Well, this bonus season 10 episode of The Walking Dead is the best so far. “One More” takes the two characters, who may as well be Rosencranz and Guildenstern, and places them at the forefront, both appeasing the Covid-19 prevention requirements and feeling like something both interesting to watch and less weighted down by the overarching narrative. Seeing Gabriel and Aaron in a one-hour buddy episode, complete with a half-great/half-ham guest star performance, made for some enjoyable television.
While this series is far beyond having the ability to construct episodic adventures, “One More” makes a good case for what the series could get out of these one-offs focused on a small portion of the cast. Of course, that’s what I more or less expected when these episodes were announced, so perhaps at least some of the others of this bonus round will follow suit in the way “Find Me” and “Home Sweet Home” did not.
For the most part, much of this episode places focus on the exhaustion of Gabriel and Aaron, who have been on a two-week-long search for food and supplies, based on a map given to them by Maggie. As these two possess no ill will towards each other, it’s almost a relief that we do not get forced drama matching up two people with different ideologies or understandings of handling certain situations. Instead, these are two guys who are survivors, fully capable of fighting and understanding the concerns of each other’s needs.
So, of course, there will be some form of drama to break up the largely positive (despite being tiring) journey of these guys. Entering the second half of the episode is Robert Patrick’s Mays, the man living inside the building Gabriel and Aaron decided to take shelter in (survival tip: be wary of newly discovered buildings not on your detailed map). Automatically threatening, having stashed Aaron away somewhere and tying up Gabriel, this man with the cut-up face means business.
With characters like these, especially when they are one-and-done appearances, I’m of the mind that a genre show should allow them plenty of slack on the leash. This is a big performance, but would you want more subtlety from an unhinged man living in a world of the dead? I wouldn’t, and Patrick is, fortunately, an excellent actor. He sells his loud moments quite well because he’s able to highlight the pathos from within. It’s not too complicated in summing up who this guy is, but you have the right characters for him to spar against, as he forces his prisoners to play an even more twisted version of Russian Roulette.
The episode even tries to mess with its own general thesis of nihilism by committing Gabriel to being a man of faith who can inspire people, only to have him be the one who also takes life away. It’s riveting to watch him argue with Mays while Aaron is about to shoot himself in the head under orders. To have Gabriel then slam Aaron’s mace arm into Mays as a means of protecting his group from “a man who killed his own family” is the kind of thing that should inspire good debate from fans.
So, of course, I was then let down humorously by the reveal of the brother chained up in the attic. Conceptually, it’s fine. However, when you present a big-bearded man (Rip Van Winkle-like) and he’s a twin, that takes me out of the moment. I’m sorry but as good as Patrick is, it was a little too hilarious for me to take seriously.
With that in mind, this is just one moment of a very consistent episode. Ross Marquand and Seth Gilliam get a chance to flex their acting muscles a bit more, as well as have fun with each other, whether it’s drinking whiskey and eating boar or getting covered in mud right before it rains. Their adventure is largely about the strength of perseverance, and it works as a solid standalone.
- Zombie Kill of the Week: A lot of off-screen slaughter this week, but I did enjoy the walker who ripped his back out, only to get a machete to the head.
- Lots of stylish photography to handle the lack of more visible walker slaughter scenes. I saw a grasshopper get covered in blood, which is weirdly poetic.
- Aaron had to kill a boar. Yes, I did think of Bill Duke in Predator. Lots of Predator on the mind this season.
- Remember when Aaron was basically tortured by Rick and the gang for being his inviting self?
- RIP Mays and Mays’ twin brother. We hardly knew ya.
- Thanks for reading and feel free to hear what me and a few other fans of the show have to say about the series on The Walking Dead TV Podcast.