Last week on The Walking Dead, it became clear that this year’s first big threat will be a dangerous strain of the flu running rampant through the prison population. Without antibiotics or the option of leaving, plus the added problem of the dead turning into zombies, it’s a real headscratcher for Sad Rick and his Sad Friends.
But this show has always worked best in a crisis, so this bodes better for viewers. When the doomed survivors have a genuine reason to be miserable, it’s harder to hold it against them. With that in mind, let’s all dive into the bloody pool of lovely sorrow. Spoilers below.
“Hand Me The Zombified Conch!”
Last week, I mused that it was time to bring the prison problems to boiling point via some external crisis. I still think that day is coming, but for now, the writers concentrate on making things shit entirely within the gates themselves. The disease crisis intensifies, quarantine is enforced, people are killing each other – our heroes have to both save the day and stop their little settlement going full-on Lord Of The Flies.
Panicked council meetings, everyone isolated from each other, people going on desperate missions left, right and centre – there’s a lot of drama in this one. The Walking Dead does exciting flashpoint episodes well, it’s when they’re marking time between action sequences that it starts to drag. After a slow start in the first two weeks, they’ve done a good job here of already whipping people up into a subdued frenzy.
Hershel gets some particularly good scenes as a man just doing his best in the face of disaster. To be honest, he’s so forefront and determined that I’m concerned he’ll be dead soon, but so be it. For now, I felt his speeches this week, and that’s good enough.
Detective Rick At Your Service, Ma’am
Rick’s rediscovery of his police roots is a reasonable direction to take the character after his failure in leadership, and he even gets to solve a crime – Carol killed those two last week! Condolences to Helen in last week’s comments who didn’t want it to go this way.
I’m not sure they set up Carol turning serial slaughterer well enough, but if they go somewhere good with it now, I’ll let them off. It also gave Tyreese a chance to finally have interesting moments as the death of his girlfriend sent him steadily over the edge.
So, that was a decent The Walking Dead episode, kudos. I don’t know if they’re hoping to keep this level of crisis up until the mid-season break, or if this virus outbreak is a small mini-arc to kick off the season, but either way, it’s a good idea well executed for the most part. Looking forward to next week.