Since last we saw our heroes, The Walking Dead has undergone yet another personnel change. This show burns through staff as fast as zombies: showrunner Glen Mazzara has been killed off (metaphorically) due to “creative differences”. Which is a shame, as the first half of this season was their best work yet.
But we won’t see how this affects the show until season four in autumn, so best not to over-think it. Here come his final eight episodes, and yes, spoilers as ever.
The Prison Of Endless Sadness
After last episode’s mini-skirmish, we see a quick resolution to the Dixon Deathmatch, then many scenes of characters picking up the pieces. I would say “with varying degrees of success”, but they mostly do quite badly.
The good news: most bits involving the prison crew work alright. I care about Glenn and Maggie’s relationship problems, as they’re the most likable people here; Hershel is fast becoming one of the most well-drawn characters and roles; Carol has good scenes showing real depth; even under-used nannying Maggie-sister Beth (whose character name I had to google) enjoys the sweet taste of characterisation.
Rick’s hallucinatory breaks are still intense, thanks to good stare-acting by Andrew Lincoln, although the longer and more public this storyline becomes, the more I wonder how (or indeed if) they intend to rehabilitate that crazy guy as leader. Will Tyreese end up replacing him? So yes, I’m still down with the regular prison cast, although I wish they’d cheer up for an episode or two.
Woodbury – 4 Real?
On the other side of the fence, the Woodbury scenes fall kinda flat. With first contact over, it looks like we’re separating the locales again, and it still doesn’t seem like a realistic town. Furthermore, The Governor is turning into a cartoon psychopath and Andrea looks increasingly stupid for just standing around watching.
I can accept her not wanting to leave and face inevitable death-by-zombie, but the way she shrugs off the danger-signs grows annoying. It feels like she hangs around mostly because the writers want a recognisable character left in Woodbury.
In short, The Walking Dead is back, and everything’s still doomy. With seven more episodes, I’m hoping for breathing room before launching into the next massive fight, as all this tense plot advancement gets rather tiring. But the Governor seems utterly loopy, so I’m not confident about getting it.