“Crossed” continues several storylines left unresolved in Season 5 of The Walking Dead. In “Slabtown” we found out that Beth was at Grady Hospital, essentially being held captive. During last week’s episode, “Consumed,” Daryl and Carol made their way to Atlanta on the trail of a Grady Hospital vehicle, where they crossed paths with Noah. Noah told them that Beth was still at the hospital, but before they could do anything Carol was hit by one of the Grady cars and transported to the hospital. This was how the final scenes of both “Slabtown” and “Consumed” came together with Beth seeing Carol being brought into the hospital. “Crossed” picks up after Daryl and Noah have returned to the church and reunited with Rick, Sasha, Tyreese, Carl, Michonne, Father Gabriel, and baby Judith. The group is already preparing to rescue Carol and Beth. The other major storyline to be settled is Eugene finally telling Abraham, Rosita, Tara, Glenn, and Maggie that he is not a scientist and does not have a cure for the walker virus. “Crossed” finds Glenn, Rosita, Abraham, Tara, Eugene, and Maggie right where we left them in “Self Help,” with Eugene lying unconscious on the road and Abraham on his knees. A minor unresolved storyline involves understanding what the deal is with Father Gabriel. In “Four Walls and a Roof” he admitted doing some bad stuff, but he still seems to be holding some secrets.
Preparing for things to come
Sasha is chopping the heck out of some wood inside the church with an axe. She seems angry. Daryl is back with the group. He asks Tyreese if Sasha is “hanging in there,” to which Tyreese replies, “No.” That seems obvious to us, and the wood. It looks like they are creating walker barricades around the church. Rick tells Michonne that Carl wants to go on the raid to the hospital, but it doesn’t sound like Rick is considering it. That’s some good parenting, there. Michonne tells Rick to stay back with Carl—that she’ll go. They sound like a regular nuclear family. Rick says he owes it to Carol. Michonne says that they all do, but Rick says he owes her more. That may be true, but going on the raid seems like more questionable parenting. On the other hand, we wouldn’t love Rick like we do if he didn’t take such risks for the people close to him, even if they are not blood. After Rick, Daryl, Tyreese, Sasha, and Noah leave, Michonne and Carl hammer a slab of wood over the door, as Judith cries in the background. Life can’t be easy with a baby in the world of The Walking Dead.
Sasha and Tyreese are talking in the back of the truck as they all drive to Atlanta. Sasha remains distraught. Tyreese tells Sasha that he has been where she has, referring to losing Karen. Whenever Tyreese compares his and Karen’s relationship to Sasha and Bob’s, we just don’t quite buy it. It seems like Tyreese and Karen were just getting to know each other, whereas Bob and Sasha not only spent more time with each other, but went through a lot together after the prison burned down. Then again, each person’s grief is their own, even if we do think Tyreese may be playing things up a bit.
In another, seemingly more walker-ridden part of Georgia, we find Rosita, Tara, Glenn, and Maggie still standing by their broken down fire engine waiting for Eugene to regain consciousness and for Abraham to come out of his state of shock. Tara is filling water bottles, which leads her to create a name for their group to enhance their solidarity—GREATM. She jokes she’s going to get GREATM tattooed on her knuckles. Tara is really starting to grow on us. Rosita goes over to Abraham and tells him to take some water, which he knocks away. She yells at him, telling him that he’s acting worse than a six-year-old, and he stands up, aggressively facing down Rosita. Maggie aims her gun at Abraham and says, “Sit down or I’ll put you down.” Maggie can be a mother figure or a badass. She has a lot of versatility. As we mentioned in the “Self Help” recap we can see why Abraham wanted Maggie and Glenn to join them for their possibly forgotten trip to DC. They are strong fighters who are still invested in making morally sound decisions. Now that they know Eugene does not have the cure, it is not clear what they will do. What is clear is that Eugene is down for the count right now, and the group is within a few miles of a huge herd of walkers. Of course, perhaps everyone left alive is within a few miles of a huge herd of walkers, but they just don’t realize it.
