Review: The Walking Dead - 'Alone'

By: Heather Seebach

**Warning: The following contains spoilers about S4E13**

If you read these reviews or listen to Dead Already, you have probably heard me bitch repeatedly about one of biggest (and most fixable) problems with The Walking Dead - the lack of flashbacks. They may be a television clich├ęs to some but flashbacks facilitate character development when the present-day storyline and setting are too restrictive. There were legit flashbacks in earlier seasons - namely the Rick/Lori/Shane ones that occurred pre-zombpocalypse - and a few almost-flashbacks in more recent years (Michonne's dream sequence; the Governor's side story).
The pre-credit sequence of this week's episode, 'Alone' finally gave us a real flashback! With just a few dialogue-free minutes of Bob by himself in the days before joining the protagonists, I already was 5x more interested in Bob than I have been thus far. Lawrence Gilliard Jr.'s morose performance and Lee DeWyze's "Blackbird's Song" made for a heartbreaking opener. Little moments like him chugging cough syrup alone in a makeshift shelter spoke volumes about a character we all immediately judged for his alcohol addiction. 
It was bittersweet seeing Daryl and Glenn together before the Governor mess. I also got a real kick out of Daryl asking Rick's three questions and Bob's defeated responses. "It doesn't matter who you are...." This sequence represents so much of what I like about The Walking Dead without showing hardly anything! I only wish there had been more Bob flashbacks peppered throughout the episode to give us some real development.

I also liked Daryl and Beth way more this episode. Their implied romantic connection is still annoying but it was far more subtle and potentially innocent this time around. Between the hand-holding and Beth singing Waxahatchee's "Be Good," I suspect she likes him but their relationship would not go any further.

It's unclear now what we intend.
We're alone in our own world.
You don't wanna be my boyfriend
and I don't wanna be your girl.
And that, that's a relief.
We'll drink up our grief
and pine for summer
and we'll buy beer to shotgun
and we'll lay in the lawn
and we'll be good.

Pretty much sums them up, eh? I confess, Daryl's line about "a serious piggyback" was cute. 

Daryl and Beth setting up in a funeral home was an inspired idea though probably not used to its full potential. Were those corpses only half-decayed looking because they had make-up on? If so, I dig that idea, but damn that's some good make-up! I'll take some of that foundation, plzkthx. Daryl taking on a horde of zombies in the morgue would have been great too, if only I could see a damn thing.

There were two moments in this episode that made me suspect The Hunters from Kirkman's comics could be involved: the well-placed fox trap and the dust-free food items. It would have been pretty neat if that walker in the clearing was chained down as bait (though it's unlikely people would typically approach a zombie). I could definitely see the food being bait, though, and seeing as Beth was kidnapped by somebody, it very well could be Hunters.

Speaking of the kidnappers, here is that vehicle:

It appears to be a hearse from the funeral home so perhaps the kidnapper(s) were still there, watching them. They may be en route to the "sanctuary" or to wherever those bandits hide out. After Beth is taken, Daryl collapses near the train tracks, which are presumably the same tracks everyone else is following to the sanctuary. He is found by the bandits Rick encountered in that house. Perhaps they are from the "sanctuary"? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Daryl ends up surrendering to "Joe" and his gang in a way that suggests he may join them. They clearly want his help and at this point, he just might do it. I actually think Daryl's mini-arc this episode exhibits WAY more character development than last week's, which devotees swore was full of development. In 'Alone' Daryl begins to believe in "good people" as Beth points out. He is finally letting his guard down and even enjoying the idea of domestic life with a girl (and even a dog) until Beth is abruptly taken from him. 

I was totally expecting her to die after their little moment in the kitchen, but the effect is the same. Now, Daryl's spirit is crushed and here to pick up the pieces are Joe and his crew of bad influences. It's second-nature for Daryl to follow and to do bad things, so here he is liable to fall back into bad habits. Yes, it's a step backwards but it's still character change, not stagnant whining like last week. This is a Daryl I can get behind. 

Real quick note about that one-eyed dog: the Governor has been reincarnated! Seriously, though, it has been suggested that perhaps the dog was sent to sniff out survivors for the bandits. That could definitely be the case, but if it is, their dog is now dead as it totally screamed when the walkers came to the door (even if Daryl apparently could not hear it).

Meanwhile, Maggie has run off to find Glenn alone so Sasha and Bob give chase. This section of the episode did little but reiterate the idea that nobody can survive alone in this world, but I did not mind it. Maggie fucked up walkers with a No Parking sign and wrote messages in blood. It's always nice to see her kick some ass. Plus, her sleeping amongst the zombies was hardcore! Never change, Mags.

As for Sasha and Bob, their kiss did not surprise me (it was a big duh since they met) or make me gag, so that's good. When Bob gave his inspirational "I'm not afraid anymore" speech, I was totally expecting a zombie to grab him Deep Blue Sea-style. Oh well. Speaking of being alone, I noticed:

Overall, I quite liked this episode. The more I think about it, the more I like it. It is easily the best non-Rick/Carl/Michonne episode of this half. After last week's turd, I was not remotely excited for this episode but I was pleasantly surprised. It is not a particularly exciting episode but I enjoyed the characters and there were some nice teases of things to come.

Finally, as always, here are some funny anecdotes from Reddit:

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