Monday, December 2, 2013

The Walking Dead Review: A Whole Lotta Awesome

We've got a blog! Now you can hear the ramblings of the nerd herd. Except for Undead Ned, zombies hate blogging. They do enjoy decoupage. Weird.

I figured we'd kick off this blog party with a look at the mid-season finale of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. Warning reading on from this point will have spoilers. If you go past this paragraph then you only have yourself to blame. Like when you did the cinnamon challenge. That's all on you my friend.

Last night was one of the best episodes in the show's history. It had been building since last season and the payoff was epic. Some might not have been a fan of the two episodes before hand that showcased the Governor and his summer vacation. I for one was a huge supporter of this idea. Not only did it give true depth to the character on "One Eye Bri", but allowed for the Carol story to simmer for a few weeks before we saw the fallout with Daryl. Even better was that the show just scratched that story before going feet first into the main focus of this episode.

The Governor is one of the most gruesome and evil characters in comic book history. On the television show he is a completely different character. I would bet that some of it has to do with television standards and practices. Can't really show stuff from the comics at 9PM on a Sunday. Also I believe Kirkman, like many writers, had multiple visions for his characters and is using his TV show to vent some of his unused ideas.

This Governor is calmer, and wears his crazy less on his sleeve. On the other hand it is that calm and detachment that makes him a little more creepier than the white trash version in the comics. It's like with sharks. Do you fear the fin you see above the water, or the ones you can't below?

This one happens to be just as nutty, but in his mind he's the hero. He's the man who can save the ones he loves because he has learned not to care in this world. That's the new rule of law. It's evolution baby. Yet in the end it is his thinking that cost him all that he loved. If he wasn't hell bent on storming the prison then Megan doesn't get eaten by the mud walker and his crew doesn't get demolished in a war. Hell, if he would have just stuck to their camp then he doesn't end up with a gut full of sword.

Then again was storming the prison really to protect his camp, or to get his selfish revenge? Just like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop, the world will never know.

So the Gov and his crew storm the prison and all hell breaks loose. Before I dive into that can we just a take a second to say how awesome Daryl is. He's a beast. Chuck Norris wears a Daryl Dixon fanboy shirt. The man fought a tank. A TANK. His legend just keeps growing. I know Kirkman has teased that he might kill off Daryl because he never wants fans to feel no character is untouchable, but Daryl is getting close to untouchable status. Getting rid of him would be like giving Lassie rabies and having Timmy take her out back. That ain't gonna fly.

Back to the prison war. At first I didn't like how they fired off a cannon and no walkers showed up, but soon that was dealt with as a hoard began to funnel in. Also people complained that they stormed the prison and destroyed everything worthwhile about having the prison. I think this just speaks to the true intentions of the Governor. He never truly wanted the prison, he wanted to kill that group. He just used the fairy tale of the prison to get his army motivated. Like when he used fabricated truth in Woodbury to justify his original war.

Of course the first casualty of war was the voice of reason in the show. Hershel lost his life. He didn't die quick, but was brutalized by the Governor as the war began. I call that symbolism. Hershel was the character that kept his head the most. The Governor was stomping that out in the world. He was destroying all that Hershel stood for and in the end Rick's group was left scattered. I could be reading too much into the Hershel character, but to me that is what was being done in that scene. Up until Hershel's death, Rick was trying to find a reasonable way. He was even willing to live side by side with the Gov. When Hershel goes down then it became a no holds barred death match.

In the end Rick and Carl find Judith's car seat empty and covered in blood. They assume she is killed by walker. Carl finally loses it as Rick grabs his boy and they get the hell out of dodge. It was the final loop in one wicked roller coaster of an episode. It also builds towards February when the show comes back. Is Judith dead?

Going into the second half of the season there are a few other questions. What will the group do with their home destroyed? How will Carol play a role going forward? Is the Governor really dead? What about the psychopath in the group? Will Bob turn back to booze ... wait ... I don't really care about Bob. Let him drink. It's the damn end of the world. The only twelve step program left is keeping yourself twelve steps ahead of walkers.

I for one believe that Judith and the Governor are both still alive. If you don't see somebody's dead body then they aren't dead. In the comics the Governor survived a whole lot worse than a stab wound and a gun shot. Also I have to believe Tyreese grabbed Judith because it was easier to carry her without the car seat. Being a parent I can tell you those car seats are a pain in the butt if you have to carry them farther than 10 feet.

Finally I think Carol plays a huge role going forward. I think she, like the Governor, will have found a new group and worked her way into a leadership position. Kirkman always likes to do mirrored comparisons with his characters. Carol will be the mirror of the Governor, and I bet we get a cool two episode arc to show her story. I'd bet this is also where we meet new characters like Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita from the comics. They all could be part of Carol's new group.

That's my predictions for the show. Check back in February for more Walking Dead reviews and follow us on twitter at @nerdageddonccc for live tweets during the show. Our online store is up and we're currently putting the finishing touches on the shop. The doors should be open by January. Come stop by and check us out.

Until next time,

Leader of the Nerd Herd
Nerd since 1980

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