After weeks of speculation, the answer was simple: he crawled under the dumpster and lived. Yes, the end of this show’s most unnecessary mystery was resolved and that’s great. Sadly, between that and the final moment that provides one hell of a cliffhanger, we merely got a lot of setup for the things to come in an episode that lacked focus. To be fair, many of the show’s best characters were featured and there was nothing inherently bad about what was going on, it just felt too sprawling.
Getting back to where many concerns were: Glenn lives. It’s great that he was alive, but at what cost? Was there really a risk in one of the most popular shows losing viewership if it didn’t have some sort of way to bait people to keep watching by playing around with a major character’s fate? I guess it paid off, but it seems really silly now. Dragging this thing out now means all the speculation adds up to little and many will simply ridicule the show for Glenn’s easy tactic to stay alive. But hey, Glenn is alive, long live Glenn!
But with all that living, things do not get that much more exciting during his return to Alexandria. He finds Enid (well, she finds him) and the two make their way back to Alexandria eventually, while life lessons ensue. Teaming these two up is not the worst idea, but they’re conversations are hardly original. Glenn convincing someone to come with him if they want to live is actually pretty standard for this series. At least it leads to a balloon encounter, which is actually pretty neat and allows for a sweet payoff.
The rest of the action takes place in Alexandria. Darth Rick finally gets to deal with one of the few reasonable and intelligent Alexandrians this week, as he works with another to help fix up some of the walls. Conversations ensue and Rick gets a chance to not be a dick for a few minutes. This all changes when Spencer randomly attempts to sneak out of Alexandria with a grappling line and fails horribly in the process.
That’s a big stretch to get to the message that is now being sent Rick’s way. After scolding Tara for her insistence on helping to save Spencer, Rick is told that everyone looks out for each other, because that’s what they’re all about. Given how Rick is dependent only on the writers shaping Rick’s character, I guess it is nice to see them try to chip away at his current persona of letting dumb Alexandrians screw themselves over. Really, after seeing enough Alexandrians get themselves killed for not listening to Rick, this change of pace may be for the best.
Speaking of dumb Alexandrians by the way, Ron is just doing everything he can to be the worst character on television. After getting a gun lesson from Rick (and hilarious side commentary from Carl), the kid steals bullets and is now stalking the kid moving in on his girl. This cannot go anywhere good, but like his brother, who is currently keeping himself from going downstairs, these boys ain’t right.
The most interesting stuff comes from Morgan and those around him. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as Morgan is one of the most compelling characters and the other is directly getting up in his face about certain choices being made. After a well-scripted, well-acted scene involving Morgan explaining why he won’t kill, we eventually get to the point where he has to reveal certain details he does not want to, so Denise can give him or assist with anti-biotics.
Carol acts all villainous about what is going on in this scenario, though she is in the right about having suspicions. Nothing good is bound to come out of Morgan holding onto a Wolf, but plenty of good can come from seeing Carol and Morgan go head to head. They don’t need to have physical combat, but they have opposite ideals and codes they live by and that could allow for some terrific tension and payoffs.
As far as payoffs for this episode go, ‘Head’s Up’ is sure to highlight the damaged church tower throughout. In true Walking Dead spirit, we are constantly given a not-so-subtle hint concerning this episode’s theme, which comes in the form of this tower. No matter how peaceful things may seem, everything could come crashing down any minute. This is certainly emphasized in the final minutes of the episode, as so many characters seem like they are about to reach some sort of big moment and then the tower comes crashing down.
With a giant breach in the wall and a bunch of walkers ready to flood Alexandria, this was an incredible way to set up next week’s mid-season finale. Having tied up the loose ends in all of the disparate plotlines (Daryl, Morgan, Glenn, etc.), it only makes sense that one big thing ends this first part of the season, much in the way one big thing started it. Hopefully it works out for the better, because we’ve come a long way since the million walker march and it’s time to get everyone home, safe and sound.
No, not a lot could have been done to make this a better episode that is obvious. The Glenn solution is a bit silly, but it’s fine if you don’t think about the amount of mystery that came with it. Fortunately, there were only two dumb Alexandrians this week and a lot of great setup did occur. ‘Head’s Up’ was once again a product of a show dealing with a large ensemble cast, but this is also a show that doesn’t often shy away from thinning the ranks a bit. We’ll see what happens next week, but minor quibbles aside, this season has still been consistently entertaining.