The Walking Dead continues to confound us. One of our main gripes with last week’s episode was how it constantly asks us to care about characters without giving us much reason to – and here, the same pattern seems to be continuing.
It’s hard to imagine that many people were demanding a Tara and Heath-centric episode, but that’s what we get here, with the former splitting her time between a flash-forward of sorts to a Y: The Last Man-esque all-female community she finds herself effectively held hostage by.
Weirdly, it seems to function as an introduction of sorts to Tara – which is welcome on one level, because despite having been around for the better part of four seasons, we still don’t know an awful lot about her.
On the other hand, it’s more than a tad irritating. It feels like an episode we should have had long ago, serving more as a case of too little, too late.
If anything, it serves as an example of the kind of show The Walking Dead has become: with such a sprawling cast, it’s basically an anthology show now in all but name.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but the main stumbling point is that it doesn’t possess enough characters to pull this feat off. An attempt seems to have been made this week to make Tara one of those characters, and to a degree it succeeds, but it’s a shame it’s taken a tailor-made episode to pull this off.
While structurally the episode is competent enough, and there are quite a few effective moments (the sand-zombie scene is played well with plenty of suspense, and the scenes at the camp kept as guessing), it’s hard not to get frustrated at the lack of real plot development besides more stating of the obvious (the Saviors are arseholes – who knew?).
Hopefully this will change next week.