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We open shortly after the events of “Four Walls and a Roof.” Daryl is back with the group and he and everyone else are tearing apart the church. “Crossed” isn’t an action packed episode, the show is saving that for next week’s mid-season finale. Read on to see how it sets everything in motion for the future of the show. 

At the church, Sasha is still mourning Bob. In the show’s timeline it has likely only been one day, two at the most. Rick is in dad-mode and does not want Carl to go to Atlanta. Michonne offers to go so that Rick can stay with his son. Rick won’t accept. Carol saved his daughter, so he must save her. Michonne stays behind with Carl, Judith and Father Gabriel. Everyone else saddles up for the rescue.

As they board up the church, Father Gabriel is haunted by the memories of all of the people he failed to rescue. I can’t imagine what it must be like for him to see people so dedicated to one another in the way that he should have been dedicated to everyone in his community.

Before I get to the rest of the story, I want to comment on the pacing of this episode. It’s slow and very disjointed. The scenes rotate among all three storylines. That would be fine, except that each scene is really short. The effect is jarring and I wasn’t a fan.

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We cut to Glenn, Maggie and the rest of their group, which Tara has named GRATEM. Abraham is still shut down. Rosita attempts to snap him out of it by yelling at him. His reaction is not kind. He stands up as if to strike her. In response, Maggie draws her gun. Smartly, Abraham takes a seat.

Rick, Daryl, etc… plot their attack on the hospital. Tyreese worries there are flaws in Rick’s plan. He suggests that they kidnap a few of the police officers and exchange them for Beth and Carol. Based on what Noah has said about Dawn, Daryl agrees that this is the better plan.

Rick goes along with their decision. I love Rick’s character growth. He’s allowed the group to be more of a democracy. He’s still the leader, but he’s more of a president than a dictator. Unfortunately for our heroes, Tyreese’s plan doesn’t pan out.

At the church, Carl senses Gabriel’s distress and tries to engage him and encourage him. He reminds him that the people from Terminus were vicious murders. To Gabriel, however, everyone else is a murder, too.

Carl has become one of the wisest people in the group, which is so odd considering that in the first two seasons we couldn’t wait for him to die. He gives Gabriel some very sound advice:

“You’re going to find trouble you can’t hide from. You need to learn how to fight.”

The last thing this man of God wants to do is learn how to commit actual violence. The violence of his non-action with his parishioners was too much for him, how could he possibly have the emotional strength to wield an actual weapon?

At the urging of another officer, Dawn agrees to unplug Carol from her machines. Beth overhears and immediately defends her friend’s life. The officer wastes energy every night charging his DVD player. Beth wants to know why they can’t allocate that energy to the machines that will save lives.

Even though we can see that Dawn agrees with Beth, she still orders that Carol’s machines be turned off. When the officer leaves, Dawn tells Beth that her outburst made it impossible for her to save Carol’s life. Due to the precarious nature of Dawn’s leadership, she would be in danger if she sided with Beth.  Still, she does not want Carol to die, so she gives Beth the key to the drug locker in order to  save Carol’s life. Thanks to Beth’s escape attempt, Dawn now realizes that Beth isn’t as weak as she thought.

I have to say that I find Dawn’s story incredibly under-developed. I have yet to see any real evidence that her leadership position is fragile. Her character is one giant uninteresting mess.

Back with GRATEM, Abraham still stares off into the distance while Maggie builds a makeshift shelter for Eugene. Fed up with Abe’s self-indulgent moping, she walks up to him and says:

“Get over yourself. You’re not the only one who lost something today.”

This shows the difference between Abraham and the rest of the survivors. Rick and the rest of the family all support one another. They share their pain because they know that they only way they can survive is if they allow others to help them through their dark times. Abraham isn’t willing to do that.

Beth asks Dr. Edwards what medicine he’d give Carol. He’s confused at first because Dawn sentenced Carol to death. Eventually, he tells Beth that epinephrine will give Carol a fighting chance.

