Monday, March 25, 2013
The Walking Dead: This Sorrowful Life
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how I was optimistic about next season because the writer of "Clear" -- the best episode since the pilot -- was going to be taking over as the showrunner. Alas, Scott Gimple also wrote this episode, which was yet another example of the uneven writing that has plagued this series since the beginning.
The problem is we all knew that Rick was not going to turn Michonne over to the Governor. It's been a long time since Rick was paralyzed with indecision over what would be the just thing to do with Randall, the young prisoner they had on the Farm. Remember those days? Rick refused to leave Randall stuck on the spiked fence. Then he refused to abandon him in the overrun factory yard. Then he refused to execute him. And yet all this time he also refused to consider allowing him to join the group.
I get that Rick is a much harder man now. He wouldn't stop for the hitchhiker (twice) -- only pausing long enough to pick up his backpack after he gets eaten. He's also the guy who won't allow Tyreese and his crew to stay in the prison.
So he's not going to help strangers. I get that. But is he now the type of person who is going to hand over a member of the group, albeit a relatively new one, who he knows is going to be tortured, maimed, and killed?
Hey, if they were seriously going to take this show in that direction -- if they were going to make Rick a cold and cruel pragmatist with no thought about sacrificing others to protect himself -- then fine, let's go that way.
But no, of course not. It's just another excuse to navel gaze for 20 minutes as Rick ponders what to do. If this was written better, or maybe acted better, maybe it would be compelling drama, watching Rick agonize with his decision. Instead, it's just dull as we watch Rick inevitably come to the decision we knew he'd make all along.
But oh! There's a twist. Because while Rick is hemming and hawing, someone else comes along and makes the decision for him. Wait, that's not a twist? That's right -- they've done it before, with Shane. Shane was the one in Season 2 who ultimately decides what to do with Randall. (He's also the one who decides to take out the walkers in Hershel's barn.) They've also done it in Season 3, with The Governor taking aggressive actions against the Prison while Rick mopes.
Rick is the Hamlet of Walking Dead, thinking, plotting, agonizing, while others run around actually doing stuff.
I'll give him the line of the night: "I'm not your governor." But it was amusing how he delivers a big speech about how it's no longer a Ricktatorship and they will have to decide together what to do... then he walks away without listening to what they had to say!
I also don't quite get Merle's logic -- OK, not that he has any -- in carrying out Rick's wishes by delivering Michonne, when Merle is the one who has been saying all along that it won't make any difference to The Gov, who intends on wiping them all out no matter what they do.
But once we finally get away from the prison, it's not a bad episode. Michonne was cool, maybe a little too cool, going along with Merle and really not making any effort at all to escape. Nice line though, about how she's not going to leave until she has her sword back. I loved Merle pretending to give the zombie a drink of whisky and then cackling. And bringing all those walkers into the compound and then ambushing the Governor's ambush was pretty cool.
It was very symbolic that Glenn rips off two fingers to get a wedding ring from a zombie, and then later, The Gov bites off two of Merle's fingers. It was symbolic of... uh... fingers, I guess? I dunno.
Daryl killing Walker Merle was the second time someone has had to put down a sibling... Andrea killed her zombiefid sister Amy way back in Season 1. I'm guessing they had Walker Merle moving slowly not because he recognized Daryl, but because they just wanted to linger on the scene. I don't think there was supposed to be any "recognition" of Daryl or anything like that.
So pour out a shot of Wild Turkey for ol' Merle and let's bring on the season finale next week!