The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead Review: The New Rick Grimes

by at . Comments

Wow. This episode of The Walking Dead blew my mind.

I'm always prepared for premieres to be epic, as they often get packed full of story, action and drama to set up the season and get viewers hooked.

And recalling how last season played out, getting so much zombie hacking and fighting in the first episode meant that the follow up would probably be very quiet and character focused, with plenty of dialogue to talk about big picture ideas.

Except "Sick" carried the momentum of "Seed" and pushed on forward with a ferocity that clearly defined the tone of the season. This is a vastly different feel from the previous seasons - and a welcome one at that.

With a Crossbow

Surprisingly, there was no switching back and forth with the Andrea storyline, but it didn't matter. I was so caught up in the tension of dealing with the prison inmates, fighting more walkers and the group preparing for an unfortunate Hershel outcome, that I almost completely forgot about the missing characters.

Dealing with the prison inmates was a great and interesting twist for our core group of survivors. Certainly, they reaffirmed that the walkers aren't the only things to be concerned about.

I was shocked when one of the prisoners, Big Tiny, was viciously taken out by one of his own. It seemed inevitable that one of the new guys was bound to be walker fodder and you could tell that despite Rick wishing he could help, there was just nothing he could do. Seeing the blood splatter everywhere as his "friend" smashed his head was quite a shock.

It was clear that the prisoners so-called leader wasn't to be trusted, but hey, he was in prison for a reason, right?

And the guy only reaffirmed his dangerous potential when he kept taking swipes at Rick. That is a definite no, no.

But I wasn't ready entirely for Rick's response to it all. After all, Rick's been the guy that spends his time talking and reasoning. Of course, with the two standing facing each other after and Rick sarcastically acknowledging "shit happens," I kept thinking it would be cool if Rick laid him out with a bullet.

Nope. That swift machete to the skull was unexpected and graphic. Did that actually happen? Did Rick really just do that?

This is not the Rick from The Walking Dead Season 2.

Plus, the fact that he chased the other inmate out into the courtyard of walkers before closing it on him and telling him to run? It was so dark and different for Rick's character, but I loved it.

Rick is transformed into this bad-ass leader and it's great to see Andrew Lincoln portray him with that dark and haunting attitude. You can tell his choices affect him, but he makes his decisions so swiftly and confidently that the change from his past self is that much more noticeable.

But wow. Those three huge moments took me by surprise.

And fantastically, the character driven scenes felt much more organically mixed in, especially in concern to everyone waiting on Hershel.

Maggie, who has always been that strong female character, was ready to let her father go. Not because she didn't want to, but because she was prepared. Watching Lauren Cohan play her with that tearful sadness without overdoing it was great. I felt for her and understood that not only her, but the whole group have come to accept the actions and the consequences in this new world.

Even Carol, who has become one of my favorites with her quick-witted humor, no longer just cries and is mopey over Sophia. She's trying to learn how to deliver Lori's baby if Hershel didn't survive. It was genius and disgusting that she attempted to practice on the walker, but who was watching her from the distance?

As for Lori, she's always seemed like something of a complainer, but I felt sorry for her in those final moments of the episode. Rick and Lori standing so close, but emotionally so far away, captured that somber mood and illustrated the dying strands of the world that they and we once knew.

It was touching that Rick was able to place his hand on her shoulder, and you know that deep down he still has a level of care, but his new outlook on life outweighs it heavily. In a lot of ways watching her tear up at the end made me wish that Rick would turn around or even comfort her, but alas, that bond between them seems like a distant memory. It was a great way to close it all out.

I'm even okay with Hershel surviving, although Lori trying mouth to mouth on a guy who could potentially bite her just seemed stupid. I know it saved him, but as soon as she started, I kept thinking, this is not gonna end well.

That small complaint, along with Carl running off again (that's his trademark move, obviously), couldn't put a damper on the whole. Truly, this was outstanding. It's clear that this season is grittier, bloodier and finding that great combination of pacing when it comes to the action and those character moments. And with the level of suspense and genuine surprises placed throughout, this show is proving all the great reasons why it's so addictive.

The Walking Dead is back in full force and it looks like nothing is going to stand its way.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (162 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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The whole episode did throw me off as I think about it, because I guess I just assumed the confrontation would be w/the governor, not inmates. We wait longer :) But I can already tell this will be one HELL of a great season. Wow.

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The scene with Rick and Laurie - I don't known if Rick was trying to be an a-hole, but the part where she puts it out there about hoping they were talking about them as a couple, and him putting his arm on her - getting her hopes up like that - and then saying "gee, thanks for what you did for the group." and walking away - that was ice f***ing cold. No matter who it is! My husband and I both were howling at that one. Unless they did some calculations they haven't revealed to us viewers yet that show the baby is not his, you'd think he'd still have SOME compassion about it. The extra gesture before hand is what made it so cold. I don't really like her much at ALL but she's starting to prove valuable (Hershel CPR and something else, can't recall what) and that did seem unnecessarily cold for anyone in the group/one of your own. I would like to see T Dog get some more lines. Come on already. The whole episode did throw me off as I think about it, because I guess I just assumed the confrontation would be w/the governor, not inmates. We wait longer :) But I can already tell this will be one HELL of a great season. Wow.

