Feb 18 2013

The Walking Dead Review: “Home”

Published by at 12:00 pm under Reviews,Television

home3

After a “comme si, comme sa” welcome back episode last week, The Walking Dead returned with one of my least favorite episodes in a good long while. Season three is supposed to be the “redemptive” season after the exceptionally boring season two, but in its second half, it’s alternating between pointless and bad, at least in this episode.

Simply put, what’s happening with the characters is either dumb, or doesn’t make any damn sense. This is happening on ALL fronts, not just a few, and it’s what we had to deal with for the first 50 minutes of the episode.

First and foremost, can anyone explain why “crazy Rick” is a good idea for the show? What’s the point? Everyone on the show has lost their entire family at some point, and though they were sad about it, they didn’t start wandering off in the woods, chasing ghosts. Even Rick can’t explain what the hell he’s doing. “They have uh ,answers,” he sputters to Hershel. “What answers?” “Uh, I don’t know.” Seriously, what answers, Rick? To what questions? What is the point of this other than it being a plot device to throw the group into disarray? Rick is literally wandering around in the swampland trying to hug ghosts who keep teleporting away from him, and it’s idiotic.

Then you have rage filled Glen, which may indeed be the only somewhat believable character transformation. I get that he’s mad about what happened at Woodbury, but it was incredibly awkward how they had to spell out an answer to a question I asked last week. Did the Governor actually rape Maggie? The answer is a firm no, but somehow Maggie got pissed at Glen for asking that and for what? Being angry enough to want to kill the Governor for what he did to them? I understand his motivation a lot more than I understand why she’s upset at Glen for wanting to take action. He’s the only one with his head screwed on somewhat straight these days.

And what a surprise, it took Daryl all of four seconds to learn that Merle is still a violent scumbag who wants to screw over innocent people to help himself. This comes into play when the pair of them help rescue a car full of Mexicans from a zombie attack (of course they had to be Mexican or Merle couldn’t have said anything racist). Merle wants a reward for doing so and starts digging through their supplies. Daryl thinks that’s bad, and makes Merle lay off with a crossbow to his head. Really, Daryl? Really? The fact that Merle was a lieutenant in an evil town who kidnapped and tortured two of your friends was fine, but oh man, he tries to steal food from a traveler and that is IT! It was stupid, but at least it got them back to the prison.

home1

“I just wanted an enchilada!”

Then there’s Andrea, who is as big a dumbass as ever. The Governor wants to put her in charge of Woodbury and for some reason SHE’S STILL LISTENING TO THE GOVERNOR. Again, you would think the zombie death matches, the kidnapping and torture of her friends, and the fact that war was being declared on the prison group would be enough to have her shift her loyalties, but nope, that’s Andrea for you. She’s now attached to this amorphous blob of Woodbury people whose names we don’t even know, and wants to stick around to give them more rousing motivational speeches, presumably. Good, let them have her.

And sure, let’s just run Tyreese and his gang out of the prison and literally not even hint at where they are now. Nothing like introducing an interesting new set of characters and making them completely disappear from the show for god knows how long because Rick wants to be pointlessly crazy.

And then, the siege. The goddamn siege.

At first it felt like this was going to be a huge filler episode as the show dealt with the “character development” I’ve mentioned that actually turned out to be quite stupid, but they packed in an action sequence at the end just so something would happen before the hour was up. This was one of the most poorly planned, poorly choreographed action scenes I’ve ever seen. Let me list the ways I loathed it:

- The Governor stands out in the open for the entire fight, completely out of cover, and no one could even come close to hitting him.

The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“They’ll never see me in this knee high grass!”

- Somehow, one of his men managed to get up in one of the prison towers, and I can’t picture any feasible way that would have happened

- All these people can headshot a zombie instantly from any distance, but they’ll be damned if they can hit a human target on more than one occasion. What was the grand death total in that entire engagement, one for one?

- They drove a giant van through the outer gate, but for some reason stopped and didn’t bother smashing through the inner one too, which really would have left them exposed.

- Their grand trojan horse plan was to release a van full of zombies out into the yard. You know ,the yard where they’d previously cleared out three times that many zombies when they arrived. What might have been better than a van full of zombies? A van full of ACTUAL HUMANS WITH GUNS

- I had to bury my head in shame when the Governor literally starting spraying bullets aimlessly in the air like Yosemite Sam.

