd probably be limping zombie food.

Next we get Carol and Daryl getting surrounded by zombies and deciding that buckling up and tipping a van off a highway bridge is the best course of action. Frankly, it may have indeed been their best option. The possibility exists that they could survive the fall but the odds were against them. However, not only do both of them live but they walk away from crash relatively unscathed.

Noah shows up again and this time gets trapped under a bookshelf. I was pleasantly surprised that Carol wanted to save Noah but now Daryl, seemingly randomly, decides to be the callous one. It would make more sense if Daryl saved Noah's life, then Noah betrayed them and then, upon Daryl finding Noah again, decided not to spare him. But that's what happened. Noah stole from them first, then Daryl saved his life and then Daryl decided not to save him a second time. Daryl ends up helping Noah out (who ends up having valuable information) but I'm still not sure why Daryl initially decided to let him die on their second meeting.

Finally we end with Carol, pretty much out of nowhere, getting hit by a car. How did this happen? Did the drivers not see Carol? Did Carol not hear or see the car? This was literally the only car on the road and Carol was literally the only pedestrian. Even if this was an intentional act by the driver I still don't know why Carol didn't hear the car and avoid it.

Nothing I brought up was enough on its own to make me not like the episode. But there was a cumulative effect here. Each of these things, upon reflection, made me roll my eyes. Holes started developing in the story. Eventually, the whole thing looked like Swiss cheese. It's ironic that I didn't like this episode. I like Swiss cheese.

Other Thoughts:
When the episode first started I was a little afraid the entire episode would be a Carol flashback. At least I dodged that bullet.

Carol mentions Lizzie and Mika and Daryl says he knows all he needs to know (they're not there). This prompts Carol to say "it's worse than that." If I was Daryl I'd assume that meant Carol killed the kids because they were slowing her down.

I will say the scene with Daryl and Carol in the family shelter was well done.

I assume Daryl took the self help book because of how Merle...or his father...treated him.

So Noah will be the mystery person at the end of "Four Walls and a Roof". Now sure how I feel about that. I can't think of anything that would live up to the hype but if it's a character we had yet to have met (at the time) why not show him and make us curious as to who the heck we are looking at?

I still feel the timeline for everything is dubious. In "Four Walls and a Roof" it felt like Daryl was gone for two days max. It already feels like Carol and Daryl have been gone longer than that. Then, in Slabtown, it felt like Carol showed up relatively quickly after Noah escaped. But Noah met (and stole weapons from) Carol and Daryl and there seemed to be a long time between that first meeting and when Carol was hit by a car. Maybe there's a way for it all to work but it does seem suspect.

On The Talking Dead Yvette Nicole Brown says she watches every episode three times and then, when the season is over, she rewatches the entire season. I think she was serious. I pity her.

Actor Tyler James Williams (Noah) said on The Talking Dead that Noah is slowly getting to the place (mentally speaking) that Rick's group is which is the same place Shane was. Shane was just "ahead of his time." No. I suppose I should point out this the actor's opinion and not necessarily how the show runners view things but, ugh, Shane love. And if the group was like Shane then Daryl would've let Carol kill Noah. Beyond that, Father Gabriel would be dead, Tyrese...dead, Sergeant Abraham...dead, Tara...dead, need I go on? My point is Shane was a xenophobic sociopath.

8 comments:

  1. I think I enjoyed this episode a bit more than you. Then again, I was addressing thank you cards while watching it, so it didn't get my full attention. Thus, I was less consciously aware of the various coincidences and plot holes in play.

    I'll also say that I always get a weird visceral thrill whenever the show trots out the "they messed with the wrong group!" plot and we get to see Rick and Co. go all righteous fury on a group of bad guys again, so I enjoyed that at the end.

    The flashback felt wholly unnecessary.

    Pretty much all of them did. I appreciate the effort to structurally tie this episode in to the last one, with the brief "back from commercial" flashbacks to Abraham and Carol. But Abraham was a character whose backstory we knew very little about, whereas seeing that Carol found a house, slept, then noticed the fire from the Governor's attack and went back to the prison doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know, and doesn't show us anything we needed to know.

    I have a feeling that the reasoning for all the vehicles at the hospital having a cross on them will never be explained except that it helps the protagonists follow them.

    I'm thinking we're just supposed to assume they're all hospital vehicles, marked as such, and were like that before the apocalypse. And now the group there is just using them and not bothering to remove the crosses.

    But, seriously, what are the odds that the timing would line up for them to meet each other?

    This I was okay with, since, as you say, both Carol/Daryl and Noah were ostensibly heading towards/circling the same place. That said, I could have done without TWO coincidental meetings between them in the same episode, particularly since, while the first one was a coincidence harmful to the protagonists (which is the okay kind of coincidence in writing), the second one was advantageous (the bad kind of coincidence).

    However, not only do both of them live but they walk away from crash relatively unscathed.

    Um, I'm pretty sure Carol hurt her shoulder. Which is clearly the worst possible injury one could sustain in that situation.

    I'm still not sure why Daryl initially decided to let him die on their second meeting.

