tv review – AMC’s The Walking Dead, episode 4.13

Let’s hope each group gets to the sanctuary fast, because right now The Walking Dead‘s fractured storytelling makes for a lot of repitition. The format is adequate but each set of characters roughly goes through the same, with only slight variations setting their travels apart. The gest is that each group is trying to get to safe place and hopes to meet up with other people from the prison again, killing walkers along the way. What’s becoming more apparent each episode is how The Walking Dead really hasn’t changed up its themes since the very first episode and how the characters in this regard seem very much interchangeable.

‘Alone’ was about, on the one hand, Bob, Sasha and Maggie, and on the other about Daryl and Beth. Each story can be summed up in one sentence. Maggie left Bob and Sasha because of a disagreement but in the end they met up again to resume their journey towards the sanctuary. Meanwhile Daryl and Beth took refuge in a funeral home which later got overrun by walkers, after which the duo was split up. Granted, I’m cutting corners here, but the plot is so simple and each episode so much of the same, that there’s a sense of going through the motions. We’ve seen all of this happen before and we’ve come to expect bumps in the road that, most of the time, don’t really have much consequences or significance attached to them. It just keeps the plot moving (in a flat circle?).

As far as the characters are concerned, the writing’s usually quite lazy. Plot drives The Walking Dead‘s characters, not the other way around. Sudden personality chances are a big part of the show because of it, and with lesser actors the series would’ve died a long time ago. After the mid-season break Lawrence Gilliard Jr.’s Bob Sooky was suddenly a much more sympathetic man: he’s funny now, loyal and he talks much, a big departure from the quiet and cowardly drunk we were first introduced to. While he’s a much more likeable character at the moment, it’s writing like this that makes it hard to invest in the show’s cast. They don’t have a well-defined identity and we know by now that some of the characters will be killed off and their place taken by new faces, who will go through the same gauntlet of personality traits. That being said, Gilliard Jr. is a radiant screen presence and he made every scene he was in a joy to watch. But, right now, in general it’s hard to invest anything in the show’s plot and characters, because both lack focus and definition.

‘Alone’ was just another The Walking Dead episode that does exactly what The Walking Dead does. Change is much needed. 6/10

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2 thoughts on “tv review – AMC’s The Walking Dead, episode 4.13

  1. I disagree completely the characters are unbelievably good. It is my attachment to the characters of the show that has kept me watching since the first episode. Of course their personality changes, it would be pretty unbelievable if they didn’t.

    • Thank you for checking out my review and commenting!

      I agree: it would be unbelievable if the characters didn’t go through changes. However, to me it feels like those changes occur only when the plot calls for it, from one moment or episode to the other, which means the characters don’t grow into new behavior, but flip-flop from one set of traits to another. It usually feels forced to me because of it, not organic. Of course this is just the way I see it.

      Fortunately there are characters this sentiment of mine doesn’t apply to. I think Rick’s arc throughout the seasons, for example, is actually quite good. The decisions made regarding the structuring of this half of the fourth season, I feel, unfortunately aren’t the best course of action and take away from the show’s strengths. Because of the different groups the writers have to divide their attention and as a result we spend a lot of time with secondary characters who aren’t as properly fleshed out or interesting as the main cast.

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