This was one of the most beautifully shot and exciting episodes since season 1. And I for one couldn’t be more excited. Let’s break this episode down by group.
The Michonne and Carl segment of the episode had no action at all, but did a lot to advance the emotional framework of the characters. Michonne is moving more and more from this one-dimensional character that is a loner that cuts heads off with a sword to a person we actually feel for. It started with the episode where we realize she had a child. For the first time, she is actually opening up about her son, Andre. She seems to be doing it under the guise of helping Carl deal with his emotions, but really she is just releasing her own finally. She has been a central character in the comic for a long time, but it seems like she’s finally turning the corner to become a major player in the tv show as well.
Carl, after the emotional outburst about his father is finally showing that it’s really his way of venting about the loss of his sister. He has seen his people die left and right. He has had to kill. He saw a family friend try to murder his father. He’s survived over a year with the walkers. Yet the loss of Judith is what finally sends Carl to his breaking point. This segment was an emotional one.
We finally have Abraham. While the transition from Tyreese from the comics to the television show has been a pretty boring and awful one, I still had high hopes for Abraham. He was easily one of my favorite characters from the comic and so far, he has been on point. The television audience gets to know a bit of his group’s back story and find out what their deal is (old hat to those that read the comic). Plus we get to see more of the lovely lovely Rosita. Did I mention she’s lovely?
The Eugene character is pretty great too. He perfectly captures the complete intellectual arrogance while not being able to take care of himself without Rosita and Abraham’s help.
While I completely understand Abraham’s point of view of why he needs Glenn to join the group, he goes about it the complete wrong way. The man is clearly grieving the potential loss of his wife. At some point, you have to realize that forcing him to stay with is probably worse than not having him at all. I mean, it ultimately cost them their vehicle.
There’s also a great exchange where Abraham tells Tara she’s a good person and she replies that he doesn’t even know her. That really is some great foreshadowing for what’s to come and Abraham’s complete inability to judge character.
This part of the episode was really fantastic. I figured when Rick handed Carl his pistol that somewhere in the episode there would be a walker that got into the house. I never expected it to be a violent gang. Despite having the crap kicked out of him and still recovering, Rick has some pretty quick thinking getting under the bed and grabbing all his belongings. We also get some quick clues that these aren’t good guys, too. There’s what they were saying when they came in, the blood on the boots, then the violent fight over who got to nap in the bed. It was really a great old horror movie trick where the episode director had the audience on the seat thinking “will they see him under the bed”.
Finally, after a till-the-death battle with a guy taking a poop and a harrowing escape, Rick gets out and alerts Michonne and Carl just in time to flee. Rick had a genius plan after he killed the guy. Notice how he left the door open so that when he turned, he’d cause a commotion. Pretty clever thinking.
So, on to thoughts/predictions/analysis.
-What is this place that Rick, Michonne, and Carl are heading to that Tyreese and Carol already found? Is this a renamed location from the comic or an all new place? Will Rick find Carol and Tyreese?
-What’s going to happen when Tyreese finds out Carol’s secret? That has to be coming.
-It was kind of a cool nod with Rick reading Jack London. London uses a lot of themes of brutality of society. That sort of foreshadowed what was about to happen.
-Who are the men from the house? Will they return?
-I have a feeling we will see them again, but I don’t expect them to be major players in the season. I think they are just setting up the brutality that humanity has spiraled to in this plague. The people that survive are either in a strong group or are ruthless or both.
Tonight’s kill of the show?
All in all this was a pretty great episode. We had some emotional human-human interaction. We had violence and brutal kills. We had suspense. We also got to see the dissolution of humanity. The show is finally starting to explore how dark this world has become and I, for one, am digging that. Only 6 days, 21 hours till the next episode!