Nihilism

The Walking Dead: "Alone" (Season 4, Episode 13)

We see some of this show’s strengths return to the fore this week. Specifically, they know how to do a theme for an episode, stringing it across multiple characters and scenes, even if they do bludgeon you with it at times. Second, they do killer set pieces. You won’t find much in the way of TV that does it better.

 

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The Walking Dead: "Internment" (Season 4, Episode 5)

Well that was one gory, boring, exciting, confusing gross-out of a memorable episode, wasn’t it? Just when it had me going “Meh,” it lurched up like a walker itself and started shambling right and left in impressively gnarly fashion. The first half was pretty unmemorable, the second half memorable indeed. But it also included some things I don’t want to remember.

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The Walking Dead: "Indifference" (Season 4, Episode 4)

We pick up where we left off last week. In order, we get some inspired set pieces that don’t actually involve gratuitous gore, some good dialogue, and a low key, downbeat ending that more or less works. Enough so that I’ll overlook for the moment what could be arbitrary angst of convenience. A good episode all things considered.

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The Walking Dead: "Welcome to the Tombs" (Season 3, Episode 16)

Well, that was different.

Dramatically, you could say it worked. Thematic resolution of a sort occurred, and in real life, things often do end with a whimper rather than a true bang. Still, the sense of proportion seemed off in a couple of places. Basically, Rick and Co. came up with a rather weak plan, but triumphed anyway because the Governor went nuts.

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The Walking Dead: "Prey" (Season 3, Episode 14), "This Sorrowful Life" (Season 3, Episode 15)

One kind of weak episode followed by one kind of strong episode. Yin and Yang. Peanut butter and chocolate. That sort of thing. The bottom line is that zombies are back drop and this show lives and dies by characterization. The weak episode focused on Andrea and the Governor, who have become tiresome. The strong episode focused on black-sheep brother Merle, who was a breath of fresh air.

“Prey”

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The Walking Dead: “Arrow on the Doorpost” (Season 2, Episode 13)

My dinner with the Governor.

That’s pretty much this episode, which revolves around a meeting Andrea arranged between Rick and the Big G to try and settle their differences. Since we all know the Governor is a deeply disturbed man who will still want to kill Rick and Company no matter what they agree to (as he’s killed others), it’s inevitably anticlimactic. It does serve to move the story along. It’s just not the Emmy winning confrontation the writers seem to think it is.

In short, it’s milked.

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The Walking Dead: “I Ain’t a Judas” (Season 2, Episode 11) & “Clear” (Season 2, Episode 12)

Man. More and more I don’t really know what to make of this show anymore. At times it’s astoundingly written, it definitely holds your interest, and yet… There’s a streak of sadism that keeps peeking through that I’m not so enchanted with. Maybe that’s just inevitable if you keep a zombie movie going past its two hour cinematic running time. Or maybe it’s just me. But I did find “Clear” in particular to be both brilliant and disturbing.

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The Walking Dead: "The Suicide King" (Season 3, Episode 9) & "Home" (Season 3, Episode 10)

We left with a brewing civil war between mentally disturbed survivor leaders. Well, consider it brewed. “The Suicide King” is a little weak, but “Home” ends with a certified bang.

People are still dropping like flies, Rick is still falling apart, and that does not bode well for his overmatched group. The Governor is a full blown sociopath at this point, which doesn’t bode well for his group even if he wins. Nothing like a little lose-lose confrontation in a post-Apocalyptic world to bludgeon hope to death. Maybe that’s why Mad Max never stuck with any group for long.

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The Walking Dead: "When the Dead Come Knocking (Season 3, Episode 7), "Made to Suffer" (Season 3, Episode 8)

Today, for the season ending finale, we look for the positives in everyone. The Governor is a family man, if in a totally demented way. Merle may be a total jerk, but he is handy to have around if you want to torture someone. Michonne is a bad ass with a sword, but she actually cares about children in distress. Rick, is well, our everyman who still tries to sort of pretend he has a conscious. Darryl is pretty much the switch hitting utility infielder who’s also good with tools that everyone needs when catastrophe comes a knocking.

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