Rick is discussing his plan to rescue Beth and Carol from the hospital with Tyreese, Daryl, Sasha, and Noah. Tyreese expresses concern about one of them getting killed by any unaccounted-for factors and suggests an alternative—to grab a couple policemen and do an exchange of prisoners. Rick responds that Tyreese’s plan might work, but that his own plan will work. Daryl thinks Tyreese’s plan will work. We know that Tyreese isn’t a big fan of killing, but what is Daryl’s reasoning? Did the time he spent with Carol in “Consumed” make him question how each morally uncertain action a person takes can become a terrible burden? Perhaps he just thinks it’s a better plan.
At the church Father Gabriel is washing the blood of the people from Terminus off the floor. Carl is organizing weapons and tells Father Gabriel that they can teach him how to fight. He seems disturbed about the deaths of the Terminus attackers and replies to Carl that the Termites had said they’d go. Carl points out that they had to kill the Termites because they were liars and murderers. Father Gabriel despondently says, “Just like us.” Carl forgot to include cannibalism in his list of the Termite crimes. They did eat Bob’s leg. Carl gives Gabriel a little speech reminiscent of the one his father gave him in “Strangers”:
“We protected ourselves. They wanted us dead. You’re lucky your church has lasted this long. You can’t stay in one place anymore. Not for too long. And once you’re out there, you’re gonna find trouble you can’t hide from. You need to know how to fight.”
Michonne seems disturbed by what she hears Carl saying. Father Gabriel finally takes a machete, and Carl tells him that he’s holding it wrong. Father Gabriel says he has to lie down, and leaves. Get it together, Gabriel!
At Grady Hospital, Beth seems able to move around freely now, or as freely as the other civilians. Dawn is talking to one of her officers and Beth is eavesdropping as she mops near by. A lot of mopping goes on at Grady Hospital. You could eat off those floors—or be eaten by a walker off those floors, as happened to Creepy Gorman when he messed with Beth. Beth overhears the officer suggesting that they cut off Carol from life support, saying, “Are we really gonna keep wasting valuable resources on this lady?” Beth can’t help herself and gets involved, yelling at the officer and pointing out what a resource hog he is. Beth points out that the woman has only been here for one day, adding, “What good is this place if we don’t try to save people?” This sets Dawn right off and he tells the officer to pull the plug on the woman and see if she can pull through on her own. The officer leaves and Dawn spins around on Beth and tells her, “You just killed that woman.” Dawn explains in her angry tone that she has to side with the officers because the power dynamics at the hospital are very fragile. Honestly, it’s not clear why Beth hadn’t already realized this when Dawn punished Noah for admitting he caused an accident that killed a patient, even when she knew it was caused by Beth during the “Slabtown” episode. If you challenge Dawn in front of others, she has to appear in control and cannot risk seeming weak to her officers. Dawn surprises Beth, and us, when she tells her that there is nothing she can do, so Beth is going to have to save the patient’s life. Dawn gives Beth the key to the drug locker, telling her she doesn’t even trust the doctor with it.
Beth: “Why are you doin’ this?”
Dawn: “I thought you were weak. You’ve proved me wrong.”
Grasping the circumstances
Glenn, Rosita, and Tara walk through a field to find water. There are walkers nearby who are stuck.
Tara: “Just stay here, guys. Don’t get up. There’s nothing for you in Washington.”
Rosita: “That’s not funny.”
Tara: “It’s not not not not funny.”
Glenn: “Hey, I get that we’re all dealing with things in different ways—”
Tara: “Listen, I don’t know what to do without DC anymore, but I’m not dealing with it. I’m over it. I just want him to be okay. Eugene wasn’t strong. He isn’t fast. He doesn’t know how to use a weapon. The truth hurts, but he’s useless. He had one skill that kept him living. Are we supposed to be mad at him ’cause he used it?”
Glenn: “Damn right.”
