The end is nigh and all the pieces are moving into place. In seasons past, an episode like this would’ve triggered an entire post railing against yet another time-killing episode. Now, however, episodes like this work well. It’s one thing to understand that sometimes you have to spend time setting the table and another when you realize it’s only happening because the people in the kitchen don’t know what they’re doing and are delaying the inevitable as long as possible. “Crossed” is functional but endearing, and if nothing else, at least we got to see Tara’s face light up as she played with that yo-yo.
Everyone in “Crossed” tries to help everyone else, with varying degrees of success. In the hospital, Officer Dawn and Dr. Edwards say they want to help Beth save Carol, but those two are masters at lying convincingly; it’s so much easier to make a lie sound believable when you convince yourself that you believe it. Beth may not know that Dawn is probably setting her up to fail in her quest to cure Carol, or maybe she just doesn’t care as long as Carol gets to live. Regardless, bribing that old dude with strawberries to fake sick while she broke into the medicine cabinet was inspired. How she extracted medical knowledge from Dr. Edwards was less so, but there are only so many ways to get a doctor to tell you how to heal a person suffering from unknown injuries from a car accident. (Speaking of which, no wonder there is an endless supply of wards at the hospital: the cops keep running people over.)
Back at the church, Carl tries to help Father Gabriel by teaching him to defend himself, while Michonne offers to be there for him when he’s ready to talk. Father Gabriel helps himself out of the church and into the woods. Watching the destruction Rick’s group brought to his sanctuary was too much for him. He’d already spiritually desecrated God’s holy space in the early days of the zombie apocalypse, and now the survivors had wrought physical damage to what was left. Father Gabriel couldn’t help his flock, Rick’s group, or himself, so off he pops to do God knows what out there alone. It isn’t a suicide mission—if it was he would’ve let the Christian walker eat him instead of fighting back—but he also isn’t trying to survive on his own, otherwise he would’ve taken supplies and weapons. Dude’s on a spiritual journey. Jesus wandered in the desert with nothing but the Lord to provide for him, and Father Gabriel seems to be attempting the same. Too bad it’s not going to work out as well for him.
The only group that gets any benefit out of trusting each other is Glenn, Tara, and Rosita. They are a true cooperative, working together for the common good and being gosh darn nice about it. Apparently they left all the anger and tension back with Maggie, Abraham, and Eugene. Maggie and Abraham say very little to each other while she tends to Eugene and he stews in his guilt, frustration, and rage, but their silence speaks volumes. Maggie wants to help, and Abraham wants to sulk, two states that don’t mix well. But the difference between him and Father Gabriel is that Abraham still has hope in his fellow humans, even if he isn’t ready to admit it out loud yet.
Things in Atlanta seem to be chugging along, which means it’s only a matter of time before the plan derails. Tyreese’s plan sounds great on the surface, but Rick’s is more solid. Trading the cops for Beth and Carol takes care of the immediate problem of how to deal with getting Dawn to back down, but doesn’t actually deal with Dawn and the rogue cops. Rick’s plan involves a helluva lot more bloodshed but also stops Dawn dead in her tracks. With the trade, Dawn goes back to strong arming wards into indentured servitude and forced prostitution, but with the stealth attack, the whole toxic hospital is taken out at the source of the infection. Tyreese has a nicer plan—“Everybody goes home.”—but Rick’s is practical, ruthless, and thorough.
Desperate people do terrible things when their backs are to the wall. Abraham beat pathetic Eugene half to death when his world came crashing down, Father Gabriel let his flock get eaten alive while he cowered in safety, and even Rick murdering Shane way back in season 2. But then you have the darker turn, the viciousness that comes from desperation curdled with a desire to lash out, to hurt, to take revenge. That’s when you get the Governor and Gareth. Tyreese thinks Dawn is in the first camp, while Rick places her in the second. We don’t know where she really stands, but I can tell you right now she will never go for a fair trade. Even if Sasha hadn’t been betrayed by Cop Bob, it’s still obvious that whatever goes down in the finale is going to be bad news for a lot of people.
Rick buys Cop Bob’s peace offering because they’re both cops, even if Rick doesn’t wear his hat anymore, and Sasha does I guess because the guy’s name is Bob. Lucky him. Not lucky for everyone else. Whether he was telling the truth about Dawn is beside the point once he knocks out Sasha and takes off. Cop Bob and Dawn are both desperate to protect what little they have from what they view as an attack by outsiders. Interestingly enough, it puts Rick in a similar position as the Governor this time last season. Rick agreed to the less violent plan and backed off from killing Cop Bob once, mistakes he won’t make again. He’s just as desperate as the Governor and Dawn, but at least he’s surrounded himself with more ethically secure people to talk him down.
- “I thought you were weak. You proved me wrong.”
- “The truth hurts, but he was useless. He had one skill that kept him living. We’re supposed to be mad ‘cause he used it?”
- Where has this adorable version of Tara been all this time? I want to watch her and Beth yo-yo and sing forever and ever.
- The parallel between Michonne watching over Father Gabriel and Sasha bonding with Cop Bob and both being betrayed by their unfounded trust shouldn’t have worked, but it did, a testament to how much TWD has turned itself into an effective drama.
- There’s no way Rick pulls off either the trade or the attack on the hospital without some casualties, but I’ll be damned if one of those is Carol.
- Father Gabriel stepped on a nail that could have come from Rick’s group making weapons out of the church or the person who carved “YOU’LL BURN FOR THIS” into the siding. Either way, that’s some tragic irony right there.
Alex Brown is an archivist, research librarian, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.