The Walking Dead Review: JSS

Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.

There are a lot of different ways to solve problems. Some, like Carol, favor a direct approach. Brutally direct, in point of fact. Morgan, on the other hand, favors a more oblique tact. I feel like The Walking Dead really want to make that a driving force, but it came off a little flat. I was actually reminded a lot of the competition between Legolas and Gimli in The Lord of the Rings. Not a good thing.

Luckily, this is really my only complaint about an otherwise outstanding episode.

The Walking Dead 602 JSS

“JSS” runs parallel to the events of last week’s season premier, focusing on the survivors in Alexandria who are holding down the fort while most of the A list characters are busy herding zombies. Or should I say “were herding”, since the zombies abruptly stopped cooperating one an air horn started blaring, leaving us in a nice cliffhanger.

Well, we found out what caused the horn: a zombie in a tractor trailer who was part of the attack by the wolves, an antagonist group we’ve been seeing hints of for ages now.

The attack started spectacularly, with a poor woman who Carol guilted into smoking outside got viciously macheted to death. Shortly thereafter, a sentry got pelted with a molotov cocktail, falling inside the city and signalling the main force of the wolves numbers.

The Walking Dead 602 JSS

The people of Alexandria are poorly prepared for an attack like this, but luckily Rick left a couple of ringers behind, and luckily sent Morgan back with a message in the previous episode.

We see plenty of red shirts go down, but pretty soon Carol, Carl, Maggie, and Morgan start turning the tide. Carol, being Carol, straight up murders anyone and everyone she comes across, even the man Morgan and Gabriel had captured and were questioning.

I appreciated this.

The Walking Dead 602 JSS

We were also treated to a nice little side-story with Tara, Eugene (rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters), and a psychiatrist named Denise who gets the dubious honor of being Alexandria’s new trauma surgeon. She’s very afraid, but is ultimately goaded into trying to save a severely injured young woman. A braver show would have let her succeed, but The Walking Dead stuck to its guns, and had her fail painfully. It was another great moment in an episode full of them.

Oh, and that cold open with the girl who eats turtles was an excellent vignette as well. I really like it when the show throws these scenes in; they deepen the world of the show in interesting ways.

Probably the best part about the whole episode was the fact that it functioned so well without so many of its anchor characters, especially Rick and Daryl.This really shows me just how far The Walking Dead has come in the last couple of seasons.

I really hope this isn’t the last we see of the wolves, and I definitely hope it isn’t the last we’ll see of episodes without Rick as the driving force.

But maybe that’s just because I’m not the biggest Rick fan in the world.

Grade:
5 zombie heads out of 5

13 Comments

Pi3rK

Back to back A+ episodes is a great way to start the season. The attack caught me by surprise, really, we were enjoying “normal” life behind the walls the next seconde it’s gone!
Not much to say about this episode, it was perfect.
Still I’m pretty excited about Ron and Carl. I really hope this turns out as a major plot of the season.

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rattraveller

Denise is a psychiatrist. Meaning she attended medical school and could prescribe drugs. She just had painc attacks and couldn’t handle surgery.

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Ballinabricky

And might we also begin to see a transition out of power for Deana? She’s having a really hard time dealing with her husband’s death, and her decision to hide in the fight meant she wasn’t there when the town was most vulnerable. Yes, what she said about her ability to fight was true, but it was also too convenient.

I don’t exactly see Rick becoming the new mayor, though.

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Dave

I liked her conflict, although it felt like it was really just getting started. It also felt like she was a reflection of the community as a whole, completely unable to deal with the reality of their situation.

I like how they’re using her to work through this; she’s a great actress that really sells it, and I think her look is absolutely spot on for the role.

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Mad..

So, I have been away on holiday for six weeks…

Didn’t even realise TWD was back on so was able to watch episode one and two back to back last night. What an awesome start to the season! If it continues on like this it will be a good one, I’m hoping next weeks episode is the horde getting to battered Alexandria before they can get their bearings, because that would be awesome continuity and a “epic” start to the sixth season over the first couple of episodes, we would see the true brutality of the world and we will see some people rise and some fall.

Looking forward to it 🙂

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Dave

I really looking forward to this upcoming episode too. We’ve had an incredible setup to the season, and the premier arc has at least one more episode before it plays out. Great stuff.

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Mad..

Oh… and…

MORGAN is here! Awesome actor, I am really excited and intrigued as to how this is going to pan out over the season.

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Mick

Great episode, I was totally expecting it to be more of the herd and trying to get the walkers back on track. Completely ignoring that after the first episode was genius.

I was also glad to see more Alexandrians introduced. I’m hoping there will be some interesting new characters that will get more attention this season.

Finally, there’s Enid. Her backstory was so well done. And there’s much speculation on her relation to the wolves. I can’t believe that she will be gone for long.

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Dave

I’m kind of torn on Enid. He backstory was absolutely fantastic, but I hate her when she’s interacting with other characters. I hope she’s got some dark secret or something. Maybe the wolves, maybe something else.

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Mick

I wonder if that’s a conscious decision of the writers. Are they trying to make the viewers dislike Enid so that we will suspect she’s up to no good?

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