‘The Walking Dead’ 5.14 Recap: “They Don’t Deserve Paradise”

This week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ was directed by Jennifer Lynch – daughter of David Lynch, director of ‘Boxing Helena’, and author of ‘The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer‘. So, if any fans thought they’d get out of this episode unscathed, they should have known better.

The pre-title sequence of the episode finds Gabriel inside his new makeshift church, placing what looks to be a sheet of waxed paper inside his Bible. While we never find out what the significance of that is, a friendly note and bowl of strawberries left on his desk to welcome Gabriel to the community set him off. He rips pages out of the Good Book. We won’t see Gabriel again until the end of this week’s entry, but he will play a significant role.

Noah sits outside talking to Reg (Deanna’s husband, for those who may have forgotten), and tells him that he wants to learn more about the community – particularly when it comes to building the walls and the houses. Reg passes along a notebook to Noah so that he can start writing down what he learns. Noah then joins up with Aiden, Nicholas, Glenn, Tara and Eugene for a supply run to a warehouse outside the walls. They need to find some electronic equipment for the community’s power grid. Eugene is forced to tag along since he knows exactly what to look for.

When they make it to the warehouse, the group splits up for a while to scan the area for Walkers. While Eugene is left alone with Tara, he admits to her that he’s a coward and should be treated as such. Everyone reunites to enter the warehouse, where they find a ton of Walkers behind a locked fence. Aiden is attacked by a lone Walker wearing body armor and a riot helmet. When Aiden panics and repeatedly shoots at it, he hits a hand grenade on its vest, which explodes and results in him being pinned against the wall and impaled by a couple pieces of metal.

The explosion, naturally, lets free all the other Walkers who had been locked in. Tara also gets hurt and lies unconscious close to Eugene, who panics when the other Walkers approach. Glenn and Noah come to his aid, and the four, along with Nicholas, get safely inside a room.

While all this is going on, Abraham joins Tobin along with a woman named Francine (Dahlia Legault) and a few others from the community at an abandoned construction site. They’re loading up a truck with supplies to build a new addition to the wall. It isn’t long, however, until they’re attacked by Walkers. Francine falls off her lookout perch and gets surrounded. Tobin tells everyone to pull back, but Abe goes to save Francine. He puts her up inside a bulldozer while he crawls underneath to the other side and tosses his gun up to her. As she shoots Walkers down, Abe knocks others to pieces with a sledgehammer. When the Walkers are finally taken care of, Tobin comes over to tell Abe that he should have listened to his orders. Francine slugs Tobin in the face.

To his credit, when Tobin returns to Alexandria, he tells Deanna and Reg that Abraham is a natural leader and should be put in charge of any future construction runs. Deanna agrees to do so, but realizes that she’s handed over a lot of important responsibilities to the newcomers. Maggie tells her that this is what they’re best at, and that she’s making the right choice.

Rick gets a visit from Jesse’s husband Pete, who drunkenly brings over a beer in a gesture of friendship. He tells Rick that he should bring both of his kids over for a check-up (remember that Pete is a doctor), then tells him that he hopes they can be friends. This, of course, doesn’t bode well for Pete, as Rick still spends his time leering at Jesse and contemplating getting rid of his wedding ring.

Back at the warehouse, the group discovers that Aiden is still alive. They launch a rescue attempt, but leave Eugene behind to watch the unconscious Tara in the room. When things get dicey, Nicholas runs away and Aiden confesses to Glenn that people who have died on prior runs (before our heroes joined their group) were his fault because he abandoned them. Glenn can’t free Aiden before the massive swarm of Walkers gets to them. He and Noah are forced to flee and leave Aiden to get eaten. He won’t be the last cast member we lose this week.

Eugene decides to show a little backbone. He throws Tara over his shoulder and, with gun in hand, makes a break for it. Meanwhile, in a nicely designed scene by the show’s writers, Glenn, Noah and Nicholas get trapped inside a revolving door. Glenn and Noah are stuck on one side with the guns, while Nicholas is on the other side with the ammo, and Walkers swarm them from both sides. Just when it looks like all three are doomed, Eugene shows up driving the van they came to the warehouse in. He beeps the horn loudly to draw the Walkers on the outside exit away.

Of course, this still leaves the problem of the trio not being able to move the door in one direction or the other, since the person(s) on the other side would be exposed to the Walkers still amassed inside the warehouse. Glenn tries to break the glass on his side, but Nicholas gets selfish and pushes the door the other direction so he can squeeze out. This leaves a gap for the Walkers to grab Noah’s leg. Glenn tries to save his friend, but too many Walkers pull him away. Glenn is forced to watch as Noah gets gruesomely eaten alive.

Yes, the history of African American male characters on this series is not a good one. T-Dog, Bob, Tyrese, Noah… Hey, maybe it’s a good idea if Morgan never catches up with the group.