There was no sense of scale to the fight. It was never clear until the very end how many men the Governor had, nor how far away these parties were from each other. They just cut to people shooting offscreen, but you didn’t know where any of them were in relation to each other. That’s what I mean by poorly choreographed. I’m not asking for John Woo level gunfights here, but this was just so terribly done.

home2

So Rick is in some grass…somewhere. Being shot at by Rodriguez in the woods…somewhere. What the hell is going on?

And congratulations, you killed Axel, the one guy who actually had a believable conversation with another human being during this episode. Good work.

I just really, really hated this episode. They’re trying to develop characters in ways that are stupid, and when they do finally get to the action, it’s so poorly handled it’s not even exciting. The show needs to pick up the pace and just start being a higher quality program, which is the best way I can put it. If you really, honestly compare it to the production value and writing of other top cable hits, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc, it simply doesn’t stack up.

Maybe next week will be better.

 





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24 responses so far

  • Rodimus Mike

    “Everyone on the show has lost their entire family at some point, and though they were sad about it, they didn’t start wandering off in the woods, chasing ghosts.”

    Yes…because everyone reacts to the loss of loved ones the exact same way. Some become cannibals, some become rapists, some keep their undead loved ones on chains, all perfectly better choices than seeing hallucinations.

    This is why good authors use an editor, or at least a mom to proofread, because they are not so proud as to think they’re capable of a bad idea. If you wanted to complain about the episode, you had a lot to choose from, don’t put your weakest and lamest argument first.

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      @Rodimus

      You are correct that yes, someone should have edited out this plotline from the script.

  • tonyctitan

    Actually what bothered me the most is how they had their vehicle parked just outside the perimeter fence and no one heard it pull up? I mean come on its dead silent outside and no one heard or saw it?

  • Deadhead

    You clearly missed allot of the more subtle points. The show isn’t just about killing zombies and action sequences a huge part is how these people are dealing with the world they now live in. Rick has had more stress on him than anyone in the group being the leader and lets not forget having to kill his best friend. I actually thought it was interesting to see merle and daryl interacting together and to see how being with the group has changed daryl from merles bitch into an actual good guy.

  • todbot

    I agree with the whole review. It’s just lazy, bad writing that makes no sense. I mean they take time to put up defenses and then stand around in the open? WTF. I don’t understand how this makes it as a final shooting script when they had more holes than Axels body.

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    I absolutely agree with you, the Rick seeing ghosts thing is completely the worst part of the show right now. Him being a sheriff, he has to have gone through some type of training for dealing with intense situations. Him of ALL people would have dealt with killing and death in the past. And now he’s going to loose it.

    Although if you think about it… he has probably done the most and taken the least, meaning the least amount of food and the least amount of sleep. Would account for him being half-way looney. But for him to let it continue to the point of putting the group in danger.. just seems weird and annoying.

    I also agree with you about Maggie? Wtf is wrong with her?! She has always been a little unstable, but now she’s just flat out insane. Why on earth would she even consider being mad at Glen? Obviously she is mad at herself for spilling the beans about the prison, but to now hole up with the drama llama in your cell and boo hoo hoo all day is just being selfish and irrational. Glen almost freakin died and you had to show your tits… Shit happens, it’s Zombieland; no one is safe. But what makes people reallllly unsafe is flying off the handle at everyone for no good reason and not pulling your part!! (Can we just call her New-Lori?) Sure, she and Glen both need time to get things together, which anyone could understand, but I just can’t understand all of this fighting.. especially after they almost lost one another.. AGAIN.

    All of those points you said about the invasion were so perfectly true. They can hit a zombie in the head like it’s nothing, but last night they were all over the place. I guess you could argue it is different when what you’re shooting is shooting back, but my god, what they are shooting normally is just as freaky-scary.

    Also… why is it so hard to keep that damn prison interior secure from walkers? I mean… some string can apparently fix a broken fence.. Are there really no doors they can block??

    Ps.. Lil Carl might be my favorite now… He used to be really annoying, but now he’s a mini-bad ass. I like the idea of him growing up early and hope they do more with him.

  • Hlia

    As soon as Axel started talking I thought to myself that the last time a character started talking more than normal, they got taken out al la T-Dogg or Dale.

    And seriously it took me a good 5 min before I realized that the dude in the tower was from Woodbury, and then I couldn’t figure out how the F he got up there.

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      @Hlia

      YES!

      I was like, “Who is that? Is he shooting AT the prisoners? How the hell did he get up there?”

