The Walking Dead’ season 5 brings its 7th episode to life with “Crossed,” as Daryl returns to the church in search of reinforcements, while Beth covertly works to plan her escape with the injured Carol. Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode, “Consumed,” saw Daryl and Carol making their way into the city in search of Beth, only to discover a more dangerous set of circumstances than they could have imagined. So, what does the latest episode of season 5 bring? Do Daryl and Noah manage to rescue Beth and Carol from the evil hospital? Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘The Walking Dead’ season 5, episode 7, “Crossed”!

Anyone reading these reviews knows that I haven’t been particularly fond of the Grady hospital crew stories, at least as they’ve been positioned as a midseason finale. It isn’t for lack of trying on the part of the writers, or Emily Kinney for that matter; it just seems an oddly regressive story to ask the audience to invest in at this point in the series. The group needs a new direction after Eugene was outed as a fraud (something Rick’s group at the church hasn’t even learned yet), and returning to Atlanta to do battle with some hastily-defined police officer villains feels a bit like the season spinning its wheels in search of a bigger goal to unite the survivors around.

It certainly doesn’t help to have added even more new officers to the beat (hi, Agent Sitwell!). Meanwhile, Dawn herself has seemingly come around enough on Beth to aid in saving Carol’s life, for some reason. There’s even something of an “another day at the office” vibe to Rick’s strategizing, as if Rick believes Carol and Beth worthy of retrieval, but doesn’t particularly view the Grady staff as any grand threat, at least in the manner the Governor or Gareth provided.

Also worth noting is that with all the various timelines finally in sync, “Crossed” also served as our first multi-character episode, dipping around between Rick’s rescue effort, Gabriel’s unease at the church, and Abraham’s splintered convoy. All the wheel-spinning exacerbated each storyline’s thinness, and made it clear that not every character held a story worth checking in on. Both Eugene and Abraham would understandably need time to recover from the gravity of the former’s lie, but considering either character almost literally stayed in one place the entire episode, I’m not sure how much there was to gain from giving a large amount of screentime to Maggie attempting to spur reactions from both men.

It is nice to see a bit of optimism permeating the series for a change however, and the spirit of Bob certainly looms large over the hour, as Tara took joy in the simplicities of yo-yos and group acronyms while Glenn assured Rosita that they’d stick together to find a new purpose. We don’t yet know if Abraham would look to lead the group back to the church, or try to find some new shelter where they could regroup. But considering how removed Glenn and the others have been from the efforts to track down Beth, it’s a fair bet that we’ll find something more worthwhile to explore next week, so as to capitalize on all the optimistic sentiment.

Tara’s yo-yo fun notwithstanding, we probably needed even less to check in on Gabriel’s continued struggles to adapt this week, as the character has yet to perform and real kind of redeemable act with which to ingratiate himself into the series. Obviously, we’re meant to believe that his time spent in the church has kept him isolated from the true horrors of the zombie apocalypse. But considering how up close and personal Gabriel got with the threat of Gareth and his group, it rings false that the preacher could so coldly write off Carl’s justification of ending the threat for good, especially with a baby in tow. What Gabriel would have to gain by sneaking out of the church remains to be seen, considering how well he fared in the wild last time, but I imagine we’ll find a larger purpose next week to sticking with the character as long as we have.

The most effectively communicated character beats this week arrived in Tyreese’s encouragement of Sasha working through her grief over Bob, considering she had been granted more than most in actually saying goodbye to a loved one. Rick also seemed to be hovering on the brink this week, as both Tyreese and Daryl pushed him to embrace a less violent plan to rescue Beth, and Daryl stopped Rick from killing another officer who’d nearly killed them. No one could have seen coming that Sasha paying forward Tyreese’s advice would backfire with Officer Lamson, so it’ll at least be interesting to see if Rick can keep his calm long enough to proceed with the trade.

“You give us back Carol right now! Fine, and Beth. I guess.”

If you’ve at all noticed a theme among my rambling points, hooray! Unfortunately, it seems as if the relatively inert threat of Officer Dawn and the Grady gang, compounded by the 8-and-8 episode structure was bound to produce an episode with more setup than payoff, as seems to have been the case with “Crossed.” That isn’t to say that there weren’t some strong moments or gory delights (Daryl’s bowling ball zombie head improvisation was a particular highlight), but “Crossed” seemed somewhat saddled with the task of setting up the ultimate midseason finale confrontation, while keeping the other storylines in a holding pattern.

It’s a fair bet that not everyone will make it through next week alive either, but for as much sense as it made conceptually to check in with everyone at least once this week, “Crossed”’s only real crime ironically lay in having only one real direction to move in.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Kept things a bit shorter tonight, thanks to a finger injury that made typing a bit difficult. Where’s a time-traveling underwear mogul to fill in when you need one?
  • So, what exactly DO the Grady cops want? Is there really dissension in the ranks of Dawn’s leadership, or was that just a ploy to get free. What do they really even need Noah back for anyway? And what’s with Dawn’s duplicitous change of heart?
  • How many times must these people be reminded not to wade into murky water without checking for walkers?!
  • I have questions about being knocked out by a headbutt not even forceful enough to break the glass.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? Were you surprised by Beth and Carol’s fate? Stay tuned for more coverage of the ‘Walking Dead’ season 5, and join us next week for another all-new episode review of episode 8, midseason finale “Coda,” on AMC!