This week's episode, entitled "Spend," opens up with a shot of bucolic Alexandria as Father Gabriel inspects his latest church, which is a souped-up garage in one of the picture perfect houses. As he looks at the empty collection of chairs where his new congregation will sit and the bowl of strawberries gifted to him as a welcome from his new flock, instead of offering up a prayer of thanks, he rips out pages from his Bible. He eventually destroys it completely. Someone isn't quite ready to begin preaching again - but why?Working 9-5, what a way to make a living
Meanwhile, everyone in the Grimes family is getting into the swing of things where their newly assigned jobs are concerned.
A showered Daryl ventures out on his motorcycle to help Aaron find and recruit new Alexandrites.
Noah has a breakfast meeting with Deanna's architect husband, Reg. Noah is a young man with a plan and now that he feels somewhat safe, he wants to learn the art of design from Reg so he can help ensure the community's walls can be repaired if ever damaged and new buildings can be added when necessary. Reg is happy to take him on as an apprentice and even gives him a leather bound journal to record not just his lessons but also the history of this new civilization as it is growing before their eyes. This is the first scene since the show's infancy (when so many characters naively thought there were still parts of the world unaffected) that portrays anyone actually planning their futures. This one small scene amounts to a large expression of hope.
A very reluctant Eugene is being forced to accompany the run group (Glenn, Tara, Noah,Deanna's fratboy son, Aidan, and his you-can-tell-he's-spineless- just- by-looking-at- him friend, Nicholas) to the warehouse where they've stored their supplies.
Another sign of how gullible and helpless this group is the fact that by this time, they haven't trucked in all the supplies to keep them safe behind the gates. It seems power is out in some homes and Eugene knows exactly what part they need to replace whatever broke in their state of the art power grid.
As soon as I heard Reg say goodbye to his son Aidan, and how loudly Aidan was blasting his crappy music on the van's stereo, I just knew it was foreshadowing. Something Bad was going to happen. And boy, was that ever true.
Who? Whoooooo done it?
Elsewhere behind those walls, Constable Rick stops by Jessie's garage. It seems a strange quality-of-life crime has been committed. Her owl sculptures, which do not remotely look like owls, are in pieces. There's a pile of random parts sitting in an angry pile in her garage.
Now, I'm no crappy sculpture goop expert but it doesn't take much to deduce that the phone call is actually coming from inside the house, so to speak. Which is to say, whoever smashed those sad owls to even more unrecognizable chunks, is clearly someone Jessie lives with: her a-little- too- well-adjusted-for-my-taste teenager, Ron, or her still-having-nightmares-about- Carol son, Sam, or her lerpy, derpy, creepy, smirky doctor husband Pete. And, man, does Rick already hate the cut of Pete's jib so he best not wind up being the culprit.
Rick is flirting (!!!) with Jessie through his vow to solve this busted up owl mystery. He tells her that besides not having much to do in his daily routine that he's a believer in the broken window theory. Simply put that translates into "if you keep the windows intact, you keep society intact." I don't think sweet Jessie who looks like she wants to jump hunky Rick's bones and together smash the rest of her hunk-of-junk owls, knows exactly how serious Rick is about setting even the slightest wrongs right. Rookie mistake, lady. Rookie mistake.
Just look at the flour
Back at Carol's house, she doesn't take too kindly to finding Sam hiding in her closet. Is that kid lucky Carol didn't shoot first and ask questions later. He begs her to make him cookies. As she literally shoves him out her front door, Carol says the most she will do is help him bake some IF he can steal some chocolate from the pantry.
To her surprise, wily Sam does show up with the chocolate a little while later. (We STILL have inept Olivia guarding the chocolate and guns??) JC Penny cardigan Carol is really not down for chit chat with this annoying kid who still totally has the power to blow her cover.
As she begrudgingly bakes, that resentment turns to concern and the first crack in Alexandria is revealed. Sam says whenever he is sad, he likes to break things. (Obvs starting with the crappy owl art his mother forces him to help make.) Sam then asks why she took those guns and then takes it further by asking her for a gun. When Carol demands to know why he would need a gun, he says it isn't for him. Before he will tell her more, he runs off. But not before every domestic abuse warning bell dings in Carol's head.
Fatal field trip
The run group makes it to the warehouse. Glenn is now in charge. Aidan won't admit it out loud but he does acquiesce to all of Glenn's directions for how to carry out the run. First up is surveying the perimeter using the buddy system and then clearing the inside.
Tara is stuck walking with Eugene who won't stop talking about how he is neither combat ready nor combat inclined. Her eyes nearly roll out of her head when in the same breath in which he refers to himself as a coward, he has the audacity to take credit for getting the group to DC. Tara reminds him it was the other way around and then tells him no one is ever ready to fight- they just start fighting the second they are forced to do so. Eugene looks at her the same way he probably looks at books written in other languages- perplexed and with no intention to try and understand what's before him.
