This review contains spoilers (And, for the first time, swearing).
The episode begins with Rosita being chased through the woods. We hear those chilling voices all around her. This whole sequence was brilliant. The camera work was excellent and the audio was perfect in adding a sense of terror during this exciting opener. The terror and threat has been lacking for awhile now, yet in this opening scene they managed to replicate the horror elements that made the first few seasons so enjoyable to watch.
For many seasons now, The Walking Dead has dragged out character development and story lines over multiple episodes at a snail’s pace. It’s frustrating. But so far this season, they’ve done well to avoid this. This was the second full episode with the new characters and they managed to achieve backstory and character traits, mixed with how they cope in a zombie attack. We know enough about them now so they can begin to be folded into other story lines. The audience attachment and larger backstory can be developed and fleshed out over time, but in terms of positioning them on the show, we are nearly there. Hopefully they’ll be accepted in at Hilltop by the end of next week. In terms of resolution, the same goes for Michonne. She will hopefully move on from the frustrating place shes in right now. We get it, you’re hurting and not willing to trust newcomers. But it’s time to let go. Again, I’m hoping the introduction of a big threat will get her focused and back on track.
Carol and Henry take some time to chill at Daryl’s camp. He has a new four pawed companion and despite his ability to hunt and survive, food is scarce. Carol is desperate for him to rejoin the group again, rather than just living his current hermit existence. The show needs him to as well. We need Daryl to step up and be more involved. They’ve done a lot of damage to his character over the previous two seasons. Like with the everything else in this episode, they seem to have presented a problem and solved it in the episode. Daryl has been living alone away from everybody, now he’s back in the mix. This was another perfect way to show a situation and then resolve it, allowing the show to progress and move forward. Gone are the days of using two or three episodes to try and resolve the smallest of issues.
Now let’s talk about ‘Dog’. First of all, when you’re trying to introduce new characters into your show, don’t bring a dog in as well. People will instantly care more about the dog than the people. Secondly, fuck you for bringing a dog in to the show. This just smacks of lazy and unimaginative writing. This dog is going to die a horrible death. The audience will react and the writers will think they’ve achieved some fantastic emotional moment. You haven’t, it’ just lazy. It just proves you have an inability to replicate this scenario with a human character, so you have to take the easy route. The whole setup of putting the dog in danger was weak and obvious, and they will do this again a few more times before it’s finally ripped into pieces. Here endeth the rant.
Maggie is gone. We knew from reports that Lauren Cohan is done for the season. So they addressed it rather well. It was stated a few times, but every scene didn’t make a big deal about it. I think it worked well. Does her disappearance have something to do with Daryl and Michonne’s X scars? I’m interested to see what happens with that one.
Jesus and Aaron have an awesome sparring session. Aaron showing that he’s a capable fighter only fuels my hopes that he will fill in that comic book Rick role. I’m desperate to see one of my favourite characters from the comic finally positioned in a worthy spot on the show.
The search party leaving Hilltop to find Eugene was an exciting moment. The mid-season finale is next week and i’m hoping with finally get that Whisperers reveal.
Season 9 continues to blossom, with only a few tweaks needed to ensure the show can finally move on from it’s usual pitfalls. The balance of show finally feels right and more importantly, the horror aspects of the show have returned. With the mid-season finale up next, a strong showing there could position Season 9 as being one of the best seasons to date.