‘The Walking Dead’ Review: ‘Spend’
The Walking Dead season 5 brings its 14th episode to life with Sunday’s “Spend,” as a mission to repair the power grid goes awry, Father Gabriel has a crisis of conscience over the group's arrival in Alexandria, and Carol discovers something sinister about Pete and Jessie's family.
Last week’s The Walking Dead installment, “Forget,” saw the group attempting to settle into Alexandria, secretly plotting to take back some of their guns, while Daryl and Aaron bonded outside the walls. So, what does the latest episode of season 5 bring?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about The Walking Dead season 5, episode 14, “Spend”!
As exciting and creatively divergent as adjustment into Alexandria has proven, it stood to reason that we’d eventually need to check in with characters under-serviced by the previous two hours, notably Abraham and his compatriots, or the quieter acquisitions of Season 5. And while poor Rosita seems to get the short end of the stick here, “Spend” still nicely managed to balance time between the plucky Eugene finally finding his courage, or Abraham emerging as a leader on the construction crew, without short-changing conflict back at home between Father Gabriel, or Rick and Carol’s exploration of Jessie’s home life.
We’re only two hours from another hiatus at this point, and while the novelty of juxtaposing dinner parties with more harrowing (and familiar) adventures out in the woods has worn off a bit, tonight’s outing largely succeeded in building up conflicts home and away.
The hour begins and almost ends with Father Gabriel, a character who himself has been particularly marginalized since leaving the church last year, though that distance lends well to the distinction made between he and Rick’s group. Regardless of what Gabriel discovered at the cannibals’ campsite, or any horrors overheard with his parish outside, Gabriel would naturally be the one to offer a more frightened perspective of the group’s unpredictability. To her credit, Deanna proves in no way oblivious to how quickly Rick’s people seems to be assuming positions of control, though it’s become harder and harder to distinguish individual heroism from the greater good.
On their own, each member of Rick’s group excel at survival, though the overall Alexandria dream of a community focus seems more and more opaque, as awe of Rick’s group grows in the eyes of the public, this week focused on Abraham's rescue of Francine. Not only that, but “compromise” has rarely proven an option for life out in the wild, and Carol’s assertion that Rick put down the abusive Pete will likely bring to light the extreme ideological differences bubbling under the surface for the past few hours, a moral absolutist like Gabriel making the most sensible cipher of that threat.
Eugene too has felt a bit underdeveloped since the extent of his deception came to light, and while it certainly satisfied to have the portly survivor save the day, the mission itself ended up something of an afterthought, a bit of calm before the storm that usually precedes the final two episodes of the season. Granted, Noah and Aiden’s deaths offered up some harrowing, and especially visceral gore for a half-season largely dominated with idyllic visuals, neither of the two had been around enough to create any real lasting impact. We don’t’ even see Deanna or Reggie’s reaction to their son’s death, odd considering the point made of their interaction before the mission, though “Spend” had enough going on that the immediate aftermath ended up called for time.
Back on the home front, Rick seemed notably less creepy in his interactions with Jessie, though Pete rather unceremoniously emerges as a sleazeball, and Carol made for an unexpectedly intriguing method to explore that. Her initial resistance to endure Sam’s childlike inquisitions (especially after last week) made sense in light of her own daughter’s death so many years ago, though the history of abuse also enabled her insight into Sam’s homelife, another reminder of how well-rounded and essential Carol has become at this point. Remembrance of irredeemable Ed certainly influences her advice to Rick that Pete be put down as well, though it’s of interest how little thought she gives to a peaceful resolution.
We’ve settled into Alexandria enough that “Spend” didn’t seem quite so jarringly demure as last week, though the supply mission at least filled the quota of death and inventive zombie attack, while the drama back home enabled us to see Rick’s group in a light that will surely prove a point of contention in the final two episodes. Not to mention, we still have those mysterious “W” zombies out in the wild, making internal strife the opportune moment for an outside force to rear its ugly head against Alexandria.
AND ANOTHER THING…
- Not sure how much we needed the early meeting between Noah and Reggie, which in retrospect, seemed to heavily foreshadow his inevitable exit more than anything else.
- So…Eugene’s working on the power grid now? He uses big words, but have we actually established him as above-average intelligence in any real way?
- Goodbye, Aiden! I barely realized you were a different character from Spencer, who himself wasn’t even mentioned this week.
- Kudoes to Tobin, who takes shots from both Abraham and
HollyFrancine, yet still sings their praises to the community.
Stay tuned for more coverage of The Walking Dead season 5's latest, and join us next week for our review of The Walking Dead‘s next episode, penultimate Season 5 installment “Try” on AMC!