To no viewer's surprise, it turns out the warehouse does have a handful of walkers roaming about who begin to make themselves known just as Eugene confirms they've found the right boxes of power grid supplies to take back. What's more, there are no swarms of them around the perimeter so a new exit strategy will need to be devised.
A walker in body armor approaches Aidan. In an effort to show he is just as good at obliterating walkers as Glenn, Noah and Tara, Aidan shoots and keeps shooting despite Glenn warning him to stop. Apparently, this walker is wearing more than riot gear which Glenn's trained eye can see while Aidan's cannot. He has an explosive device strapped to him.
Boom, boom, goes the dynamite.
Aidan appears to die from the blast. Eugene trapped behind some shelving with an unconscious, badly wounded Tara. Walkers are circling them. Eugene is forced to finally take aim at his first walker but before he can actually shoot, another walker goes for him. Glenn and his quicker reflexes are forced to take both down. But hey, Eugene, kinda, sorta took some of Tara's advice and realized he was combat ready because he had no other choice.
Whoopsy. Aidan is actually alive and was impaled by something. Eugene has to stay with Tara and keep her safe so Noah, Glenn and maybe that other jerk, Nicholas, can get Aidan. Raise your hand if you think this situation is going to come to a bad end.
The A in Abraham stands for Alpha
Elsewhere, Abraham is busy with his new duties which include helping to get supplies for the wall expansion at the mall construction site. He is with the crew who is headed up by Tobin, the hunky middle aged man who is eager to take Carol out for target practice. (Wink, wink.) While Tobin heeds nature's call, some walkers decide to invade the mission. While it's great to see that the members of the crew react appropriately with guns, their aim is awful and Abraham is the only one who can take out any walkers. One bad shot from a crew member inadvertently causes a female worker named Francine to fall from the construction vehicle on which she was perched.
And what does Tobin do? He instructs the crew to flee, leaving Francine to her doom. Niiiiiiiice. Abraham will have none of it. He goes full commando and single-handedly machine guns down dozens of walkers saving Francine (new BFF alert) in the process.
Tobin and the rest of the gutless wonders cannot deny that Abraham is the most alpha male to ever alpha male.Abraham begins barking orders, establishing his new leadership of the crew.
The handwriting on the wall is so clear that upon his return, Tobin resigns to Deanna after telling her what went down and how he is no match for the mighty red rooster. Maggie is weirdly just sitting in the living room while this meeting is happening but voices her agreement about how Abraham is the right man to head up construction. (WHAT is her job??? Last week it was mentioned she would be helping to design the new government- you know, no biggie for a former farm girl.)
Deanna, who is starting to show signs of knowing her days as the near-sighted mayor leading the blind townsfolk are dwindling, hesitates to agree. "I put another one of your people in a position of power. You vouch for them. It's becoming a pattern." Maggie is all, ummmm, isn't this why you wanted us here in the first place? And then she scurries off to work on what she refers to as her field plans (Whaaaaaa???).
Come on, bro, let's bro.
Jessie's husband pays a friendly house call to Rick in the middle of the day, bringing him beer as a thank you for trying to help bring his wife's ugly ass sculpture mangler to justice. Pete is clearly day drunk and in between trying to convince Rick to be his new bro, he mentions how he heard Rick lost his wife and how even though it may not seem to Rick like members of the town lost much, they have. COME ON, LET'S BE FRIENDS AND GET DAY DRUNK TOGETHER AND LET ME GIVE YOU AND YOUR KIDS DRUNK MEDICAL EXAMS, K?
Rick shakes his hands in a way that suggest he wishes he was wearing one of those old-timey spiked rings filled with poison. Speaking of rings, as soon as Dr Feelgood leaves, Rick takes his wedding ring off. And may we never mention Lori again, amen.
Another two (TWO!) bite the dust
Back to the warehouse nightmare, Eugene is talking to Tara as she lies unconscious. And, no, he isn't telling her she and the group were right all along about his need to fight. He is still insisting he was right and this wouldn't have happened had they listened to his cowardly ass. Ugh.
He carries her out into the warehouse and finally kills a walker and then another. Progress.
Glenn and Noah are trying to rescue Aidan. As it becomes clear that he isn't going to make it out alive, Aidan confesses that it was because of him that the former members of the run crew died. As in he and Nicholas either killed them or had a direct hand in their deaths. Glenn is filled with disgust but still wants to save him, likely only so as to not upset Deanna who seems to have assigned him to be her son's guardian. However, it isn't meant to be and as the walkers persist, Glenn's only option is to escape with his own life.
