The Walking Dead reached its mid-season finale tonight with a gunfight, an eye gouging, and a lot of very convenient plotting. “Made to Suffer” was the title, and its mission was to leave you hanging in agony for a couple of months. Did it succeed? Let’s mull it over.
This season of The Walking Dead has been truly one big plot point after another. I said it in an earlier piece and I’ll say it again, this season TWD has built up and paid off more tension than other series do all year. This week we were reconnecting with Rick, Michonne, Oscar, and Daryl as they were preparing to enter Woodbury to rescue Maggie and Glenn. This segment of the episode was very by the numbers, Rick’s group pretty much stumbled over Maggie and Glenn; it was not at all the force driven event I was expecting. Realistically, the odds were very much against Rick and the gang finding Maggie and Glenn without being noticed, but the writers decided to pretty much ignore that fact and have them essentially ‘cross paths’—a little below The Walking Dead I think. None the less, I’ll take it.
Michonne and The Governor finally got the fist fight they deserved, which included M’s blade going through Penny’s skull and a couple of the aquariums getting broken with one shard finding its way into The Governors eye-socket. Another realism straining piece of writing came when Andrea showed up and held a gun on Michonne, who declined to give Andrea any information about why she was there and what The Governor had been doing behind her back. I mean, Michonne could have basically cooked The Gov’s goose as far as Andrea is concerned with one or two sentences. It was at LEAST worth a try.
An unexpected cameo by Jon Berthnal made any subtle complaints you might have about the episode vanish. Even though it was brief and done somewhat frivolously, it was still one of the most squee-worthy moments of the season. It’s doubtful we will ever see Shane again, and I highly doubt anyone was expecting to see him tonight.
The introduction of Tyreese in the cold open was probably wildly different between fans of the comic and first timers. For those who know him from the comics, it was a geektastic scene that raises a lot of questions for the future of several characters based off his comic storyline; for those who are getting into The Walking Dead for the first time through the show the latter scene involving Carl (Chandler Riggs) was probably the more powerful moment of the segment. Here Carl really showed how the collapse of society and the zombie apocalypse had made him grow much faster. Hats off to Riggs for playing ‘tough kid’ so well. Most kids fail so terribly at this, Riggs not only pulls it off he also draws hoots from the audience for his total bad-assness.
With the end being Daryl and Meryl being pulled out in front of an angry Woodbury populace, and The Governor telling those blood thirsty citizens that it was these two who brought the invasion to Woodbury, it looks like The Walking Dead’s reputation as the king of cliffhangers is safe.