The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Violence; image of zombie below. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of Captain Murder and Grimes from The Walking Dead, to which I've added text reading: BATTLE OF THE PATRIARCHS | THIS GUY VS THIS GUY

Welp, last night was the mid-season finale of AMC's The Walking Dead, so, in typical Walking Dead fashion, after an entire half-season of fuck-all happening in excruciatingly slow increments of nothingness, ALL THE THINGS HAPPENED in one jam-packed episode of nonsensical tumult!

We knew it was coming down to the big Patriarchy Prize Fight between Sheriff Rick Grimes in the grayish-brown corner and Captain Murder in the brownish-gray corner, and, without so much as a LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUUMBLLLLE, the two Power Patriarchs of the Zombiepocalypse were going toe-to-toe in a spectacular display of blood-soaked WHAT THE FUCK!

Last week's episode ended with Captain Murder coming upon Hershel and Michonne jerking around with the corpsemobile and pointing his gun at them. This week, we find out that he's taken them hostage (really? one guy with one gun and Michonne doesn't find a way to take him out? NOPE.) and he's going to use them to blackmail Grimes into handing over Grimes Jail to the Captain Murder Gang.

He gives a rousing speech full of lies and half-truths and some truth-truths to his new peeps about how Grimes Gang is full of terrible people, and how they need to kick them out and claim Grimes Jail for themselves. Some members of the Captain Murder Gang are dubious, but the guy with the tank is pretty pumped about it. Go figure.

SpaghettiOs Sister is really not on board with this plan. She says she doesn't even know who Captain Murder is, WHICH IS CORRECT. You do not know who he is, and you are about to find out. SORRY YOUR BOYFRIEND IS A TERRIBLE MURDER-MONSTER!

Captain Murder instructs SpaghettiOs Sister to stay behind with Megan, and he'll come get them once they've assumed control of Grimes Jail. GEE I HOPE MEGAN DOESN'T GET BITTEN BY A ZOMBIE, thinks no one, because we all know that is definitely what's going to happen.

Meanwhile, at Grimes Jail, Grimes tells Daryl about Carol's banishment, and, for real, it is so anticlimactic after TWO GARBAGE EPISODES about goddamn Captain Murder's Magical Journey or whatever. I wanted it to MEAN SOMETHING when Daryl found out about Grimes exiling Carol, which, in retrospect, was a foolish expectation, since nothing ever means anything in this show, because it is garbage the end. So the reveal for which we were all waiting was about as exciting as a wet fart, as Daryl juts looks vaguely annoyed and says they have to tell Tyreese. Okay. Sure.

So Grimes and Daryl wander off to tell Tyreese, and they find him examining a super neat science project of what I will describe as a crucified rat. Tyreese says that whoever did that disturbing shit was the person who killed Karen and Rick from Accounting (AND HE IS ALMOST CERTAINLY RIGHT!), but Grimes and Daryl start to tell him no siree because Carol said she did it and Grimes is such a shitty investigator that he figured a child's handprint was hers and such a shitty person that he unilaterally decided to hand down a virtual death sentence, but they are interrupted by a huge blast that shakes the entirety of Grimes Jail.


Meanwhile, back at Captain Murder Camp, Megan unearths a flash flood sign in the mud, from under which emerges a mud zombie who bites her. "I was so surprised!" said nobody. I feel like this scene was a real missed opportunity to have Thriller playing in the background on an RV radio. Sadface.

Back on the set of Rocky 7, The Grimes Gang runs out to find the Captain Murder Gang +1 tank chillaxing at the front gate. Hershel and Michonne, who no one has noticed were taking an awfully long time to dump some bods, are dangled out as evidence of Captain Murder's determination to start a war, even though he keeps saying that no one has to get hurt if only Grimes Gang will GTFO by sundown.

During this scene, Grimes is screaming that he doesn't make the decisions anymore, and HA HA HERE IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHY, because he somehow fails to make the rudimentary calculation that there is NO FUCKING WAY this will end any other way than badly if they don't immediately leave. If there's one thing that everyone who has known Captain Murder for longer than SpaghettiOs Sister has known Captain Murder knows about Captain Murder, it's that he doesn't negotiate in good faith.

