This week on The Walking Dead we get to know some potential allies and enemies, with a lot of traditional horror tropes in between. So what’s the result?
Let’s bitch it out…
After we got caught up with all the remaining survivors from the prison group last week, this week the action shifts back to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). And boy oh boy is it ever boring to watch. Let’s start right at the beginning: I get that Carl is still wrestling with his grief over losing Judith, the prison exodus etc. but his little soy milk exchange is just uncomfortable to watch. I don’t know if it’s the acting or the banality of the dialogue but it just doesn’t feel natural. The resulting exchanged between Rick and Michonne serves it’s purpose, it’s nice to see them feeling more like a familial unit, but ultimately much of this episode feels like it’s just spinning its wheels.
We get some character development when Michonne opens up to Carl about having a toddler, but again, I don’t know if it’s Riggs’ acting, but it just feels over laboured and artificial. Though I got a chuckle from Michonne’s Crazy Cheese comments, I found myself wanting to press the ffwd button through out the whole exchange. The resulting discovery of the dead bodies in the pink room also failed to have any effect – perhaps I’ve just become far too desensitized to corpses. And why exactly does Michonne feel the need to hide the bodies from Carl? I suppose I should be happy that she’s opened the emotional floodgates but the whole sequence felt like a throwaway.
I had a similar reaction to Rick and the bedroom invaders. Perhaps it’s because Lincoln is in all the show’s promotional material, but I never feel as though he’s in any real danger. Although Lincoln sells genuine fear under that bed, I failed to find any suspense in the scenes – especially when all we get of the new enemies is some biker talk and unnaturally loud footsteps. I trust the show uses these clichés to tell us that yes, these are bad guys, which justifies Rick’s swift killing of the poor guy on the toilet. Part of me wished the invaders would prove to be more nuanced – as much as I disliked The Governor (David Morrissey), at the very least he surprised me on occasion. Remember way back in S2 when Rick had a showdown in the bar with two newbies who he promptly gunned down in badass fashion? I loved how we knew they were snakes, but it wasn’t revealed to us in a way that felt stereotypical and predictable.
It’s all about pacing and at this point in the series traditional horror movie tropes of slowly walking toward closed doors or hiding under beds don’t feel in any way suspenseful, instead tedious and yawn-worthy.
Conversely, the short time we spend getting to know our new characters, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is exponentially more interesting. There’s something so subtle about their performances that puts us at ease in terms of trusting them, but there’s also a slight tinge of doubt that they could have more sinister motivations. Although it’s unlikely that they’ll end up being enemies, I like how it’s not immediately cut and dry as in comparison to the bedroom invaders. Unfortunately, we don’t get much time to develop these characters as we spend much of the episode under beds or slowly opening doors, which is frustrating. And that’s the only way I can describe this season – I’m waiting for something to really grab me to keep me invested. The way things are unfolding this season makes The Walking Dead feel aimless and disappointing. Let’s hope Terminus can inject some much needed intrigue (if we ever get there…)
- It’s very likely that the poor man’s Sons of Anarchy are going to return at some point. Well-known character actor Jeff Kober plays the only one we actually get a good look at. It’s unlikely that an actor of his caliber would commit to only brief moments of bouncing a ball or spitting off a porch.
- It’s curious that Tara (Alanna Masterson) is so trusting of Abraham & Co. so soon after her trust of The Governor blew up in her face in such epic fashion. Her explanation is sound (they’d be better off in a truck rather than on the side of the road), but considering how much a of jerk Abraham was at their first meeting I’m surprised she was so quick to hop into the stranger’s vehicle.
- I should have been intrigued by the promise that Eugene “the scientist” apparently knows why the apocalypse happened in the first place, but the breadcrumb isn’t substantial enough to whet my appetite (and the unfortunate mullet doesn’t help with credibility)
What did you think viewers? Were you as bored with this episode as I was, or did you feel some serious suspense? What do you think awaits us at Terminus? Do you think the bedroom invaders are running that shop? Am I the only one who feels like we need more time with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green)? Sound off in the comments below.
A gentle reminder that we adhere to a SPOILER FREE zone here, so please keep any plot points from the graphic novels to yourself.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC.