The Walking Dead takes some solid steps forward to make up for the missteps it took last season.


This show really likes to ride the roller coaster, doesn’t it? Last season gave us a fantastic season premiere, horrible second episode, an artsy distraction, an unforgivable fake-out death, and a lot to mull over. Does The Walking Dead want to be a pensive look at humanity without law and order, or does it want to be an action show? It doesn’t know, I don’t know, and you don’t know, so we’re all along for the ride until this show figures itself out.

But at least this episode was good, so its got that much going for it. There was always something interesting happening from beginning to end, and the show took probably the biggest step to earn back my loyalty after last season. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The show starts with Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha working their way back to Alexandria. Negan’s name is dropped by his biker gang and, after a tense standoff, Daryl blows them all up with a bazooka. They disappear for awhile, and we focus on Rick and friends for the meat of the episode.

The last episode left off with the gang reusing the zombie-guts-as-a-disguise gag from season one. We were left with that little twerp (Sam) panicking and addressing his mom. As that happened last episode, I remember complaining about that annoying kid and how I hoped he would shape up or get eaten by a zombie. That’s not me being a heartless human being, by the way. It’s a big point of contention for me that children on this show survive at an insane disproportion when compared to their adult counterparts. The bothersome youngsters are sucks on resources and usually complain the whole time, so I find it a bit unrealistic that they get a pass just because the writers are afraid to kill children on a TV show.

BOY OH BOY, THEY DELIVERED IN SPADES. One eaten, one stabbed, and one shot in the face. It doesn’t get much better, does it? By having the weakest of the pack be mercilessly eaten by walkers, we really get to see the climate of this apocalypse. It’s kill or be killed, no exceptions. Ron, Sam’s older brother, doesn’t react well to his mother’s shock (and Rick’s amputation of her hand). He pulls a gun and aims it at Rick. In another illustration of their ruthless situation, MICHONNE STABS HIM IN THE HEART. As cruel as it sounds, it was a necessity for the group’s survival. Who knows how many others Ron could have shot before he was ultimately eaten by zombies? Michonne stabs him, but Ron gets off one shot, which hits Carl right in the eye. Now this is television!

The episode tapers off a bit from there, as we see W-on-the-Head Guy and Denise walk into a crowd of zombies and then immediately retreat when W-on-the-Head Guy gets bitten. Not much story there. Maggie is still stranded on the scaffolding, but after an inspirational speech from Glenn, Enid climbs the scaffolding and helps Maggie while Glenn distracts the zombies. All seems lost for a brief moment before Abraham and Sasha appear out of nowhere and mow down the zombies with some heavy weaponry. Daryl then starts a fire, luring in many zombies to the blaze.

Carl and the other injured are left with Denise for medical care, and from there on out it’s the last stand for Rick and the gang. They mow down, essentially, the rest of the zombies in town in a rage-fueled fury. It was excellent and visceral, but the violence wasn’t distracting from the emotion behind it all. It was really great and really refreshing to see some genuine emotion behind the action.

Obviously Negan and his cronies will be the Big Bad in this stretch of eight episodes, but for the time being, our heroes can catch their breath. This episode showed the show does have the guts to establish emotional stakes and a merciless environment. It’s up the following seven to prove if it’s a pattern that can be repeated.

Odds and Ends

  • Christopher Berry was outstanding in the five minutes he was alive in the episode. Shame he got all blowed up.
  • That final montage of attacks was insane and incredibly well done.
  • That was an Avengers shot, right? I’m not the only one that caught it?
  • To the writers of The Walking Dead: Thank you for killing a child. It’s what the show needs if it wants to be as gritty as it says it is.

    Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

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