Friday, March 20, 2015

The Walking Dead: Spend (5:14) SPOILERS

Did you ever think that you were soooo smart? Think you've got it all figured out, and then like an Adam West Batman fight, BAM! Right in the face:

I though I was pretty slick talking about all my extended metaphors in regards to the titles of the last few episodes. However, I missed one of the biggest points! I racked my brain this week trying to figure out what this week's title, "Send" had to do with the episode. I mean one could argue that spending on material possessions frivoulously is a bad thing. But there had to be more than that. Our friend from The Walking Dead Forums, jwcoombs (Forum), discovered the relevance between Dale's quote about time and the final five episodes of season five. What really boils my water, is that I even used the quote in one of my previous posts! So, I had the quote in mind, but didn't tie it together. Well done, Jwcoombs, well done. As for me:

To parapharse Jwcoombs, he brought up the last five titles of the season: "Remember," "Forget," "Spend," "Try," and "Conquer". These are all the main verbs of Dale's quote.

"I like what, uh, a father said to a son when he gave him a watch that had been handed down through generations. He said, 'I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs better than it did mine or my father's before me, I give it to you not that you may REMEMBER time, but that you may FORGET it for a moment now and then and SPEND all of your breath TRYing to CONQUER it.'" Check out the video here

C'mon man! How do i miss that? Well, what is this telling us? I said last time that time is a symbol of civilization. But, according to the quote, time is not just a symbol to civilization, but it imprisons hope and desire. Is Alexandria this prison? Gabriel calls Alexandria a paradise and Rick and the crew bringers of false light. I disagree, Alexandria has the potential to be a paradise, but it's inhabitants are as Gabriel says, "false apostles of righteousness."

But first, as Chris Hardwick says, In Memoriam:
RIP: Noah. Why oh why did you have to show some form of hope? We've all seen when someone gets hopeful, they die. However, I think that by the time we get to "Conquer" the group will receive some chance at hope. Oh, and we will get to this scene in a moment because of course it is symbolic! I think we should deal with Gabriel first.

In the opening scenes, Gabriel walks into his makeshift church. He hasn't been seen much since the group has gotten to Alexandria, apparently he has been praying for this new group to keep him safe from Rick. I mean how could you be scared of this man?

Well, I guess, Gabriel did see Rick, Sasha, Michonne, and a few others kill the termites. I guess when you hide in your church while your congregation gets torn to shreds, your morals are subject to question. So, let's dissect his scene. One of the first shots of him shows a nice bowl a strawberries. I guess someone found a strawberry patch. Thanks to the Talking Dead, we all know that strawberries are symbolic of righteousness and spiritual merit.

So Gabriel kind of loses it when he sees the strawberries realizing that he is not righteous either because of what he's done lately or what he did to his congregation. I thought he might just get all emotional and storm out of the room:

But instead, he went a little crazy and rips apart the Bible.

Hold on a second... what does that say?
I know that it's a little blurry, but it says Leviticus. If you remember in my first blog post on the episode "Them" (here), I said that the entire episode was an allusion to the Exodus in the bible. Guess what? Leviticus is the next book in the Bible! Leviticus tells the Israelites how to conduct themselves while, "camped around the holy tent sanctuary" Also, according to Charles R. Swindoll, "The overall message of Leviticus is sanctification. The book communicates that receiving God’s forgiveness and acceptance should be followed by holy living and spiritual growth. Now that Israel had been redeemed by God, they were to be purified into a people worthy of their God." 
Basically, Leviticus teaches us that we need to learn to live a life free of sin. If we look at the group, are they learning how to conduct themselves in paradise or living a life of spiritual growth? Gabriel reads the signs around him, and he doesn't feel that the group is doing that. As I was watching the episode, it took me a while to pick up on my major symbolic theme. For most of my first viewing, I was just enjoying the episode and none of the symbols really stood out. I knew that this scene had to have some symbols. I looked at the picture, and did some research. The painting is of Birch Trees. These trees are symbolic of new beginning and cleansing of the past. Ok, so this foreshadowed that Gabriel was going to go all Judas on the group. As per usual, I'm super punerific.

