So last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was the mid-season finale. I have a few thoughts. Note: there are spoilers. In order to minimize the damage to those not caught up, I won’t go into great detail explaining what I’m referring to. Either you watch the show and know what I’m getting at or you don’t.
1. For those who thought that the TWD can be too slow, the first few episodes were a welcome corrective. But I think that as the season developed, the structure started working against the show. All of the away-missions and bottle-episodes had me getting impatient. It stopped feeling like these were just a few action-packed days, and felt more like a very cumbersome plot structure. Last night’s mid-season finale — like many before it — was a bit of a let down. But I think last night’s episode suffered in large part because we knew what was coming for so long.
2. It all began in the first episode with the situation at the quarry. The more I think about it, the more I think Rick’s plan was just awful. I’m not saying that just because it didn’t work out. That calamity was attributable to an unforeseeable monkey-wrench (the attack of the Wolves and the subsequent blowing of the truck horn). But even without that, it seems to me the smart play wouldn’t have been to lure all of those walkers out of the pit, but to seal them in it. Clearly there was only one road out of the quarry pit. Why not blow up the road? If you can’t blow up the road, surely they could have created a new dam to close it off? Drop boulders, cars, tree trunks etc. Without a way out, they’d all be trapped down there, at least for a good long while. Rick & Co. could then take their sweet time figuring how to kill them all on a reasonable schedule. I can see lots of risks with my idea but not nearly as many as there are with Rick’s plan, which was to lure the biggest herd of zombies in the show’s history right by their home. What could go wrong!?
Yes, I understand that ultimately he didn’t have any choice but to go with his strategy, but that doesn’t change the fact the plan was poorly conceived.
3. I’m deeply torn about the fight between Carol and Morgan, two of my three favorite characters (Daryl being the third). On the one hand, I find Morgan’s pacifism, honorable but ridiculous. As a character he pulls it off because A) Lennie James is a great actor and B) they manage to put it in somewhat plausible context. Still, I think most reasonable people can find a workable compromise between Carol and Morgan’s views. On the other hand, I think Carol was being unreasonable in her determination to force a confrontation while a zillion zombies were clawing at the door.
4. Unfortunately the actor who plays Carl is going through some awkward teen years. And, as sometimes happens to child actors, it’s affecting his acting chops. All of his scenes are pretty uncomfortable because he can’t sell his lines very well. It’s the zombie apocalypse equivalent of Bobby Brady’s voice change.
5. Speaking of kids, the fraidy-cat kid who puts them all in jeopardy at the end (you know who I mean), needs a very quick reality tutorial. I can sympathize, but this far enough into the zombie apocalypse, it’s time to stop whining.
6. Speaking of reality-tutorials, I get the premise behind and purpose of Alexandria, for storytelling purposes. Zombie-apocalypse veterans encounter pre-Fall humans etc. But I don’t get how unprepared so many of them were. They had search parties who came back not only with stories of the horror outside the walls, but with survivors of it. Yes, denial is part of human nature, but so are worry and fear. I have a hard time believing you could have a community like Alexandria exist in such innocence for so long after the End of the World. I mean, when I think about how thought I put into zombie preparedness when I actually know that zombies are not a very plausible threat, I can only imagine how much time and effort I’d put into the subject several years into, you know, an actual zombie apocalypse. This is a long-standing gripe of mine about the show. The best place to live in safety should be the subject of constant discussion and yet it rarely comes up (I for one still believe boats are your safest bet).
7. Speaking of zombie preparedness, I have a question? Why was the Church tower outside the wall? Wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to put the whole thing inside the wall? It’d make a great lookout tower, no?
8. Since we’re talking about planning and design, why doesn’t Rick believe in moats and trenches? We know from past seasons that zombie-catching pits work. There are plenty of earth moving machines around. They could dig a huge trench along the entire perimeter outside the wall. They could have done the same thing at the prison as well. Defensive redundancies in the defense of life are no vice, and complacency about the strength of walls and fences no virture.