The Walking Dead has cast aside the shackles of prison and sent its poor, lonely characters out into the forest. With only their wits and an impressive array of knives, will they ever find their way back to each other? And where will their next long-term shelter be?
More to the point, last week’s episode was quite good – I never expected to use the word “charming” in a Walking Dead review – can this one keep the chain going?
Behold: Forest-Based Suffering!
Well, this is much more what I expected at the start of this season. The cast are scattered into the forest, swinging between despair and determination to keep going, slowly meandering onto a path that will probably lead them back to each other. It’s broadly alright, but gets a bit samey.
A few bright spots: baby Judith is alive! Just because she’s a complication who’s more interesting kept around. Far too much hard work to produce another baby. Also, Carol is back, seizing the opportunity to pretend her exile never happens – this storyline interests me, and her little group with Tyreese and the two girls has some potential, perhaps because it contains the characters I’m least sick of.
There’s a couple of fun action parts, like Glenn playing with bombs and Maggie sorting through bus-zombies, but no thoughtful or surprising characterisation like last week. Some of these people are sad, others are grimly getting on with it, and it probably won’t surprise you which characters are on each list.
Slouching Towards TERMINUS
If this is all going somewhere, then yes, this may be a necessary chapter in the ongoing story. The introduction of new characters at the end and hints of a mysterious TERMINUS suggests the show has some direction beyond leafy staggering – hopefully it’ll get more interesting once those stories get going, but for now, this is a decent next step which never really rises above that.
The relative backgrouding of Daryl this season remains odd – I got the impression he was their most popular character? Has he really had any storylines other than as background muscle? When even Beth gets more development than you, you’ve got to feel a tad neglected, no?
Anyway. A competent episode in the soap opera, but could’ve done with a little more excitement and unpredictability in the execution. Maybe intercutting the stories rather than banging through them in huge chunks? Next week: hopefully some new bits!