Television

Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Bean

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The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 15 “Try” – Review

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Well, it was never going to be tidy. I almost don’t know where to begin trying to unravel the laundry bin of awful decisions that fuels the action in this penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season 5. No matter where you turn, someone is acting stupidly. Realistically, these are reasonable reactions, given their inordinately harrowing experiences, even by The Walking Dead’s usual standards. It seems everybody has been pushed to the edge of their capacity to cope, and there is no salve for any of it.

Sasha’s grief has been exhibiting itself in reckless ways; acting as bait beyond the walls, taking all the guard duty and finally making aggressive forays deeper into walker territory in order to take the offensive against the undead. At least these choices are pro-active, whether they are truly going to make a lasting impact or not. She is expending her energy, which otherwise simply manifests as rage; Michonne and Rosita try to help, and they get to make a badass trio for a second, but Sasha is carving a loner’s path. The therapeutic catharsis offered by the clinical kills or rampaging may not be her reasoning, but she should get credit for doing something useful. Which is more than can be said for Carl and Enid.

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There is an irritating foray into burgeoning teen romance territory, which made me long for the days when Carl just shot people he wasn’t sure about. With tensions mounting inside the walls, watching kids slow-mo ‘run like zombies aren’t chasing you’ is the least compelling choice of storylines. Both actors do their best with the material, but the insane idiocy of hiding inside a dead tree as a herd of walkers approach, to create an intimate moment – oh god it’s just too daft to bother discussing. Please stop, this isn’t Twilight. Or, as my better half put it – Rom-Zom-Vom. Indeed.
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Meanwhile, further afield, Daryl and Aaron keep stumbling upon the aftermath of increasingly disturbing encounters, with a distinct ‘dismember and disembowel’ theme. It becomes apparent that the ‘W’ carved into the walkers heads isn’t the doing of townsfolk, though it’s full meaning is still unclear. This mysterious somebody has been lurking around the peripheries of the narrative for weeks; at least as far back as the cars full of zombie limbs back in Noah’s hometown, and likely before.

It makes me wonder if this is anything to do with the band that originally attacked the group at Terminus? I’d preliminarily titled these shadowy rumours as the Marauders, though this feels different, more systematic. The mutilation, the tying up and branding seems more methodical, even ritualistic. Whoever is behind these atrocities, I’d like to see Darryl make an executive decision and get the heck back to the ranch, pronto.

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However, while things in Alexandria have been tense since our group’s arrival, since the cluster-fudge of last week’s run outside the walls, and Nicholas’ inevitable denial of culpability, the fuses seem set to blow – and looky who’s holding the matches. It was clear from the outset that forced ‘normality’ was not going to jibe with Rick’s modus operandi. You can’t wash the trauma away, and that beard’ll grow back if you don’t tend to the facade. Picket fences and people sat (idly, goddamit!) on their porches, for all the world like ‘it’s just the darnedest apocalypse, I better make a pot roast’; it made me mad, and I don’t have PTSD. As the lie of it, the pathetic avoidance of reality gets too much, Rick makes a hash of one thing after another.

First he tries to sell Deanna on Carol’s brilliant ‘let’s kill Pete’ plan. It’s a bold move, and might have gone better if he weren’t super jittery and repeating himself. The discussion goes poorly and lays the trip wires for the final showdown at episode close. How we get there is even more worrisome. It appears that Rick has lost his ability to be effective since meeting Jessie. He has no sense of boundaries, or when to take his foot of the accelerator and just let an idea sink in to whoever he’s talking to. His frustrations have robbed him of his patience, that calm in the eye of the storm quality that made him a great cop and an even better group leader.

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As the scene with Pete and Jessie plays out, the fight becomes an ugly and public brawl. Even as Deanna seems to rip him back to his senses, Rick loses the moral high ground, tries to fall back on old lines, but without the solid delivery, he just appears unhinged. By the time the state of the union is addressed, his rage at the complacency in Alexandria may be justified, just as his outrage at being the outcast may be too. But he’s channelling Travis Bickle, so his authority doesn’t land; he has become anarchy.

So, alas, it falls to Michonne, replete in the uniform, to take down Ranting Rick. Her newly split loyalties have been ambiguous until now, though she does seem to be in turmoil as to her nature, her role in either group and how violence shaped her identity before. How the group will deal with the fall out of these events will determine it’s future – perhaps it has reached it’s conclusion.
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Frankly, the only other person showing true leadership qualities is Glenn. He doesn’t pout or cry, or rage and flail. He goes and has a very calm but unequivocal chat with the problem (Nicholas), and leaves him to mull over his words before anybody throws a punch. It appears, though, that for all the good will, fairness, truth and morality that Glenn puts out there, Nicholas is still going to act like a shit-stirring malcontent. So who’s right anyway?

REVIEW BY NINA CLARK

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Bean

Director at Nina Clark Music / The Musical Walkabout at Nina Clark Music
Bean is the family nickname of Nina Clark, singer, songwriter and professional musician. Nina's many nerdly passions, aside from music, include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and all things Whedon. (re. GoT, she has NOT read the books, so please be cool - no spoilers!)
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