I was dreading this week’s Walking Dead rather, as last episode was an excellent ray of sunshine, but mostly because it avoided the Governor/Woodbury arc. That storyline hasn’t really recovered momentum since the show came back from mid-season break.
This time, we get another standalone story, but it’s got the one-eyed man all over it. So, can they keep the improvement up? Spoilers, obviously.
The Talking Dead
The broad structure: Rick and The Governor agree to sit down for a summit to chat about their differences, whilst other characters either bond or fight. Basically, it’s a downtime talky episode, but it works better than I feared, because it sets out to achieve something and does it.
We’ve had episodes lately which seemed determined to keep momentum in the prison/Woodbury war arc on full throttle, even though we knew nothing could happen until the last couple of weeks, leaving them as tiresome sound and fury. But here, the writers build some tension, add an interesting new angle in the form of the Governor’s ultimatum and end on a mini-cliffhanger.
Honestly, when they set up the summit at the start, I expected a TWO DAYS EARLIER caption after the credits, then an arduous twenty minute sequence explaining how it was arranged, but good on The Walking Dead for crediting us with intelligence.
The Walking Dread
It has to be said, the head-to-head with the Governor and Rick is actually the least interesting aspect here, mostly groundless macho posturing. Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey are both good actors, and the Governor’s monologue about his wife is sad, but it doesn’t tell us much.
Oh, and just when we thought the Gov had shown a reasonable side, he reveals his plan to slaughter everyone anyway. It looks like this will persuade his allies to finally turn on him, but couldn’t they let him seem sane for a few seconds?
Anyhow. Individual character-building scenes work well, Merle is good as a conflict generator back at the prison, Maggie/Glenn are happy again so something awful will probably happen soon. It’s not a remarkable episode of The Walking Dead, but I was engaged and never bored, even though it was 45 minutes of talking. Hopefully those slightly poor episodes will turn out to be a brief mid-section sag.