You may have noticed that Teebore has been late with some of his posts recently. Well, he's going through some rough stuff that, while he may not want everyone to know about it, I think it's important that our readers are aware of what's going on.
It's no secret that Teebore has been doing a lot of posts per week and Teebore was planning to add to his already lengthy list of weekly posts with a The Walking Dead review. To accommodate all the posts he was doing he needed to stay up late. He started hitting the caffeine pills pretty hard.
At first I didn’t think much of it. Then he overslept for a singing audition I set up for him with a record producer after creepily recording him and his friends in the locker room. Turned out Teebore had ODed on the caffeine pills. Even though he missed the audition and was obviously burnt out he still immediately wanted to start writing his The Walking Dead post but first he went for the caffeine pills. I had to stop him. I knew it was all too much. While it was true that he was so excited...so excited he was also so...scared.
So I’m taking over The Walking Dead posts for this season. This is bad news for anyone who likes coherent, well thought out, thematic analysis of each episode but it is good news for people who like nonsensical ramblings loosely tied to The Walking Dead that more-or-less appears to be random words strung together during an alcohol induced stupor. It may not be perfect but if Teebore’s struggles in recovery from caffeine pill addiction has taught me anything it’s that all we need push on in the face of adversity and persevere.
Anyway...on to the review!
The Walking Dead has had very good season premiers and season finales. This season premier is no exception. I thought this episode was really good. However, this season premiere is different than others in the series. Usually The Walking Dead likes to start with a bang but this episode was more of a slow burn. It focused on setting up where the group is on a philosophical and psychological lever. (But not a physical level because, well, they’re all still at the prison).
In the past I have not agreed with the philosophical road the group was going down. Luckily, the group (which has grown significantly between seasons) have ideals much more agreeable to me. It’s the zombie apocalypse so security and caution will always be a priority but at least they’ve found a way to make the prison a home and are now actually welcoming new people into their community. New people need to be vetted (and I assume they have some sort of probation period once they’re accepted) but at least it’s no longer viewed as “us against the zombies and every other human being.”
A weakness of this show in the past has been the development of secondary characters. It appears this season will focus on correcting this. (Oh, and it's also correcting its racial diversity by adding a second black guy. That’s right there’s two, count them, TWO black males in the group!) This episode touched on each character and let the viewer know what they were up to and where they were emotionally. Even more shockingly, I can’t recall any of the characters annoying me!
So I was pleased with this episode. This series certainly can’t have every episode simply be a community of people getting along relatively amicably in a zombie apocalypse. However, giving us a glimpse that some sort of safe and "normal" life is possible was nice in a series that generally beats you over the head with its bleakness.
That's not to say seeds of discord aren't being sown. This is, Of course, a zombie apocalypse series. You know safety is always temporary. The group is comfortable, which leads to complacency, which leads to laziness, which leads to people getting their faces chewed off. And that all can work but this season of The Walking Dead will hinge on proper pacing and the ability to get the viewers invested in more than just two characters before the proverbial shit hits the fan. To start the season, however, I think there are good stories that can be told about people being safe, comfortable and even somewhat flourishing while surrounded by zombies.
Despite my praise of this episode there is a definite “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” vibe I can't help but feel. I’m been impressed by previous season premiers that have lead to seasons that were…well…lacking.
Rick and Carl have obviously settled their differences for the time being. (Which I endorse.) Rick is firmly in a father role and Carl is actually listening to his dad. Carl’s sociopathic tendencies have also, thankfully, gone away…or at least are in remission.
As set up by last season’s finale, Rick’s acceptance to build a community of many instead of shelter a group of few is a welcome ideological change. I don’t completely agree with how Rick handled the situation with Crazy Clara but he was actually being TOO trusting for my taste instead of not trusting enough. That is huge for me. My solution would have been to give her food and then give her directions to the prison for her and her “boyfriend” to follow if they wanted to try and join. What if she was leading him into an ambush of 10 armed men?
I understand Glen’s hesitancy at having children. But Maggie’s right that at some point they have to stop surviving and start living. Beyond that, it may sound cold but the human race survived before modern medicine by basically having as many kids as possible. A lot of the children weren’t going to survive so we played the number games. Maybe in this world humanity should get back to that strategy?
I assume the person Michonne is searching for is The Governor. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a mystery to the viewer or not. I’m also a little confused why (on the TV series) Michonne hates The Governor so much more than everyone else does. It kind of feels like a plot in the comic is being shoehorned into the TV series where it doesn't fit.
Beth's attitude towards the death of her pseudo-boyfriend may seem cold but I get it. Seeing death all around you has to take some kind of toll and make you very wary of getting attached to other people.
Hey, they’re actually taking time to kill the zombies at the fence!
Rick's comment about what good six bullets was going do for him seemed odd considering The Walking Dead has never paid attention to how many bullets a pistol can hold before.
So, Patrick died because of some apparent disease. Is it the same thing that killed the pig? Is this an outbreak of a normal (but still deadly and problematic given the circumstances) illness or is this a super-illness related to the zombie outbreak?
When Carl got uppity and indignant thinking no one’s experiences compares to his I appreciated the girl’s response. It basically amounted to “Don’t think you’re special. I’ve seen messed up shit too.”
I would totally watch a police procedure featuring Darryl as the lead homicide detective.
According to The Talking Dead the time between the season finale last season and this episode is approximately 6 to 7 months.
Just in case you’re wondering, my personal opinion of the entire The Walking Dead series up until now is that it is a show that has done a lot of things right, a lot of things wrong, can be very entertaining and can be dreadfully dull. In other words, it’s inconsistent but I’ve never actually felt the urge to just stop watching.
As an FYI, I do read the comic. I’m not up-to-date on the comic but I have read past where they are on the show…sort of. It’s tough to tell these days since the show has veered off course quite a bit from the comic. Beyond that, I generally watch The Talking Dead afterwards. I considered not watching it this season because it's an hour long and it's not always interesting enough to be worth watching. However, it may help with my reviews so I’ll continue for now.