Let’s clear up something right out of the gate. Why are we reviewing a mid-season episode of a series with only four episodes left in its third season? The answer is simple: it is what fans demanded.
As you may recall we asked the Facebook community which TV show infographic they would like for us to do next and a resounding number said The Walking Dead. We’re nothing without our fans, and fans of such a great show. Stay tuned for our infographic on The Walking Dead later this month. But in the meantime, check out our collage portrait above, made of screenshots from the entire show and let’s talk about the latest installment of the show.
The series re-starts itself with a bang. Michonne drives Rick and Carl in her car. Almost immediately they’re forced to stop on account of a pile of rubble in the road. In the distance they see a young man with a backpack hailing them and running toward them. Also, and within seconds of stopping, a couple of walkers appear, at which point Rick rolls down the window and makes short work of it as they speed away from the backpacker.
The imminent danger from walkers is the best part of this show. Comedies should make us laugh as often as possible. Action films should have as many explosions, car crashes, and gun fights as possible. And shows about the zombie apocalypse should have as many zombies as possible, as often as possible, always in the heels of the good guys. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?
One thing I would not do—and perhaps it’s a good thing we don’t have zombies running around—is venture into a highly fortified town like Rick, Michonne, and Carl did while looking for guns, ammo, and anything else useful. Sure enough, trouble erupted within seconds of venturing into town, and not from a walker but from a townie with a sniper rifle, a metal helmet, and body armor.
It’s bad enough when walkers are after you. I mean, this is expected when zombies are part of the zeitgeist, but when the locals start coming after you it’s hard to know where to turn. It becomes infinitely worse, however, when you take the armored mask off the townie shooting at you, after you’ve shot him, and discover it’s someone you know. In this case, Morgan Jones, someone Rick knew a few moons ago.
They make their way up to Morgan’s lair, with Morgan in tow, and discover a survivalist’s hideout. I really liked this scene because it’s what I imagine my hideout would look like if I was still one of the good guys. There are weapons and ammo everywhere, lots of windows to spy every vantage point, booby traps, and plenty of other supplies, sundries, and rations. It was a nice touch with a lot of attention to the detail; something we fans have come to expect from our favorite show.
Michonne, of course, wants to make off with as many of his weapons as possible, and frankly I don’t blame her. Rick, on the other hand, wants to wait until Morgan wakes up to see if he’s okay. Rick’s sense of loyalty to others is admirable and a trait that makes him a good lawman. Michonne, as the natural warrior, has everything it takes for survival; mainly, a “looking out for number one” attitude. As a team, they have most of the bases covered.
I really loved that the writer’s pulled no punches with the mental state of Morgan Jones, played brilliantly by Lennie James (Columbiana). They presented a completely believable man who is losing his mind because of isolation, gruesome carnage, and facing his mortality every single day. Rick had to go in deep to drag the Morgan he knows— the Morgan that knows him—back to the surface. Through some well-timed truths, he reaches the real Morgan.
Morgan knows he’s losing his mind, and his portrayal of this truth is heartbreaking. This was a very powerful scene, not only within the context of the series, but within our greater humanity. Humans need human contact, even if it’s messy at times; perhaps especially when it’s messy. It helps us feel and deal.
Meanwhile, Michonne and Carl are busy not getting their brains sucked out. See, they ducked into the King County Café to retrieve a picture of Rick, Carl, and Lori; another nifty sentimental touch. It was clearly important to Carl, which is a great thing for the writers to address.
Adults get caught up in all things adult, and it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that our kids, capable as they may be, have different needs. They have a kid’s need, and sometimes that’s as simple as having a picture of your mom and dad, back when you used to be a real family.
Rick begs and pleads with Morgan to go back to the prison with them, but the heart wants what it wants, right?
The final scene really says it all, and what it means to live during a zombie apocalypse as a non-zombie. As Rick, Michonne, and Carl drive from the town, they see the bloody remains of the backpacker scattered along the road, torn to shreds by zombies. They stop long enough to grab his backpack and then drive away, emotionless, like they’d done nothing more than grab the newspaper off the front porch.
A terrific episode, and one filled with lots of imagery and human nature. Beautifully shot. What was your favorite scene last night?