The Battle Begins
After a two month wait, The Walking Dead made its return to television Sunday night. For months fans have been waiting to see the repercussions of Rick’s actions, as well as to see what will happen to Merle and Daryl now that they have been pitted against each in the Govenor’s twisted gladiatorial ring. While the beginning of this episode showed a great deal of promise, this came to be quickly undercut by poor decisions, stupid dialogue, and a few character moments.
The rescue of Daryl and Merle from the Governor came as a sudden surprise, and a great way to start the episode. While I would have liked to see the brothers duke it out a little more, something tells me this is not the last confrontation they will have, nor will both likely survive the next time they decide to fight. It was also great to see Maggie play a role in the rescue of the pair, by taking out a few of the Governor’s men. I must say she is becoming quite the heroine, standing up to the likes of Andrea and Michonne- from the comics that is.
Speaking of the less than dynamic duo that is Michonne and Andrea, and of the citizens of Woodbury, it was unfortunate to see how little care was given to their city being invaded. Sure they had people bickering and arguing to get out, but the situation quickly changed when they realised that walkers had broken in and had attacked a fellow citizen. This could have been a great scene to further explore Woodbury slowly falling apart from the inside out, and yet the citizens, including Andrea, came to be more concerned with the Governor putting the bitten man out of his misery. Maybe there concern should have been focused elsewhere- like on walkers in their complex! These scenes were terribly acted out, including a less than stellar performance by Laurie Holden. While her speech to the citizens started out as a great rallying cry, and gave me hope that she would maybe become some form of antagonist (which is better than what she is now), all this surmounted to was wasted air, and no solid conclusion. If the writers are going to split their time between the prison and Woodbury, which could provide great insight into the towns inner workings , at least make the town and its citizens intriguing.
Fortunately Rick and the gangs (great 50’s band name by the way) story was much more entertaining. It was nice to see that not all things from the past were forgotten once Merle came to be briefly apart of Rick’s group. While I am intrigued by Rick letting Merle and Daryl go off together, I wonder if the writers will have too many stories to focus on, having to split screen time between the prison, Woodbury, and the Dixon brothers. Also why is it that as soon a Merle is with Rick’s group that he becomes an insufferable, racist a-hole like before? They were coming to make Merle a convincing second in command to the Governor, but as soon as he leaves the vicinity of Woodbury he reverts back to old, racist, ways. It makes no sense.
During this heated debate on whether or not to keep Merle, it was great to see Glenn voice his opinions and bitterly take his anger out on an unfortunate walker. The scene in which Glenn, Maggie and Rick came to argue about what to do with Merle and the Governor was perfectly acted. As per usual Steven Yeun gave a fine performance as did Lauren Cohen, who, more than any other actor, is making the character of Maggie seem far more intricate and complex than she is in the comics, which is exactly what this show should do.
The return the prison was just as well done as we got to see just what was going on with Tyresse and his group. I liked the idea of some of Tyresse’s group members being less trusting than he was, stating that they should take over the prison. This felt all too familiar, but in the good way, for was Rick not the same way when his group first arrived at the prison. Luckily, this was quickly amended as Tyresse and his group finally came to meet the lord of the manor, who came to prove that maybe he should not be the leader.
Rick still not being in the right state of mind is a good choice on the writer’s behalf. Lori’s death has such a serious toll on Rick’s mental health in the comics, and so it is nice to see they are not brushing this to the wayside. “I can’t help you!” Rick yells to the eerie, shadowy figure that is his wife. I think this will come to sum up Rick as a character in this half of the season, for as many people as he tries to help, there are always others he lets down or gets killed. Sadly, he has now come to figure this out the hard way.
While not the best way to start this half of the season, “Suicide Kings” came to put into play some key story ideas. Hopefully, the writers come to delve into more detail in terms of Woodbury and its citizens, and do not merely make them a nameless enemy so to speak. We have come to see Woodbury as a scared and sick city in which the Governor came to mend. Now it is time for them to prove why they should be feared by all those who oppose them. Make them an enemy is which Rick, and viewers will not soon forget.