The Walking Dead midseason finale: decent or overwrought? (spoilers)

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Spoilers for the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, which aired last night, follow
Last night’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead was full of head-slapping moments, stupid confrontations that didn’t need to happen, and lots of dialogue. Our band of survivors could have done fine if they just could have avoided fighting amongst themselves for a single goddamn day, but no, they had to go picking fights when they should have been plotting against the zombie horde which broke through the fence. I guess that’s as realistic as it gets, humans under stress argue, but it still seemed pointless and frustrating.

We only lost one character, Deanna, who went out in a blaze of glory, using her bullets on the zombies instead of taking her own life as she succumbed to the virus. The others escaped using the “cover yourself in zombie guts” trick they learned in the first season. You would question why it took them so long to do this again, but then the final scene really captured how terrifying it was to try and navigate through the zombies, especially when that little idiot Sam started yelling “mom, mom,” presumably blowing their cover. We’ll have to wait until mid February to find out, though. Here’s a quick recap from E! which covers all the major points:

So, who didn’t make it out alive? Well, that would be the aforementioned Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh), who took a bite to the belly while trying to help Rick (Andrew Lincoln) during the Great Steeple Crash of 2015, which sent all of our heroes into far-flung corners of Alexandria to wait out the infestation. Deanna and Rick wound up in Jessie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) house with Michonne (Dania Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Father Gabriel, and Jessie’s awful sons Ron and Sam. (Seriously, is there anything worse on this show currently than those two little turds? I don’t think so.)

Maggie (Lauren Cohan) found herself up a ladder on some shaky scaffolding, out of ammo and out of options. Rosita (Christian Serratos), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) barricaded themselves in a garage/Alexandria’s make-shift classroom. And Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) locked themselves in the empty house Morgan was housing the wounder Wolf, with Dr. Denise (Merritt Wever) hanging out in the basement with the bleeding SOB.

From there, the episode was largely a waiting game. Waiting for Deanna to die. (She did, but not before taking out a few walkers in a blaze of glory.) Wait for Morgan’s pet Wolf to get lose. (He did, after Morgan and Carol went to war over him, knocking each other out cold, leaving poor Denise to probably die when he took her outside as a helpless Tara, Rosita, and Eugene looked on in horror.)

Wait for Ron to screw everything up. (He did, when he decided now was the best time to fight Carl, thereby luring the Walkers to the house, forcing everyone upstairs to ward the never-ending stream of zombies off.) Wait for Rick to remember the zombie guts trick from season one. (Which he did finally, using two dead walkers to cover his whole gang in guts, so they could get to the armory undetected.) And, finally, wait for Sam to screw everything up even further. (Which he did when he couldn’t pretend to be brave and instead started saying, “Mom! Mom!” right as they were in the middle of the walkers.)

[From E! Online]

I want to know if Glenn saves Maggie, if Rick and company all make it out alive (although both of Jessie’s kids and father Gabriel can get bit as far as I’m concerned), and if Rosita and Tara survive. I’m also rooting for Daryl, Abraham and Sasha, whom we didn’t see at all this week. The stupid storyline between Carol and Morgan was massively disappointing to me. Both of them annoyed me in different ways and while I was once attached to those characters they’re too mired in the perspectives they represent – life at all costs vs. survival at any cost – for me to care what happens to them now. Writers, please stop shoving that obvious moral dilemma down our throats.

Mild spoilers for future episodes of Walking Dead follow
During the commercial break for AMC’s new show, Badlands, (which I tried to watch a couple of weeks ago but could not get into, it’s like a video game) they played a preview for the next episode. It shows Daryl, Sasha and Abraham getting waylaid by a group of bikers from Negan’s gang, who we know will be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The leader (another guy, not Negan), tells Daryl that all the stuff they have now is the property of Negan. The thing that bugs me about this prologue is not that there’s another villain, it’s that we’re probably looking at more capsule episodes next year where the first one focuses only on Daryl and company. Considering how long they made us wait to learn about Glenn, I would suspect that we won’t know what happened back in Alexandria for at least a couple of episodes.

