Review of The Walking Dead – Series 3, Episode 10
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 10, series 3 of ‘The Walking Dead’
Thank goodness for this week’s instalment of The Walking Dead. Following last week’s somewhat drowsy series return, this episode teeters on the brink of following in its tracks, before it delivers the second half that you would expect from AMC’s primetime ratings juggernaut.
For the first 20 minutes, you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a radio play due to the time devoted to character conversations. But then the series seems to rediscover its dramatic potential, and finally exploits the tensions that have been simmering since the Governor was first introduced.
Rick is out in the wilderness, haunted by the ghost of his dead wife Lori. Darryl and Merle are in the middle of nowhere and come to blows over their differing approaches to survival. Andrea’s appeals to the Governor fail to make an impact. When he mysteriously vanishes from Woodbury, it’s only a matter of time before he arrives at the prison with some of his friends (both living and dead).
Aside from Rick’s touching encounter with the ghostly Lori in the pre-credits opener, the episode begins with a number of low tempo scenes, where several of the central characters engage in heart-to-hearts as we witnessed last week. On first impressions it gave the distinct feeling that we could have been in for an episode that wandered as aimlessly as a decaying walker.
While Herschel (Scott Wilson) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) have an interesting discussion about whether fight or flight is the best course of action, many of the early scenes seem to revisit discussions we have already seen elsewhere.
Andrea’s reactions remain somewhat frustrating this week, as she fails to see the extent of the Governor’s corruption despite significant evidence of his inability to lead. Laurie Holden has done well to maintain a degree of empathy up to this point, so it’s a shame that such a strong female character has been noticeably confined within the limitations of Woodbury’s staged suburbia.
However, at about the mid-point of the episode The Walking Dead suddenly reanimates and demonstrated why it remains one of the best shows on television. Darryl and Merle remain as magnetic as ever, with their encounter in the woods highlighting the acute differences in their characters. It’s Darryl who rushes to the aid of a family, moments before they are turned into walker food. But they also use their time in the woods to address past difficulties that have never been expressed on-screen. Their isolated woodland location is the perfect substitute for a psychiatrist’s couch, as both Darryl and Merle address the trauma of their childhoods. Their discussion is a surprisingly tender conversation between two of the most macho characters on the show and hints that it may be possible for Merle to redeem himself later in the series.
Carol (Melissa McBride) remains one of the most underappreciated characters on The Walking Dead. Over the past three seasons McBride has transformed Carol from a timid, docile woman into the matriarch of the group. Her warmth towards Axel (Lew Temple) has developed nicely over the last few weeks, so it was heart-breaking to see the promise of their relationship cut short.
Once again Andrew Lincoln demonstrates his versatility, as he depicts Rick’s deepening psychosis and struggles with PTSD. The opening scene where Lori’s ghost delivers the reunion that the characters (and the fans) crave. His touching admission that he is aware it is all a lie provided a sensitive portrait of a man dealing with his grief. But once the action kicks off, Lincoln quickly switches back to the resourceful, determined leader, handling himself well in the fight scenes and proving that killing zombies could be the best antidote to his sorrow.
The final confrontation, the Assault on Cell Block C, is one of the most impressive Walking Dead fight scenes we’ve been offered. Although we knew it was coming, the execution that opens the battle came as a genuine shock. What follows is an extended sequence of chaos, as the team battle to hold the prison in the face of the Governor’s malice.
The conclusion of the episode acts as a wake up call for the inhabitants of the prison and a warning of the confrontations and retaliations to come. Will Andrea make it back to the prison and will her friends welcome her? Has the time come for Rick to step down from the position of leader? What is the next step in the Governor’s hate-fuelled campaign?
Tagged in: Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, The Walking Dead, zombies
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