We thought Glenn would be more forgiving. Perhaps when you are married and have talked about the idea of having a baby, your dreams and future hopes come crashing down a lot harder. During this scene we were pretty much won over completely by Tara. Not only does she continue to be funny, we absolutely agree with her—you use what skills you have to stay alive. It’s not as though he lied to them so that he could eat them, he lied to them so that they would help him get to a location he believed they would all be safer at. Though people died trying to save Eugene, he didn’t cause their deaths (at least we don’t think he did); he only gave them hope for a better future. It’s just that through his admission, Eugene has now taken away that hope and no one knows what to do or how to feel.
Maggie gets a ladder down from the fire engine. Abraham continues to sit and look out into space. She uses the ladder and a blanket to shade Eugene from the sun. After storming around for a bit, Maggie yells at Abraham, “Get over yourself. You’re not the only one who lost something today. It’s never gonna get any better than this.” Maggie’s voice breaks as she says this and it breaks our heart. Hope is a fragile, but powerful, thing.
Beth goes to see the doctor. There seems to be a lot of tension between them since his having tricked her into killing a patient and her attempted escape. She gets right to the point and asks what medicine will help Carol. He figures out that she has the key to the medicine cabinet. He tells Beth that whatever Dawn’s intentions are, they can’t be good. He tries to explain himself to Beth: “I was trying to save my life. I’m still wondering if I did… Epinephrine drip, five milligrams. She won’t wake up right away, but it’ll ease her blood pressure so she’ll have a shot.” As Beth leaves, he wishes her good luck.
Tara, Rosita, and Glenn are talking by the stream. The stream they have found is cloudy, but Rosita knows how to create a filter; she tells them that Eugene taught her. They ask Rosita how she met up with Abraham. Rosita says that she and a group were fighting off “dead ones” in Dallas and Abraham rolled up in his big truck and helped them. Rosita says, “And afterwards, he told me that he was trying to save the world. And he saw what I could do and he wanted my help. He was the first person to ask me for that since this all started. Maybe he was lying too.” For people like Rosita and Abraham, who have traveled with Eugene for so long, his admission is going to be harder to come to terms with.
Noah is running from the hospital cops through the demolished streets of Atlanta. They catch him, but it’s a trap, and Rick’s group surrounds the cops.
Rick: “You do what we say, we don’t hurt you.”
Male hospital cop [Lamson]: “Okay.”
Rick: “Good now turn around, put your guns on the floor, and kneel. We need to talk.”
Officer Lamson asks Rick if he’s a cop—says it’s the way he carries himself. He tells Rick, “Believe it or not, I was too.” On the side, Noah tells Rick that he is Officer Lamson, describing him as “one of the good ones.” Another car drives up full of hospital cops. After a brief skirmish, the second hospital car drove off with the captured officers, but don’t make it far, because one of their tires is shot out and their car gets stuck on walker innards. They are in a horribly disturbing area with burned walkers all over the ground. They are moving, but melted onto the pavement. Rick and the others chase the hospital cops down. As they split up, Daryl gets into a fight with one of the officers who showed up in the second car. Daryl comes close to being bitten by the walkers squirming around them as they fight, but Daryl grabs the skull of one through the eye sockets and hits the hospital cop on the head with it. Daryl seems to be getting the better of the fight, but Rick comes along with his gun and the winner is clear. There is nothing more valuable than a gun in The Walking Dead world. Well, maybe food, but there doesn’t seem to be as much concern about food as there is about guns and ammunition. Rick is holding the gun on the hospital cop and looks like he might shoot him. Daryl calls his name several times, trying to bring him back from the kill zone. Finally, Daryl says, “Rick, three is better than two,” which seems to bring Rick back to the plan. The more hostages the better.
