The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 2 – The Bridge

“I get what you’re trying to do here, and it’s the right thing. But maybe for some of them – they’re just not ready for it.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Showrunner Angela Kang took a backseat after last week’s underwhelming season opener for veteran (and lengthily named) scripter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick this week. And the result was an episode that, while ostensibly more low key, felt a lot more satisfying. Yes, there were still multiple narratives, but these ones were more satisfyingly intertwined than last time. The pacing was better too; rather than starting with the action then tailing off to the talking, this one built up the other way round. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 2 – The Bridge”

The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 1 – A New Beginning

“We deserve to live in peace. Negan and the Saviors tried to take that away from us. Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom and Oceanside came together. To fight for a better future.

“We won.

“Not without painful losses. Today, we try to heal. We try to forgive. Now, the work begins. The new world begins.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Fine words, Rick Grimes. This is indeed a new world for The Walking Dead. A world where showrunner Scott Gimple has been replaced by veteran scriptwriter Angela Kang. A world with a plot other than about Negan. A world where Carl Grimes, alive in the comics, is dead – and his father is about to join him. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 9, Episode 1 – A New Beginning”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 16 – Wrath

“All this is just what was. There’s gotta be something after.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

So finally, FINALLY, that’s a wrap on the All Out War, in a mostly satisfying and thoughtful season finale for The Walking Dead. It’s been two and a half seasons since we first encountered antagonists the Saviors; that’s over two years ago now. Their presence has been, since then, almost a default format for the show, and it’s a format that’s got real tired. Thank heavens the series can finally do something else. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 16 – Wrath”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 14 – Still Gotta Mean Something

“I found myself. Some version of myself, a better self. Still, it always feels like it could just be swept away again. But that doesn’t mean it will, and it doesn’t mean I couldn’t find myself again if it does.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It suddenly occurred to me, watching this episode, that this season of The Walking Dead is nearly at an end – only two more eps to go after this one. I really hadn’t noticed, as the increasingly draggy All Out War plot has shown very little sign of building momentum, just ambling along, mostly uninterestingly, with no apparent end in sight. If it was World War 2, it would be early 1943 – each side has had some significant gains and losses, but palpable victory for either doesn’t seem in sight yet. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 14 – Still Gotta Mean Something”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 12 – The Key

“The dead have brought out our best and worst, and the worst has been outpacing the best lately, but that won’t last forever.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Last week’s The Walking Dead was fairly average filler, while the week before was actually rather good. This week? Well, somewhere in between, really. There was far too much going on for it to be filler, and some of it was genuinely exciting. But I’m not sure I buy some of the more… unexpected plot developments, and overall it still felt overfamiliar. Nothing new to see here. Well… maybe one thing… Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 12 – The Key”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 10 – The Lost and the Plunderers

“You set this course, Rick. Who’s next?”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Well, at the risk of contradicting my recent posts on The Walking Dead’s steady decline, this week’s ep surprised me by being a marked improvement on the deliberately heavy (even excessive) drama of the last. Sure, it was a bit all over the place – an inevitable consequence of the show’s rather overused device of multi-stranded, non-linear narratives. But I was surprised to find that there was some stuff in here that I found (whisper it) goodContinue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 10 – The Lost and the Plunderers”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 8 – How It’s Gotta Be

“If you care, you do something. You don’t just ‘hope’. It takes more than that.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

And so, The Walking Dead’s largely uninspiring eight season has limped to a mid-season finale that was… uninspiring. Plenty of action to be sure, and some welcome reversals for Rick’s Rabble in their thus far implausibly successful campaign against the Saviors. Yet it all felt too manufactured somehow, as if the writers, and the showrunner in particular, were just running on autopilot. You can just hear them brainstorming in the writers’ room – “Oops, mid-season finale coming up. We haven’t killed anyone of note, better put some people in jeopardy to bring the viewers back next year… check. Oh, and who can we kill off that will really shock people but won’t make them hate us as much as if it were Carol or Daryl?” Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 8 – How It’s Gotta Be”