The Walking Dead - Midseason Finale 12/2
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|Mon, 12-03-2012 - 8:59am|
The Walking Dead ended the first half of its third season with an episode that was thrilling and frustrating. Thrilling, because it finally collided the show's two worlds -- Rick Grimes' prison-dwelling community of hunter-gatherers and the Governor's wonderful little town-with-a-secret Woodbury -- and the resulting conflagration played out like the strike-sparking first battle in an all-consuming war. (The battle on the Main Street of Woodbury felt like Call of Duty meets Red Dawn meets Lexington & Concord.) Frustrating, because in the process the episode showcased all the series' faults. And it also made you wonder if those faults -- which were almost entirely absent from the great four-episode sequence that started this season -- are actually deeply ingrained in the show's structure. Call it the Oscar Problem. The Walking Dead is so good at killing zombies, but it's curiously inept when it comes to building actual characters -- and since most new characters, like Oscar, seem to be just biding their time until their inevitable death scene, the whole show is filled with dead people walking. It makes you love a character like Merle: He might not make any sense at all, but at least he has a pulse.
It was the best of Dead, it was the worst of Dead: A midseason finale which left me feeling a bit grumpy, but which also had me on the edge of my seat, yelling at my TV set. The episode got off to a running start. The first shot was of the forest, dark and mysterious. I mentioned in last week's recap that the whole idea of "The Forest" has become a weird running motif of this season: It's a nowhere zone, a mystery box that might throw out a zombie herd or a brand new character. This week, it did both: A man named Tyreese ended a blonde walker with a really big hammer. Even if you haven't read the Walking Dead comics, Tyreese instantly vibed important, because he was played by Chad Coleman. Coleman, as we all know, played the ex-con boxer/broken-soul-of-the-streets Cutty on The Wire. He was also, as I mentioned, carrying a Really Big Hammer. At this point, viewers of Walking Dead know that anyone with a Distinctive Weapon -- crossbow, katana, Colt Python, knife-hand, any gun with a suppressor enhancement -- is probably important.