Sunday, February 9, 2014
Is it possible to both love and hate a television episode all at the same time?
That's what I found myself doing with The Walking Dead's midseason premiere entitled "Don't Look Back". Ironically, that's the exact opposite advice young Carl Grimes should have heeded, but I'll get into that in a moment.
For me, this return had a lot of great things going for it, but a few old bad habits reared their ugly heads once again.
First off, the opening of the episode was fantastic. Very rarely are there quiet moments during a zombie apocalypse, but the first few minutes of this episode just focused on the eerily silent nature of what happened after the prison. In fact, I don't even know if a character spoke at all within the first five minutes of the episode.
On another good front, we finally got to see part of Michonne's back story. Her character has remained shrouded in a lot of mystery since her introduction at the beginning of Season 3, and you can tell the writers don't want quite to divulge her complete history just yet.
However, I think the producers missed a huge opportunity here to make this a Michonne-centric episode ... but I digress.
So in between, we were subjected to another "Carl goes off and gets himself into trouble to further the plot" episode arc. By this point in The Walking Dead, I really thought we've gotten past the point of characters doing truly stupid things like walking backwards into walkers, but I suppose there are only a certain number of plot vehicles the writers can use to progress the storyline.
Although I wasn't really a fan of the "Carl in the wild" moments during this episode, I thought the father/son dynamic between Rick and Carl was the best it's ever been. You get the sense that Carl is really struggling with his identity, and trying to be like the man his father was while Rick is struggling to find out the man he is.
"Shane taught me ... remember him?" was probably my favourite line of this season thus far. All too often in shows like these, the producers kill off characters and then fail to acknowledge them ever again. But in reality, these characters would have their fallen comrades on their mind nearly every single day.
Carl acknowledging Shane was a nice homage to arguably one of the most dynamic characters to appear in four plus seasons of The Walking Dead.
Although "Don't Look Back" was an okay return to Season 4, it definitely could have been better. Since the group is almost completely fragmented at this point, it will be interesting to see how the group gets back together over the course of the next seven episodes.
Just remember Carl, like in horror movies, never walk backwards ... ever. It never leads to good things.