SEASON 10; EPISODE 19
Last week it was Daryl and Carol who were under the microscope. This week we had a slightly less combustible pairing in the form of Aaron and Gabriel. These self-contained episodes were a hallmark of previous seasons and I think it’s safe to say that most fans got a little bored with the ponderous (often rather pointless) segues from the main story action. TWD has developed into a show that takes pride in fleshing out its characters and giving some time to some of the moral ambiguities and dilemmas that they face. However at times it feels as if this obstructs the plot somewhat. Can people be forgiven? Is it possible to reform? Are people fundamentally good or bad? These are all valid questions but we’ve spent quite a bit of time on these already and are still none the wiser. Can we just spend some time on shaking things up a little, plot wise?
Saying that, this was still quite an enjoyable episode. Like Carol and Daryl, Gabriel and Aaron were out looking for supplies and food armed with a map and list that Maggie had given them. Aaron and Gabriel are two of the more entertaining and likeable characters left in the show and watching them drink expensive whisky and fall arse over face into a load of mud was kinda fun. These moments of levity were interspersed with some more serious and reflective scenes as they passed the remains of people who had died desperate and alone, in fields and on rooftops. There were also a few walkers on the way, which they dealt with as easily as you’d expect. They’ve mastered the art of all that now and those scenes are pretty much a massacre. The list Maggie gave them proved to be a bit of a let down though. After days and days searching (on foot as well!) Aaron was ready to call it quits and get home to his daughter but Gabriel’s insistence on finding the last place on the map left to locate won through. Unfortunately, said map was ruined in the aforementioned mud incident (they’ve got to start laminating these documents). As they try and retrace their steps, they stumbled upon a closed up warehouse. Once inside they discovered there wasn't any food in there. However there was a wild boar, which for some reason seemed to be holed up in a back room. Aaron kills it in an apparent act of self-defence and the two men finally have something to eat as a result. Gabriel also finds a bottle of ultra expensive whisky which they drink over a game of poker. Turns out that Gabriel is one of those moody philosophical drunks and he leaves us in no doubt as to where his head is at. He has lost his faith in humanity, despite still having faith in God.
Gabriel’s faith in humanity is tested even further when the hulking frame of Robert Patrick enters the building the next morning. He’s a menacing looking guy and it’s clear he’s been listening (or watching) to the events of the previous evening somehow. That’s probably because he lives in this closed-up warehouse they’ve just broken into. Once he has finished eating some of the leftover boar, he whips out Aaron’s weaponised arm and plonks it on the ground. Errr…where is Aaron?! Turns out he is still alive but this aggressive stranger has a rather sick game planned for the pair. It’s basically Russian roulette but in each round, they get the choice to fire the gun at the other person or themselves. Gabriel knows what he is doing though. Earlier on he spoke to Aaron about dealing with people one on one on their own terms. Still, we think he’s genuine in his offer to help this man (who has seemingly killed his own brother) and although it takes a little while - and a few pulls of the trigger - the guy stops the game, apparently willing to accept their offer or rehabilitation. But just as this guy reveals his name (Mays), he has his head smashed in. I won’t lie. I didn’t see that coming and I am not sure how I really felt about it. Partly disgusted with Gabriel (as Aaron was too) but also upset that Robert Patrick wasn’t going to appear in any more episodes. Gabe said there was no point in keeping him alive because he was essentially always going to be a threat. Which was probably true.
And then we had the discovery upstairs where we found that Mays hadn’t killed his brother, who was very much alive (and beardy). And yay! He was also played by Robert Patrick! So maybe we WOULD get to see more Robert Patrick in future episodes?! Errr…no. Because after grabbing Gabriel’s gun, he joins his wife and kid by shooting himself in the head. His mutterings before he pulled the trigger indicate that his brother had made him play the ol’ Russian roulette game with his own family. So maybe Gabe wasn’t such an asshole after all for killing him?
The episode ended with the pair finding the last remaining location on their original checklist - a looming water tower. I wonder what’s waiting for them in there? (Please let it be Arnie, please let it be Arnie)