‘The Walking Dead’ 5.07 Recap: “It’s Never Gonna Get Any Better Than This”

With the entire cast finally appearing in an episode again, and with only one week until the mid-season finale, ‘The Walking Dead’ should certainly pick up the pace in this week’s episode, right? I mean, after essentially treading water (or is that Walkers?) for four episodes in a row, we should finally get something of interest happening, correct? Nope. Episode 7 of Season 5 is yet another snoozer in which our favorite characters stand around and talk to each other about what they’re going to do rather than actually doing anything.

I’ve noticed a trend over the last five episodes where very little happens during the first 30 minutes (often including seeing any Walkers at all, let alone our heroes fighting any), only to speed things up in the second half to fool viewers into thinking that the episode was actually better than they might remember. Since the first few episodes of this season were so action-packed (particularly that first one), I suspect that the producers blew a big chunk of their budget and had to compensate for the remainder of the season. At least, that’s an explanation (whether true or not) for why the storyline has come to a crawl in the last three or four weeks.

This episode begins back at the church, where Sasha is smashing up church pews. The wood is being used to board up the church. Daryl and Noah have arrived, and Rick has agreed to go to Atlanta with them (along with Tyrese and Sasha) to rescue Carol. Rick isn’t that excited about going, but he knows that he owes Carol… which makes one wonder if he would have gone at all if it was only Beth at the hospital. I’m guessing no. Meanwhile, Gabriel is fighting his own inner demons as he attempts to get blood stains off the floor of his church.

Glenn, Abraham, Maggie, Tara, Rosita and a still-unconscious Eugene are right where we last left them. The fire truck is pretty much out of water. Abe is down on his knees and still zoned out after cold-cocking Eugene. Rosita yells at him and Abe rises like he’s going to fight with her, but Maggie pulls her gun on Abe and tells him to sit his ass back down. Later, Maggie tells Glenn to take the others in search of water while she keeps her eye on Eugene and Abraham.

In Atlanta, Rick and his group find an abandoned building to set up base and go over their game plan to rescue Carol and Beth. Despite never having been in the hospital in question (that we know of), Rick outlines a diagram on the floor showing how they’re going to proceed. One assumes that Noah provided Rick with the layout, although this is never mentioned. Tyrese has a better plan, though, and suggests they take a couple of cops (that patrol the area) hostage and use them as a prisoner exchange. Rick doesn’t like the idea, but when Daryl sides with Tyrese, Rick and the others agree to try it.

Back at the church, Carl lays out a bunch of weapons in front of Gabriel and talks him into taking one for himself. Gabriel takes a large machete, but we’ll soon find out he’s not really using it for protection. In the Atlanta hospital, Beth overhears Officer Dawn talking to another cop, who insists that they turn off the life support machinery keeping Carol alive. Beth jumps in and suggests the cop stop using power to charge his DVD player. (DVD instead of Blu-ray? This really is the apocalypse!). When the other cop leaves, Dawn chastises Beth and tells her that now she has no choice but to turn off Carol’s equipment. However, she gives Beth the key to the drug locker and tells her to get Carol the drugs she needs. First, however, Beth needs to go to Dr. Edwards to find out what to give Carol. Edwards figures out that Beth has either stolen the key or been given it, but he still tells Beth what drug to give Carol.

Glenn, Tara and Rosita find a creek to get water from, but it’s too muddy to drink. Rosita creates a makeshift water filter out of a plastic bottle. While the water slowly drips from it, Glenn notices fish in the creek as well. The trio then kills some nearby (but immobile) Walkers and tears the liners out of their clothing to create a fish net. Back at the fire truck, Maggie uses the truck’s ladder and a blanket to shield Eugene from the sun. She also talks Abraham into finally drinking some water. Abe confesses that he wanted Maggie to shoot him, but now he’s not so sure anymore.

Using Noah as bait, the group in Atlanta captures a pair of cops, one of which is named Bob (Maximiliano Hernandez). However, another cop patrolling the area shows up in his car and rescues the other two. They don’t get very far, as they run over a bunch of rotting Walkers nearby and have to abandon the vehicle. While Rick and the others go after the two cops they originally captured (the other of which is a female, by the way), Daryl stays behind and gets in a fight with the cop who was driving the car. This is easily the best scene of this episode, as the two scuffle very near the rotting Walkers on the ground. Just when it looks like Daryl might actually get bitten by one, he uses a free hand to grab the head of another Walker (through its eyeballs, no less), rips it off completely, and smashes it into the head of the cop he’s fighting with. At this point, Rick returns and is ready to shoot the cop when Daryl talks him out of it – saying that three hostages are better than two.

Back at the church, Gabriel has been using the machete to remove the floor boards in his office. He’s then able to crawl down below the church and exit to the outside. He stupidly steps on a nail in the process, which he has to pull out of his foot. Running into the nearby woods, a female Walker attacks him. Gabriel is able to knock her over and is about to smash her with a rock when he notices a cross necklace she’s wearing and can’t go through with it. Instead, he runs off into the woods.

At the fire truck, Maggie hears a gurgling sound from Eugene and runs over to check on him. I actually thought Eugene might have turned and would bite Maggie just as Glenn and the others return with both water and fish, but this episode leaves us hanging on what happens next.

Finally, Rick and the others take two of the cops with them to the hospital to negotiate, leaving Sasha behind to guard Bob. (She shouldn’t have any problems remembering his name, right?) Bob tells Sasha a sad tale about how one of his partners got bitten and is still outside in the courtyard of the building they’re in, but he hasn’t been able to put him down yet. Sasha – totally buying what is obviously a ruse by Bob – says she’ll do it for him and walks over toward the window where Bob claims he can see the Walker. As soon as Sasha turns away from him, Bob rushes her from behind, smashing Sasha’s head into the window and knocking her out.

Once again, this week’s entry is a lot of build-up to what’s coming next, but little in terms of actual story progression. The most interesting thing to me is the question of whether Eugene may have actually turned, but I may just be hoping that happens so that there’s something in this episode worth talking about. I really couldn’t care less what happens to Gabriel, and I suspect Rick and the others will get out of the hospital just fine, with maybe one or two of the hospital characters (Dawn? Bob? Dr. Edwards?) joining them as a new member of the group.

Is it just me, or has Season 5 turned from one of the best seasons of this show into one of the worst? Honestly, I don’t remember being this frustrated with the series since it spent all those weeks on Hershel’s farm back in Season 2. Maybe the writers shouldn’t have killed off Hershel and the Governor so soon. At least those characters were interesting to watch, even when not much was going on.

7 comments

  1. I disagreed with Shannon about last week’s episode, but we’re back in sync this time. This definitely felt like a filler episode. Does anyone care about Gabriel or his stupid escape plan? Why did he need to dig under the church in the first place? He wasn’t being held prisoner. He could have just said he needed to go pee in the woods and then walk away.

    Ooh, Glenn and Rosita go fishing! How exciting!

    And a whole episode where Eugene is unconscious? Did anyone even check to see if he was breathing?

    The “In Memoriam” reel on The Talking Dead afterwards was probably the shortest one that show has ever done. Only two zombie kills, and only one of them (the decapitation) was even worth showcasing.

  2. If I remember correctly Beth said: “charge your DVD.” I was very confused by this, haha. It reminds me of how my mom calls every game system a Nintendo.
    As someone who hate-watches the show I actually liked the first episode of this season. I am not surprised by how nothing is happening now since that is their standard formula. They really need to put an end to all of this “mid-season finale” nonsense and just pack one exciting season into this fall run.

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