The mid-season premiere is a slow, deep exploration of some of the main characters of our little group. It looks like it will take the whole second half of the season to find out what happened to everyone and bring people back together, if they even manage to do that. But I’m happy with that if we get this kind of personal exploration of characters. And this week it was the Carl and Michonne show. I’m hoping we also get the Maggie, Glenn, Beth, Daryl and Carol shows eventually.
Rick is badly injured and he and Carl are trying to find supplies and somewhere safe to hide for now. The juxtaposition of then and now is evident throughout the episode. Carl is behaving like a typical adolescent - sullen, angry, not listening to his father. This is interesting considering what he has just been through. The bravado he shows while his father lies in a coma also reminded me of many adolescent males I’ve known. Underneath is fear and a need to prove yourself to authority figures you no longer trust to protect you. Of course for Carl, this is magnified a million times but Carl is still a product of the pre-walker world. I wonder what adolescence will look like for post-walker kids? I didn’t think Carl’s rant was very well done, although it must be hard being an actor who has to portray a character who is himself acting or otherwise being inauthentic. I thought Chandler Riggs did a much better job of portraying the boy Carl who was so sad to lose his father that he was ready to become a walker himself. Carl had proven to himself that he could survive without his father, he just didn’t want to.
My favourite part of the episode was Michonne’s back story. It is obvious that she is starting to feel and remember again. She had a good life with a lover and a son and it sounds like Mike kept them from leaving their camp and it is what got him, her son and their friend killed. And she is still angry at him for that and I don't blame her. The scenes where Michonne was walking with the zombies were so disheartening. She was literally one of the walking dead. But she rejected this, killing her horde and going back to follow the living. The message is clear in this episode. You can’t go back to what was before and you can’t hide from the world as it is now. You have to go out and face it. You have to continue to live, to love and be loved. The reunion of Michonne with Rick and Carl at the end of the episode was a lovely expression of this.
I know that there are going to be lots of people who wanted more action, more walkers, more gore but I’m not one of those and so I really enjoyed this episode.
Bits and Pieces
The scene with Michonne and Hershel’s head was so poignant. Well done Danai Gurira.
Speaking of disheartening, the vision of the zombies moving into the prison was awful.
The look Carl gives his dad when he tries to say that they are going to be okay was priceless.
I also enjoyed Carl finding the decked out kid’s room. That teen had everything from instruments to the huge TV but the only thing that was useful in the room was the cable that Carl used to tie the front door shut. You watched Carl assess the room first from a pre-walker perspective and then snap back to reality.
The poster for Dead Ripe refers to an actual band.
Okay I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but two things - wouldn’t those houses have already been raided if they were that close to the prison - and - Michonne really wouldn’t have been detected as alive by those walkers until she started chopping off their heads?
Also Carl ate 112 ounces of pudding. Wouldn’t that make any kid throw up, not to mention one that hasn’t eaten much lately? Still I enjoyed the picture of him on the roof polishing it off.
Carl: “I win.” (what exactly do you win Carl?)
Rick: “Watch your mouth.”
Carl: “Are you kidding me?”
Mike: “Where’s the happy ending here? This isn’t life.”
Carl: “I didn’t forget while you had us playing farmer. I still know how to survive. Lucky for us.”
Carl: “I’d be fine if you died.” (Kids often say awful things to their parents, especially as teenagers).
Written on the door - “Walker inside. Got my shoe, didn’t get me.”
Rick: “I only clung to that for you. For Judith.” (I'm not sure I believe that, Rick.)
Michonne: “I know the answer. I know why.”