But still, I didn't see the overall symbolic theme until the final scene of the episode. If we fast forward a bit:

Gabriel is telling Deanna, (Who's Deanna!) that the devil and his servants are the false apostles of righteousness and that he disguises himself as the angel of light. False Light. Then it hit me. The symbols that I need to be looking for deal with facades. Where can we turn to first? Oh look at this scene right here. Gabriel is talking about Satan and he how he is a false light. Ummm.. look behind your shoulder Gabriel, there is a false light right there. Sean, maybe you are looking into this too much. I mean, it's a light bulb. Yes, it is, but the rest of the community is having power outages. We see that Sam says his house doesn't have electricity, and Reg even says in the beginning that there are power outages all over Alexandria. Yet, when Gabriel tells Deanna that Satan disguises himself as the angel of light...

I then had to take a look at this episode and figure out where were there facades, and how did the group actually show that they were not bringing false light to the community. This brings me to my original thesis. Rick and his group are not the purveyors of false light; it's the citizens of Alexandria.

To start what is the whole purpose of Glenn, Noah (tear), Tara, Eugene, Aiden, and the supreme douche-box, Nicholas? They had to find a transmitter for the solar panels. Duh, false light!

This is the first time that we see Aiden after Glenn knocked him out. Did Glenn possibly knock some sense into him? I say, yes. After Aiden learns that Glenn is true light, as opposed to false light, he follows him:
Glenn Made a checklist
Glenn's right, we should do a permitter check
"You know your stuff"
Aiden, by the way is Celtic for fiery one, seems
to have turned his attitude around since last episode. I think that he has seen that the group does actually know what they are talking about. They are not the false light that Gabriel believes them to be. They are truth.

Unfortunately for Aiden, he didn't listen to Glenn all the time, and that resulted in his death. He was too far gone to be saved. (See what I did there)

Speaking of Glenn, we should have seen that someone was going to die. I never realized it until The Nerdist said it on Talking Dead; no one has died under Glenn's watch. He always seems to save the day. Even Maggie notices it:

Damn it!

Maggie, you've cursed your man! Not only did Maggie say this, but Noah shows he's in it for the long haul. Morals + Hoping for the future = You're gonna die!

In the opening scene, he talks to Reg and wants to learn how to be an artichect. He wants to fix buildings; he wants to build new ones. Again, Damn it! I really liked you Noah, and Tyler James Williams, you are one hell of an actor. Continuing with our false light theme, what does Noah tell Reg?

The way I looked at it was the Noah didn't want to meet at night under "false light" he wanted to meet in the morning with the natural light. Thus, a member of our group is trying to bring true light to Alexandria.

We also see this with Abraham. He seems to be lost when he is out with the group. He starts having some PTSDs. We hear gunshots and a woman screaming. I think he's reeling back to what happened to his wife and children.

His eyes are lost, and he doesn't know what to do. This is the same exact look we saw when he first met Eugene. As a true military man, he needs his mission.

Like a true hero, he steps up and saves the day: 

Tobin, the foreman, wants to retreat; he wants to leave Francine to the walkers. Tobin shows that he only cares for himself. Maybe he should be marked with an A for his hubris(look at last week's post). Interestingly, like Aiden, after an Alexandrian comes into contact with one of the group, he seems to see the error of his ways. Tobin goes to Deanna and tells her that Abraham needs to be in charge.

What does this show us? Again, Alexandria has a paradisiacal facade, but is it? Who is the false light? Who doesn't deserve paradise? Our group who did what they had to do in order to survive. Or, the group that has been protected behind the walls of Alexandria? The people who perpetuate the sins of the world since before the Zombie Apocalypse. 

So who else in Alexandria shows selfishness? The scene that absolutely tore me apart (yup I did it again). Nicholas. Really... Can I:

In last week's episode when Glenn got to do ^ to Aiden, the two told Glenn that the other people didn't listen to the plan or follow the rules. This week, we find out that they were liars, and that they left them because they were afraid. 
They didn't panic we did
You left them. We both did.

In this scene, Nicholas whispers into Aiden's ear: "You left them. We both did." Aiden comes clean and tells Glenn, "They didn't panic, we did." Clearly, self-preservation is at the root of Alexandria. The people haven't had to learn to be interdependent on each other for true survival. While our group has certainly committed sins, they don't leave each other for dead!  