They have captured three of the hospital cops. The female officer tries to negotiate with them, saying she needs to talk to Rick. She tells them that Dawn won’t make the trade because Dawn knows that they are part of a group that wants to overthrow her and put Lamson in her place. Lamson disagrees, saying that Dawn doesn’t know they want him in Dawn’s place. The female officer suggests they let them go and that the three of them will take care of Dawn, then let Beth and Carol go. Lamson stops her and says that the captured hospital cops are not going to do that, because they can make this plan work, but their group will have to know how to talk to Dawn. He claims his only motive is to stay alive and that he will help them. Daryl calls Rick over to fill him in. This whole time the hospital cops are still wearing their bulletproof vests. Seems like step one would be to take off the captives’ vests, just in case they get loose and you have to shoot them.
Maggie, Tara, and Rosita are still by the stream. The sunlight ripples though the trees in the shady glen and they seem to be having a good time together, even if it involves ripping up clothes from dead people to make nets and gather supplies. Glenn and Rosita catch a fish. Glenn asks Rosita if she knows how to clean fish, which she does. He responds, “Good. We’re gonna need that. Wherever we all end up. You in?” She smiles back at him and says she’s in. Tara has dug a backpack out of the mud and, after rummaging around, tells them, “You aren’t going to believe what’s in here.” It’s like the sun has come out for an hour on a stormy day (or decade). We aren’t certain what Tara finds in the backpack – unless it’s the yo-yo we see she holding later.
Father Gabriel is still holed up in his office. Michonne knocks on his door and tries to talk to him.
Michonne: “I just wanted to tell you…for you to know… the things that we do… they’re worth it.”
Father Gabriel: “I already took the machete. What more do you want from me?”
Michonne: “I don’t want anything from you. I’m just trying to help.
It’s still not clear what Gabriel’s deal it. He seems particularly damaged, in a very damaged world, which can’t be good for anyone around him.
At the hospital Beth walks past an orderly, who looks a little like Kris Kringle, who is standing near the drug cabinet. Santa abruptly starts coughing in order to distract the hospital cops so that Beth can get to the med cabinet. Once she gets the meds and walks back past him and the officers around him, Santa stops coughing, saying he didn’t know what that was. How many people are in on her plan? Is she just telling anyone about her dangerous behaviors? She goes to Carol’s room and gives her an IV drip of the epinephrine she stole from the med cabinet. Though Carol remains unconscious, Beth tells Carol that she is there with her.
Sasha and Tyreese are packing up the car. Sasha gets a rip in her jacket—the jacket that formerly belonged to Bob. This makes her even more angry than before. Tyreese tries to talk to her about letting go. She tells him that she feels guilty because she wasn’t able to take the action necessary to stop Bob from turning. Tyreese points out that she let herself feel Bob’s impending death with her eyes wide open, and that when it was needed she let her brother help her.
Father Gabriel is acting all out of sorts back in his office. He has used the machete to remove floorboards so he can leave the church. He jumps down into the crawlspace beneath the church. As he comes out from under the church he has to pull a nail out from his foot—how very Christ-like of him. Will he have other stigmata-like signs on whatever strange journey he is taking?
In Atlanta, Rick is preparing to negotiate with Dawn. Lamson tells Rick that she will say that she won’t make a deal, but that she will, because she always does. Rick is kind to Lamson, asking him what he needs before they leave, and he responds by asking for water.
Rick: “Thanks, Sergeant Lamson.”
Lamson: “My name’s Bob.”
Rick: “You’re still a cop.”
Lamson: “No. No, the real ones are all gone.”
Father Gabriel is out in the woods. Doing what, is unclear. A walker comes upon him, and they struggle for some time. At one point, Father Gabriel actually puts his hand on the top of the walker’s head, perhaps holding the walker at bay, but it also reminds us of posture that a pastor might take when healing the sick. Not that the walker is healed. Eventually, Father Gabriel knocks the walker down and is going to smash it with a rock, but can’t do it when he sees the cross around its neck. Are these some sort of trials that Father Gabriel is putting himself through? If so, he seems to be failing.
