The Walking Dead Review: “The Suicide King”

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For one reason or another, The Walking Dead has never fallen into my weekly review pile. Usually it overlaps with other shows I’d rather be covering, but now since Breaking Bad is a memory (for the time being) and Game of Thrones is still a ways off, I thought I’d try this out to gauge interest.

This will be my first official Walking Dead review/recap/discussion/whatever you want to call it. I’ve taken some flack for my review formats before of shows, but I’m past caring. I’ll talk about what happened on the show, give my own thoughts and predictions, and ask you for yours. With ten million viewers a night, I think at least some of you might enjoy that around these parts.

I’ll get this out of the way now, as I’ve never done a real review of the show yet, I don’t think discussion of the comic is relevant. Ever. I just don’t. Either it’s going to give away an important  plot point that could happen in the future, or it will just be confusing as the show and the comic continue to grow farther and farther apart. I’ve actually kept up with the comics to the approximate equivalent of where the show is, and though some major plot points are shared, it’s very, very different, and we’re now getting to the point where it’s borderline impossible to predict anything using the comic, so why bother? And in the off chance that it does end up being a spoiler? Well, that’s bad too.

With that said, let’s begin.

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When we last left things before AMC decided to split this into one of their famous “half seasons,” Woodbury was under siege by the survivor group. Glen and Maggie were rescued, but Daryl was captured. He was finally reunited with his brother, but unfortunately it was in a fight to the death in the famed Woodbury zombie fight club of doom.

Though I liked the episode overall, I thought that the opening sequence was poorly handled. Merle starts beating the shit out of Daryl, then tells him to play along, then the two simply pop up and start punching zombies in the face, back to back. If they weren’t going to mount some sort of surprise turnaround, why beat the crap out of each other for five minutes first? Why are they punching zombies in the face? Why when it was obvious they were both allying up didn’t the Governor just shoot them?

And then the cavalry comes in and no one bothers to shoot the Governor because well, that would just be too easy. Daryl and Merle escape with the group while the citizens of Woodbury choke on tear gas. Except the Governor, he eats that shit for breakfast.

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The appearance of Merle causes a schism with the group, one that I can fully understand. Glen goes berserk when he realizes they kept him alive, and Michonne has no love lost for him either. I was hoping that Daryl’s loyalty would be just a little bit more complex than “he’s my bro, bros,” but I can’t say I wasn’t expecting him to ultimately go with his brother given his options. And obviously you can’t blame the group for not wanting to bring Merle back to camp, so there we are. But it’s apparent even without watching the scenes from next week that Daryl isn’t going anywhere. You don’t just eliminate a fan favorite character from your show by having him mosey on off into the sunset. He’ll be a vital part of the battle with Woodbury.

I found it interesting that Rick and the Governor were almost mirror images of each other this episode. The Governor is losing control of Woodbury after failing to mount any sort of coherent response to the attack. He shows up to execute a bitten citizen, but it’s up to Andrea to rally the troops after that with a rousing speech during which I only rolled my eyes about five times.

Meanwhile, Rick is similarly unhinged, still coming to grips with the loss of Lori. First there was the phone, now there’s this ghostly apparition of her that appears during a very inopportune time when he’s supposed to be making a decision about whether or not the new quartet of wanderers can stay. This is the first time Rick his literally gone insane in front of the group, and it’s going to be hard to justify his leadership position when he’s so clearly out of control.

What about our new faces? Well, white-guy-with-distinctly-evil-eyes and his son are turning out to be quite the scumbags, plotting to ambush Carl and Carol. To their credit, I think Carl and Carol would have f***ed them up, but it still would have been a dick move to try. Meanwhile, Tyreese and his daughter are cool as shit, and they’ll likely be sticking around a while, even if the other two aren’t.

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Another noteworthy transformation to watch is Glen. Woodbury changed him, and the moment where he had to murder a zombie while tied to a chair was the tipping point. He’s gotten very hardcore, so much so that it’s scaring Maggie, but that might be what he needs to become a leader if Daryl is gone and Rick is a schizophrenic. One thing I was confused about was that two separate times he implies Maggie was raped. He calls the Governor “a rapist” and then asks Rick if “he knows what they did to her.” Now, maybe my memory is fuzzy, but I distinctly remember breathing a sigh of relief when Maggie was NOT raped by the Governor. Not to say stripping her down isn’t creepy, but he didn’t actually do it, right? I felt like I was missing something.

