Monday, February 17, 2014

"Inmates" Are Escaping the Prison and Crying About it on "The Walking Dead:" A Television Review

Director: Tricia Brock.

Writers: Robert Kirkman.

Cast: Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan and Chad L. Coleman.

So, how is your ride through the zombie apocalypse going? "The Walking Dead" has returned from its mid-season break with a couple of fair episodes: "After" and "Inmates." The latest episode to air, "Inmates," brought several smaller stories to the little screen. This fractured narrative gave viewers very little time to catch up with their favourite heroes, in this zombie infested land. And, much of that time was spent running from the undead, or crying over who knows what. All that sadness helped slow down this outing and the sombre tone took something away from the enjoyment of Epis. 10. "Inmates" could have used a little more focus and resolve in this latest episode.

There were four minor stories shown in this episode. "Inmates" began with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney), on the run and in peril. A voiceover from Beth did not synch well with the action on the screen and an action scene involving Beth and a walker was comical. Still, these two are surviving on adrenalin and berries in the apocalypse. Then, Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) had his hands full with baby Judith and two small children: Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Myka. Baby Judith is an alarm bell for zombies, while Tyreese is compelled to help two new survivors. Tyreese's flailing hammer is not enough to help rescue two men, but Carol pops up and out of nowhere to say hello. A conflict is looming between Carol and Tyreese over the murderous outcome of Karen. Still, there were two more stories to come in this short fourty minute episode.

More survivors appeared at the halfway point of "Inmates." Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) were doing fairly well outside of the prison. Maggie is determined to find Glenn (Steven Yeun), but she finds a bus full of zombies, instead. She also seems to falter between consciousness and unconsciousness. The murder of dozens of walkers must be weighing heavily upon Maggie. Still, no Glenn is found. Glenn is still at the prison and recovering rather well from a brutal sickness, which killed off several minor characters in previous episodes. In his weakened condition, Glenn charges into a horde of zombies only to find another survivor. Together, they bump into several army brats, who may or may not be friendly. All of stories were given only a few minutes to evolve.

It is amazing how much time the characters have to cry. Understandably, Beth is crying over the death of her father, Herschel (Scott Wilson). But, Maggie is crying for no good reason. Glenn is also crying over a picture of Maggie. Judith is crying because of a soiled diaper. And, this was the most weepy episode to date. The survivors need to get a whole lot more angry if they want to keep living in this deadly environment.

The fractured narrative in such a small time frame created for a very surfacey episode. The dual narrative of the previous episode, "After," was much more focused and much more enjoyable as viewers (at least one viewer) were given time to reacquaint with central characters. This episode showed who the minor and major characters were. As much less time was spent with Glenn, Maggie, Beth, Daryl and the others, compared to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl and Michonne. A new central setting is needed to bring these characters back from the brink. This setting will hopefully unify the story a little better, too.

There were some elements to like here and some were put together hastily. As discussed, the fractured narrative provided only a small peek at several survivors. Perhaps, this show needs to be lengthened by a half hour to provide more time for characters and character development. The exciting tone of "Too Far Gone" has been replaced by a more sombre one, with the second half of Seas. 4 waking like a slumbering dragon. More fire needs to be breathed into future episodes to keep events interesting. Still, it was good to see all of the survivors in a new, more dangerous setting. And, there were more action elements here than in Epis. 9. Overall, "Inmates" was a very hit and miss showing.

"Inmates" took a look at the rest of the survivors and surprisingly, everyone is okay. A tank and military attack on the prison left few characters with any dire wounds. There was a weak set-up of the possible death of Glenn on the bus, but most viewers would know that this scene was for tension only. New characters were introduced at the end of the episode: Abraham, Eugene and Rosita. And, it will be interesting to see what their motivations are. Will everyone reunite at Terminus? Future episodes will see survivors stumbling into other survivors. But, here is one vote for a few more much needed surprises.

Overall: 6 out of 10 (too many stories in too little time, everyone is doing awfully well after the Governor's attack, what is on the horizon?)

You can find out more on this showing and other episodes at the AMC:

"The Walking Dead" at the AMC

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