Monday, February 11, 2013

"The Suicide King" and Parting Ways: A Television Review

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Director: Lesli Linka Glatter.

Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, and Evan T. Reilly.

Cast: Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Michael Rooker, Steven Yeun, David Morrissey, Emily Kinney, Scott Wilson, Chandler Riggs and Melissa McBride.

"The Walking Dead" has returned after a two month hiatus. In this time, creator Glen Mazzara has decided to walk away from the show at the end of Seas. 3. As well, there continue to be creative differences and budgetary concerns behind the scenes. This reviewer has seen and commented on every episode to date and Seas. 3 continues to be the show's finest season. While, Epis. 9, "The Suicide King," deflated the show slightly in pacing, there continues to be some exciting conflict in the series. This episode was light on thrills and action, but still entertaining overall.

In this episode, Rick and his gang again attack the Governor's (David Morrissey) compound. People might think that the Governor would increase the amount of guards in his compound after the last attack, but that is not the case. Rick strolls in to rescue Daryl (Norman Reedus), who is in the fight of his life against his brother, zombies and a blood-thirsty crowd. Daryl escapes with Rick's help and he decides to go on his way with brother Merle (Michael Rooker). Back safely at the prison, Rick is seeing the very dead Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and he seems incapable of leading his group, because of this visual hallucination. Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and his friends high tail it out of the prison, quickly. Meanwhile, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is running for office back at Woodbury. All hail the soapbox! And, The Governor is anxious for revenge, again.

The frenetic pacing from earlier episodes seemed to slow considerably in this episode. Outside of the initial attack, the focus of this showing was on the inter-group dynamics. Groups are fracturing in Woodbury and back at the prison. There seemed to be a focus on good-byes as Daryl left and the Governor offered Andrea the door. Tyreese also left and the drama in this episode slowed some of the tension from earlier episodes such as "Made to Suffer."

The subplot involving Rick's mental decompression is interesting to at least one watcher. Sarah Wayne Callies partakes in a cameo, in shadows. Rick sees his wife looking down on him and he even begins to talk to her in front of the group. Rick continues to be a fallible hero, who seems to be spinning ever downward. It is likely that a confrontation is looming between Rick and Herschel as more and more characters see Rick's instability.

"The Suicide King" seemed to be setting up events for future episodes. The activity from previous showings was unwinded here, somewhat. Though, another confrontation is sure to follow between the Governor and Rick's group. Andrea continues to be a wild card, while Michonne (Danai Gurira) offers very little on the dialogue front. Michonne might be saying her good-byes, shortly. Where will Daryl and Merle end up? This is one question that this critic is curious about. It seems that Daryl is Merle's only true friend. And, where will Tyreese and company wander off too? Herschel (Scott Wilson) will likely offer them safe haven (a prediction). Either way, the writing here continues to offer lots of sub-plots to follow, maybe even too many.

"The Walking Dead" will return with another episode in a week, titled "Home." Previews for this episode promise a convergence of some of the many groups on the show. Likely, these meetings will continue to cause flare-ups, with characters struggling with their allegiances. This conflict creates for some good television and while "The Suicide King" was light on horror and thrills, there is sure to be more action in future episodes.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

More on this episode is available at the AMC:

The Walking Dead at the AMC

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