I’m wondering what the show is planning on doing with Michonne. For a while, she was the cool, new, interesting badass, but now? I get that being the strong silent type is her thing, but she runs a risk of getting overshadowed by other characters if we continue to know literally nothing about her.

Also, how can this whole Woodbury thing really play out? I get that the Governor is evil and needs to die, along with a few of his submachine toting guards, but there’s a whole freaking town there of what, 50-60 people? Do they all get condemned to death too for cheering on a zombie fight club? I’m thinking some big zombie wave will come and wipe them out to A) cure that plot point and B) ensure not TOO much innocent blood stains the hands of the prison group.

What are you expecting next? What did you love or hate about this episode?

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  1. i hope they don’t have to up and leave the prison at the end of the season. i’d like to see more stroy and character developments while they’re there. in the comics, a lot happens while they’re in the prison and i’d hate to see a new location every single season. maybe they’ll leave halfway through season 4 or at the end but i’d like all of this govenor stuff to get resolved soon.but of course that won’t happen.

  2. Regarding the Scene with the Gov and Maggie. What part of that are you alright with? Just because penetration id not occur it was the threat and the implication that she was powerless. She was less than human and not deserving of respect or humility. She was clearly violated without the explicit physicality. This is in no way alright less of a crime of a violation.

    What are your comforting words to Maggie? “Hey at least he did not put is (euphemism) inside of you.” That scene with Maggie was easily the most uncomfortable moment on a television show our household has ever experienced. As for Glen, I am guessing that most partners of a person that suffered what Maggie did at the hands of the Governor would call it exactly that. Thankfully a word does not yet exist to define the type of humiliation this character endured.

  3. It was a blah episode after a long wait. The rescue of the Redneck Brothers was too simple and quick. It solved a dramatic situation in the most undramatic way.

    I just read the first fifty issues of the comic during the break and I can understand why they made most choices for the show but not all. some of the best characters are left out or have their stories cut short and some don’t even follow the stories form the book even when they are better. It does seem that this episode set up a lot to realign some of those arcs but not nearly enough.

    I’m will to cut this episode some slack just for the fact that sometimes you need episodes like this to set up better ones. Hopefully the next one is one of those better ones.

  4. The dialogue on this show continues to tune me out; I find myself reading articles during Rick and Andrea scenes. The episodic Walking Dead game is much more engaging and has better characterization.

    IIRC, Sasha, the woman with Tyreese, is his sister, not daughter.

  5. I’d have to go back and rewatch it to confirm, but I thought the Gov-Maggie scene was left ambiguous as to how far he went…and the next scene or one shortly thereafter was Maggie and Glenn reuniting and she kind of alluded to the Gov having raped her.

    Overall the episode was a disappointment. Not a fan of the direction they are taking Rick either. Yes he is feeling burned by trusting the convicts….but they were convicts. He was a sheriff. He never should have trusted them in the first place. And he has to know a big fight is coming with the Gov….he needs all the bodies he can get.

    With Daryl gone and Rick losing his mind, Glenn is the best zombie killer left of the originals. And Carl is #2…that needs to be fixed.

  6. Agreed with the rest. Pretty underwhelming. All I could think of between this and the comic is how small the group is compared to the comic, at least defensively-wise. I really hope the battle goes in this season, and Michonne’s story is told. Too much missed potential as Season 3 started hard, and with what…2-3 of the original writers gone after this season ? One really has to guess as to what sort or weird paths this show will go on.

  7. of course Daryl is going with his family, that’s his brother. besides his character has been a little too ‘perfect’ with his skills for survival he needs a little conflict to shake it up.

    For Maggie it doesn’t matter whether he did or not, he intended it to be a total mind f**k for Glen and it worked. He’s young and pissed, it happens. Plus it could have, they cut away and we didn’t see everything.

  8. I don’t think it was ever clarified to Glenn what happened to Maggie. She was just brought to him half naked. Maybe he just assumes she was rapped. Also I can’t blame Daryl for going with his brother. Blood is thicker than water. Even if that blood is a douche bag he knows that he can count on his brother no matter what happens.

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