Well, The Walking Dead is sure earning the Walking part of its title this time out, isn’t it? Another episode, another small subset of the cast meandering through the forest towards the mysterious TERMINUS and taking the opportunity to do characterisation.
This week’s dialogue monkeys: Daryl & Beth one strand, Bob, Sasha + Maggie the other. So, was it good? Beware, spoilers – although the pace remains slow so there isn’t a vast amount to spoil.
Loneliness = Boozing and Leathery Evil?
Bob, of course, has barely done much beyond display unhelpful alcoholism during his time on the show, so development is welcome – played here as a calm realisation that, frankly, even being part of this shrieking gaggle is better than being alone. It’s underplayed, though, rather than having him prance around yelling. Once again, the show seems refreshing simply by introducing a human emotion other than OH GOD DOOM. Although will Maggie ever remember she has a sister to worry about, in addition to Golden Glenn?
Similarly, Daryl and Beth’s almost-cute buddy act is enjoyable to watch and, just as it’s about to become cloying, they’re separated and drama is slammed back into their lives. Daryl’s semi-cliffhanger here (Will he go back to being a bad leather man?) is a nice way of playing off his development to date, even if it seems inevitable that the answer is No.
Stop right now, thank you very much…
Personally, I’m enjoying this half-season as a pleasant change of pace from previous Walking Dead years. When they’ve tried to slow down and focus on the characters in the past, they’ve often missed the mark and hit BORING instead, but they’re doing a good job here. Particularly enjoying the fleshing out of some under-used ensemble members, such as Beth last week and Bob/Sasha in this one.
However, the tone is staying fairly rigid between episodes, and you probably know whether you’re enjoying it by now – although I think it’s well executed, this is a more prolonged shift towards slowness than ever before. Usually, they’d fake constant high-drama by introducing melodramatic subplots that took forever to go anywhere, but here everything’s downplayed.
So, yes, I can see how those who enjoyed the more OTT tone of previous runs might find this a bit quiet. But presumably in the last episode or two, they’ll reach TERMINUS and everything will briefly pick back up. Probably not next week, though, as it looks like that’s a Tyreese/Carol focus episode.