Better late than never, here’s our review of last week’s The Walking Dead.
By rights we should be feeling a sense of anti-climax by this point. After months of trekking along aimlessly in the wilderness, the gang seem to have finally found a safe haven in the form of the town of Alexandria. For once, there seems to be a twist: the town’s genuinely are who they say they are.
That being said, being a town where everything is exactly as it appears to be presents a whole new set of problems: that said townsfolk aren’t exactly the best equipped to deal with the undead apocalypse, having lived in comfort for too long. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and co’s reaction to this resolution is an unsettling one, if indicative of how the new world order has forced them to become more pragmatic. Most shows leave you confident that the protagonists are the good guys – we wouldn’t go as far as to say the leads here are the opposite, but they’re getting there.
Two characters best highlight this case in point: first Rick, newly clean shaven and back in a sheriff’s costume, seems to have come full circle. But he has changed. After apologetically dispatching the mangled zombie girl in the pilot, he barely displays a hint of emotion as he talks of how many people he’s killed. No matter what semblance of normality they return to, nothing can ever truly be the same again, and he knows it.
The other one is Carol (Melissa McBride). Having already gone from submissive battered housewife to ruthlessly pragmatic survivalist, she adds a new string to her bow here: deception. In underselling her skills in the interview the new arrivals all have with Alexandria’s leader Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh), it’s clear that she hasn’t let her guard down – and neither has everyone else, with Rick, Carol and Michonne (Danai Gurira)’s gathering at the episode’s close presenting an ominous sign of things to come.
If this episode was nature versus nurture then nurture would be face down in the dirt with a boot on the back of its head.
More importantly, The Walking Dead finally seems to have the direction it has sorely missed this season. We don’t know where it’s going, but for the first time in weeks we’re confident that it’s on the right track.