Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan | Created by Robert Kirkman
When it comes to The Walking Dead, I enjoy the episodes that are more action packed. Too many times we tend to see things get bogged down in how evil Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is this week, or how tormented Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is with his choices, or who wants to get revenge this week. Sometimes though, there are some less action based episodes that do work, one of them being this weeks.
While I say less action based, this doesn’t mean that we don’t see plenty of zombie killing, because we do. More importantly though this is more of a character based episode where Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) get to spend some relaxing time away from Alexandria, while some other characters also get to take stock of their own emotions and their need for vengeance. Yep, there is always a character wanting revenge.
The strength of this episode really does come from the time we see Rick and Michonne spend time together. Gurira and Lincoln work good as a couple, and give us plenty of light moments in what is a darkness obsessed show. In fact, the lighter moments even include some comedy.
In this episode, we also get to see just how close the two are when Michonne believes that Rick has been overpowered and killed by the zombies. The pure emotion she shows is a revealing moment for a character who tends to spend more of her time being a total badass. Her weakness is when she lets her guard down and loves.
Back in Alexandria the focus is more of Rosita (Christian Serratos) and her obsession with exacting revenge on Negan. Her conversations with numerous people is telling of the turmoil she feels, and while it is understandable, you can’t help but feel it is going to doom not only her but other members of the group. Pulling Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) into her plans also hints at bad times for that character too. The simple fact is, it isn’t only an army that will take down Negan, and their “one shot” policy is only going to cause Rick a few nightmares and lead to death.
It has to be said that Rosita’s scene with Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is telling of her character. Fighting to blame everybody else for the ways she feels she has failed, in truth she has to look inside herself to find her own redemption and to find a focus which could stop her inevitable failure to kill Negan, and her own death. We know she won’t do that though, which is marking her out for doom.
While I’ve already stated I’m not a fan of the slower episodes, I do understand the need for them. This one for example is about the build up to war with Negan, and the need to get an army together arm them so that they have a chance to win. Thankfully we didn’t get too pulled down into depressing emotions in this episode, just a few good signs that plans are coming together.
The big highlight of the episode of course is the fun fair setting in which Rick and Michonne do battle in. It is not surprising really that there would be so many zombies there, it is almost feels like a refence to Dawn of the Dead where the zombies are attracted to the mall. Just another consumerist memory stuck in the mind of The Walking Dead making them return to places where they were made to feel happy.
With a complex setting like the fun fair it gives for some impressive scenes, which include the near-death experience of Rick. This allows for a nice bit of humanity, and a reminder that the zombies are still a clear and present danger, even if Negan is the major big bad of this season.
The Walking Dead this week is a good example of the humanity of the show. Getting away from Negan and enjoying the zombie battles for a change, it actually feels like a nice refreshing episode rather than events that could be rather depressing. Now to wait for next week and the survivors coming one step closer to taking on Negan and Lucille.
The Walking Dead screens on Fox in the UK Mondays 9pm.