Oh—and that he's a violent psychopath.

Why are you even trying to negotiate with this asshole, Grimes?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! If Captain Murder shows up on my front porch tomorrow, riding atop a fucking tank, giving me the stink-eye with his one good peeper, and demanding that I relinquish ownership of my home before dusk, I will grab all the matzo ball soup I can carry and be on my way in three minutes flat. "Enjoy my house! Please don't kill me! Byeeeeeee!"

But Grimes Gang of course decides to stand their ground, which antagonizes Captain Murder, WHO CHOPS OFF HERSHEL'S HEAD WITH A GODDAMN KATANA. RIP Hershel. Holy shit.

All hell breaks loose. Maggie and Blonde Girl are just screaming and shooting through the fence after watching their dad be decapitated right in front of their faces. Daryl's running around with a machine gun and his bow just murdering everything in sight. Bob and Sasha and Tyreese manage to pick off a few of the Captain Murder gang, and Bob takes a bullet to the shoulder. He should put some alcohol on that, don'tcha think, Daryl?

The tankmaster is just blowing the shit out of Grimes Jail, which makes PERFECT SENSE since they want to live there and all. The tank mows down the fences, blows holes in the building, destroys the watchtowers—perfect. I'm sure there's supposed to be some totally trenchant takeaway about how Captain Murder and his murdery band of murderers are so intent on destruction of their enemies that they're subverting their own chances of survival, but, really, this is just completely stupid.

And Grimes is stupid for not knowing this was always going to be exactly what happened. Grimes Gang runs for the escape bus, which is what they should have done in the first fucking place. Jesus.

In the middle of all this mayhem, SpaghettiOs Sister shows up carrying Megan. Captain Murder shoots Megan in the head. SpaghettiOs Sister looks horrified, and I think that someone should introduce her and Grimes, now that they're both single, since they share a love of long walks through zombie-infested woods AND not killing the fuck out of Captain Murder when they had the chance.

Daryl throws a grenade down the tank barrel and that's the end of the tank. Lizzie kills people, because Carol told her to protect herself. Zombies begin to descend because of all the noise. IT'S UTTER CHAOS.

But finally—FINALLY—we get to the real showdown. Captain Murder and Grimes meet on the battlefield and FISTICUFFS IS GO. It's mano y mano for the dueling patriarchs. Captain Murder is definitely getting the better of Grimes, smashing his grizzled face into pulp while straddling him—the classic Ralphie Parker Offensive—but then a sword slices through Captain Murder's innards, and we all know who's behind him when he falls. MICHONNE!

Captain Murder writhes on the ground and Michonne just looks at him, but then WALKS AWAY WITHOUT FINISHING HIM. WHAT. NO. Nooooooo! This guy is harder to kill than a zombie in a diving helmet! DOOOOO IIIIIIIT!

image of a zombie in a diving helmet saying ARGLE BARGLE.

There is no way that Michonne would have walked away from the deathblow, especially right after seeing Captain Murder separate her pal Hershel's head from the rest of him. NO WAY. But this is The Walking Dead, and so the black heroine had to walk away IN A COMPLETELY BULLSHIT BIT OF PLOT FAIL so that the new white lady, SpaghettiOs Sister, could come in and deliver Captain Murder's fate by shooting him.

I'm sure I'm supposed to read something super profound about Michonne choosing not to end his life, or something super calculated about Michonne wanting him to suffer, but, f'realz, all I saw was another awesome black character I love being shoved aside by the writers to give a big moment to a white character I hardly know. FUCK. THAT.

In the final moments, pulp-faced Grimes goes running through Grimes Jailyard screaming for Carl the Hat (which makes me laugh, because I am terrible). "CAUURHHHHHL!" (I yell back, "WALLLLLLT!") They find each other and hug with relief. But their relief is short-lived as they find Baby Zombie Whistle Grimes' carseat, empty and bloodied. They sob. Everything is terrible.

We are meant to think that Baby Zombie Whistle Grimes has been eaten by zombies, but I bet she's been rescued. I've got ten cans of matzo ball soup on Carol having snuck back in to save her.

And, with that, I bid you adieu until February, when AMC's The Walking Dead will return with more metaphorical molasses. See you then!

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