    He was all angry that Noah's actions could have led to Carol's death. Basically, Noah took their weapons. So when they investigated the ambulance, they were forced to drive it off the bridge to escape. So Carol got hurt. Then, when the zombies attracted to Noah's shots attacked them, Carol was unable to properly defend herself. So when Daryl came across Noah, the guy responsible in his eyes for that sequence of events, in the heat of the moment he just wanted to kill him for having almost gotten Carol killed.

    At least, that was my read of it.

    Did the drivers not see Carol?

    I'm assuming they hit her intentionally. Both to neutralize any potential threat, and also to thus immediately indebt her to their group by requiring medical attention when they bring her in.

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  2. I can't think of anything that would live up to the hype but if it's a character we had yet to have met (at the time) why not show him and make us curious as to who the heck we are looking at?

    That was my thought too. Show us Noah, we're all like "who the heck is that?" then when we see him in the hospital, we're all "oh, that's where he came from, how does he get out and what happens to Beth?"

    I still feel the timeline for everything is dubious.

    Me too. But I think it all works.

    Day 1
    Rick: Finds church, sets up shot.
    C&D: Finds car, still with group.
    Beth: Trying not to get raped at hospital.

    Night 1
    Rick: Bob gets captured, eaten, returned. Termites executed.
    C&D: Carol tries to leave, spots the car, follows, spends the night in shelter.
    Beth: Still trying not to get raped.

    Day 2
    Rick: Abraham and his group leave. Rick waits for the C&D.
    Beth: Tries to escape, but doesn't. Noah gets out. Decides to kill doctor before seeing Carol arrive.
    C&D: make their way through the city, meet Noah, Carol gets hit by hospital people.

    Night 2
    Daryl and Noah arrive back at church.

    I can't remember for sure, but I think all the stuff with Bob getting taken, eaten, returned and the Termites getting skunked and killed all happened in the same night. If it didn't, it screws up that timeline a bit.

    but, ugh, Shane love.

    Yeah, I really don't get that. Did people miss the part about how he went crazy and needed to be put down? How every ally the group has made since he died he would executed on the spot had he still been around/his viewpoint prevailed. He's not a martyr, people, he was a villain who died.

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  3. Still not watching the show, but with regards to Shane -- I just think that was all Jon Bernthal. I didn't like Shane as a character, but I thought Bernthal was great in the role. I wonder if people aren't remembering the actor more than the character.

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  4. Well, they did name Thor the sexiest man in the world very recently, and I've already seen the fangirls loudly insisting that Loki so got robbed. The world we live in, folks.

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  5. Sorry I haven't been commenting on these. The last couple of weeks have been from hell. Nothing horrible but not conducive to blogreading.

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  6. Plot driven stupidity is the bane of this show. Not killing the zombies in their tent in a narrow corridor ? Yeah, no way it s gonna bite us in the ass later Carol !

    And they re on a huge highway on a sunny day And yet, manage to get surrounded by walkers. Once again, who could have seen it coming Daryl ? I get that for both drama And time, the show cant have them on lenghty sneak attacks to clear out the area beforehand, but temporary idiocy is not great writing.

    And them surviving the fall would have been better sold if the first shot of the van going forward didnt make it so unlikely it would ever land on its wheels.

    I still liked it though.

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  7. @Frenchie: Not killing the zombies in their tent in a narrow corridor ? Yeah, no way it s gonna bite us in the ass later Carol !

    Yeah, that's one of those things that always bugs me on this show: when given a chance to kill zombies with minimal danger, KILL ZOMBIES!

    They're ultimately a finite problem - it's a feasible that every zombie in the world could be killed. So when otherwise not in immediate danger, kill them. It hurts nothing and helps immensely.

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  8. @Austin: "But Abraham was a character whose backstory we knew very little about, whereas seeing that Carol found a house, slept, then noticed the fire from the Governor's attack and went back to the prison doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know, and doesn't show us anything we needed to know."

    Well said. Yeah, I had zero issue with flashing back with Abraham.

    "I'm thinking we're just supposed to assume they're all hospital vehicles, marked as such, and were like that before the apocalypse."

    It's just an odd assortment of vehicles to all be hospital vehicles.

    "Me too. But I think it all works."

    It just feels like Daryl and Carol were gone longer. Then again, I have a difficult time figuring out the geography of The Walking Dead.

    @Matt: "I wonder if people aren't remembering the actor more than the character."

    Very possible. There's nothing wrong with enjoying a villain, but you should recognize him AS a villain.

    @Temu: "Well, they did name Thor the sexiest man in the world very recently, and I've already seen the fangirls loudly insisting that Loki so got robbed. The world we live in, folks."

    I've long given up on trying to figure out what women find attractive. (It's almost like they each have their own personal preference!)

    @Frenchie: "Well, they did name Thor the sexiest man in the world very recently, and I've already seen the fangirls loudly insisting that Loki so got robbed. The world we live in, folks."

    I think the idea is they've lived in the zombie apocalypse long enough that they've become numb to zombies. Which only makes sense until your realize that one bite will still kill you!

    @Blam: "Sorry I haven't been commenting on these. The last couple of weeks have been from hell. Nothing horrible but not conducive to blogreading."

    As evidenced by latest blog post. :)

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