  • Josh

    You seem to have missed the subtle character motivation and changes. Rick is cracking over the stress of leadership he believes that all his decisions have led them to annihilation. Maggie is pissed at Glenn because he is actually focusing on his pain and rage and not her. Who cares if the Governor raped her or not he did something bad enough the hurt her emotionally and all Glenn cares about is he needs revenge. We have a small glimpse at what Merle and Daryl went through as kids and we saw a man who is completely out of his element in being a decent human being but still trying. Merle would never have helped those people without Daryl, would have killed them for their stuff in the old days, he knew Daryl would never shoot him over a can or two of food but knows his brother has learned a new way of life and will try that out, he was the Gov lieutenant because the Gov took him in a knew he was dead if he didn’t comply. he could have just left for the woods but when Daryl said he was going back Merle followed. He is prideful which is why when Daryl shows him the right thing to do he complains but does it. Can’t find fault with your Andrea comments and they need to make Michonne more open she works for a comic character but not TV. I have a feeling they will be run out of the prison and Tyreese will take them in. Fighting walkers and being shot at are two completely different things. In a gun fight even trained soldiers miss most of the time. they were taken completely off guard. Glenn asked who was on guard duty so we don’t know how long the Gov had to set it up. They knew it was a prison so they could have thrown a thick blanket over the barbed wire and had the guy in the tower since no one was watching and the van could have been a ways off with the order to follow the road to the gate as soon as the gunshots that would be heard a long way off were fired. The Gov doesn’t have the support of enough people right now to fill the van this isn’t the comic Gov. The zombies were a psych tactic this was never to take the prison. he know has an idea of what they can do. since you read the comic you know why axel was killed.

  • domin8r

    That shootout would have put the A-team to shame.. so much shooting and so little people getting hit. Even a trained professional like crazy Rick with a friggin’ scope on his rifle.

  • JJ

    i think that Rick’s feel more guilt for alienating his wife before she died. he was still pissed off at her for banging his friend before she died. He would’t even touch her during the episode where she died. i could understand that.

    well andrea.. she’s just stupid. no need explaining that.

    on the gunfight issues. i think that Cracked once discussed that issue with how bad the imperial stormtroopers were at shooting the rebel scums. it;s got to do iwth something about the rebels especially luke and the gang were not wearing uniform and seems more human. the article also explains that real life soldiers have problems shooting at the enemy if there were not in uniform. somehow being in uniform just makes them less human, more of an enemy entity (they consider enemy soldiers unhuman).

  • Gene Starwolf

    Seems a few Walking Dead fans are upset! I thought these last two episodes have been garbage.
    Rick seeing stuff? Stupid.
    The new people being kicked out because Rick is crazy? Stupid.
    Merle in general? Stupid.
    Hell almost all the characters are idiots or just awful.
    I was beginning to get high hopes for this show too. Glad I didn’t spend longer than 2 weeks waiting to see what happened next or I would of been a lot angrier.
    Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones FTW.

  • MattChi

    Agreed, good review Paul. The zombie van thing was definitely a scare-tactic of sorts, since I don’t think the Governor has enough people ready right now for a full-scale assault, and I think him shooting his gun in the air at the end emphasized that. Hopefully crazy rick is done with his acid trip now.

    Biggest thing that bothered me was Tyreese and the gang never getting mentioned again or anything implied about where they went. Not sure why Glen or Hershel didn’t seek them out for help when there was an impending assault and they were very short-handed.

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    I’ve been thinking about the person in the guard tower. Was that the lil guy who was driving the truck? I was thinking Michonne killed him, but maybe not.

  • Buddy Lee

    @ Josh

    thank you, sums it up nice

    @ Paul

    the gun shooting in the air was to add to the zombies now coming in from the woods to the noise he was making and the now open gate. Not sure if crashing all the way through would have been a good plan, the driver definitely would not have gotten out of there alive.

    @ Gene Starwolf

    “Rick seeing stuff? Stupid.” etc.

    wow thank you for that incredible insight, don’t think too hard stretch save some of that gold for your other endeavors

  • Purd

    Agree both of these episodes have sucked.

    What happened to the person who jumped out of the Zombie truck guns blazing?

    Why didn’t the governor actually kill everyone during the gunfight instead of just scaring em and driving away?

