What a pile driver of an episode that was. As I mentioned last week, this week’s episode was likely to mark the beginning of problems within the Alexandria group and community. And, well, the word problems feels a bit tame in retrospect, as the production team took a leaf out of Spinal Tap’s book and turned everything – the gore, the stakes, the reactions – up to 11. For the most part it worked, making for a gripping and emotionally charged episode.
‘Spend’ focused mainly on the ‘rangers’ as they went to find electrical supplies to fix the generator. The set-up felt somewhat engineered, particularly in the presence of Eugene, who was way out of place on the run and only there to find redemption for his previous acts later on. Meanwhile, the fact that it was electrical supplies meant that it wasn’t a town to raid, but a dark, hazardous warehouse. And of course, just about everything went wrong.
We had two gruesome deaths, while Tara wound up critically injured by the end. The first to go was Aiden, first being impaled on a forklift following an explosion of his own doing and then finally being thoroughly devoured after a failed rescue attempt. Yet even that was outdone by the departure of Noah. We knew he was going from the moment Reg said that Noah was ‘in it for the long haul’, a kiss of death if ever there was one, but that didn’t negate the shock factor of the manner in which he left the show.
As he, Glenn and Nicholas found themselves stuck between two hordes in a set of revolving doors, Nicholas’ betrayal – making a solo run for the van – allowed the second horde to engulf Noah, who begged Glenn ‘not to let him go’ with his final words. At first, it seemed as though the shot of Noah being dragged into the darkness was it, but instead he was ripped apart, as Glenn watched, like the rest of us, in complete horror. Having avoided the reality of this world for the past two weeks, this was a much-needed reminder of the dangers that still lurk around every corner.
Elsewhere, Abraham almost single-handedly saved the construction crew after the leader ran for cover. We saw said leader default control of the construction work to Abraham, who doesn’t seem to be well mentally.
Father Gabriel has been a fairly disappointing character for me so far, largely due to the very little focus spent on developing his personality beyond ‘religious and unhinged’. That same description was in play again in ‘Spend’, as he told Deanna of ‘Satan within her walls’ – our incoming group; he spoke of how they would look out for themselves and couldn’t trusted. It was only at this point that the events of the episode took on their full significance: Deanna’s son is dead and Abraham has taken control of the construction crew.
Finally, in the other plot of the episode – Carol and Rick being minded to kill Pete to stop his potential domestic abuse, an action that seems slightly drastic. As isolated events, these could all be easily justified. But put them all together and this could be the beginning of the end of Alexandria.