The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 14 “Spend”
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Written by Matthew Negrete
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohen, Norman Reedus, Michael Traynor, Tovah Feldshuh, Michael Cudlitz, Melissa McBride, Major Dodson, Alexandra Breckenridge, Seth Gilliam, Josh McDermitt AMC
Air Date: March 15, 2015
Warning – Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 514 “Spend.”
Tonight’s Episode 514 “Spend” of AMC’s The Walking Dead was one of the most brutal, emotionally draining episodes of the season. We’ve seen Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group face a lot of hardships in the past; they’ve lost lots of people to both Walker attacks and deadly human foes. And their struggles to find a new home were agonizing. Now, they’re supposed to be safe in their idyllic new neighborhood in the self-sustaining Alexandria Safe Zone, with the seemingly understanding and logical Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), a former Ohio congresswoman, leading what will be their new government.
While we’ve had to say good-bye to people before, what went on in this episode was just so disturbing on so many levels — on a gruesome one and an emotional one. The reason why Rick’s group has gotten as far as they have under the most dire circumstances is NOT because they’ve maintained a kill or be killed attitude; instead, they protect each other, work together, and consistently do the right thing whenever possible. They are heroes. Even the constantly self-professed coward, Eugene (Josh McDermitt), finds his inner strength and steps up when he has to.
Although, there are times when Rick lets someone into his inner circle when they should have been left tied to a tree, like the slowly going mad Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), who we see totally betrayed Rick’s group by warning Deanna against him (thankfully, Maggie overhears – but what will happen next?). This is a man of God who saved himself, leaving his congregation to die, but we see in “Spend” that leaving people to die is a running theme.
The bulk of Episode 514 centers on the group that goes out on a run for micro inverters — Glenn, Aiden, Noah, Tara, Eugene, and Nicholas — and the dire consequences from their mission. There’s also a look at Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) at the construction site where, once again we see, the people of Rick’s group are smarter and of higher moral character. Well, ok, maybe Carol’s (Melissa McBride) character has been questionable lately, but it seems like she’s just being tough. But in this episode, we see a glimpse of the old Carol who cares as she not only bonds with little Sam (Major Dodson) — who she threatened last week — but she’s also looking out for potentially battered woman Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge), as we all know that Carol can relate to that situation. Her solution for Jessie’s problem — one of which she doesn’t have concrete evidence) — is quite extreme and will drag Rick into the fold if implemented.
Director Jennifer Lynch gives us pure zombie horror-inspired movie deaths in this episode — Noah (Tyler James Williams) is pressed up against the glass revolving doors, being torn apart and eaten alive while Glenn (Steven Yeun) is trapped on the other side mere inches away, watching in horror as his friend is killed and there’s nothing he can do. This is a man who has time and time again risked his life to save others — in the pilot episode, he sneaks his way through walkers to get to Rick hiding in the tank and rescues him, and they were strangers at the time and Glenn was just a boy. Now, Glenn is a strong man, with lots of survival experience, and even though he now has a wife, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), to come home to after every run and every job, he will still always go above and beyond to help someone. Even after Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) inadvertently set off an explosive (while Glenn was warning him not to continue shooting) and ended up impaled by metal and trapped, Glenn still tried to save him any way he could. Anyone else would have left him there to die — Aiden’s buddy Nicholas (Michael Traynor) certainly did, because as it turns out, these guys are total cowards who will leave people for dead as a general rule.
One thing we as the audience knows is that Rick and his group are good people. Have they had to kill people? Have they had to make hard decisions? Do they have regrets? Yes to all. But at their heart, they have managed to hold on to their humanity and rise above the rest without backstabbing. So many people they’ve come across are devious, cutthroat, self-serving bastards, and the wimpy Safe Zone residents are turning out to be real pricks whose cowardice, stupidity, and lack of true survival skills have and will continue to get people killed.
The penultimate episode of Season 5, The Walking Dead Episode 515 “Try,” airs on AMC on March 22, 2015.