  • Batttmaan

    what i find Kirkman does is not necessarily deliver your old fashioned “character development” in the books each character is not well developed by your definition because you simply only know them because of their actions and nothing more he leaves you to fill in the common sense stuff – for example the attack on the prison the gov has done things like this for who knows how long getting high ground cutting off their sight to get a clear shot of anything like Josh said you dont know how long hes been watching/planning

  • Aether McLoud

    Man Andrea’s character is so freaking fucked up in the series. In the comic she is badass incarnate, while also still being womanly and just in general one of the most likeable characters. When the RV came around in the show I was so hoping for Andrea to jump out, get on top, and bust some heads in with a rifle…

    Alas, she’s still in Dumbville.

    Rick going crazy is pretty much the deconstruction of his character. He goes from goody two shoes to badass lunatic who only cares for his own in a few month basically.

  • Todd X

    So is it a coincidence that AMC got rid of Glen Mazzara who was the showrunner last season and was clearly the best season.

    I am not surprised. This looks to be a season of disappointment.

  • Grammar Police

    Comme ci, comme ça

  • Joshua

    I think in our figuratively “zombie-infested” culture, we sometimes take for granted the insurmountable horror of the post-apocalyptic vision of the Walking Dead. If we took just a few minutes to rid our brains of the Zombielands, the Evil Deads, and the Dead Risings(all of which are pretty good in their own right), and tried to capture Kirkman’s focus and vision for the series, these episodes are brilliantly set-up.

    Rick is in the middle of the end of days, he’s been the leader of a slowly deteriorating group, and after slowly growing apart from his wife over a period of a few months, she dies in a horrific fashion before they have any chance to reconcile. In addition, his son had to go through the pain of shooting his own mother, and he had no control over any of it. He is now in a wounded group with hope slowly slipping away. Couple that with malnutrition, dehydration, and general exhaustion, and could you maybe consider for a second that hallucinations and bad judgment aren’t too far out of the realm of possibility? I won’t even mention the fact that all this would affect Rick more than someone like Shane, because unlike Shane, Rick is genuinely trying to act in a morally justifiable way. I think Rick needs to come back to reality, of course, but I think his descent into madness has been more than justified. What else do you want?

    Onto Glen and Maggie. Imagine that you were captured and tortured by a mad or evil man. You manage to survive, but not without some serious physical wounds. Your significant other comes up to see you. You expect comfort, security, and assurance; instead, they simply check to make sure you’re not dead. “I see you’ve been attacked, but did he kill you?” “He didn’t kill me, but do you understand what else happened!?! Did you hear what I said they did to me?!”

    Maggie has every right to be angry at Glen, especially because he resorted to malice and distance instead of love and comfort at a time where the latter two were needed most. His anger is justified, but her frustration is too.

    I could say more about Daryl, but for now, I will simply say: They’re brothers, and he loves Merle like a brother.

    When it comes to your complaints about the details of the battle, first, I’m going to appeal to my own experience watching it, which simply consisted of dropping to the floor, and not saying a word or looking away from the screen until the credits rolled. Second, I found a lot of literary significance behind a lot of the details you were frustrated with. The Governor would stand out in the open because he’s broken and ready for vengeance at any cost. No one would notice them driving up because the group is possibly at its worst right now. The best chance they would have is Carl or Carol, and they can’t be everywhere at once. Rick may be a sheriff, but he’s a mentally broken one at that, so I’m not expecting him to connect every(if any) shot in the battle. The rest boil down to irrelevant semantics for me. I found it to be consistent with the world Kirkman has established and did not find any disbelief as I watched it.

    I’m surprised that everyone is running back to Season Two(which I also loved) as the bastion of quality when most people complained their way through that one, too. Simply put, The Walking Dead is not the place to come to for pure zombie action. I’ve found their moral dialogue, character development, and dystopian atmosphere to be grounds for calling it the best show on television right now, and these past two episodes have not swayed my opinion on that at all.

  • 280 Dollars

    did anyone really not know Merle and Daryl had crappy childhoods? And this was as deep as this episode got. Andrea, the Governor CAN’T be that good in the sack, and you’d best be hightailin’ it outa there, if you have half a brain.

    I had been trying to figure out what part of Texarkana Rick was from (ain’t never heard an accent like at afore), then read the actor is from ENGLAND. Okay, that explains a lot. So maybe Rick is crazy and not talking cause he’s busy working on that thar accent.

    And if the Governor doesn’t get an arrow through that good eye pretty dang soon, I’m changing the channel. Go Daryl.

  • Gene Starwolf

    @Buddy Lee
    Want insight? You’re not funny! And no one likes you!

  • Riku

    “I had to bury my head in shame when the Governor literally starting spraying bullets aimlessly in the air like Yosemite Sam.”

    I think he wanted to attract any nearby zombies to the prison area.

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