The Walking Dead: Ep. 1

It’s BAAAAACK!

   For a show that I’ve found myself countless times throwing my hands up in the air and exclaiming, “That’s it. I’m done with this!” I can honestly say that I was really looking forward to this premiere and it did not disappoint. 
   I loved the opening to this episode. The idea of having a cryptic flashback that wasn’t fully explained at the end left the viewer having to piece together what they thought might be the cause of events that occurred at Terminus pre-Rick invasion. I love a good mystery! Although, the character of the unnamed man in the black vest and white shirt with slicked back hair seems to resemble someone I remember fondly from the graphic novels….
Hmmmmmm…..could it be???? Maybe?  
   This episode not only started off things on a strong note, they kept the foot on the gas with the dispensing of the folks from Car D via a cattle-like slaughtering. Not many things make me cringe these days, having seen so many movies and TV shows do gore correctly, however, The Walking Dead is the only show I can consistently say that makes me move in my chair while saying “Oh man” aloud at least once per episode. 
For that, I applaud you. 
   This week was no different. I need to give a little nod to Greg Nicotero (make-up FX, director of this episode) and Scott Gimple (show runner) for that moment with Glenn almost meeting his maker by the baseball bat. I see you Gimple…..If you’ve read the graphic novels at all, you’ll understand the reference. 
*I hate to keep playing insider baseball with the references to the comics, but there were a lot of them in the premiere. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum*
   We cannot mention the gruesomeness of this show without discussing the actual zombies that inhabit this universe. I read somewhere before the premiere how Nicotero purposefully aged and decayed the zombies each season to resemble the passage of time along with the steady erosion of the body as it is still animated yet not living. I thought this was a wonderful touch and was apparent from the very first scene featuring zombies. 
THE GOOD:
   – Shout out to the Penguin for successfully doing a crossover episode between Gotham and The Walking Dead. You nailed it. 
   – oh, and R.I.P. the Penguin
   – I loved watching both Carol and Rick go Rambo on people (and zombies). It was nice to see Carol get her due in screen time after spending so long in exile from the rest of the group, to then meeting up with Cutty Tyrese and Judith to then being the catalyst for the group’s escape from Terminus. The whole sequence with her walking amongst the dead, blowing up the gas tank, infiltrating Terminus and then finally having that touching moment with Daryl at the end was a beautiful story arch. One that gives a viewer confidence with the season moving forward because in the past, they would’ve have spent half the episode on Carol deciding whether or not to even attempt a rescue. 
  – Rick was a similar type of Rambo because he knew what was needed to be done in order to escape his situation and when given the opportunity, chooses to take a “act now, ask questions later” approach which has not been his M.O in the past. What solidified that for me was a particular moment where he, Daryl, Glen and Bob were outside amidst the chaos and he was able to kill one of the stragglers that was shooting at the zombies, take his gun and then turn it on both the people of Terminus and the undead. No hesitation. This is a new Rick ladies and gentlemen….and I hope he stays around for a while. 
   It got even more serious when they were safely away from Terminus and he opted to go back and finish them off. Now that’s a Rambo! Truthfully, that’s the approach that is now needed in the world they live in, and while yes, I’m happy we finally have that type of attitude among a leader of the group, it’s felt like a long time coming over the course of four seasons. I just hope it continues. 
   -There also needs to be a mention about the fight scenes in general which were absolutely amazing! This episode came out with guns blazing and didn’t let up. You barely had time to look away or catch your breath and even through the quieter moments there was a sense of tension, that you knew something was coming (not winter) and for the first time in a long time………it was exciting again to watch this show. Now I realize not every episode can be like this and in order for it to tell a proper story, it doesn’t need to be. However, it is my hope that this season they are able to strike a solid balance between both action and subtle tension/storytelling. 
– Morgan…nice to see you again.
THE BAD: 
   Despite a solid episode, there were two main things that I found just frustrating. 
The first was Eugene’s description of the zombie infection, how he came to obtain the knowledge in stopping it and his proposed plan for doing so. It came off so camp. Throughout his monologue, I wanted to believe him and his country bumpkin accent almost made that so, but c’mon people….we all know he doesn’t have a cure right???? RIGHT????? 
If not, sorry I ruined it (you should’ve guessed that it’s not that easy)
#sorrynotsorry 
There was even a small exchange between Rosita and Abe about telling the rest of the group something that they have been withholding, but waiting to say it at a later time. I’m actually curious as to what that could be. Time will tell. I can see Eugene and his crusade getting pretty annoying rather quickly. 
  The second moment of frustration came from Cutty Tyrese’s character. I understand he was hung up on killing anything; people or zombies, but when you are left in a room….with a baby….and a prisoner who is only partially tied up and still conscious….DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK ON THEM! I couldn’t help but think that he should just knock the prisoner out especially after their exchange about what it takes to stay alive this long. C’MON MAN! Cutty Tyrese should know better than that from his time on the streets of Baltimore, doing time and then starting his own gym….wait, wait…..wrong show….that’s The Wire. I expect more from a character that has in fact lasted this long and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. There was a good stare down between he and the prisoner over the Judith’s life and when he was forced outside amongst a group of zombies my heart did sink a little bit because the mantra of the show is and will always be: NO ON IS SAFE

#IFDARYLDIESWERIOT

VERDICT: 

   I feel really good about the direction of the show from just the premiere. Sure, I will have to temper my expectations for what lies ahead because there is sure to be “quieter” episodes with less rescuing and more talking, but as long as the overall story keeps moving forward at a decent pace and the mid-season cliffhanger gives us a nice piece to hold onto before returning, I’m alright with it. For now, I’ve downgraded my hand-throwing-in-the-air fits down to a CODE YELLOW which will be on standby until next week. 

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