Here’s the preview for next season. Spoilers.

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photos credit: Gene Page for AMC

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41 Responses to “The Walking Dead midseason finale: decent or overwrought? (spoilers)”

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  1. Linn says:

    I thought it would have been fine as a “normal” episode, but for a mid-season-finale it felt very underwhelming. I liked the stuff with Michonne and Deanna though.

    Also, Carl should have watched episode 3 of this season. Protecting the person who nearly killed you and lying for him gets you nearly eaten by walkers and spending the night under a dumpster.

    I don’t even have words for the Morgan situaton, poor Denise. And once again
    I found Eugene very punchable once again, he better doesn’t get Tara or Rosita killed while he stands there gawking like a fool with a weapon in his hand. He should have listen to what Rosita told him last episode.

    • mayamae says:

      Poor Denise? The woman stood there – unbound with weapons nearby – and watched the Wolf untie himself. Carol and Morgan were both unconscious and unable to defend themselves. Denise is a Psychiatrist, which means she’s an MD. She had to study a medical text to figure out how to treat an infected wound. She later had to make crib notes because she didn’t know the five signs of infection – boys scouts know that! She then has a one on one conversation with the Wolf, and I think, “great, this is her specialty”. Nope. She’s just as bad in her own specialty. After he took her hostage, she waited patiently while his back was turned for him to unlock the door. She has absolutely no survival instincts.

  2. Pinky says:

    It was craptacular. The only silver lining is that…SPOILER ALERT…Jessie and her brood will be torn to shreds in the back eight, if they’re following the comic books.

    • Sochan says:

      I’m sick of Jessie and her flock. She has done absolutely nothing to help her youngest get over his terrors so that he can function and not get himself and everyone else killed. Horrible writing where this family in concerned. Every time the little kid cries to her her expression never changes. Remember she told him to turn off the music? He never turned off the music! With walkers right outside the door. I’m sick of these folks and the writing they’re saddled with.

      • Chigirlie says:

        Lol Sochan I totally agree with everything you said. Hope they do as Pinky stated. I thought the episode was boring which surprised and disappointed me because I usually enjoy the show.

      • HeatherAnn says:

        I was so irritated about the music too. Shut it off!!!

    • Addison says:

      IF. They follow the book. Some of the changes they make are stupid. Most I don’t mind too much. But this episode was as someone said underwhelming. I expected a better cliffhanger for the mid-season end. Plus it was short yet they gave us an hour and a half of Morgan which was completely unnecessary. And hour would have been fine.

  3. Nancy says:

    Deanna had the longest goodbye scene since Patrick Swayze in Ghost. OMG, I was exhausted….get away from the baby. What annoyed me the most was the wolf, it was so just…wrong. Their stupidity led him to have two weapons and a hostage….while anyone watching knew this guy was going to kill her in the first place. I don’t know anymore, it’s more like the crawling dead than walking……hurry up and wait…for nothing.

  4. FingerBinger says:

    I don’t like Morgan. I wanted Carol to take him out. Is it possible Sam saw the wolf? That was my first thought.

    • E says:

      I’m with you on that one. The whole scene with Carol really pissed me off. Morgan was so naive as to think the wolf was going to suddenly be all, “you know what, Morgan? You’re right. I need to be nice.” Seriously?

    • Liv says:

      I like him, but that was so f*** stupid off him. And it’s the second choice that bites him in the ass – first the people who almost killed Rick and now the wolf who captures Denise. Good job Morgan. We don’t need the walkers, you get them all killed by yourself. Which is like killing someone. Take care of things or they keep coming back.

      • mayamae says:

        But many people have made these horrible mistakes. At the prison, Rick threw the prisoner out and assumed he’d be eaten alive. That horrible decision caused the deaths of Lori and T-Dog.

        Daryl stupidly opened the door to an entire horde of walkers, causing him to lose Beth. No big loss, IMO, but he seemed upset.

        They’re assassinating the character of Morgan like they did Tyreese. Add in Father Pee Pants, and some wonder why TWD is emasculating their black male characters.

