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.
“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.
“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.
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.