Monday, February 17, 2014

Good and Bad: 'The Walking Dead' (2/16/14)

At least you're not stuck with Carol

Season 4, Episode 10: “Inmates”
Warning: Here be spoilers

                Plot: In last week’s midseason premiere, “After,” we caught up with the team of Carl and Rick and Michonne, who was flying solo, as they tried to find their way in a world after their prison-home was blown up by a tank. This week, we touch base with everybody else. The episode opens with the most huggable pair of survivors on the show – Daryl and Beth (formerly known as: “Herschel’s Blonde Daughter”). They run around in the woods, Beth narrates from her diary, it’s seriously awesome. Eventually, they wind up tracking what they hope is another group of survivors through the woods.
When we come back from commercial, we meet up with Tyreese, who is in a very unenviable state: He’s wounded – maybe bit – and worse: He’s saddled with the two small blonde girls and Rick’s infant daughter Judith. Things go from bad to worse for Tyreese when Carol (you know, the one who he doesn’t know incinerated his sick girlfriend back at the prison) shows up completely out of nowhere to join their little gang. They kill some zombies, older blonde girl secretly tries to suffocate baby Judith in order to keep her from crying and   attracting zombies. We realize that this is the group Daryl and Beth are tracking and the segment ends with Tyreese, Carol and the kids making their way towards a settlement called Terminus.
Next it’s Maggie, Sasha and Bob, who is the drunken black dude in case the name Bob doesn’t ring a bell. Bob is also hurt, but he seems to have been shot, Maggie decides she’s going to leave them to go follow the bus that Glenn was in, they decide to tag along, they find the bus and surprise, it’s full of walkers. The gang works together to off the walkers, Maggie goes inside to look for signs of Glenn. She’s attacked by and kills one last walker, who keeps his back to the camera, but who has sorta long, string hair. She breaks down. Did she do it? Did she kill Glenn?
The last segment of the night answers that: No. You see, Glenn never got on the bus. He ended up stuck on a catwalk at the prison, finds his way off, goes to take a nap, decides against it. When he finally gets the memo that it’s time to leave the prison – seeing as though it’s on fire and deserted, that seems like a plan – he stumbles upon Tara, one of the Gov’s old pals. She’s pretty bummed about the whole let’s start a war for that one-eyed guy we just met thing. Glenn, being the peach that he is and not wanting to go it alone, asks her to come with. As per the usual, they run into and mow down a bunch of zombies and then, as the episode concludes, a military vehicle pulls up and out steps Rectangle Head, Danny McBride and Latino Sarah Conner all decked out in military fatigues.
Busy episode, but a very strong one.

Good: Daryl and Beth. I love this pair. They’re sort of like the sad puppy dogs on this show. Beth’s barely keeping it together, not in the Rick talking to dead people on the phone sense, but more in the real world, I’m trying very hard not to kill myself sense. And Daryl is loyal to a fault, loves and protects those closest to him no matter what. Puppy dogs.
Bad: Bye, bye Tyreese. Sure, he’s not dead yet, but given this show’s less-than-stellar history with minority characters not named Michonne, his clock was already ticking. Then he shows up with two little girls, a baby and then Carol? If he’d appeared last night with a walker clamped down on each shoulder, I’d be less worried about him than I am with that team of death he’s been saddled with. Plus, he may already be bit. I’ll be sad when he’s unceremoniously killed and then we’re all asked to pretend like we care about Bob.
Good: Split structure. I could watch a whole season of TV where are the characters are all in separate places, doing their own things and only occasionally cross paths. Actually, I do watch that show. It’s called “Game of Thrones” and it’s great. Let’s not rush to bring everyone back together, “Walking Dead.” If totally cool if all your characters exist in the same world without actually seeing each other all the time.
Bad: Rectanglehead and Terminus. No sooner did the show finally shed some weight, get on its feet and start moving around then we get these two plot points. Rectanglehead wants to bring people together in an army - heard that before - and Terminus is a creepy-sounding settlement thing. Oh good. Those two episodes where we drifted through the world as individuals or in small groups really started to make me dizzy. We get it “Walking Dead.” You love to have a wall to put your back up against and a whole lot of people around, but let’s at least take our time getting there. Survivors on the road in a zombie world could be so awesome. Remember, like it was in season one for five too-brief episodes?
Bad: Carol’s back. Yay. Maybe no character has grown since day one of this show more than Carol. She used to be a sad sack, mother and abused wife. Now she’s a tough-as-nails plays by her own rules kind of gal. But she’s also gotten way more irritating as she’s gone on. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the hair.
Good: In a shocking move, it's older blonde girl. If you turn her into a little psychopath or even better, use her to show Carol what a bad idea preemptively killing things to survive is and how doing that makes you very uncool to be around, I might be able to sign off on her existence.
Good: Glen fakeout. Two weeks in a row you got me with this pretending someone is a zombie but it’s only pretend and they’re totally fine stuff. Granted, potentially killing Glenn is way less ballsy than killing Rick, but it still would have hit hard.

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