      • Liv says:

        You’re right, but they learned from it, didn’t they? I thought the fight between Morgan and Carol was over the top, but seriously, you can’t be a buddha in a zombieapocalypse. I appreciate that he’s not like “Yeah, everyone in our way gets killed” like Rick and Carol lately, but this isn’t working either. He should at least make sure that they are not coming back. And it was crystal clear that this wolf was lost, if not super crazy.

        Father Pee Pants? Ha! I hope Morgan stays in the show. When he got his showdown with Carol I actually thought they would make a cute couple! ;-) Anyway, there’s no good way to kill him off right now imo, because he’s pretty good. It would be ridiculous to see him get bitten after he put up the show with the stick.

        Oh and I bet Rosita is dying next to make room for Abraham and Sasha! :-D

      • mayamae says:

        I actually love Morgan AND Carol, and think they could help balance each other.

        And, yes, it’s Father Pee Pants, or FPP for short. It’s his nickname on the site I post on. Carl is often referred to as Coral (because that’s how Rick pronounces it). Ron is Porch Dick Jr. Abraham has on but I can’t remember it.

        And I’m kind of digging Abe with Sasha. She certainly seemed receptive to his overture.

    • Nancy says:

      FingerBinger: All they both did was make it easy for the wolf. He was happy as a clam, they gave him a knife he didn’t have, and then through their shenanigans, a gun and a hostage. I’m surprised they didn’t give him a box lunch to go. I usually like Carol, but I didn’t last night. Bleeding heart Morgan; dumb wolf..

      • mayamae says:

        I think the implication was Carol had a concussion. She was glassy eyed and confused at times. While talking to Morgan before she ran to kill the Wolf, Carol seemed to think she was back at the prison after killing Karen and David.

      • Linn says:

        People in this episode seemed pretty incapable in general even more than they usually do. Seriously, those people are stumbling more than Jennifer Lawrence and they don’t even have the excuse of wearing High Heels.

  5. chloe says:

    I found it underwhelming, a lot of talk and standing around. None of the story lines had an ending except for Deanne’s. I’m assuming the beginning of the next season will start with some carnage, the group needs a cleansing of worthless characters.

    • Liz says:

      It did feel like it was treading water, which is odd before the break.

      • chloe says:

        The funny thing is one of my favorite episodes this season was the Morgan’s Here’s Not Here and it actually had very little action, but we had an actual ending to the story, we found out how Morgan ended up with his all life is precious attitude. This episode started off with a bang and then left us watching Maggie sitting on the wall , Carol and Morgan not resolving anything and letting the Wolf take their weapons and doctor and the rest of the episode of Deanne dying and spouting off her philosophy of life and messing with Michone’s head. I hate how they break up the group and try to bring in new characters, especially the one dimensional one’s from Alexandria.

    • mayamae says:

      @Chloe, after the break it will still be the same season, just the second half. Don’t the mid-season finales always leave cliffhangers?

      Season 5 MSF: Coda – Beth is killed and the entire group is homeless in Atlanta.
      Season 4 MSF: Too Far Gone – Hershel is murdered, prison falls, group is separated.
      Season 3 MSF: Made to Suffer – ends with Daryl versus Merle in the Walker fighting pits.
      Season 2 MSF: Pretty Much Dead Already – Sophia walks out of the barn a walker.

  6. Angelica says:

    Grrrrr!!! I hate what they did to Carol. Carol is THE character who doesn’t have enough time to f*#k around and spends more time than anyone looking to kill in order to save, so surely with the sound of chaos outside, she would’ve been kicking ass left and right. Right? Oh And I hate that nearly everyone got bit, everyone had a close call, even after watching the tower fall and knowing how slow walkers are, you’re telling me that everyone present wasn’t quick enough to get to houses, save people, barricade doors, whatever? Our group is not that sloppy. I know I’m nitpicking and it’s a zombie show, but good grief. Oh and I desperately wanted Carl to get shot or Ron to get gunned down by Carl. I didn’t read the comics but I saw some stuff about Carl having an injury that we haven’t seen yet and having a character go off the rails (Carl or Ron) would’ve been thrilling compared to the rest of the season thus far. P.S. RIP Deanna. I didn’t really like you but you went out like a champ and I can get behind that.

