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The Walking Dead: 310 “Home” Review

walking-dead-310

Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.

Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead hit the reset button in the series, quickly re-establishing the norm for most characters and realigning it for others. Most of us probably felt the lull of having to wait another 8 episodes until the season’s penultimate episode or even finale to see the two groups clash again. How wrong we were.

Although, this came at the expense of Axel (sorry Partner) it was really refreshing to see some bloodshed so early on into the second half of the season. As with the camp and the farm we’d seen a lot of ‘filler’ material, lots of one on one conversations about the group’s current situation, which was all fine but just didn’t give you that sense of dread or excitement. Season 3 is changing this and as we found with Lori’s death, it seems any character can die at any time. There are no rules – just like in the comics.

Before we get into all that though, we need to wade through the boring stuff that, coincidentally, helped make the final act even more entertaining. Firstly, Andrea, ugh, I’m personally at the point where I begin to tune out as soon as I see her on screen. The Governor is a complete psycho – leave or stay Andrea. Either way I’m starting to lose faith with the Woodbury part of the story completely.

Milton is somewhat of a saving grace as he’s quite a peculiar character and one that I could see fitting into the group at some point. That said his awkward scene with Andrea about where the Governor was only served to annoy. The whole acting coy mood didn’t need to exist at all, he’s the Governor; he’s gone to kill your friends Andrea, he kept live heads in fish tanks, somehow I don’t think he’s going to take an attack on his town laying down.

Thankfully we had an extra story arc to keep us entertained besides the life and times of the poor acting people of Woodbury. The Dixons went rogue and given that this is the first time we’ve seen them properly together, it was a long time coming. What I liked about this sequence was the reaction of Daryl to Merle’s taunts and prehistoric manner.

It’s obvious to see that Daryl’s grown up whilst being on his own and developed extensively as Rick’s No.2. The influence of Carol has clearly rubbed off as well, I doubt the old Daryl that was apparently only with the group to rip off their camp (which served as a great justification for the Dixons being with the group in the first place) would have pointed a crossbow at his own brother to save a family he didn’t know.

Merle on the other hand hasn’t changed at all yet seems slightly more likeable. It’s still impossible to see how he will become integrated into the group given the events in Woodbury but saving Rick’s ass will go along way.

Rick following a mythical Lori around the outskirts of the prison was needed in some ways for the character to heal but the whole sequence just felt a little ridiculous. The white dress, the back and forth appearance came across more laughable than believable. The best part of this exchange was Rick confessing the truth to Lori.

One thing that bugs me is Tyreese and his crew. Glenn told them to get out but I for one didn’t think they’d actually leave fully. Surely they’ll be back after the battle inside the prison yard, we know Tyreese is going to become a big part of the show so it’s annoying not to see anything of their group here.

Axel’s death was a huge moment in the episode and although it was a massive shock, the writing was already on the wall. As we saw with T-Dog, when minor characters begin to gain some voice, they’re not long for this world. Axel and Carol laying out the defences and then chatting in the yard drew a lot of empathy for audience, making the audience ripe for emotion when he took a bullet to the head.

What followed next was brilliant, easily the most entertaining sequence of events since the series returned. You truly felt the vulnerability of the group as they were separated and attacked. Rick isolated outside the gates, Hershel stuck in no man’s land, Carol forced to use Axel’s body as a shield and Michonne pinned down behind the truck.

The truck filled with walkers was a unique device to attack the group with and brought a further sense of panic to the action. The Governor shooting wildly in the air was another statement of his dominance, whether he did this as a sign of his presence or to attract more walkers to the prison, the reaction was the same. He clearly didn’t attack the prison to take it over; he wanted to see what he was up against and to toy with the fragmented set of survivors.

He’ll be back for more, the question is whether the group will be organized, united and backed up by the presence of Tyreese and the Dixons.

8/10

Scene of the Episode: Axel gets Axed – The last of the Prison’s original inhabitants bites the dust and serves as a bell for the second round between Rick and the Governor.

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