With a new season renewed after just three episodes this season, AMC is apparently very confident in the rest of this season as well as the writers’ abilities to continue forward. This week we get more of an understanding that this is a concrete character study in the likeness of Lost and Breaking Bad. But the thing about this episode is that, while it was enjoyable to watch, it could be perceived as a bit boring— particularly when you take into account George A. Romero’s recent comments about the series, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
As far as the episode, Carol states in the cold opening that “We all change,” and she couldn’t be more right. The statement might have been a bit too forward, or in your face in light of the themes for this season (especially with the final song, “Everything Changes”), but it still did the job it needed to. One can’t help but to take notice this in all of the characters, not just Carol while she is justifying her murder while in the car with Rick (although that in and of itself is actually a profound moment for her character, where she is outside alone with Rick instead of one of the self-proclaimed “hunters”), but character development is also notable with Michonne’s character. It hasn’t really been mentioned all too much, but she is less reserved now that she is in an environment with people she knows and trusts. She even smiled while talking with Daryl, which actually caught me off guard.
Tyreese, on the other hand, has had more close calls than James Bond on a bad day. But there may be a point to it. In a short dialogue sequence between him and Michonne, the idea that Tyreese could be battling the inner thought of suicide after Karen’s death was presented and to tell you the truth, it makes sense. In the previous episode he found himself surrounded by walkers and managed to escape because at that moment he knew he didn’t want to die; the same thing happened in this episode when he didn’t let go of the walker hiding in the bushes.
I think it’s safe to assume the couple (who interestingly enough calls walkers “skin eaters”; I always find it interesting to hear what other people call them admits an apocalypse) Rick and Carol found in the neighborhood house is very dependent on others— they barely could keep walkers away, much less kill one with a single bullet, couldn’t comprehend knives as weapons, and the guy thought his shoulder was just sore even though it was dislocated. The mere fact that they were still alive was a miracle. It was obvious that both Carol and Rick were aware of this and thought about dealing with it in separate fashions. Rick was thinking about having them stay put so they could pick them up when they head back to the prison; to the contrary, I believe Carol wanted to test their usefulness by having them scope the other side of the perimeter and by them not returning means that they must have gotten themselves killed— exactly what Carol thought, again, making the decision for other people.
Not too much happened this episode aside from asserting the themes of the season. Carol considered her life with her husband, “I didn’t think I was strong enough,” which perfectly explains her transformation. But some change is not too good. And with that Carol potentially leaves the group forever because of who she has now become. Juxtaposed to this is a contrast between change and saying the same when Daryl learns that Bob is hoarding alcohol and acting as an alcoholic would do. But this is the issue holistically.
This episode didn’t feel right since I read master of all things zombies, George A. Romero’s comments about The Walking Dead: “Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally.” And at first I was ready to write an angry letter to Romero stating how much I love his moves but how wrong he is, but honestly after this episode I may send him a letter that says, “Oh my God, you’re right.” The episode felt so much like a soap opera it was unbelievable. As much as I like how deep they are going with the characters, I worry that we are being subjected to Undead Days of Our Lives or As the Walkers Turn. As the season progress, we’ll just have to observe the progression of the show. AMC even made a statement that they never plan to cancel The Walking Dead, which essentially means that it will become a weekly soap opera. I’m not sure of my opinion on this, but I’m curious as to what you guys think. Has The Walking Dead become a soap opera? Or is it a riveting horror drama?