    • KendraWM says:

      Except I’ve notice a common thread lately. they seem to change the zombies rules when they need it. At this point these zombies should be slow moving and barely functioning, but last night they were all zipping along like every single one of them was a brand new zombie. Even the ones they showed impaled and everything.

      This is what has begun to drive me crazy about the show. At the very least be consistent about the rules you have set up.

    • mayamae says:

      I think it was implied that Carol had a concussion and wasn’t thinking clearly.

      SPOILER:

      I think you’re referring to Carl losing an eye in the comics.

  7. Dragonlady sakura says:

    It was underwhelming for me. I just don’t care about the Alexandrians and Morgan seriously pissed me off. I won’t be sad to see him go if he’s killed off.

  8. shewolf says:

    I dont understand the notion that a midseason finale or any finale has to be “action packed” and not leave us “underwhelmed.” Not to get up on a high horse but TWD is a story and that’s what I like about it most. Its not really about zombies, its not about killing things, its not about high drama. It’s a story where concepts of humanity are presented (eg. the whole Carole vs Morgan, all life is precious vs only some lives are precious, a major theme this entire season). I really dont need some sort of big bang episode to leave me guessing and waiting and stimulated.

  9. Lindy79 says:

    As a non US resident, I HATE the concept of Mid Season breaks by the way…Fair enough taking a couple of weeks over Christmas to schedule Christmas themed specials etc but why do they go off for 3 months??

    What do they put on in the meantime, is it sports? On every damn network? In these times of Netflix and streaming how long before networks cop on and realise they’re just bloody annoying.

    • KendraWM says:

      Depends on the network, but most who do the mid-season break are cable and they use the break to add in other new programming that they have a short order for maybe 10-12 episodes.

    • kcarp says:

      I think this mid season thing is sort of new. I remember the use to have repeats and if I remember they had sweeps in November and February and the good stuff would happen then.

  10. Mo' Comments Mo' Problems says:

    Annalise Keating, is that you (in the header pic)?

  11. IrishEyes says:

    Best quote of the episode: Carl to Ron “Your dad was an asshole”

  12. Seapharris7 says:

    Part of the problem with TWD, that I have only seen get worse, is the writers treat their audience like idiots. It’s hard to find anything suspenseful or surprising when they spend entire seasons beating you over the head with a character or idea. I used to love reading recaps & getting into discussion over TWD, like maybe I missed something during an episode… now I just want everyone to die. Except Judith & Carol (for now).

  13. DesertReal says:

    I thought it was an emotional/suspenseful (albeit somewhat…annoying at times) episode. But it’s basically what I’ve come to expect from the writers/show. I’m glad that Glenn got to see Maggie though! I did have a big stupid cheesy smile on my face when he looked over the fence & saw her :D

  14. YvetteW says:

    I have many issues with this episode.

    Since the tower was noticeably wobbly, why was Rick and the guy supporting the wall next to the tower and not the tower wall? Why are the supports on the outside of the wall when the external force is pushing in (not out)? Speaking of the guy, where did he disappear to after Tara & Rosita pick him up? Where were the rest of the Alexandrian’s? How did the zombies (that came in the breech behind the cast) get in front of them while they were running? Who gives guns to the man with a knife? How does a tied up man win a fight and end up with the guns and a hostage? How did the sofa barrier keep zombies from coming up the stairs? Is there going to be a disaster every single time Darryl takes the wheel? I’ll stop…But, I saw Sam was drawing his Carol-suggested fate. Is ‘Tip Toe…’ the musical equivalent to ‘Look at the flowers’?

  15. Micha says:

    Yes, Morgan is an idiot protecting the wolf but I can’t feel bad about it since I don’t want wolfie man to die. The wolves seem interesting and this is the only only wolf alive that we can actually recognize.
    Also, CANNOT wait for Negan to show up and save TWD. I feel like he’s exactly what the show needs. Though I don’t really know how they’re going to translate his language from the comics to the show. He swears SO MUCH.