Season Six, Episode Seven — “Heads Up”

© Copyright 2015, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Even in pitch-black, from the second you heard those two words — “Thank you” — you knew exactly what was happening next. Very much like the prologue sequence in Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Walking Dead gave us a second look at the apparent death of a beloved character. Only here, what looked like the shocking death of one of the property’s most beloved characters turned out to be a big ol’ “Gotcha!” from the show’s writers. Cunning storytelling, or chickenshit backtracking? You be the judge. Either way, the amount of anger and/or relief that you’ll feel with this week’s big reveal depends wholly on how invested you are in the series. (Me? Frowny-face all hour long. I’ve been had, and I don’t like it.)

So what do I have for The Walking Dead this week? *sigh* Maybe don’t hand a gun over to the fidgety kid who’s giving your son serious side-eye, Rick? And since when is Spencer “Worse Shot Than A Stormtrooper” Monroe a damn hero? (Guess the episode needed at least one action sequence.) And what about Carol? She’s throwing so much shade Morgan’s way she may as well be a damn palm tree. It’s tough to watch a show as well-written as The Walking Dead unravel so quickly. Cleanup in aisle AMC, people. Stat.

WHAT WORKED: We knew this was coming, but the roundtable discussion between Morgan, Michonne, Carol and Rick was The Walking Dead at its strongest: conflicting ideologies, differing priorities, and a certain level of hostility made for one hell of a sequence. Short as it was, it was the most intense, non-tower related moment this week.

The shock of seeing Glenn alive again must have made me simple: how did I miss that tower crumbling away all episode long? Yeah, turns out that big loud horn from the Season Six premiere held more ramifications than we probably anticipated: the truck crash against the church belltower, coupled with folks more concerned with perimeter security than anything else, has led to one hell of a “holy shit” ending. Next week’s gonna get intense.

WHAT DIDN’T: Spencer’s sudden urge to shimmy his lanky ass over the sea of walkers lurking just outside the walls of Alexandria was such an abrupt tonal shift in this otherwise churchmouse quiet episode that I got narrative whiplash. And the subsequent strife that came from his rescue — between Rick and Tara — was neatly swept up and discarded almost as quickly as it happened. (Though Tara’s little birdflip to Rick was pretty great.)

In retrospect, the whole “is Glenn dead?” brouhaha was a swindle of Johnny Hooker proportions. Only I wasn’t ultimately charmed (and possibly entertained) by getting hustled by The Walking Dead this week. Looking back with a full perspective, there was no reason whatsoever to lead the audience to believe that Glenn had his guts ripped out by a pack of walkers one month ago, aside from using cruel and manipulative business tactics most of us felt — at least until this week — were beneath this show. It was a conjob by the showrunner of TWD, and AMC was operating in full collusion. And to them, I say this: you’ll have the ratings you so pinheadedly crave if you merely supply the people a good story. You don’t have to fucking lie to us. Leaving Glenn trapped under the dumpster for a while — shaken, yes, but most assuredly alive — would have been a more than sufficient cliffhanger. What we all just went through was nothing more than callous manipulation. Pure and simple.

BEST LINE(s):

Morgan: “I thought about letting that idea go. But I don’t want to.” Michonne: “You may have to.

One way or another, there’s gonna be an ‘after this’.” – Deanne.

BEST MOMENT: That ending. Can you believe the pair on this show? After yanking the rug out from underneath us at the beginning of the episode, it goes and puts our jaws right back on the floor. The bell tower’s down! Maybe next week it’ll get revealed that it was just taking a nap, and it apologizes by fixing Alexandria’s broken wall.

EPISODE’S MVP: Nope. Morgan’s flimsy diplomacy during Rick and Michonne’s justified-but-still-pushy interrogation ain’t endearing me to anybody at the moment. (And Carol’s just being an outright narc.) Glenn and Enid spin their wheels in a battle for who gets to hold the balloons, and Spencer’s a damn chump. No winners this week, only losers.

© Copyright 2015, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, AMC. All Rights Reserved.

BRAY OF THE DEAD:

– I’ve never been so pleased to see someone alive, and so pissed at the same time.

– Maggie: “[Judith is] starting to look like Lori.” Rick: “Yeah.” Maggie: “Made me happy.” Rick: “Me too.” Try not to choke up too much there, buddy.

– David’s mushed-eyeball against the steel gate: ewww.

– It’s only fitting that Glenn put a blade through David’s zombified mug. “Head’s Up” looks to tie up most loose ends from “Thank You”. Maybe now we can all move on?

– Rick has a strict “no prayin'” policy. Guess that makes sense.

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