Eugene: business in the front, party in the back
Last week’s Rashomon-esque story showed us several groups of survivors as they slowly wend their way back together, and took a break from the Rick/Carl/Michonne triumvirate. This week looks to add some spice to the mix, as we have a trio of unexpected returnees, and a trio of fresh faces that are guaranteed to change things up. Seems things are coming in threes, doesn’t it? Click through after the break to see what might be coming up this Sunday.
<<Spoiler Alert: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Episode 411 will discuss events from earlier episodes in the series, as well as discussing events that may be upcoming. Read only if you’re all caught up!>>
Before we get into extrapolations, let’s take a look at the Sneak Peek video for this episode:
We begin with Michonne and Rick in the kitchen of the house Rick’s been recuperating in. His back is turned to Michonne as he prepares some food, and she asks, “This place. Is it home, or just a stop along the way?” He doesn’t know – he suggests they “just stay here while we figure it out.” He looks at her, askance on his face, trying to judge her reaction. His certainty, shown so clearly prior to the disaster at the prison in episode 408, seems to have evaporated. Michonne nods her head, seeming to weigh Rick’s words, and decides to go on a supply run with Carl. Rick wants to go too, but Michonne points out that he needs to recuperate – The Governor had him seconds from death in a choke hold – and she tells him, “Just rest. Just one more day.” While she does it, she does that cool crinkly forehead thing which is Danai Gurira’s goto emote, showing concern and frustration at the same time. Combined with her flashbacks in Episode 409, which showed her as a mother, it’s easy to imagine Michonne in this case dipping into her maternal side when dealing with a willful Rick. Michonne has been underutilized and underdeveloped in the last season and a half (compared to how important her character is in the book), so it’s nice to see her getting some more screentime, as I think she has a lot of potential. Gurira hasn’t really wowed me to this point, but that’s largely due to the fact that Michonne has been written as a two-dimensional killing machine. Her flashback/nightmare sequence, combined with what looks like another side of her coming through in her conversation with Rick, bodes well for further character development, and a chance for Gurira to show us what she’s got as an actor.
There was also a short promo shown on this week’s Talking Dead. The only copy I could find is from a handheld camera, but here you go:
This one shows Michonne alone in a house (presumably scavenging), picking up a painting that’s been covered in protective paper. She takes the paper off, and lifts the painting up. It looks a bit like the wife from American Gothic, except that someone has crossed one eye out in red (paint…or blood?), and the mouth is covered over with the same. There are trees or reeds randomly growing behind the female face and figure, and it looks like they’re streaks of blood red as well. She hears some rustling from behind a door down the end of the hallway she’s standing in, rustling that sounds exactly like the sound she made taking the paper off of the painting. She walks carefully down toward the door, taking the handle. As she opens it, we cut to splash. Not much here, except that initially I thought it might be another dream sequence. The odd painting, combining American standard style with Pollack-like splashes made me think she was in a surreal bizzaro-world moment, but the sounds from the end of the hallway and her methodical approach suggest otherwise. I somehow think that what she finds behind the door isn’t going to be a walker – we see them all the time, so why focus on this scene if it’s just more of the same? We had three new characters last week, so why not more?
Michonne contemplating bad art
Speaking of new characters, we get to see and hear a bit more of Abraham in the short Promo piece:
We begin with Abraham’s truck barreling past some walkers, and him getting out to deal with them in an efficient and brutal manner. He does a voiceover at the same time, introducing himself: “I’m Sergeant Abraham Ford, and these are my companions.” We get quick flashes of Eugene and his glorious mullet, and Rosita in her military cap. Cut to a scene of Michonne, Carl, and Rick walking down a railway, while Abraham continues in voiceover: “We need people; the more, the better.” Flash on a close-up of Rick’s right eye, sweat drenching his brow, obvious tension on his face – he’s hiding somewhere and only a little light is touching him. We see someone walking toward his hiding spot, holding an automatic rifle casually pointed toward the floor. Back on Rick, wider shot, we see that he’s got blood coming from his forehead. The man approaching looks a hell of a lot like Abraham, so what’s being implied here is that first contact between Rick and Abraham doesn’t go too well. Then again, it’s par for the course for AMC to mishmash things together in such a way that they create a new narrative, one that doesn’t actually reflect what will happen in the episode. Regardless, Rick looks like he’s in trouble again. We go back to the road, where we see Abraham looming over Glen, saying, “We need each other, partner.” Then three shots of Rick – on an eave looking carefully down; a brief shot of him holding what looks like an Uzi; and another of him inside, looking around a corner. We see a door, and then cut to Michonne in a scene from the Talking Dead Promo as she walks down the hallway. We then see a walker moving through some corn – hey, good news anti-GMO croppers: it looks like at least some farmers were still using fertile, natural seed stock! Then we see Rick again, sneaking a peek through what looks like a banister on some stairs heading down, seeing the legs getting closer. Cut to Glen, shouting at someone with dark hair blowing in the wind (I’m guessing Tara): “What did you see?” We do a few quick cuts: first Eugene looks over at us – he’s already creeping me out, but it’s probably just the mullet (I’ll probably end up mentioning that in everything I write about him); then to a walker trapped face-first in a wooden fence; back to Michonne stalking down the hallway; and Rick outside, hugging a space beside a chimney while holding the machine gun. We then get one more voiceover from Abraham: “She’s gone,” overlaying a brief image of a man seen from behind from the waist-down, carrying a duffle bag in his right hand, a machine gun in his left, walking away down a leaf-strewn road. It could be Rick, it could be Abraham, but it’s impossible to tell in the two tenths of a second view we get. We then get several more quick cuts: a sideview of someone (likely Michonne) at a door; Glen, Tara, Abraham and Eugene firing guns at an unseen enemy (presumably walkers); Rick gritting his teeth and looking determined, then leaping out of cover; and Abraham standing behind a thoughtful looking Glen, as he says, “No need for you to die too.”
Again, a ton of information packed into thirty-two seconds (really only twenty-seven if you discount the AMC splash at the end). Looks like Glen is going to throw his lot in with Abraham and co to start with, and that he thinks Maggie is dead. I imagine he’s going to be given some information, either from Tara or from Abraham, that will lead him to believe this. It will be interesting to see how he reacts, then, when he inevitably finds his wife again. In the other storyline, it looks like Rick, Carl, and Michonne are going to a) get separated, and b) run into some kind of trouble. We don’t see Carl at all save for the one scene when all three are on the tracks, and the scenes with Michonne and Rick show them alone, and facing conflict. Granted, Michonne’s doesn’t show her fighting, but who knows what’s behind door number one? And of course, it might all be contrived – it could just be Abraham coming in to make friendly.
It looks like we won’t be seeing anything more of the Carol/Tyreese/Judith/Mika/Psycho Lizzie story, nor of the Daryl/Beth, and possibly no Maggie/Sasha/Bob this week. These focus episodes allow for greater character development, and we’re bound to get a lot of attention paid to Abraham and his group. They play a pretty major role in the book, but the showrunners have shown a willingness to play with things and shake up expectations from the very beginning, so it will be interesting to see how this week, and the next few, play out. Are they here for the long term? Will Rick and Abraham clash when they meet? And why, exactly, does Abraham “need people; the more, the better?” Guess we’ll be finding out this Sunday.