Luke is an interesting case, because throughout most of the season I’ve been pretty apathetic towards him. I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t understand the overwhelming love either. So yeah, Luke definitely got on my last nerve this episode with his fucking around (literally) and his behavior toward Sarah.
However, unlike a lot of people, I don’t think this behavior was out of character exactly. Throughout the season, Luke has shown himself incapable of handling stressful situations. In episode one, he’s all ready to play the gallant rescuer… until there’s a chance Clem might prove dangerous to him then it’s “welp, hope you like the sensation of smashing into the hard ground, kiddo.” In episode 2, he advocates lying to Walter to avoid trouble and slips away during the conflict with Carver. And while he did come to rescue the group, the moment things look more dangerous outside than in, he votes to stay put and when that doesn’t work, he votes to leave behind anyone who might hurt their chances of survival. The bit with Sarah in episode 4 was actually an interesting parallel to episode 1, I thought, with Luke trying to rescue people without realizing that he’s really bad at it. He can’t cope with stressful situations, so the minute those Walkers showed up, he panicked and took it out on Sarah, which only made things worse. Then, no doubt with the stress of the baby and the fracturing group getting to him, he chose to seek comfort with Jane rather than doing what he was supposed to for the group.
So yeah, Luke annoyed me, but I didn’t think he was all that out of character. Luke may want to be a good leader, but he never actually has been. He’s always been crap at dealing with stress, so excepting maybe Jane and Kenny (given his current emotional state), he was probably the worst possible choice to go after Sarah. He wanted to save her, but he couldn’t put his own emotions aside long enough to actually help. It makes you wonder what he might have done with Clem in episode 1 had Pete not been there to make the call.
ADDENDUM: Also, one thing that I found very interesting is, if you save Sarah, Luke says that he himself was shocked by how quickly he chose to get the fuck out and leave her behind, which I think shows he’s at least partially aware of this failing in himself. Though, of course, if you don’t save her, he pushes it back on Clementine with, "I didn’t think you’d leave her." Thankfully, she has the option to tell him off there.
And, yes, Nick’s death was a travesty. It’s clear the writers’ change doomed him because after his awesome arc in episode 2, he was shuffled off-screen as fast as possible. I expected him to die, but I thought he would go out saving Clem or Sarah, showing that he had taken the lessons learned from Walter (that selflessness and kindness aren’t weakness) to heart.
But then we got this instead. Yeah.
At least we got some strong development for Clem. So much is being put on her shoulders, the guilt for Sarita, the responsibility and guilt for Sarah (seriously, adults who aren’t Rebecca, step the fuck up and help care for the children god damn), the need to play mediator between bickering adults, the need to support adults through their emotional turmoil when she’s doing all she can to hold herself together… She’s dealing with a lot and I hope that all comes to a believable head in episode 5.
If this episode did one thing right it was reminding us that Clementine can’t do it all herself. She’s not a superhero, she’s just a little kid who’s seen too much.
Mind if I publish this? I think you’ve made some really good points and, hey, even a silly humor blog can do with a bit of commentary!