Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 9: The Suicide King

Well, The Walking Dead's back after a nine month hiatus. OK, so it wasn't that long, but it seems like it.

The first half of Season 3 was a non-stop roller coaster ride of action, suspense, death and gore-- everything that makes the show great. Unfortunately none of that is on display in this episode. One would think they'd want to kick off the start of the second half with a bang, rather than the whimper we got here. 

Most of the events in this episode went nowhere and felt like stall tactics. Daryl leaves with Merle, but we all know he's gonna be back. Rick tells Michonne she has to leave as soon as she's healed, but we know she's not going anywhere. Rick also refuses to let Tyrone's group in and we know that's not gonna happen either. They're all story lines that have no real purpose other than existing long enough to be resolved in time for the big Season 3 finale. 

• I am definitely not a fan of these prolonged mid-season breaks that are infesting current TV series. It might not be so bad in a series that features stand-alone episodes, but it's death when a serialized show does it. It destroys any and all momentum in the storyline. It's dangerous for a series too. When my favorite show isn't on for a while I find other things to do to occupy my time. When it finally comes back, I may or may not have the time to start watching it again.

Plus I barely remember what happened in the previous episode all those months ago. Something about running away from zombies, some woman hatched a dragon out of an egg, I think Matthew and Lady Mary finally got together, and wasn't there something about a smoke monster?

• The plot, in a nutshell: After last year's big cliffhanger, Merle and Daryl got out of their jam (to no one's surprise) and were rescued by Rick and Maggie. Rick refused to let Merle into the prison, so Daryl decided to take off with his brother. Rick is introduced to Tyreese, but refuses to let his group stay because he freaks out and starts seeing Lori, who's apparently found a way to nag him from beyond the grave.

• I'll say it again: no one plays an asshole better than Michael Rooker. Two minutes after he's been rescued from seeming death he's cracking jokes and demeaning his saviors.

• I'm becoming increasingly disappointed with TV Michonne. The comic book version of her is absolutely awesome and I was very excited when she finally popped up in the series. Unfortunately the TV version is nothing like her comic counterpart. TV Michonne is nothing more than a one note, snarling and growling asshole who acts more like a feral child raised by wolves than a human being. It pains me to say it, but at this point she's become less likable than Merle. Hell, I think I actually like Merle more. He's an asshole too, but at least he's a personable asshole.

• After Rick and Co. return to the prison we see Carol comforting Axel. It took me a minute to figure out why Axel was so upset-- it's because his pal Oscar was just killed in the raid on Woodbury. You know, the raid that happened an hours ago for the characters but three months ago for the audience. A perfect example of why these interminable mid-season breaks are a bad idea.

• Speaking of Axel, why is Herschel allowing his daughter Beth to walk around unescorted with him? Surely Carol would have told him to keep an eye on Axel after witnessing his skeevy advances toward Beth sometime last year. Did they sit him down and tell him how disappointed they were in him, and he promised to never do it again?

• Kudos to whoever's doing the cgi work on Herschel. If I didn't know better I'd really believe he'd lost a leg.

• I continue to be puzzled by TV Andrea and her actions. Her new boyfriend the Governor forces Daryl to fight for his life against a group of walkers. She finds out he tortured Glenn and Maggie inside Woodbury. And then he tells her that she doesn't mean anything to him because she hasn't made a commitment to the town. This is all in addition to her finding out he was keeping a zombie daughter chained up in his apartment, along with a bunch of fish tanks full of undead heads. And she STILL doesn't leap over the wall and get the hell out of Woodbury! I honestly don't understand where the writers are going with her character. At this point I really don't care what happens to TV Andrea. 

• Credit where credit's due: I'll say one thing for TV Andrea-- she's a hell of a motivational speaker. After the zombie attack the residents of Woodbury are in a state of panic, and rightly so. They're ready to flee the town and take their chances on the outside. Andrea completely calms the frazzled nerves of the mob with just a few seconds of lame platitudes.

• I liked the little moment between Herschel and Glenn, in which he tells him he considers him his son. We need more moments like that between (in between all the kill shots) if we're supposed to feel anything toward these characters.

The moment between Carol and dead-eyed preteen Carl was also well done.

• I'm assuming the shadowy figure of Ghost Lori was really played by Sarah Wayne Callies, since she was still listed in the opening credits.

• If I was Tyreese and I'd just witnessed Rick's little meltdown I would forget the idea of staying in the prison, gather my belongings and say, "Well, thanks for the food and medicine, but we don't want to overstay our welcome! Bye, guys! You keep in touch, you hear? We'll have to get together for lunch one of these days, OK? Bye!"

I'm hopeful that this episode isn't a taste of what's to come for the rest of the season and the story ramps up again next week!

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