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I freaking love Carol this season. Talk about a 180! I loved her "even better" line last ep when Darryl said "I'll go first". I love that she's taking on this responsibility and is just so - different. Nervous about what might come out of that walker's stomach though now thanks to Laurie's fear last episode. Hopefully it's already starved so much it cannot harm Carol. I get why he let the skinny black guy die - he ran, and if he's not accounted for, he's a threat. The big black guy showed some signs of honor. There was a lot of "looking into eyes" to discern trust during those times. I knew the prison leader guy was going to die, Rick even gave Darryl the signal, but I did NOT expect the machete. I did kind of expect Rick to do it himself, as that is more his style, but holy crap! The scene with Rick and Laurie - I don't known if Rick was trying to be an a-hole, but the part where she puts it out there about hoping they were talking about them as a couple, and him putting his arm on her - getting her hopes up like that - and then saying "gee, thanks for what you did for the group." and walking away - that was ice f***ing cold. No matter who it is! My husband and I both were howling at that one. Unless they did some calculations they haven't revealed to us viewers yet that show the baby is not his, you'd think he'd still have SOME compassion about it. The extra gesture before hand is what made it so cold. I don't really like her much at ALL but she's starting to prove valuable (Hershel CPR and something else, can't recall what) and that did seem unnecessarily cold for anyone in the group/one of your own. I would like to see T Dog get some more lines. Come on already. The whole episode did throw me off as I think about it, because I guess I just assumed the confrontation would be w/the governor, not inmates. We wait longer :) But I can already tell this will be one HELL of a great season. Wow.

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I laughed out loud when you typed this is not going to end well in the review, as we uttered that out loud at least six times during the episode, that time definitely being one of them. I absolutely, positively cannot believe I am going to say this. But. This is now *two* episodes in a row where I not only didn't hate Carl, I actually - gasp - liked him. Notice when all the sh** was going on when Hershel gasped coming to life, everyone else was frantically worried but Carl was there with his pistol cooly trained right at Hershel's head. He was the only one being sensible. He's come a long way. He has generally followed instructions w/o issue, and the one time he didn't he seemed to have a decent assessment of what he could and could not do, and it was for a really good reason. I freaking love Carol this season. Talk about a 180! I loved her "even better" line last ep when Darryl said "I'll go first". I love that she's taking on this responsibility and is just so - different. Nervous about what might come out of that walker's stomach though now thanks to Laurie's fear last episode. Hopefully it's already starved so much it cannot harm Carol. I get why he let the skinny black guy die - he ran, and if he's not accounted for, he's a threat. The big black guy showed some signs of honor. There was a lot of "looking into eyes" to discern trust during those times. I knew the prison leader guy was going to die, Rick even gave Darryl the signal, but I did NOT expect the machete. I did kind of expect Rick to do it himself, as that is more his style, but holy crap!

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I find it odd that Rick just let the small black guy get devoured by walkers while begging for his life, but spared the guy that told him "do what you gotta do". I hope both of these guys join the group. Now that Hershel is a cripple, this drug-addict guy could be the "older" member of the group, although he is about a decade younger than Hershel and Dale. The big black guy was more interesting in his three lines of dialogue than T-Dog has been for all three seasons. I'd like to see how he interacts with other members of the group. Now, here's my main hope for the season. KILL CARL. That kid is probably the most awful actor on TV today. When you suck at acting like a rebellious teenager, you obviously aren't cut out for child-acting. Seriously, his delivery is horrible. Can't wait to see a walker eat his face off. Here's how I rank the characters right now on the show in the order of "Should Die NOW" to "Keep em Alive!" 1. Carl
2. T-Dog
3. Lori
4. Carol
5. Andrea
6. Beth
7. Drug Adict Dude
8. Big Black Guy
9. Daryl
10. Hershell
11. Rick
12. Glen
13. Maggie
14. Michone

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Mary I think you missed my point, nothing wrong with a mother asking about her child but when it becomes so often that it's her catchphrase, there's something wrong there. Lori and Rick were horrible at looking after Carl, just read every review for season 2's episodes on this site.

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I was really hoping that Herschel was going to die and come back and bite Laurie in the face. She is so manipulative towards Rick, and then she sulks that he's mad at her. She pretty much told Rick to go kill the prisoners, just like she told him that he had to take care of Shane. I'm glad that Herschel is alive though, so I'll take annoying Laurie for a while longer if it means we get to keep Herschel. :)

Terrie

If you saw TALKING DEAD last night, then you know next week Merle is back and is with Andrea.......the reviewer is right in that it didn't matter that Andrea and Michonne weren't part of this week's episode. All the survivors have changed as they have went from being scared to being strong, fighting survivors. Could it be that there are even more survivors out there? We know there's Merle and THE GOVERNOR, but could there be more? We'll see. Could the story with the other inmates ended any other way? I don't think so. The group is running on adrenaline and have been for so long...... Can't wait for next week.....

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Except maybe Lori when she asks, "Where's Carl?!" for the thousandth time.
______________ Gee, a mother asking constantly where her child is...that's so unheard of. *eyes roll*

Ilkvomit

Fantastic episode !! The leader of the prisoners was a major dickbag and i would of wasted his ass along time ago. Who was watching Carol ? My guess is that the govener has scouts around the area....RIP Big tiny,we hardly knew thee.