Sasha seems to be in charge of watching over Lamson. He is acting sad. When he says that he’ll be okay, she says “Me, too,” not in a sarcastic way, but in a sympathetic way. She overheard him tell Rick that his name is Bob, so perhaps she is having some kind of transference issue. Lamson tells Sasha that he saw a “rotter” in the nearby parking lot and that he knew him. He tells a sad story of survivor guilt that we won’t bother to describe here because we all know it’s a trick. All of us except Sasha, that is. What is confusing is why Noah said Lamson was one of “the good ones” when Lamson is clearly going to try something here. Of course, wanting to escape when you don’t know what the outcome of this negotiation will be isn’t necessarily evil; it’s just survival skills kicking in. Sasha tells Lamson that she will help him by shooting this person he once knew, who is now glued to the parking lot. Apparently she is making up for not “taking care” of her own Bob after he died. Shooting an already-turned acquaintance of someone you are holding captive seems like a risky way to assuage your guilt.
Living with the aftermath
We return to the road with the broken-down fire engine. Maggie gives Abraham water, telling him that she knows he’s thirsty. She asks, “Did you want me to shoot you?” and he responds, “I thought I did. But I don’t.” They hear a noise that they think is a walker at first, but it turns out Eugene is waking up. Maggie excitedly runs towards him.
Glenn, Tara, and Maggie are walking back, telling stories and enjoying being with each other. As they get closer to where they passed the walkers on their way in, Glenn tells them to not even look. It seems like they just want to pretend this is a semi-normal pleasant day by the stream, if just for a moment. Is this the return of hope for something good, even if it’s just being with each other, or a form of denial that could get them killed if indulged in too heavily?
Sasha is going to shoot the walker acquaintance of Lamson’s from the window with her rifle, yet it still requires that she and Lamson walk to another part of the room. He is in handcuffs, but stands freely behind her as she aims her rifle. Naturally, he knocks her out and runs away. What the hell are you thinking Sasha? Trust is super questionable in The Walking Dead world, but certainly don’t trust someone you are holding captive. Sasha, Sasha, Sasha… Rick is going to be the angry one now.
What’s interesting about the hospital cops is that even in a chaotic world, a police uniform holds great power over people. It seems as though people, at least certain people, can’t help but trust the uniform, if not the person. Dawn is no slouch when it comes to understanding power and control. Creating the appearance of a civilized, uniformed police force may really hold things together in a certain way. At times one might be tempted to feel for Dawn and the delicate balance she is trying to maintain, but then we have to remember how Dawn is using her knowledge of power dynamics to exploit people in potentially terrible way. We see in The Walking Dead that though some people use cruel exploitation to get what they want, it is still possible to use leadership to motivate people, as Rick generally does. People want to follow him because they believe he has their best interests at heart, even if he makes mistakes. Perhaps what happened with Sasha shows us that you need a Rick around sometimes to remind us, as he did in “Strangers,” that we are in the apocalypse:
“You are not safe. No matter how many people are around, or how clear the area looks. No matter what anyone says, no matter what you think. You are not safe. It only takes one second. One second, and it’s over. Never let your guard down, ever.”
Perhaps everyone should carry a little card with this warning on it. Let’s hope it’s not too late for Sasha to learn the mantra.
Eugene, on the other hand, was able to motivate people through the use of hope and a sense of purpose—both are very powerful factors in human existence. With Eugene’s lie, certainly there were people were being used, but perhaps not exploited, as his goal was to motivate people to make choices that would lead them to safety—even if it was his own safety first.
Next week is the mid-season finale. What will happen to GREATM may not be clear until the second half of the season. Will they return to the church or continue on to DC, and who will stay with the group? Besides Tara, who is ready to forgive Eugene? It’s not clear who else is in, or what the future holds for GREATM. Will Father Gabriel’s weirdness be explained in the next episode, and is it something we should be scared of? It’s not clear whether Rick will find resolution at Grady Hospital or we will be left with a cliffhanger. We always prefer the former, but we will take what we can get as Season 5 of The Walking Dead has sure kept us motivated to keep watching.