Considering the sense of urgency that last week’s episode ‘Consumed’ finished on, it feels strange how slowly this episode begins. Rather than busting a gut to get over there and save Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carol (Melissa McBride), they take the uncharacteristic approach of pausing and considering their options – it’s pragmatic, but very un-Walking Dead.
Also very uncharacteristic is Rick (Andrew Lincoln) not utterly losing the plot when he and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) butt heads over how to storm the place. The angry old Rick of old momentarily threatens to resurface, but crucially he doesn’t. This is no longer the Ricktatorship of old.
Indeed, it’s an episode that bucks trends in numerous ways: with the increased focus on Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), you could be forgiven for thinking her days were numbered – that she survives can perhaps be considered a surprise, although her days may be numbered yet.
Other than that, this is plodding and by-the-numbers by The Walking Dead’s usual standards. The rest of the episode comprises Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) being angst-ridden, Michonne (Danai Gurira) not doing anything again, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) sitting in a road motionless while Maggie (Lauren Cohan) shouts at him, and Glen (Steven Yeun), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) not doing a hell of a lot.
Little attempt is made to advance Noah (Tyler James Williams)’s character, and even the Atlanta scenes are predictable, save Daryl’s brief scuffle. This is perhaps characterised best by ‘good cop’ Lamson (Maximilano Hernandez); clearly something up there.
So it’s a week episode, truth be told, but considering how good things have been so far, it’s entitled to one every once in a while. Just no more please; we want next week’s mid-season finale to be a stormer.