The Walking Dead, Ep. 4.13 “Alone” circles around and around

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The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Written by Curtis Gwinn
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC

The Walking Dead’s season 4 delivers its 13th episode, “Alone,” as Sasha questions Bob and Maggie’s decision to move forward towards the sanctuary, while Daryl and Beth find shelter in a funeral home. We are offered a chance to check back in on two groups of survivors; one of which is separated by the end, and the other group splits up only to reunite once again before the credits role. Unfortunately, “Alone” ends up feeling a bit uneven, and is a subpar episode at best.

The highlight of “Alone” belongs to Beth and Darryl as they tip toe through a graveyard and find shelter and supplies at a funeral home. And what better location for a show featuring the dead coming back to life? Viewers are treated to a wonderful scene of Daryl lying in a coffin while listening to Beth simultaneous sing and play the piano; meanwhile corpses that have been embalmed lie silent in the next room. We are also treated to the presence of a stray dog, something on this critic’s wish list for about two years now. While the cute pup doesn’t really have much screen time, it acts as a powerful reminder that nobody is better off alone. The Walking Dead can surely use a change of scenery from time to time. All the walking through the woods, passing by similar looking trees, does get old pretty fast. The church/graveyard/ funeral parlour make for one of the most atmospheric locals the series has visited yet. Even where the dead are laid to rest, there are reminders of life everywhere. The sequence also culminates in a suspenseful action set piece, having this critic believe that for the first time, Darryl might actually die. Thankfully he gets away, as does Beth, who drives off in a Cadillac – or does she? Chances are someone (perhaps the undertaker) has abducted her. Try as he might, Daryl is left helpless, and in tracking the car’s tire marks, reaches a literal and metaphorical crossroad.

The first several episodes of the second half of Season 4 have done a fine job in allowing viewers to better know some of the lesser developed characters of The Walking Dead. Some interesting character moments are interspersed throughout “Alone” along with a well executed battle shrouded in mist. The cold open is especially memorable; the isolation Bob experiences nearly makes him lose his sense of self as he wanders around for days much like a walker. He is barely human when he first meets Glenn and Daryl but he is quick to tag along. What other options does he have? We know very little about Stookey aside from his medical training, battle with alcoholism, and that his former two groups of survivors all ended up dead. Larry Gilliard Jr. continues to do amazing work with what little he’s given, and he alone saves the non-Beth-and-Darryl scenes from being a complete bore. Bob’s character arc is powerfully realized; unfortunately the same cannot be said for Maggie and Sasha.

Unlike Sasha, Beth, Tyreese or anyone for that matter, Maggie is only interested in finding one person: Glenn. Never once does she stop and mention her sister, or show remorse for any one of her friends. Maggie is on a quest determined to find her husband, but at one point, she should have considered the possibility that someone else could be alive. It’s a reoccurring problem with The Walking Dead, in which all the female characters are completely dependant on the men they love.

“Alone” also served to flesh out Sasha’s personality a bit more, but we don’t really learn much about her this week. Sasha’s refusal to head to the sanctuary felt out of character, although her cynicism does make us believe that the sanctuary is too good to be true. Ultimately, Sasha, Maggie and Bob walk around in circles, only to separate and reunite once again. With only three episodes left, “Alone” needed to do more to advance the plot forward. When the credits role, you can’t help but feel let down once again.

– Ricky D

Don’t forget to listen to our Walking Dead podcast for more thoughts.  New episodes drop every Monday night, with a different special guest each week.

 

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