Seeing as how it’s been nearly a week since it aired, I guess I should go ahead and review the latest episode of The Waking Dead. No doubt about it, we’re all about timely reviews here at the Shattered Lens!
The latest episode of The Walking Dead was …. well, it was okay. Actually, it was better than okay. It was actually pretty good. It was well-directed. It was well-acted. There was plenty of gore, if that’s what you’re into. There were a lot of walkers. The Reapers continued to do villainous things for vague reasons. Duncan and Agatha died, so we won’t have to keep track of them anymore. After being absent for the previous two episodes, Carol showed up long enough to do her whole “compassionate but ruthless” thing. Gabriel announced, “God isn’t here anymore” before stabbing a guy in the head. It was all well-done and effective but, and I say this a lot when it comes to The Walking Dead, it was also pretty familiar. That’s the problem when a show like this goes on for 11 seasons. By this point, almost any show is going start to repeating itself and that’s been the case with The Walking Dead for a while now.
The repetitive nature of the show always leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes, the Reapers are frightening and evil but how are they any different from any of the other frightening and evil groups that have showed up over the course of this show? Yes, being eaten by a walker is not a pleasant thought but, by this point, we know that, unless it’s a season finale, only minor characters have to really worry about getting eaten by a walker. Maggie is not going to get eaten by a walker, at least not this early in the season. Neither is Negan, if just because it’s fairly obvious that show’s writers enjoy coming up with sarcastic dialogue for him. That said, I do think The Walking Dead deserves some credit for remaining consistent in its portrayal of a world without hope. The world of The Walking Dead has always been dark and dangerous and the worst thing that the show could do, at this point, would be to pretend like things will ever get better. Even Gabriel has lost his faith, accepting that the world is now ruled by chaos and random destruction.
The stuff with Carol and the horses felt like it was mostly just tacked on to give Carol and Rosita something to do but I enjoyed the interplay between Negan and Maggie. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan had an interesting …. well, I guess you’d have to call it chemistry …. in their scenes together. The first three episodes of the season have devoted a lot of time to comparing and contrasting Maggie and Negan’s leadership styles and, interestingly enough, it seems like Maggie has more in common with Negan than she wants to admit. One gets the feeling that her refusal to abandon Alden was as motivated by Maggie’s need to not turn into Negan as it was by any humanitarian impulse. Still, one can see that Maggie is starting to see that Negan might be right. Survival in world ruled by chaos often means abandoning compassion.
Overall, this was a good episode. At this point, The Walking Dead has lost its power to shock but it’s nice to see that it can still occasionally tell an effective story.