The night is finally here and The Walking Dead makes it’s triumphant return yet again. And it most certainly delivered. Sure it wasn’t that action packed, but the drama was perfectly balanced opposite the juxtaposed action and plot development. While most episodes of the first half of the season felt pointless and plotless, this episode felt like it was pushing the characters into their respected places.
Michonne is the first to grace the screen; walking aimlessly around the prison outskirts, she finds to walkers to “domesticate” (by cutting off their hands and jaws). With a sense of distain, she ties a rope to lead the walkers. As she leaves the prison grounds, she stumbles upon the decapitated zombified head of one Hershel Greene and respectfully puts him to rest with her beloved katana.
Rick looks absolutely beat. Emotionally he is not as distraught as he was after losing his wife, Lori during her pregnancy, but he is still very much in a different state of mind. After her death, Rick was incapable reasonable thought, but after the death of Judith, Rick is ignorant of reasonable thought. Carl is the one who seems to be in constant use of his survivor skills, however he is still absent of moral, at least to the point that Rick, Hershel and Dale were. Although both should be working together, neither are necessarily trying to do so.
Carl, out of frustration goes into a dialogue pulled directly from the comics and abandons his now unconscious father as if to prove his own masculinity against Rick’s inability to maintain a leader and a father. He acts like he is better than his father, but instead he wastes ammunition, doesn’t think situations through, and still has the audacity to immensely cocky about his luck, often noting that he “won.” This little adventure alone taught him that he needs his father and that he is not the survivor type he thought he was.
It almost seemed like they wanted to take the Lost route during the flashback, but in fact it turned out to be a dream sequence. The sequence gave insight to who the original domesticated walkers were when we first met them— her lover and boyfriend— and that she had a son. She soon hallucinates again seeing herself as one of the walkers, and this scares her, leading to a zombie-killing freak out as she pours her emotion through her sword. Michonne misses her loved ones and can’t help but to think of them, her first family to leave her as Andrea then Rick and company. This essentially speaks to why she was almost in tears when she saw Rick and Carl in the house; she felt as if she was reunited with her family.
Overall, this was a great premiere, and in my opinion better than the season four premiere in all aspects. Like I had mentioned before, the first half seemed to lack plot progression in favor of character development, but it’s episodes like these that remind us that you can easily put in both equally. That being said, I am glad they didn’t rush into showing what Daryl or any of the other survivors are at this moment. They presented two sides of the group that were split up and ended on them regrouping which was a brilliant pacing move. Michonne and Carl’s characters revealed major character developments as well as giving us a perception into where they need to develop.
My only beef with the episode comes a bit with Rick, whose development was limited by his state of consciousness, which I can understand but at the same time a bit it was still disappointing. I just hope Rick doesn’t regress into the pile of emotional goop he was after losing Lori, because that would be a bit too repetitive. Other than that, I feel like the show is finally headed in the right direction again. Maybe it’s because I went in with low expectations, but after seeing this episode, my expectations for the rest of the season are a lot higher— for better or for worse.