Given how this season of The Walking Dead has panned out so far, and the tendency of most long-form shows to make the mid-season finale a resolution of sorts, this week’s episode gets away with fitting in every single group on the map. To do each of the different storylines justice – within a 45-minute slot – was never going to happen though.
In fairness though, on the plot side of things, everything is coming together rather nicely. The main arc – the rescue of Carol and Beth – seems set for an action heavy resolution next week, as the other ‘Bob’ warns Dawn and co. of the oncoming storm. I would say the fact that we won’t get to see the peaceful trade pan out is a pity, but, regardless of anything else, TWD is fundamentally an action show, and so nothing else should really be expected from the mid-season finale.
What is a pity however, it that the writers had to resort to such stupidity and cliché in order to reach the point they wanted. The way in which Sasha was taken out by Bob felt contrived and forced – from his convenient name, to Sasha somehow trusting her hostage enough to stand in front of him, away from the others.
Indeed, stupidity seemed to be a theme as Gabriel and Abraham acted questionably too. What did Gabriel hope to achieve, or expect to encounter, by going it alone outside? The character’s devotion to his faith is clear but that says nothing for his motivations. He evidently doesn’t want to die, yet has walked away from his best chance of survival. Not enough has been shown of him to make his actions anything other than bizarre. Meanwhile, again, lack of explanation hampered Abraham. His ‘sit-in’ would make sense in the context of his one motivation being destroyed, yet it seemed like that wasn’t the angle being played, given the constant dialogue suggesting it was about his knocking out of Eugene.
The episode was rescued by some great scenes, most notably the planning scene with Rick and co. Here, for the first time we saw hints at the diminishing of the so-called ‘Ricktatorship’. After the death of Shane and the brief dabbling with a democracy, the issue of leadership has been left alone for a while not. Yet we had Tyreese and Daryl, two key lieutenants, going against Rick’s decision, plus Daryl talking Rick down from killing one of the cops. Could there be a coup of sorts somewhere down the line perhaps?
Elsewhere, Tara came into her own as a more rounded character, as she tried, and ultimately succeeded, in bringing light relief to the group (henceforth known as ‘GREATM’) now so deflated by the reality of Eugene’s lie. And Carl wasn’t all that bad either when talking to Gabriel, so a massive plus on that note.
‘Crossed’ was an altogether uneven episode, but not a bad one. The good scenes spread throughout were just bogged down by the sheer weight of having to fit in every single storyline at once. Roll on next week and that almighty showdown.