Viewers were overdue for a grisly death scene. And this fratboy walker feast did not disappoint. Aidan is eaten alive by walkers while making eye contact with Glenn the entire time. He's off to attend the giant Nickelback concert in the sky!
As if this isn't all stressful enough, Glenn, Noah and cagey Nicholas (you see what I did there?) who was totes fine about ditching his friend Aidan earlier without even trying to save him, are literally stuck in a revolving, glass door, walkers pushing in from both sides, keeping the doors suspended. It's now abundantly clear that Alexandria's downfall will inevitably come at the hands of its own people who have yet to figure out that the every man for himself mentality is the worst approach to trying to preserve its population. And that it doesn't help that everyone is cocky but in reality sucks at basic Apocalypse things like aiming and shooting guns.
Eugene miraculously pulls up in the van with music blaring to distract the walkers. It looks like the courage under his Tennessee top hat is fully blossoming. His plan is working, but Glenn, Noah and Nicholas, still can't escape unless one of them (Glenn- who knows a thing or two about getting out of tight situations) is able to break one panel of glass.
All Noah and Nicholas need to do is hold the doors steady. But, nope. This is too much for selfish, nasty Nicholas, who breaks free the moment the door is pushed in a way that provides an opening.
The end result? Physics take the lead and the walkers overpower the door, dragging poor Noah out to his gruesome, terribly sad, and all-around disappointing death. Glenn is forced to watch every second of the horror up-close and helpless. Noah, we hardly knew ye. But we did know we liked you and it was way too soon for you to go, (Sorrynotsorry, but WHY couldn't it have been Tara? She's not exactly a well-liked character nor has she ever actually added anything to the show.)
Predictably, Nicholas tries to get Eugene to leave without Glenn. Nicholas even tries to steal the van with Tara in it. Glenn shows up in time and punches him in the face. How I wish he had fed him to the walkers, but we all know it's not in Glenn's DNA to take that approach. The survivors head home with heavy hearts, all except for Nicholas who will hopefully be arrested for manslaughter according to the new laws Rick is trying to establish.
Just a friendly visit from your friendly neighbor
Back at the ranch where ignorance is bliss, Carol knocks on Pete and Jessie's door. She takes a chance of inviting questions about why she is interested in Sam in the first place when she openly states that she would like to check on him. She also asks to talk to Jessie. The wasted doctor throws out the classic it's not a good time excuse and shuts the door, confirming Carol's suspicions.
Et tu, Brute?
As if all this about-to-burst-the bubble drama isn't enough, Father Gabriel leaves his shredded bible to go knock on Deanna's door. (For those of you keeping track at home, this makes four unwelcome pop-in visits over the course of one show. So very....suburban of all of them.) Father Gabriel reminds Deanna how a fella by the name of Satan once disguised himself as false angel of light. And,well, Deanna might be interested to know that a similar sitch is taking place within her town's walls.
Don't get him wrong. Father Weasel (WHO ONCE DENIED ENTRY OF HIS PARISHIONERS INTO HIS CHURCH LEAVING THEM TO DIE AT THE GAPING MOUTHS OF WALKERS, LEST HE FORGET) is grateful to be here in pristine Alexandria. But Deanna made a mistake letting the others inside. Deanna needs to know that Rick and his group (the same people who have kept him alive for the last 10 episodes) are not good people. They've done unspeakable things.
And so, even more wheels begin to spin in Deanna's already crowded mayoral head. And she doesn't even know her son is dead yet! But what neither Deanna nor Father Guileless realize, is that Maggie, who should have been working on her poli-sci project, heard every word! And well, forewarned about being a person who is part of a group about whom someone is warning someone else is forearmed, right? Now Maggie, get back to the first draft of the Alexandria constitution!
And in one more oh-so-suburban drop-in visit, Carol stops by Rick's house to tell him Pete is hitting Jessie and maybe Sam, too. And there in her crisp cardigan, the Carol we all know and love calmly exclaims, "There's only one way it can go. You're gonna have to kill him."
Rick's face in the dark grows a bit darker as he silently agrees. Pete will be the first one to see justice via the broken window theory. And this is before they even know about Aidan and Noah's untimely deaths and Father Gabriel's Ides of March (you see what they did there?) betrayal.
The community's saviors are now being forced to become its enemies, through no fault of their own.
Buckle up, buttercups. Only two more episodes left and they are bound to be chock- full of reckonings.
Now it's your turn:
How will Deanna react to learning Aidan is dead? Will she believe Glenn's accurate rendition of events?
Which situation will come to a head first? Rick and Pete? Carol and Sam? Maggie and Father Gabriel?
And. Where. Is. Morgan??????