It was going for something special with the Abraham character that didn’t come off, but due to the professional way this show is now handling its business, it isn’t a fatal flaw for the season.
The problem with the Abraham story is that I just don’t believe that zombie apocalypse survivors are THIS gullible and non-cynical. Since meeting Abraham, we saw that he had this single-minded mission to get Eugene to Washington to save the world. It was always kinda assumed (at least by me) that Abraham was taking this mission as a military man and military men like missions, but this episode changed what was driving him to more of a protective thing by showing us his family (?), how he lost them and just as he was recovering from that loss, along comes Eugene needing help and giving Abraham a new mission. It’s like they were trying so hard to show that Abraham’s entire reason for being was The Mission; and now that The Mission has been exposed as fraudulent, they’re going to make him go through some existential crisis. There was just so much about Abraham’s story that didn’t quite come off. I didn’t buy this single minded “We are going to Washington, dammit!” drive. I didn’t buy the way his family cringed after he beat a man to death with a canned good. And I really didn’t buy him just accepting Eugene’s story at face value and then sticking with it for months just because Eugene dropped a few names and used big words. I mean, hasn’t anyone ever tried to Big Time(tm) Abraham before? Hasn’t Abraham ever bought a used car where some dude tried to mislead him? Has his family so not gotten used to death that they are shocked when their Dad violently defends themselves? Are military men so inflexible in their thinking that they can only go straight forward? The whole thing was just too blunt.
And there were a few fumbles with the extras on the story-telling, like when Rosita fell right into line with Abraham in the library and there was a question about moving on, but was there to tell Abraham he was nuts for wanting to go through the zombie herd rather than detouring. It’s like the earlier scene was there just to support the later scene, and given that Rosita has been a nothing character so far, she had no significance in either instance. Or all the talk about Eugene’s hair making him seem like something he isn’t, which was ironic because he actually was just some dude with a mullet. And they let Tara talk and give fist-bumps again… UGH!
I always wonder how stories like this one happen. Surely someone in the writers’ group said, “Guys, I don’t think this is going to work quite right.” Maybe they were just rushed? Or maybe they should just stick with what they’re good at, which isn’t this sort of storytelling.
But, most of this just negativity just doesn’t matter because of some good things this show is doing this season.
For one thing, the whole Eugene charade is OVER. It is so refreshing to see TWD not linger on stories. Previous showrunners would have milked Eugene’s story for 7-8 episodes. Remember the Sophia Saga? Now it’s over and done with. We’re moving on to something else. Ditto for Abraham’s clumsy story. I thought Abraham’s story was kinda weak, but it is over and it won’t be there to bother me again. That’s the benefit of moving on quickly: Bad things just go away.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was seeing different characters interacting. Glen/Maggie were getting deprived of screen-time in Rick’s group because they were competing with Tyreese, Carol, Darryl, Rick, Carl, etc. They also didn’t really have anything to do, except be the hope that life/love could continue in the zombie apocalypse. Now in Abraham’s group, they are vital cogs in the machine. They fight, they make decisions and they get to talk to characters we haven’t seen them with before. Good stuff.
And they found a new pinnacle of zombie killing: The Water Cannon. Man, to paraphrase Abraham, that was some shit! Seeing the water cannon just blasting zombies to bits. Pretty cool. I wonder how long they can keep finding new ways to kill zombies?
The episode was a bit of a miss, but since TWD is moving quickly this season we don't have to linger on this failure for long. Onward and upward.