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EPISODE 9: After
THE HOOK: In the wake of war with Woodbury, Rick and his group have turned the prison into a working community, but danger continues to stir on the outside as well as from within.
The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode
THE LOWDOWN: Let me first say that tonight’s episode will be a strong divide amongst fans, mainly because it’s not as action packed as some people feel each episode should be, but for me, fleshing out these characters is the only sensible course of action in a show that’s restricted by its repetitive structure. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’ve read the comics (or watched every episode of the show thus far) you’ll no doubt have noticed a bit of a pattern. I love the comic, but I’ll be honest, I’m behind a couple issues because it’s become a predictable game of “okay, who dies this issue”. The show isn’t any better, but taking these characters in visually, and having ‘slow burn’ character study episodes like this one is what keeps me interested.
As for the angle, I love seeing everyone split up and on the run. For now. The only downside to this, is the GAME OF THRONES split that will mean enduring long visits with characters we may not give a rat’s ass about. They were smart to start us off with Rick, Carl and Michonne (poor Daryl will no doubt carry some of the not so interesting character storylines). Rick and Carl aren’t on the best of terms, and I get it. Carl’s had a lot of issues bubbling, and he’s not afraid to unload on Rick (I cringed when he dropped Shane’s name). Poor Rick, dude is mangled all to hell, and I’m not sure if he’s got a punctured lung, but it certainly looks that way—at least for most of the episode. Rick’s not taking the role reversal thing very well, and Carl’s loving it a little too much. The two of them sort it all out by night’s end, well, after Carl almost shoots his ass, but it’s still nice to see them end up on the same page. Family. Can’t live with em’, can’t blow their faces off.
Carl’s sojourn through the semi-abandoned neighborhood was a nice touch, and works well with the moment of lost innocence he has in the house they took over—looking at the TV, movies and books almost makes him feel like a kid again, until the primal instinct kicks in. I dug how he led a couple walkers like a badass, until he falls over and is ambushed by a third. Dude, when are you guys gonna learn!? You never walk backwards in the zombie apocalypse! Anyway, Carl has way too many close calls tonight, but I think it knocked him down a peg or two in the process. Loved the victory moment with pudding. His range of emotions is all over the place, but deep down he’s a scared kid who’s lost his family, his childhood, his innocence and nearly all hope. That said, this is what makes Carl such a damn badass.
THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 4's ninth episode is a fantastic way to reintroduce the ‘fear and danger around every corner’ angle these characters seem to forget. But as much as I love Rick and Carl, it’s Michonne who steals the show. On the surface she can come off as a very one-dimensional character, but she’s so much more. Her flashback was heartbreaking, especially when you see the little boy. We still don’t know the whole story there (I hope they continue to piece it together for us), but it’s certainly not a happy one and it’s obviously done severe damage to her soul. She comes full circle, from going back to square one and getting two zombie decoys, to realizing she’s not the lone wolf she once was. She needs people now. I was so happy when she went back to the footprints in the mud and decided to follow them—that said, her kamikaze meltdown in the forest was definitely entertaining. But the most rewarding sound was her knocking on the door, and Rick’s laugh as he looked at Carl and said “it’s for you.” Now that’s how you end an episode.
ZOMBIE KILL OF THE WEEK: Michonne goes all oober ninja in the forest and kills a small army of walkers.
BLOOD AND GORE: Michonne does most of the death dealing tonight—see above line. There are some gunshot kills, but mostly it’s a ‘heads be rollin’ kind of night.
WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Carl. Sure, he’s a rebellious teenager at heart, and we all know you’ve got a point to prove, but damn son, one careless move and it’s more than your shoe those zombies will be chomping on. Smarten the hell up Carl, or there’ll be no more pudding for you!
COOLEST SCENE: Seeing Michonne go back to properly put an end to Hershel was powerful. This action, as well as her going back to the footprints in the mud, shows how far she’s come back on the road to regaining her humanity. She’s still got a ways to go, but I’m loving her progress.
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