With next week being the season finale of The Walking Dead, “Try” is one of those episodes that focuses on building tension and offering no relief; I have to say, it is very successful in doing just that. Cast members who didn’t get to take part in the emotional trauma of last week are back this week and creating quite a lot of drama themselves. It’s probably the writer’s way of making sure we still love the people they will be killing off in the finale, but it’s always good to see old friends. Let’s see what everyone has been up to.
After last week’s betrayal, Father Gabriel plays it smart and stays out of the way this week. Since Walking Dead fans everywhere would love to see him become the main course for the walker horde that is bound to show up soon, this is probably a wise move. Nicholas does the expected and lies his way through an interview with Deanna. In the end, he urges Deanna to send the group away, telling her she doesn’t see what they really are. Her response, “You don’t know what I see, Nicholas. And I see a great deal,” leaves us wondering exactly what she sees and how aware she is of the true state of Alexandria. Whatever she sees, Nicholas is still walking around free, and we finally got to see where Rick’s gun went. In other news, Nicholas is also currently leading the list, alongside Father Gabriel, of people who need to be eaten as soon as possible.
Glen tells Rick what really happened and questions whether Rick thinks he did the right thing. The conversation makes it clear that Rick, for one, doesn’t consider his people part of Alexandria, even though most of them are truly trying to make it a home. Glen, however, is still intent on trying to make things work and he confronts Nicholas, telling him “I’m someone who knows who you are. I know what you did and it’s not gonna happen again.” Calm, competent Glen has always been one of my favorite characters, but I think I like take-charge, don’t-make-me-kill-you Glen even better.
While Glen is the voice of reason, Carol is still the crazy voice in Rick’s head as she whispers warnings about Pete and continues to encourage Rick to kill him. Since when is Carol afraid to do her own dirty work? Seriously, all season Carol has been a take-charge type of gal, but now she needs a man to do the heavy lifting? She’s always been one to eliminate any threat she sees, no matter the consequences and … wait a minute, I think I smell barbeque.
Daryl and Aaron are still on their road trip and not finding much, except walkers. Aaron says, “There are more of them around here than there used to be,” which can’t bode well, but Daryl seems as unflappable as ever. A remarkably disturbing discovery in the woods seems to convince them that something bad is coming, but the dramatic increase in W-branded walkers probably should have clued everyone in a little earlier.
Carl meets up with Enid outside the walls for a quick game of hide-and-seek with the walkers which ends in a semi-romantic interlude inside a dead tree. As first dates go, I guess you could consider it successful, just because no one is eaten in the process. However, Carl may need to talk to his dad for some tips on wooing a girl, since a group of ravenous walkers may not always be around to set the mood.
Then again, Rick may not be the man to ask for romantic advice. As Rick’s attraction to Jesse has grown, so too has his aversion to Pete, her abusive husband. Rick is obviously hanging on by a very thin thread, and his initial encounter with Pete by the lake ends in a whispered “Keep walking” that is delightfully chilling in its simplicity. Things escalate quickly throughout the episode, and when Rick finally convinces Jesse to leave Pete before Pete kills her, an all-out brawl ensues.
Michonne and Rosita spend most of the episode trying to find the walker-stalking Sasha and convince her to come back home. Sasha, however, is “sick of playing defense” and has decided to take the fight to the walkers. Michonne and Rosita join her for a while, but it’s clear that Sasha wants to save the world alone and doesn’t really want any help. Eventually, we have to assume they give up and return to Alexandria since Michonne arrives just in time to end Rick’s rage-induced, insanity-driven diatribe with a well-aimed whack.
In my opinion, The Walking Dead is at its best with episodes like “Try.” Sure, the walkers are fun, but the writers have always done a great job creating real characters in a fictional world and, this season especially, they have outdone themselves.
Andrew Lincoln has done an amazing job with his portrayal of Rick’s slow descent, and this week he finally lets the crazy out of the bag. Whether being quietly threatening or rolling around in the street with his current arch-nemesis, Lincoln nails his performance throughout. Actually, the entire cast brings their A-game in this episode, and I didn’t even mind having to spend time with Carl and Deanna.
From start to finish, the episode begins building tension, and we can only hope and pray that it will be at least partially resolved in the finale. Of course, that has never been the case before, and viewers are usually left with more questions at the end of the season than they ever had before. Hopefully, we’ll at least be let in on the “W” secret, since it has been showing up more and more, and viewers will likely ransack the studio for answers if we’re not given some soon.
Whatever happens, it’s clear that there is a storm coming and that it’s going to be a big one.
Language – I only caught one instance of cursing (h***) after two viewings, but it’s possible that I missed something since I kept getting caught up in the episode. There is a lot of discussion of killing Pete and what needs to be done to stop him from abusing his family. There is some discussion of domestic violence, where people are ignoring it out of “necessity.”
Violence – There are a lot of walkers killed in this episode, but most of the kills are not very graphic. There is one instance where a woman is found tied to a tree that is disturbing. Towards the end, there is a lengthy fist-fight between Pete and Rick.
Nudity – There is a dead woman found tied to a tree who is nude, but she is strategically covered by her hair and intestines. There’s really not a good way to say that.
* All photos courtesy of AMC
The Bottom Line
This may be only a "prep" episode for the finale, but it has so much more to offer.