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”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 4 – Some Guy

“I ain’t no king! I ain’t nothing! I’m just some guy!”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After several weeks of uninspiring episodes full of sound and fury signifying tedium, The Walking Dead made an unexpected (at least partial) recovery this week, with the most satisfying ep of the season so far. The show’s usually at its best when striking a good balance between character work and action; recent episodes have failed at this because they’ve told us nothing new about the characters, and not presented us with any action the likes of which we haven’t seen a hundred times. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 4 – Some Guy”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 3 – Monsters

“I know who you are. I saw it in the mirror through the open door. And it wasn’t any kind of blast from the past. I guess we’re not the same guys we used to be, huh? Cause you’re a monster.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

This week on The Walking Dead, it was… more of the same. Lots of gunfire, some angsting over moral dilemmas, a fair chunk of crowd-pleasing gore, and… that’s about it. You can probably guess the measure of my enthusiasm for this episode by the fact it’s taken me over a week to be bothered writing about it.

Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 3 – Monsters”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 – The Damned

“This isn’t about revenge, it’s about getting it done.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After a fairly lacklustre start to the season, I must say that The Walking Dead seemed to up its game this week, with a much more straightforward – and very action-packed – ep that cut down on the jaw-jaw and delivered on the war-war. No tricksy non-linear narrative this time, just a furious onslaught of gunfire, impalements and well-aimed crossbow bolts right from the outset, in a show that felt like nothing so much as an ep of WWII drama Band of Brothers. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 2 – The Damned”

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 1 – Mercy

“Those who use, and take, and kill, to carve out the world and make it theirs alone – we end them!”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

OK, I know I let the last half of The Walking Dead’s last season slide by without writing a word about it. It wasn’t that it was terrible; it’s just that it wasn’t terribly good, either. Let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can see the guys encountering a new bunch of survivors being terrorised by Negan before it starts getting a bit repetitive. If it had been dreadful, it would have been interesting to write about; if it had been good, it would have been interesting to write about. As it was… meh.

Still, the show’s back for its 8th season. AMC aren’t going to let their cash cow die, even if the show about zombies has become something of a zombie itself. The season premiere is also a milestone (if not a millstone) for the production team – it’s the show’s 100th episode. That leads to a certain amount of expectation, and to be fair, that’s always hard to live up to. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 1 – Mercy”

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf

“This isn’t about living in harmony. It’s just about living.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

This truncated season of Game of Thrones has often seemed to move at a breakneck pace, sacrificing the nuance and complexity of earlier seasons in favour of tying up the multiplicity of plotlines as fast as possible. This has led to a lot of tick-box exercises in plotting, as with last week; it’s also led to a lot of artistic licence to keep things rattling along, particularly in terms of distances. Many people have been pondering how, last week, Gendry ran all the way back to Winterfell, a raven was dispatched to Dragonstone, reached it, and Dany’s rescue party arrived in what could only have been a few hours. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 – Hearts Still Beating

“Either your heart’s beating or it isn’t. Your loved ones’ hearts are beating or they aren’t.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

And so, a generally low-key half-season has come to an equally low-key climax. OK, it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t usually describe a mid-season finale in which one of the main characters is gutted by a smiling psychopath while playing pool in the street “low-key”, but this is The Walking Dead. Anything less than a massive battle, a huge explosion or a vast horde of hungry corpses seems a bit anticlimactic. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 – Hearts Still Beating”