Saturday 11 December 2010

The Walking Dead Episode Six "TS-19" thoughts...

And so the best thing to happen in the zombie genre since Romero's Day of the Dead comes to the end of its first season, and therefore I can't wait for the season season to begin (and for a full 13 episodes too).

This season closer though was rather good though. Last week's episode led us on the greatest departure from the source material yet, and this week's episode gave us the meat and potatoes of that departure.

TS-19 shared some vibes with Dawn, and Day of the Dead - the false sense of security of the former, and the dire realisation of the latter. Indeed, the exploration of the scientific approach to analysing the zombie outbreak featured in the episode felt like a modern update of Doc Logan's work from Day, so as a big fan of that flick it was great to see a 21st century take on it.

Similar to the fifth episode, this one again proved that TWD is about the people, not the zombies. It could be any world-ending cataclysm, or any monster, really - as it's all supposed to be about the people - indeed towards the end as everyone's facing their possible doom, we get some great moments thrown into the mix, such as Carol's desperate fear, and Jacqui's life changing decision.

TWD has always been a case of - who they were, how they deal with the horrors around them, and who they gradually become. As such it's a slower paced episode, but it's all to do with the characters - so for those into the human drama of the franchise, this was a spiffing season closer (but the action and zombie fans get a jolt towards the end appropriately enough).

Once TS-19 got into its second half it really became about the idea of giving up, and it was portrayed convincingly and chillingly. Jenner proved to be an interesting late addition to the show - and indeed an entirely new addition to the franchise - and his plight was dealt with in an interesting manner. He wasn't some wild eyed loon, or some totally shut-down doomsayer - he had different shades of his attitude throughout, which made him a much more believable character than he might have otherwise been in lesser hands.

In terms of it being a season closer, in addition to a tip-top scene between Andrea and Dale (Holden and DeMunn - both acting their arses off, and further cementing my love of both characters), it wasn't just a big tease for season two. Naturally I wanted to know what happens right after the big closing moment, but equally I wasn't left hanging in the wind - so it was a satisfying blend of the two.

To summarise the season as a whole, it hasn't been perfect - some scenes had wonky dialogue, or some elements didn't convince or intrigue ... such as the opening scene, and titular gang, of episode four "Vatos" ... and on occasion the pacing has been a bit off here and there during episodes, but I'm very pleased with the season over all.

Rick is a strong character, and having read the first four trade paperbacks (so far), it'll be interesting to see how Lincoln's take on the do-right law man will develop as Rick is faced with increasingly trying and complicated circumstances. The Rick/Shane plotline should also develop nicely during the second season, which should ultimately make for some good family drama with Lori and Carl.

Glenn has been a real treat throughout the season, but especially in his earlier episodes, and he remains one of my favourite characters in the show - however Andrea and particularly Dale have really stolen my interest most. I can't wait to see how their characters develop during the second season. Daryl Dixon has also been a pleasant surprise - after an initially underwhelming introduction that drew him as a generic redneck racist, he was allowed to grow in episode four (and beyond) to become a useful member of the group (albeit a hot headed and unpredictable one).

I could go on, but instead of rambling I'll re-confirm my assertion that The Walking Dead has been the best thing to happen to the zombie genre since Romero's Day of the Dead, and it's all the better for featuring zombies that don't effin' run!

Here's hoping the DVD/BR box set release will be a good one with plenty of extra content!

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