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TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 9, Episode 2

Season 9, Episode 2: The Bridge

PLOT: The communities are united and fixing a bridge together, but there are leadership issues and some former Saviors don't work well with others.

REVIEW: The second episode of The Walking Dead's ninth season was a "patience will be rewarded" kind of episode. Much of its running time was built on dramatic conversations that were logical and (mostly, probably) necessary for the overall story, but that didn't exactly make them fascinating to sit through. 

So Michonne (Danai Gurira) is uncomfortable with the way Maggie (Lauren Cohan) handled the Gregory situation at the Hilltop community, I get that. That seems to be building toward the communities establishing some sort of crime and punishment guideline, that makes sense. But I wasn't riveted. Nor was I engrossed or invested in the storyline about Hilltop prisoner Earl (John Finn) and his unclear sentence in his subterranean cell, although Finn did well delivering the material he was tasked with. Do I care about Earl's back story? Not at all, but Finn gave a good performance.

Did I have any interest in watching Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) embark on a romantic relationship with Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), the character formerly known as Jadis, leader of the Scavengers (a.k.a the Garbage Pail Kids)? None at all. But sure, I'll sit through a couple scenes of this. Besides, it's good to know Anne might finally have a chance  to "lay with" someone years after she was rejected by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

I also didn't care about the communities working together to fix a damaged bridge, but sprinkled in those scenes were some interesting references to the fact that some of the remaining Saviors aren't working well with members of the communities they used to be at war with. There were intriguing mentions of Saviors disappearing. And we got to watch the building of contention between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and one Savior in particular, a fellow named Justin (Zach McGowan) who reminded me of other Savior douches like the thankfully deceased Jared.

It was Justin's general worthlessness that finally made the episode become interesting. When he failed to divert a herd of zombies that were approaching the bridge workers, The Bridge reached the point at which it decided to reward us for sitting through all the dull stuff that had come before. The zombie action scene at the work site was worth the wait, providing some excitement and splattered brains. Even once the zombie issue was dealt with, the episode continued to be more interesting, with Daryl doling out a deserved beating and Aaron (Ross Marquand) undergoing an emergency procedure performed by "med student" Enid (Katelyn Nacon)... That was all good stuff.

In the end, The Bridge was merely okay, but I appreciated getting some reward for sitting through so much I didn't care about. The episode also planted seeds that could become storylines I will be very interested in. What's happening to the former Saviors? What is going on with this helicopter that has been flying around the Alexandria area the last couple seasons? Of course, I'm very interested in seeing how the show is going to handle the simultaneous departures of Rick and Maggie. Is that helicopter going to be involved somehow? Is Maggie going to change her mind about accepting an open invitation she apparently has to join helpful traveler / record collector Georgie? I'm eager to find out the answers to these questions.

And I'm curious to see if the officially re-introduced Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) really has reason to still be so cocky while sitting in his cell at Alexandria.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: There was only one option for the best zombie moment in this episode. A zombie herd that was supposed to be diverted instead comes striding right into the middle of a logging operation, causing all sorts of trouble.

GORY GLORY: I thought the best gore was going to be when Rick swings his hatchet into the side of a zombie's head so hard that the sharp edge goes all the way through the skull and sticks into a log on the other side. But then Rick snapped the rope holding a bunch of logs together, sending them rolling over walkers and leaving their heads a smashed mess.

FAVORITE SCENE: The log rolling scene has competition from the final moment involving a Savior being attacked while walking down a lonely country road, because the way that scene was shot reminded me of the way Steve Christy was killed in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH.

FINAL VERDICT
 

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