For a full recap of the episode, visit The Walking Dead Wiki here. This article is a review of the episode in which specific details and events are discussed. SPOILERS may occur, so read at your own risk.
It’s strange that the aspect that most fans of The Walking Dead love – the characters – is not being handled particularly well at the start of this season. Considering that the season began with establishing the cruelest villain the series has seen, the show continues to try and remind us that Negan is bad.
Do we constantly need to have Jeffrey Dean Morgan posturing and leaning backward to remind us that is a terrible guy? Does burning a bunch of mattresses need to represent this person’s horrific nature? If the show wants Negan to be a menace then go for broke. Don’t make his only memorable bit of evil his shock value double murder at the beginning of the season.
There’s also the matter of consistency of characters. Last week, we got a look into Dwight‘s past and why he has made certain decisions. It painted him in a much more sympathetic and understanding light. But this week, he’s an atypical bastard once again. None of what we learned about him or his performance changed. It seems like characters on The Walking Dead are whatever the episode demands them to be. Those don’t feel like characters.
Rick‘s position of resignment is also a bit worrisome. It conjures up memories of Jack in season five of Lost. Rick has always struggled with leadership and shouldered the tough responsibilities that come with it. However, seeing him so beat down and defeated doesn’t bring out the best in his character. There is one great example of that in this episode (see below) but it’s not quite enough to make this one stick.
The Walking Dead also has the problem of dragging out stories. The events of this episode could have been condensed, but this actually got an elongated episode for some reason. If the show could learn the importance of brevity, it might make some of these storylines feel a lot more impacting.
Though the seeds of rebellion have been planted in characters like Michonne and Rosita, this is another episode that doesn’t quite move things forward as much as it should have done. There’s been so much reestablishment in this first chunk of the season. The pacing of The Walking Dead is beginning to resemble that of the walkers. I know it’s still early but give us something.
Best Moments of the Episode:
- Negan handing Lucille over to Rick. The shots of Rick clutching Lucille tightly are good reminders of how much rage is building inside of Rick. Just having Lucille present during the meeting in the church is a wonderful way to show how Negan’s presence is now so dominating.
- Not a fantastic zombie gore gag this week. However, the walker that Michonne kills early on with her sword gets a nice close-up. No matter what anyone says about this show, it has always delivered on the icky stuff.
- Gabriel‘s ruse about Maggie. He sells it so well.
- Negan testing out his new guns. Pointing it at Daryl and having him not react is another good bit of visual storytelling. We know how beaten down Daryl is. But, he still won’t say he’s Negan even to get his bike back.