The Walking Dead "S5E14 Forget" - Review

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The Walking Dead "S5E14 Forget" - Review

Spend – Glen, Noah, Tara, and a reluctant Eugene head out on one of Aiden’s supply runs to get vital parts for the community power supply. When things take a turn for the worse, courage and cowardice is revealed in unexpected places. Meanwhile, Abraham takes over Leadership of the construction crew after Tobin panics in a crisis and Carol makes a surprising new friend with major consequences.

Last week we finally got to spend at least some time with the non Rick/Daryl/Carol/Michone members of the survivors group dealing with their new community life, but this week goes one better by placing the starting line up firmly on the bench. Rick and Carol still get minor parts but Michone and Daryl aren’t even in the game, which allows several quieter characters from this half of the season to take centre stage. The main focus and indeed best content comes from the warehouse survival run. Even if a little signposted Eugene’s story of the self confessed combat useless coward finally growing a pair is really enjoyable. From his early scenes of not wanting to go on the run for fear of his life (despite being needed) or his over-inflated credit claims for getting the group to Alexandria, the old faker is on form. It all effectively recaps his character, following 5 episodes as a barely speaking extra, to make the payoff satisfying as pulls off an almost Abraham like fireman’s lift rescue on an injured friend. It’s almost like the growing feeling of safety from their new surroundings has finally given him the sure footing to stand up, and become something more. It’s a theme that resonates among several others but most notably Noah, as he approaches the wall mastermind Reg to become his architectural Padawan. This is the first time since arrival that we’ve seen a character activity seek out a career instead of being given a job (yes Sasha chose to be lookout but she was fulfilling a group need rather than her own).  It enhances the themes of making a fresh start and new opportunities as we see a young man suddenly realising that he can be more than the hand this outbreak has dealt him. That he can think further into the future; that this is the beginning.

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The episode also sees Rick’s group slowly strengthen their position and influence within the community as Deanna clearly observes and acknowledges as a danger even if Maggie’s supportive words reassure her. Yet they are acquiring these ranks via their given superiority by being better-suited candidates from their years of survival against their more sheltered and naive Alexandria natives. Even before all seven hells start breaking loose in the warehouse run, Glen clearly displays superior skills and leadership to existing superior Aiden. The former trophy zombie-keeping douchebag we met two weeks back openly recognises this. Despite some initial arrogance, Aiden spends most of the episode willingly following both Glen’s advice and lead as he sees him in action realises he is the real deal. As well as being a great flip on the previous conflict, this softening and endearing of Aiden’s character pays real dividends as events play out and truths of past deaths get revealed. Then in a similar fashion, Glen Abraham puts the Sergeant back into his name as what looked like the creeping signs of a similar PTSD then Sasha gets slammed back to context by some good old fashioned back to wall fighting and making sure nobody gets left behind. His transition from pre to post fight is a sudden rediscovery of purpose that we haven’t seen from him since mullet gate. The way others around draw immediate inspiration from his actions solidifies his right to the foreman’s hat, best shown by the newly rescued Francine casting her vote with an impressive right hook. Yet it’s the subsequent scene as Tobin resigning with dignity that really carries the message about the community needing Rick’s group more than they need them. As more of Rick’s group become key pillars in the community, the quicker and easier Rick’s hostile takeover plan becomes, leaving us an audience with the great prospect of feeling it could happen at any time.

While more significant action has not been missed in the last two weeks thanks to the great character work, it is great to see it not just return this week but come back with a vengeance. The warehouse offers some incredible scenes as the mission suddenly goes Hurt Locker. The resulting smoke and debris from the blast help turn an already dark and tense location into a claustrophobic meat grinder. Show debuting director Jennifer Lynch does a commendable job of creating genuine peril and innovation out of what could have been quite a generic walker encounter (let’s see more of her in season 6 please). We get some great zombie kills but more importantly well utilised human contributions to the body count. In true Walking Dead style, such a large party couldn’t come back unscathed but rather than scratching off names for the hell out it, the dramatic effects they yield are phenomenal. Glen’s moments in the revolving door are almost as traumatic for us as they are for him, as he helplessly looks them in the eye being gruesomely eaten alive. It’s enough to make it incredibly meaningful regardless of your feelings for the departed character. By contrast Abraham provides a more typical daylight kill fest but is still very fun to see the big ginger war machine getting his one man army on. Plus whoever came up with “mother dick”, life thanks you (in the UK this was immediately after Mothers Day).

The smaller scenes of the week all build to the inevitable catalyst of the upcoming conflict as Rick and Carol learn it’s not all happy families and Pete & Jessie’s house. This makes great use of Carol’s character history and progression as she recognises the signs of an abuser from her own bitter experiences. Although it alludes to Rick switching from constable to Judge Dredd, hopefully we’ll see Carol doing the honours instead. Her scenes with the young Sam form a great contrast to her cookie monster moment last week as the curious young lad suddenly indentifies her as the strongest person he knows, and seeks to befriend her. Despite her blunt refusals, it’s interesting to see Carol slip back into a maternal role in their relationship (maybe she is a den mother after all), and it’s those instincts that drive her towards further action with Rick.

Spend is a brilliant episode that maintains the character focus strengths of the previous weeks despite switching up the roster and still managing to accommodate a more typical portion of action. Maggie and Glen are really benefitting from spending more time apart; both being their most watchable since going steady. With two episodes left, we still don’t know how Morgan or The Wolves figure into the story as the sole focus is within Alexandria. Like last week, there’s still the amber alert flashing over having too much ground to cover in the remaining episodes but while each week’s individual offering holds its quality so does our faith...... and speaking of faith. Talk about a holy hand grenade! Gabriel delivers his best and most unexpected moment to date that will see us spending most of the week waiting for next Sunday night.