This week is all about our survivors sticking together. The aptly titled "Alone" lazily delivers its plot in yet another episode that treads water. However although there are problems, it still manages to entertain.
This is due to the cast performances. This half of the cast are coming into their own and the show is better for it. Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. is effortlessly likeable as Bob, his positive attitude is a nice change of pace for the show. In essence "Alone" is all about Bob and although we have seen the characters flaws, it is far more satisfying seeing him as a positive force. He could perhaps replace Hershel as the heart of the show if Gilliard keeps up this charming performance.
Travelling with him are Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), both of which have different plans for surviving. The minor conflict of interest (Maggie wants to find Glenn and Sasha wants to find somewhere to survive) just serves as a springboard for writer Curtis Gwinn to delve into Sasha's character.
It is nice to see the show take its time exploring the newer characters of the group. Sasha's fear is evident and her arc this episode is a little cliché in a post-apocalyptic narrative sort of way, but Martin-Green sells the scenario with a great performance. It must be said that it is a little lazy of the show to repeat the whole "pretending to be strong, but is actually terrified of something" characterisation only a couple of episodes after it was used for both Michonne and Carl.
Maggie continues her focused search for Glenn. Showing that she is willing to use zombie blood to help Glenn find her (which will inevitably lead to trouble). Lauren Cohen delivers another great performance. Her emotional conviction is convincing and her Maggie is someone you care about.
The show also continues looking at Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth's (Emily Kinney) adventures alone. This time they find themselves at a well kept funeral home. Again Kinney and Reedus do a great job and their is definitely a more up beat feel to their scenes, even if it does end up in a dark place. However it must be said that these scenes could have been put in the previous episode and cut from this one. Their narrative is merely padding at this point, even if it includes some zombie action.
This leads into the main problem with the narrative and the show in general. There is no sense of urgency, no real threat. And although the character focus has delivered some entertaining moments the main narrative has hardly moved forward. Since the prison siege the show has meandered around, stalling before the finale. This main narrative of this episode could have worked just as well if it shared space with what was happening last time. It isn't economical story telling and it is killing the pace of the show.
So, "Alone" is a solid character piece, but suffers from the problems the whole show has been suffering from for a while. There are some nice cliffhangers (Daryl meets the home invaders from "Claimed" and Glenn is heading toward Maggie), but the actual narrative holds very little content. However it is still a solid hour of television due to good performances from its cast. With only three episodes left we can expect the show to jump into gear. This calm before the storm has lasted for far too long.
6.5 paths to Terminus out of 10
Review by @gizmo151183