The Walking Dead – Conquer, review

The Walking Dead came to it’s ferocious season five end this week in a climatic episode that stirred plenty of tension amongst spectators and characters alike. If you are yet to feast your eyes on Conquer, this weeks appropriate title awarded to Kirkman’s finale, expect new foes, a crazed Rick Grimes and a whole load of brutality. In a lot of episodes which have been up and down, episode ten didn’t leave fans disappointed and has set the tone for the nature in which AMC’s triumphant show now encompasses.

The ‘safe’ locale of the walled-community in Alexandria has posed a juxtaposition to the on-the-road narrative of previous installments, and while its refreshing to meet a batch of new people, several episodes have been lacking when it comes to excitement. Monday night saw a return to form with what viewers love most when it comes to WD, and that is the unexpected. In a 90 minute final, its the last five that stay in the mind the most, with a staggering closing scene that reunites old and new friends.

Writers Gimple and Hoffman have successfully given us a glimpse into the emotions of all key characters in Conquer, which has been one of the biggest flaws of the final round of episodes. Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Rick, Daryl, Carol and more all had their share of the teleplay and to be reminded of why we all love them certainly added an enjoyable spin to a generally dark atmosphere. Congratulations to all involved for not making this narrative a convoluted one.

With no more new episodes until season six premieres in October, fans will have to keep themselves occupied with the graphic novels and even perhaps the spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead. A great final for a genuinely impressive show.

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 – Self Help review

Scrolling through Facebook today (yes, that social convention that takes up a fair amount of time) I came across a status which read “The best part of Monday is hearing ‘Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead.'”, and I believe its fair to say that you would be hard-pressed to come across a fan who would disagree. Five seasons in, WD could potentially find itself between a rock and a hard place; its far enough in to of cemented itself as a great show, but also at the stage that the final season, and the question of when that will come is a hovering thought. Currently, The Walking Dead is still as thrilling, and exciting, as it was in season one (perhaps even more so), and although the narrative has generally been continuous throughout, the curve-balls thrown in have been enough to keep us all coming back for more. Today’s episode, Self Help, leads one to ask, where next? For the first time. The shock of Eugene (a character we know little about, played by Josh McDermitt) professing that his whole story of the chance for a return back to the life they all once knew, and a cure to the virus that has turned humans into Walkers, was all a lie, left a gap for the thought – where now? Where will the story go next, and where can this whole show now go? If you read the graphic novels, then you’ll have that answer. But for us in the dark, its certainly a thought that makes for a fair amount of day-dreaming, and mental script-writing.

michael cudlitz as abraham in the wlaking dead

michael cudlitz as abraham in the wlaking dead

A formation that WD has perfected over the past two seasons is that of swapping between characters, and their stories. This week it was all about Abraham’s (and those who left with him) journey to DC, last week we followed Beth, and before that Rick and the crew. This way of storytelling from the makers, means every week there is a fresh narrative in which audiences can sink their teeth into (excuse the pun). Gaining insight this week (however slight it was) into Cudlitz’s Abraham made for new and definitely interesting fare, and discovering that he at one point nearly took his own life added a softer element to a character with a hard exterior. More than this however, the aesthetic of what must be nearly a thousand walkers (I may be exaggerating) was one of the best images WD has given us yet, and almost places you there in the scene. Trust me, its up there with the park Walker of season one (and who can forget that?!). While Self Help didn’t present itself as the best episode season five has given us, it still remains a fantastic offering for the zombie genre. This weeks episode also reminds us that The Walking Dead is an adult show, and one that explores relationships of all types, in a refreshing and human way.

Not an episode of epic proportions, or overwhelming discoveries, but an episode of humble modesty, exemplifying The Walking Dead‘s ability to shine no matter what the subject matter.