Monday, November 05, 2012

Nothing is Certain in "The Walking Dead:" A Television Review ("Killer Within")

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*there are spoilers here.

Director: Guy Ferland.

Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Sang Kyu Kim.

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, David Morrissey, IronE Singleton, Melissa McBride, Emily Kinney, and Scott Wilson.

Wow, the writers on "The Walking Dead" continue to create surprises at almost every turn. With so many central and minor characters dying in Seas. 3, this series will be over by Epis. 6, though. In "Killer Within," Woodbury continues to be a psychopath's playzone. Meanwhile, the supposed safety of the prison is broken up by a minor villain's well orchestrated plan for revenge. Two important characters die. The unpredictability of "The Walking Dead" continues to be one of the show's greatest and most powerful elements.

This episode was split into two stories: one at Woodbury and the other at the prison. At Woodbury, the Governor (David Morrissey) is working his sociopathic charm on Andrea (Laurie Holden) and she is falling for it. Michonne (Danai Gurira) is a little more skeptical. Meanwhile, Merle (Michael Rooker) is getting anxious to search for his brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus). The Governor and Merle are not seeing eye to eye on this issue. The events and conflicts at Woodbury are slowly bubbling, while the prison is already steaming with tension.

Andrew (Markice Moore) is still alive and bent on vengeance. He is seen early in this episode gathering supplies. His face is kept offscreen to maintain the episode's mystery and later reveal. Andrew releases another zombie horde on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang. They absolutely lay waste to the episode's earlier calm. T-Dogg (IronE Singleton) falls to a zombie bite and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) gives birth via a ceasarean section. She dies due to blood loss and Carl, her son, gives her the coupe de grace to ensure that she does not return as a walker. And, what happened to Carol (Melissa McBride)?

The minor story at Woodbury was more of an addendum to this episode. The conflicts in this locale are only just starting. As stated, Merle is anxious to hit the road in search of Daryl. Family matters more to Merle compared to any camaraderie for the Governor. These two are likely to come to heads on this issue in the next episode, "Say the Word." You can see Merle's anger frothing just below his calm exterior. Meanwhile, Michonne is becoming more and more suspicious of the Governor despite his cool as a cucumber exterior. Why does Michonne stay with Andrea despite her instincts to run? Apparently, Michonne is not as tough or independent as she would like others to believe. The events at Woodbury are moving towards conflict, but this episode seemed to be setting the stage for a wider arc. The excitement was back with Rick at the prison.

The events at the prison were being instigated by a hidden character, Andrew. Andrew was seemingly offed by Rick in Epis. 2, "Sick." Yet, Andrew fought off the zombie hordes outside. He also developed a fairly brilliant plan to seek revenge. He managed to restart a generator in the prison's bowels and he released several dozen zombies into the survivor's lair. Much of the tension from this episode was created through Andrew's anonymity. His face is not shown until the episode's climax. His final appearance is dramatic via an axe swing. The mystery, action and confrontation instigated by Andrew created for one of better episodes of this season. It is just too bad that this character will no longer be plotting and creating chaos in future episodes. He was dispatched by another prisoner, Oscar (Vincent Ward), who proved his trustworthiness to Rick. Andrew seemed a great foil to Rick and the others.

The biggest turn of events involved the death's of both Lori and T-Dogg. T-Dogg was barely developed through two seasons. Here, in Seas. 3, T-Dogg was finally receiving some lines and scenes. But, this watcher thought he would have died halfway through Seas. 2. It is amazing this minor character has lasted so long. T-Dogg's lack of dialogue throughout earlier episodes signalled to this viewer that his time was limited. But, Lori's death was truly shocking! Outside of comic book readers, who saw Lori's death coming? With all of the chaos in the prison, Lori's pregnancy is rushed along. Her contractions increased and perhaps, there was a chance for a zombie baby birth. This is not the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004), however. Lori gives birth and she succumbs to shock and blood loss shortly thereafter. And, Carl is tasked with preventing his mother from turning into a walker. He accomplished this task, but at what cost? The loss of Lori touches every member of Ricks' group. The ending was emotive and it will be interesting to see how quickly or slowly Rick recovers. Meanwhile, Carol is still missing and all of these character losses mean that no one is safe in a zombie apocalypse (as it should be).

"Killer Within" offered a lot of surprises; this was another excellent episode. Seas. 3 seems so different from Seas. 2. The difference is like night and day. Finally, a zombie apocalypse has become exciting! From action sequences to the amount of villains in Seas. 3, there is a lot to take in with "The Walking Dead." Glen Mazzara continues to lead this series in a new bold direction with writing from Sang Kyu Kim and directing from Guy Ferland amping the tension in this episode. There is a lot to enjoy in this shocking outing. It is just impossible to imagine how the creators will top this bloody episode.

Overall: 8.25 out of 10 (yeah the witch is dead - Lori!, believable and strong emotions, a lot of surprises, who is going to fill in for all of the lost characters?).

More on this episode is available at the AMC:

"The Walking Dead" at the AMC ("Killer Within")

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