The Walking Dead, mid-season finale – review

Today’s final episode of The Walking Dead (until its return in the new year) was two things. One: Understated. Two: Phenomenal. Forget zombie horror cliches and the floors in television drama; Coda, the seasons eighth episode moved beyond the genre of survival horror and the living dead, and became something which represents well the dark side of people. To say that this weeks offering was a ‘shock’ would most probably be the understatement of the century (exaggeration is in need, trust me), and if you have been waiting for an episode to quite literally blow your socks off, you now have it.

Visceral, violent, horrific and packing an emotional punch Coda sits comfortably as the best mid-season finale we have seen since this overly-long wait for new episodes began. Plot-wise, not much needs to be discussed. For, in the forty minute running time not a whole lot really happens – until those last pivotal five minutes. There is Walker action, of course. Conversations about past lives, something which is always to be expected now. And, the group are all brought back together (just not on the terms you may of initially thought that they would be). The power in episode eight of season five lay with those five minutes, and those five minutes alone. You will cry, you will hold your face and shout at the screen, and you will be baffled at how the makers of this show, without warning, throw it at you with such a force.

the cast of the walking dead

the cast of the walking dead

Lauren Cohan as Maggie, in the brief moments she has screen time in this years finale, is exceptionally good and reminds us all why her character has become such a favourite. Her relationship with Glenn (fan-girl’s favourite played by Steven Yeun) and sense of leadership she often portrays firmly places her up there with Danai Gurira’s Michonne who oozes sass and bad-assness (not a word, right?). What is also rather wonderful, yet tragic, is how unafraid Robert Kirkman and crew are of killing off two or three of the audiences most beloved characters. Whether you saw the happenings of Coda coming, or like me, were quite baffled, its irrelevant – the close filming of the loss of one cast member will leave you reeling.

With no half measures prepare the tissues, set your calender for the February 8th return and enjoy.

The Walking Dead – Crossed, review

We are seven episodes in to season five of The Walking Dead, thank goodness there are nine more because, with the quality of what we’ve seen so far, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t wish this show was on every week…all year. Featuring (surprisingly) extreme violence, and some of the most intense scenes, and twists, of the season so far, Crossed reminds me. You. Us, how enthralling, thrilling, exciting, and damn shocking at times AMC’s The Walking Dead is. Every week I rave about this show (it probably reads all a bit samey now), but genuinely, there is nothing else to say – apart from praise.

andrew lincoln in a promotional still for amc's the walking dead

andrew lincoln in a promotional still for amc’s the walking dead

Crossed see’s the first episode the season where we are allowed insight into all three stories; Beth at Grady Memorial, Maggie, Glenn, Eugene, Abraham and the others at a crossroads (waiting for an unconscious Eugene to come to) and Rick, Daryl and their crew as they leave the church for Atlanta. The combining of the whole cast was a rather well thought out structure, and meant that everyone who loves this show was able to see a few minutes of screen time from their favourite character. For me, it’s Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Norman Reedus as Daryl (pretty much everyone’s treasured personalities) who provide the best moments acting wise and support a cast of still fantastic actors, but both just have that extra something that makes them so believable in the roles they uphold. Seeing the progression of Reedus’ Daryl from a violent, drug-taking thug to a sympathetic and beloved member of the group has been one the greatest components of the entire show, and many are of the opinion that if he went, we’d go too.

The unexpected seemed to be the theme in this weeks episode, and the cast ran with it. Big on action, and full of violence that (for one of the first times since season two’s well Walker) had the power to make you cringe. Seeing the horror of what has happened to these brain-dead, lowly antagonists – the Walkers, was a clever element to add to this weeks installment (you feel sorry for these people who have become monsters) and one which reminds you of the terrible actions from the living as well as the dead. Narrative-wise I won’t give the game away, but expect to be clinging at your eyes, not wanting to watch whats happening, but wanting every episode right now. With only one more episode left this year, the makers have upped the anti, for all out war.

 

The Walking Dead: Four Walls and a Roof

Emotions ran high in this weeks episode of The Walking Dead, Four Walls and a Roof. As we say goodbye to Bob, a character always full of hope, and always on hand to give us a much-needed laugh, we are left pondering what’s to come for the rest of the group. The episode, which once again balanced violence and death with warmth, humanity, and strong character work, saw the official end of the Terminus cannibals and a separation for members of the group (this time by choice). Maggie and Glenn have gone on the road with Abraham (played by acting gold Michael Cudlitz, and fast becoming a beloved character), Rosita and the quiet, but rather adorable, Eugene (who is the key to saving the world, or rather, saving what is left of the world). Despite Bob‘s departure being all too sudden, and something which certainly wasn’t expected so early on in this new season, this was not the moment that held the most strength emotionally. As is usually often the case in WD, it was a moment of words, short and simple, that left one feeling a tug of the heart strings. The words, left from Abraham, forĀ Rick, read ‘Sorry I was an asshole. Come to Washington. The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes.’, this was so poignant because it feels as though WD is at a seminal point now. Five seasons in, the end, in a positive way, is almost in sight; there’s hope of a return back to the life the group all once knew, Rick finally found Judith, the group are as strong as they’ve ever been and the glimmers of hope get stronger and more frequent. While it feels as though The Walking Dead could last for another five seasons (the graphic novels are still going and producer David Alpert has hinted at seven more), I hope, and I think this is a hope shared with many of the WD fans, that this consistently captivating show doesn’t over-stay its welcome.

the walking dead's danai gurira as michonne

the walking dead’s danai gurira as michonne

If there was any fault to pick with Four Walls and a Roof (and this is pretty much just being picky) its that we aren’t seeing enough of Michonne, a character with a compelling back story and one who holds great interest with viewers. She’s tough, but sympathetic, and Danai Gurira plays her with an almost mothering warmth. If you were in this walker-filled world, you’d want Gurira’s Michonne by your side. Despite the lack of dialogue or screen-time given to her so far this season, the moments where she is on screen, she shines. Whether its a close-up to represent a reaction to a particular moment, or a few words between her and a friend, Gurira manages to bring both vulnerability and strength to Michonne. On a final note, Gareth (Andrew J. West), the leader of Terminus, said many a thing in this weeks episode that got the rage boiling inside and the hope that he doesn’t meet a pleasant end even stronger. While these moments reminded one how involving this show can be, it also represented Rick, Glenn, Maggie and the rest of the group as completely individual to those left in the brutal world they now live. That difference is one of the most interesting elements of the show, and something that lends to fascinating back-stories and tales of woe when they meet these harsh antagonists. Keep going Walking Dead, because you’re doing just fine.