The Walking Dead – Suicide King

c24cd76e1ce41366a4bbe8a49b02a028THE WALKING DEAD is back!  After what seemed like nearly forever, my Sunday nights are complete once again.  The mid season premiere was focused much more on picking up the pieces left scattered from the first half rather than launching right back into pulse-pounding action.  Not to say it was a bad episode by any means, but now as I familiarize myself with more of the source material it leaves me wondering how some of the major plot points are going to play out.

Personally I expected a little more craziness especially closer to when the credits rolled, but I suppose they need to fill the rest of the season with something as we have an entire seven more episodes comprising the longest season yet by a long shot.  I was disappointed a little bit by some of the choices in this episode in regards to Rick’s mental health, but hopefully that becomes a very brief afterthought for the remainder of the season.

Head inside for a full breakdown:

We open in Woodbury as Darryl and Merle face off in front of a bloodthirsty crowd wanting vengeance on both of them for Rick’s recent attack.  As they duke it out surrounded by walkers, Rick and group come back in to rescue them both under a barrage of smoke and cover fire.  During their escape, they tear a hole in Woodbury’s exterior wall that walkers use to breach the perimeter.

Once out, Merle instantly turns into a prick turning everybody against each other.  Rick ends up pistol-whipping him in the back of the head and turns him loose.  Darryl chooses to part ways with Rick and join Merle much to the chagrin of Glenn who lashes out at Rick (not to mention a walker’s face) for letting Darryl go too easily.

Rick’s assault on the town leaves the citizens of Woodbury frightened and paranoid as they start to lose faith in The Governor’s ability to lead.  Several of them decide to leave but are stopped by the guards who refuse to open the main gate.  A tiny swarm of walkers break through the other side of town and take a couple of townspeople with them before being shot down by Andrea and the guards.  The Governor lays low in his house only coming out to shoot one of the bitten townspeople.   Andrea is left to pick up some of the trust of the Woodburians.  The Governor makes it clear to her that they are at war with Rick and essentially breaks off any semblance of a relationship that they might have had.

Tyreese tries making nice with Hershel in Rick’s absence, but Hershel makes it clear that the decision of whether or not to let Tyreese stay with them is left solely to Rick.

“I must be the first brother in history to break into prison”

One of the members of Tyreese’s group urges them to kill Carl to steal his weapon and take the prison over for themselves, but Tyreese clearly wants to play it straight to make nice with Rick.

Rick, however, gets back to the prison and makes it clear that he does not trust Tyreese nor does he want him anywhere around.  Hershel intervenes on Tyreese’s behalf to urge Rick to let them stay, but Rick ends up having a mental breakdown after seeing a hallucination of Lori.

Which is now the very first decision this season that I whole-heartedly disagree with.  Yes, the phonecall business was pretty goofy and I see where it’s going to mesh more with the politics of the comics, but seeing ghost Lori seems too contrived for the show.  Which is saying alot for a show about zombies.  They could have shown a different mental degradation based around his paranoia about the safety of his group and his apparent grudge he holds against his baby.  Bring Tyreese’s new group in to the mix and he could have snapped because of that without resorting to the ghost Lori bit.

Chris Hardwick’s dumb hashtag of the week:  #walkingdixons.  It’s funny to me that he was talking about people demanding THE TALKING DEAD to be a full hour long.  Unless Chris Hardwick counts himself as double-digit individuals, I couldn’t imagine who would watch THE TALKING DEAD in the first place let alone want more of it.  Those ‘people’ deserve to be eaten by a swarm of walkers more than T-Dog ever did.

If somebody reads this and also is some sort of avid fan of THE TALKING DEAD, can you please explain it to me?  Maybe I’m missing something big here.  A bunch of dudes sitting around saying “that episode was cool.  Do you think it was cool?”  “yep, cool.” holds approximately zero interest or appeal to me.  No other super awesome show has a half-assed talkshow immediately following every episode.  So why this one?

Overall I would give this episode an ‘A-‘, although let me be clear that ghost Lori deserves a dunce cap and timeout in the corner.  We can do much better than that.