After weeks of narrow focus on a small handful of characters, "The Walking Dead" is started to bring all the threads together in this week's episode, "Crossed." And while some plotlines were funny, others poignant, and others advancing the main plot, the hour continued this season's winning streak.
Things may change after next week's sure to be apocalyptic finale, but so far, this is the best season of the show -- ever.
Here's every shocking moment we saw on this week's episode:
Break Dat Church
Father Gabriel may be a little too new to get totally emotionally invested in, but the cowardly preacher's story definitely carried metaphorical weight. From his church being defiled by Rick's group for weapons and fortification, to his eventual escape through the floorboards, Gabriel is definitely a weird addition to the show. And weird might be just what we need right now, particularly as we head off on yet another epic confrontation between two groups of angry humans.
Not that we're complaining, but even the characters seem used to these show-downs by now, with Rick saying a rote goodbye to Judith, before telling Carl, "We'll be back soon." "I know," says Carl with no doubt in his voice. We know, too.
The Beth Of Us
Beth Greene continues to step it up in Grady Hospital. She's not free, but she does manage to persuade Officer Dawn to get her some meds to help Carol... Though her plotline does end with the ominous words: "Carol, it's Beth. I just wanted you to know I was here."
On a show where every word is chosen carefully, the use of the past tense for Beth makes us very, very worried for her continual survival.
Tara is growing on us. The one-time outsider (and villain-pawn) is becoming the comic relief as Glenn slides into serious leader mode. Her team name for Glenn and company was adorable, as was her giddy discovery of a yo-yo. Between this, and her repeated pound-it attempts with the rest of the dead serious cast, Tara is providing needed moments of levity to the show, and it's great. Just don't break her spirit too, okay?
Abraham-ing It Up
Abraham spent most of the episode in a near catatonic state after finding out Eugene has been lying about the zombie cure, so it was up to Maggie to step up to the plate. When Abraham angrily approaches Rosita, Maggie points a gun at the human carrot, spitting, "Sit down or I'll put you down."
Her speech towards the end of the episode, the one that finally roused Abraham from his slumber, was great too - and a wonderful capsule of the show. "Get over yourself," Maggie said. "You’re not the only one who lost something today. It’s never going to get any better than this." Ouch. But also? So true, because on "Walking Dead" you get mere minutes of happiness, and that's it.
Sky Full Of Tars
There's so much to unpack about Rick's first salvo against Grady Hospital, but let's cut right to the big one. The Group finds an exploded FEMA trailer with walkers literally melted into the asphalt. It's a disgusting sight, and only leads to one of the most insane fight scenes the show has ever done.
Tracking a bunch of officers from Grady, Daryl ends up tussling with Officer Licari in the field of walkers. They snap at his face, and when everything seems lost the younger Dixon ends up grabbing a flippin' zombie head by the eye sockets, rips it out and conks Licari on the head with it.
We screamed. Did you scream? It was scream-worthy.
Police Academy: Mission To Atlanta
Another big theme running through the episode is, who are the good guys? The cops of Grady are clean and try to reason with Rick's group. Rick, a former cop, looks like your insane homeless grandpa - and nearly murders one of the cops in cold blood before Daryl talks him down.
So again, who are the bad guys here? Is it Grady, which clearly has its problems? Or is it former cop Rick, who now comes up with plans to murder people without a second thought.
The Lamb And The Shepherd
We could have heard this wrong, but was the "nice" cop named Bob - which seems very on the nose for Sasha, who just lost her boyfriend Bob - have the last name Lambsen? Particularly when the Grady Officer he clashed heads with is definitely named Shepherd? Still, while Shepherd is willing to help mutiny against Dawn (or at least she says she is), Bob just offers advice... And then tricks Sasha, knocking her out cold.
Yes, we saw it coming from a mile away. No one in the world of "The Walking Dead" is actually helpful. But we're still screaming for poor Sasha, who finally trusted someone just to be betrayed again.
Oh, and now Bob is free and can warn Grady, of course. "What’s worst case?" Tyreese said to Rick about his plan to trade officers for Beth and Carol earlier in the episode. "All it takes is one of those cops coming down the hall at the wrong time."
"My word," Rick answered, "This will work."
If Rick is wrong about this plan... What else is he wrong about?
What did you think of "Crossed?" Let us know in the comments below.