I’m not sure what to call last nights episode…a mid season premier? Most people look at it like a new season, who can blame them? When its been gone for a time with such a cliff hanger finale its hard to remember that it is in fact simply a continuation. AMC encourages this point of view with a countdown clock that was visible for everyone watching the marathon.
Whatever you want to call it, the ratings grabbing series was back with near unreachable expectations from fans.
Confounding expectations is limited number of episodes shown on AMC versus a traditional network series. Every episode of Walking Dead is an event. Considering popularity, that is the price to pay when you have passionate fans reacting to a successful show. If you slip up, you’ll hear it from fans.
Its hard to ground expectations but now after a bit of time has passed I find that my initial enthusiasm has been dampened.
THE GOOD: The Suicide King episode picked up right where the show left off. We weren’t bogged down with a useless episode that was barraged with flashbacks as was a big worry of mine.
The Daryl vs. Merle cliffhanger was solved. We don’t have to wait several episodes to see them figure out how they’ll deal with each other.
I really like the direction they are taking Carl. The kid is growing up fast and is now a true part of the group. When they showed his stern face guarding the new group we were left with little doubt who he is becoming.
Tyreese. Any fan of The Wire should cheer this choice of actor of a character. Tyreese is portrayed by the great Chad Coleman, who is a phenomenal actor.
Rick breaking down. I think this is an interesting issue to watch. Mental breakdowns are a dynamic to explore in such an environment. The pressure and chaos of the situation would be unbearable for anyone in charge. It would be weird and neglectful to ignore such issues. Rick is after all only recently separated from being a small county cop. Now he loses his wife and the world he lives in. Suddenly he has a kid that may not be his and people are relying on him to survive in a world that no longer makes sense. How can that not affect him?
THE BAD: Daryl Vs. Merle. Maybe it was because there was such a long gap between episodes but I felt robbed. Moments back to the fight and its over too fast. This was broken up by Maggie firing into the crowd and then more smoke canisters tossed. That was just gimmicky to me.
The entire Woodbury issue was awful. Obviously The Governor is going to make the transition to a brutal leader and I found it an opportunity missed. The town gets breached and we only see a few moments of zombies tearing into residents. With the town being attacked by an outside group only to be followed by a wall breach by the undead, we had the perfect elements for sheer chaos. For The Governor to truly emerge via brutal competence in handling the chaos of the attacks. I’m sure they will find another way to recreate his transition but I felt like a prime moment was missed. In Walking Dead we missed society breaking down. I think this spot was perfect to show the undead trying to break into homes showing how well, or poor, a prepared society handles it. Instead we had a few pitiful zombies lumbering around while people shrieked.
Michonne…why does she exist?
Daryl and Merle II. In season two we had an episode called Chupacabra (the zombie ear necklace episode) where Daryl is barely clinging to life after an injury. During this episode Daryl is delirious as he deals with his abusive upbringing from Merle. In this episode, Daryl overcomes his past with Merle and becomes the bigger man growing past Merle’s influence. Now in The Suicide King, we exit the episode with Daryl and Merle arm in arm like old friends. I don’t mind that he left with Merle, it’s how it happened. It wasn’t creative nor did it stay true to the shows own, and very limited, past.
THE FUTURE: It looks like anything is possible and that is of course, a good thing. The fracture that exists within the group widens even more and I can’t wait to see how Tyreese plays out.