After last week’s action-packed episode, it was expected that this week’s installment of The Walking Dead would take some time to explore the ramifications of all that happened. In this week’s episode, entitled “Try”, the writers gave their cast a chance to really work at some scenes which went a long way in showcasing the ways in which each of them deals with trauma.
Stephen Yuen really gets an opportunity to shine in this episode. The way in which he portrays Glenn’s struggle to keep from crumbling in the face of his first personal failure is wonderfully complex and multilayered. On the one hand, he is emotionally shattered from the loss of Noah. The scene in which talks to Rick about how things happened is heartbreaking, due in large part to his deep sense of personal loss. On the other hand, he takes perhaps the healthiest approach in dealing with the aftermath, in taking considered control of the situation. He is honest, unlike Rick, Carol, or the person responsible for the tragedy. In many ways, Glenn is showing that of all the survivors, he may be most qualified to protect the nugget of civilization which exists at Alexandria.
Andrew Lincoln shines in another way entirely. He masterfully shows the cracks in Rick’s emotional armor as his will to resist the animalistic urges inside of him grows weaker and weaker. Without an external enemy on which to focus the survival instinct he carries inside him, he seeks sources of conflict within the walls of Alexandria. What he finds in Pete is the perfect target for his repressed aggression and need to cope with the changes in the world through violence.
Finally, Sonequa Martin-Green’s work in showing Sasha’s response is perhaps the most tragically wonderful. Sasha responds to the loss by embracing the world in which is does not matter, can not matter. She engrosses herself in the outside world, a world where safety does not exist and therefore loss is simply a an occurrence to be left in the dirt and moved on from.
Each of these unique coping methods winds up having it’s own unique impact on the way in which each of the survivors is viewed and treated within the context of Alexandria’s larger community. Glenn’s carefully considered approach places him in the least amount of danger with respect to being exiled. While Sasha’s response may be the most personally unhealthy from an emotional standpoint, the way in which it manifests demonstrates her continued value to the community. Despite its internal toll, her choice to take out her feelings on the walkers outside of the walls has a real, intrinsic value with respect to Alexandria’s continued safety.
In terms of the larger scheme of the show, several sub plots began to unravel in this episode. We discovered the identity of the person responsible for the disappearance of Rick’s cached gun, the nature of Enid’s sojourns beyond the walls of Alexandria, and received still more hints at the existence and activities of the mysterious Wolves.
The Wolves represent the biggest threat to Alexandria’s continued survival. The fact that the writers have chosen to thread references to them into nearly every episode since the return of the midseason break suggests that they will feature prominently in the upcoming ninety-minute season finale. What their seemingly inevitable arrival means for the future of Rick and the survivors in the context of their roles within the Alexandria enclave should be one of the more interesting threads to watch play out as we approach the end of this season.
This was a solid episode. It did back off of the action (and for good reason) and chose to focus on the psychological elements far more. The story in this episode did feel somewhat disjointed due to the constant jumps back and forth between the main characters. Not that this is a new conceit for The Walking Dead, but the drastically different emotional through-lines for each featured player became somewhat difficult to maintain from scene to scene. Honestly, that was the sole major flaw in the episode. The strength of the acting as well as the compelling nature of the psychological aspects being explored combined for an intriguing, if not superb installment.
As such, “Try” dipped a bit from last week and comes in at a still-solid 8/10.