The Walking Dead: 602 “JSS” Review
Reviewed by Owen Bush.
Last week, The Walking Dead returned with a whopping analysis on the teachings to survive a zombie invasion, with a creative diversion of some obvious black-and-white flashbacks, and one-hell-of a cliffhanger – I swear, that horn will be annoyingly corrupted into my memory for the whole season – the episode kicked things off with grit. This week’s episode, titled a very intriguingly mysterious JSS, returned to the events that occurred just before the premiere’s conclusion, and my-my, AMC must have ran out of blood after production was completed and so-forth, for the rest of the season, Carol will be teaching us how to cook pasta and other fine treats (but only if you stop smoking outside, Shelly). Jokes aside, really, this was an uncompromisingly tense and theatrical 45 minutes, however, as usual, it had its flaws, with a largely tedious and repetitive dilemma of whether it’s right to kill (whilst a nice retrospect for Morgan, we’ve seen this before with Tyreese) and a lack of intention to bring a new edge to the thrills, for the brutal deaths are beginning to be the only way The Walking Dead shows its dread.
The episode began with a fascinating look at a character that really hasn’t had much depth at all, that being Enid. The pre-titles may have been the most interesting sequence of all, for, the almost heartache but, horror, as a young girl became an animal, a savage, yet a fighter, was truly significant to the whole existence of the show. This taking away from the group, the bloodshed and the zombie-action, acted as a perfectly intricate way of revealing a new understanding of the horrors of the new-world, and how subsequently, this girl had become the survivor that she now was. Whilst, even this, felt a little out-of-place compared to the general consensus of the episode, with her introduction only being lightly and subtly touched upon, I believe she will be the driving force for the future of our characters, and by this snippet, I’m certainly engrossed.
Ahh, peace felt a little wrong, didn’t it? Of course axe-stabbings were just around the corner. We could’ve guessed what was coming, and for a little part of me, I was almost a little disappointed with how right/wrong everyone’s theories were. It was the Wolves, and whilst, this is pretty damn epic for them to finally get their major comeuppance (whilst, we know, they’ll still be floating around), I did feel like they deserved something a little more substantial for such an important, yet not exclusively major, villain.
This bloodshed and gore, whilst never as extensive as this, felt a little overused and repetitive to previous group findings. Brutality and dread can be used in many more ways than an excuse for rich cinematography, and this horror could’ve been a little more fresh in its approach. Yes, it may have been a little tedious in its repetitive execution, but I was on the brink of squeals as Shelly found out why you should, never, ever, try and find a way to out-pasta Carol, even if it means smoking outside. Again, pasta-aside, it was dark, deceptive, grim and lavishly entertaining, with all of my previous remarks about it being repetitive in its nature aside, I did find myself buzzing off the intensity.
Surprisingly, for an episode with fountains of blood and pretentious savagery, this felt like another exploration of human emotion, for, two-sides of the coin weighed in the new social identity that must be carried out in this future, abnormal world. Carol and Morgan – sounds like a breakfast radio programme – these are probably the most epic characters at the moment. I’m not sure what Michonne and Daryl have been doing recently, they need to up their game as presenters. Both, seemed to play a insane amount in the episode, for, they were the main fighters for this dubious insanity of a battle. Both seemed a little tedious in their developments, Carol, continued to show how ruthless she had become, and Morgan was a little less-timid version of Tyreese in his urge to stop killing – and once again, he did fall into his own trap. Whilst, of course, they both never fail to excite, that excitement only derived from something we’ve previously looked at, and Morgan’s almost bipolar emotional instability works much more as a development of his character rather than a rehash of the moral ambiguity of death.
The other characters that made a noticeable improvement to the episode were those that dealt with fear and anxiety and safety in a more refreshing and ambitious way. Denise, whilst her sub-plot began to become a little frustrating in its excitement compared to the theater occurring outside, allowed us to see the other sides of fighting, the tragedy of your own fears and comforts against for what you’re needed for, and I, for one, hope we see a lot more of Denise’s uncomfortable social boundaries, and her own anxiety, for, it allowed us to develop characters whom have been, for the most part, mere death toll, and this brought us away from that simplicity. Jessie, also, showed some gritty emotional chaos, with her actions almost perplexing her love for her children, and quite-possibly, even, her bitter revenge against her ex-husband.
Exciting, whilst a little repetitive in its execution, JSS definitely had the tension, bloodshed and gore that will make a lot of fans giddy, but the substance behind those theatrical tricks felt a little lackluster, almost blending previous concepts with the Wolves whom should’ve had a lot more in their presence. Some subtle, intricate character building drifted as an undertone against the mayhem occurring, yet sometimes tedious, but ultimately, JSS was another fine and cryptic installment, and I’m sure, more than anything, will passionately tease many audiences into the new season.