Glenn, Tara and Rosita search for water and food. None of the water they find is clean, so Rosita builds a makeshift water filter, a trick she learned from Eugene. If only Eugene realized that he didn’t need to lie to be valuable.

Back in Atlanta, Noah acts as bait for the cops. The plan seems to work at first. They capture two officers, including one named Lamson, whom Noah says is “one of the good ones.” Quickly the plan falls apart as another car from the hospital shows up, fires on them and takes back their fellow officers. Sasha manages to shoot the tires of the car, causing the driver to lose control and run over several zombies that render the car useless. By the time our group gets to the vehicle, the hospital cops are in hiding.

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In an intense fight, one of them attacks Daryl. With all of the rumors of a major death this season, I was extremely nervous during this scene. The cop has Daryl pinned to the ground flanked by two zombies merely inches away from Daryl’s face.

But Daryl can’t die this way. Daryl refuses die this way. He reaches over to one of the zombies and fumbles around with its face. As a viewer, I had no idea what he was doing. He even got his hand in the zombie’s mouth at one point, but managed not to get bitten. Finally, he rams his fingers into the walker’s eye sockets and rips its head off. Then, he smashes the cop’s in the head with the zombie’s skull. It’s crazy, unexpected and brilliant.

Now, our team has three hostages instead of two. But the female cop tells them that Dawn won’t be interested in trading them. If they let them go, they’ll kill Dawn themselves and then let Carol and Beth go. Lamson disagrees and wants to help make the exchange as smooth as possible. He does seem genuine, but they group sticks to their plan.

Michonne checks in on the priest and attempts to give him words of comfort. He appreciates the sentiment, but he is not in the place to accept it. When he closes the door, we see him tearing apart the floorboards in the room. A few scenes later, he crawls out from under the church and run off into the woods.

Back at the hospital, Beth steals the epinephrine for Carol, gives it to her and then waits for it to work.

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Sasha’s grief over Bob is quickly turning into anger. She is ready to fall apart. Tyreese knows this and steps in to console her. This is such a beautiful moment that shows the strength of their bond. It also serves as an excellent parallel to Abraham’s grief over Eugene’s lie. Abe is closed off, while Sasha is open. She is distraught but she let’s her brother help her. That is how she will survive this loss without losing her sanity.

Father Gabriel flees into the woods, but, as Carl said, he cannot escape the danger this world brings. A zombie attacks him almost immediately. He does fight back and almost kills her. As he raises a large rock above his head, ready to smash her head in, he pauses when he sees a gold cross gleaming from her neck. He can’t kill her. He drops the stone and runs away, leaving the zombie pinned to the ground.

Maggie tries one more time to reach out to Abraham. She offers him water and then asks him if he wanted her to end his life when she pointed the gun at him earlier.  Surprisingly, he answers her saying, “I thought I did, but I didn’t.” In the moment that Abraham breaks out of his mind, Eugene wakes up. I know this show loves it’s symbolism and synchronicity, but it’s a bit too much for me here. It suggests that Eugene’s life is dependent on Abraham’s mental state. It’s too over the top, even for this show.

Sasha stays behind to guard the hostages. She has a bonding moment with Lamson. He tells her that he saw his friend, now a zombie, melted to the asphalt outside of the building. He asks Sasha to let him put his friend out of his misery. Sasha declines, of course, but offers to do it herself. She thinks this is safe because Lamson is still in captivity. She’s only half trusting him. What could go wrong?

A lot, unfortunately.

They walk over to a window and Sasha attempts to set the zombie in her sights, but Lamson’s story was all a ruse. He headbutts Sasha from behind, slamming her face into the window. She falls to the floor, out cold.

I already addressed how slow I thought this episode was, but I can see how it set things in motion for next week’s mid-season finale. Rumor has it that someone will die, likely Carol, Daryl or Beth. I’m hoping that it’s Beth or someone entirely unexpected.

Who do you think will die?

Check out the sneak peek for next week’s episode “Coda.”

The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead airs next Sunday at 9 on AMC.

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