Back at the community, Carol shows off her wonderful parenting skills again when young Sam comes over for more cookies and she tells him to take a hike. After he whines some more, Carol makes him steal a couple more pieces of chocolate so that she can bake one last batch. Later, while making the cookies, Sam asks Carol why she stole the guns, then asks her if she can get him one. She asks him why he needs a gun, and he replies that it’s not for him. This of course suggests that he wants it to protect someone else. Carol, given her own past, naturally assumes that Pete is beating Jesse (and possibly Sam too). That idea isn’t discouraged when she goes over to check on Sam, and Pete tells her it’s not a good time to talk and closes the door in her face. Carol tells Rick her suspicions and that there’s only one way this is going to end: Rick will have to kill Pete.

Finally, Gabriel pays a visit to Deanna and warns her that the others can’t be trusted. He tells her that they’re not good people and will wind up destroying everything. Deanna assures Gabriel that she’ll consider what he’s said. From just around the corner, Maggie overhears the entire conversation.

From top to bottom, this is an outstanding entry in the series. Not only do two characters get knocked off (though not really major characters, as Aiden was just introduced a few weeks back and Noah didn’t show up until this season), but the situation with Rick at the community seems to be reaching a boiling point. The implication is that he’ll wind up killing Pete, then realize later that he was a completely innocent man. This will possibly send Rick’s sanity to the breaking point.

I suggested in last week’s recap that the writers may be turning Rick into a villain, and that certainly seems to be the case again this week. The question remains as to how risky a move that might be. If Rick is the new Shane, can we really continue to root for his character’s well-being?

12 comments

  1. I agree that this was a very good episode, but someone really needs to sit the writers of the show down and have a good talk with them about how they keep killing off black men and how that’s perceived by the audience.

    Nobody talked about that issue on The Talking Dead, but I feel like it cast a pall over that episode as all the guests skirted around it.

  2. This is season has shaped up to be one of the strongest yet and we still have two more episodes left. I don’t think the issue is killing off of the black characters, because if you look at the over all program this is probably one of the most diverse casts on TV, especially a top program. More white characters have been killed off than any others, the fact that there are enough black actors on the show to kill off and still have a significant representation with characters that are still alive is a plus.

    I did laugh when I read the Morgan comment in the review, too damn funny.

    I am sure Hispanics wish there were enough Hispanics on the show to kill a few off. Or, I am sure some Asian folks are upset that Glen couldn’t save him… someone is always going to have an angle on this. This is a very diverse show compared to most.

    Don’t forget this is a show, like Game of Thrones that is afraid to kill off a lot of characters and every once in a while a beloved character. I wish more shows could do this and hold up season after season.

    • It isn’t the killing of black characters that’s the issue, it’s more like black male gets killed. Enter new black male, killed, enter new black male, etc. If the show follows the pattern like it has been, then we can expect Morgan or another black male to show up at the gates.

  3. I also meant to add, F Gabriel he deserves to get killed after what he said to Deanna, I have been annoyed by the character for ever. It will be interesting to see what happens to him. Eugene has been uber annoying and I have wished a gory dispatch for him since he first appeared.

    Sometimes they focus to much on these sub characters for my taste. But a red shirt on them and send them out first.

  4. Holy shitballs what an episode!! They went old school Romero for this one! What a clusterfuck. I’m kind of hoping they don’t make Pete a bad guy because its just a little too convenient for Rick to dispatch him. Carol is beginning to scare me, possibly more than Rick. I’m wondering why all the sudden Gabriel is turning on the group, it seemed a little out of left field to me. I know they haven’t exactly been chummy with him, but not bad enough to warrant that level of betrayal from him. This was a hell of an episode. A perfect balance of nail biting zombie action, and very strong dramatic beats. What will the next two episodes bring?

  5. Ryan

    I thought this was another worthless episode in a pretty much worthless season. I don’t care about anything going on. I’m sick of zombies that seem to have Wolverine Claws for fingers. I’m sick of stupid zombies posing a threat, period. After a few weeks, zombies would be so decomposed, they’d be a zero threat anyway. I always thought that, but it’s not beginning to annoy me too much.
    This season has just turned into characters not acting like themselves for the sake of shaking things up…and that always bothers me.
    Unless the final 2 episodes REALLY deliver, I think I’m going to be taking a break from WD next year.

    • Charles M

      It’s a show about zombies…Did you think they’d disappear after certain amount of episodes or something?

      • Ryan

        No. But as a viewer, I’m allowed to get bored by the same old same old every episode.
        I thought they were trying to do something to shake up the zombie situation back in the prison with that virus….but it turned out to be nothing.

  6. Mark

    I’m so glad they killed off Noah. 1) very poor actor, 2) I didn’t forget how he stole the weapons. in the zombie apocalypse, if u steal all of someone’s weapons while they are being chased by zombies that is the equivalent as pulling the trigger yourself…..retribution is a given.

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