And, Noah, oh, Noah.  Man, his character got it. He was a character that got taken in by the group after Beth died. He was with Tyresse when he got killed too. The group saved him again and again, he needed to become productive member. (Tyler James Williams discusses it on the Talking Dead too). If you look at the revolving door of death, Glenn tries to keep Noah safe again.

Glenn tries to push Noah back, but you can see that Noah isn't having it. He doesn't want someone else to die because of him. If he has to be the sacrifice so all can be good, he's ok with it.  Which brings us up to our next scene.

Noah tells Glenn not to let go. He is already in the Walkers' grasp; he knows that he is going to die. Why does he tell him not to let go? He isn't telling him to not physically let go. He is telling him not to let go of who he is. We know from the season opener when Rick wanted to kill the crazy guy in the boxcar:

Glenn stops him and says, "This isn't who we are." Even when he has a momentary lapse in "The Distance." He realizes he is wrong, and Noah wants to make sure that he keeps on the right path. Even when Nicolas was the cause of Noah's death:

Great. You are truly selfish, and you are the reason why Noah is dead. How Shane of you.

Glenn listens to Noah's dying words. He doesn't let go of his humanity. While I was pissed at him for doing it, he puts Nicholas in the back of the truck to bring him back to safety:

So, is Alexandria the paradise that Gabriel thinks it really is? No. Even when we see Gabriel, he is constantly being viewed through "falsehood". Let's look at the picture from earlier:

Gabriel feels compelled to cleanse his soul, just like the birch trees in the painting. But, look at it... It's a painting of birch trees juxtaposed to a window and real life. I think that this is to symbolize that Gabriel's cleansing is just as false as the light he proclaims is from Satan. It's manufactured somewhere, it's not real. Why is this? The whole episode is centered around Leviticus. Our group went from a life on the run (Exodus) and now they need to learn to be Holy (symbolically... When I say Holy, I mean good. I'm not preaching here). According to Leviticus, one can truly live in paradise if they change their ways. It seems as if Glenn and Abraham have. After we see Gabriel in his bible tearing tirade, he is seen with false light (the scene below and the scene with Deanna)

The solar panels are behind him which perpetuate the false light.

Those who live in Alexandria are not pure or perfect, and it's why we see many of them as sinners. Even in this episode, we see Pete as a drunk, and potentially abusing Sam and Jessie. I feel like Deanna knows that Pete is a drunk, but why does she keep him around? It's quite obvious. If you remember when Aaron was talking to Noah, he said we have a talented surgeon. I would assume that Pete is that surgeon, unless they have a doctor and a surgeon there. Is Deanna turning a blind eye too? Should she be marked with an A. Our group is part of the real world, and while they know what it takes to survive, they need to be willing to follow a sinless or holy life.

Here's the catch! While Abraham and Glenn seem to have realized their potential, both of them have been outside the walls to remember who they are. Carol has not. Carol has been inside and seems to be resorting to the sins of the community: she threatens Sam, she is all ready to steal the guns to take over the community, and she tells Rick that he has to kill Pete.

Rick has been in this community, he's been accepted as one of their own, and he has only been outside the walls for minimal amounts of time. Has this paradise lost rubbed off on him? He's had some questionable behavior: he puts his hand on his gun when he sees Pete walking with Jesse, and he is seen twice in the episode adjusting his ring: 

Is he going to be the leader of this false paradise and make Gabriel's prophecy come true? Or, will the likes of Glenn and Abraham keep him on task. Oh boy! Things are getting juicy!!!

One last point. Noah writes in his book, "This is the beginning." Quite similar to the Genesis: "In the beginning." This could be a turning point for the group.

Here's a little fun fact symbol:

When Eugene lures the walkers away from Noah, Glenn, and Nicholas there is a thunderbird on the van. A thunderbird symbolizes power, protection, and strength. I know Eugene isn't really known as someone who is powerful, but he definitely begins to show it, and he certainly tries to protect his group. 

Here's another one:
After Glenn and his group get to the warehouse, the camera cuts to this sigh... Yup, that's for sure... big things were coming. 

That's it for this week. Sorry for the late posting! Most posts should be up by Wednesday! Leave me a comment, love to hear feedback!


  1. You do a great job recapping the elements from the episode. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks! I'll try to get the post up earlier this week! Stupid life getting in the way, lol

  3. Exceptional read! Factual, intelligent analysis and funny! Great job!