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The Walking Dead Review: Staying Alive

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Turns out, Hershel’s magic tea can’t save all the sick people. Who knew?

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 continued the deterioration of the survivors with a lot of hacking, coughing and spitting up blood. Being sick sucks, but being sick during the zombie apocalypse is just gross.

I feel like I needed to take Nyquil after watching the hour.

Hershel Greene Pic

And really, while more unknown characters were killed off (surprised the doctor didn’t give us some backstory before his eyes went bloodshot and he decided it was time to eat), it was Hershel who stood front and center for the hour.

He continued to be the resilient wise man, risking his own life to try and make things better, even if it only borrowed a little extra time. He was really adamant about not showing anyone the newly returned dead people get killed again, even if it seemed like some of his decisions were stupidly risky.

Did he really need to lead the walkers away (good thing he didn’t trip like Lizzie, and he’s got one leg missing) or get super close that it seemed like he was going to get bit?

I even wondered with all the focus on his character if that meant this was the episode that he was finally taken down.

Luckily, it wasn’t, and the guy was able to stay tough until the reinforcements arrived. Sure, his stand-up comedy routine about spaghetti dinners may have bombed, but he was able to help save Glenn.

Even if he still maintains his faith, it was good to see him break down for a moment. He definitely needs a break, but I guess going with Michonne to get rid of the bodies is the perfect pick-me-up.

And I'm glad we got some time with Hershel, even if the episode started out somewhat slow and a reiteration of people being sick and dying.

But it was when everything went crazy again and the walkers seemed destined to take over the prison that the hour picked up for a pretty nonstop ride until the end.

And I loved the use of not only the soundtrack that added to the heavy-handedness of dealing with the sick and the dead, but the use of the dark surroundings. There’s just something about walkers in the dark that makes everything much creepier - and there were plenty of heart-racing moments.

Am I surprised that Daryl and the gang returned right at the end to save Glenn and Sasha just in time (oh, and the other survivors, of course)? No, but at least the show isn’t dragging out the plague story line throughout The Walking Dead Season 4.

As for Rick and Carl, those two were able to do some more bonding with their tag-team gunfire game. Carl may have been a tattletale on Carol and he may have forced his way into following Hershel, but it’s great seeing him want to help his father and listening to him. It’s obvious that much like Rick, we are seeing him grow.

Rick will always want to protect his son, but Carl is definitely stepping things up. He's not just a little kid anymore.

But what is up with Lizzie? That girl continues to be creepy. Who puts their shoe in blood and starts playing around in it?!? I feel like she's going to end up causing problems soon.

I'm still really curious about Daryl and Tyreese's reactions about Carol getting kicked out of the club, but I’m glad Rick was upfront about it with Maggie and Hershel. There weren't any silly lies or secrets he was trying to keep.

But even with advent of some hope amid all the chaos at the end, yay for farming, there’s no way the prison can be the safe haven after all they’ve been through. And to add one more problem, the Governor is back.

It’ll be interesting to see how much more sadistic the one-eyed villain turns out to be when he reveals himself to Rick and the others.

It really is good to see The Walking Dead Season 4 getting better at combining some scares and walker action with a character focus. It’s not quite perfect, but the balance and ability to maintain a pace that sucks you in as it continues to build is proving that the series is headed in the right direction.

Let's hope it keeps it up and doesn't break down like one of the prison fences.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (108 Votes)

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

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Mrs-cleaver

Couple years into the ZA and they still don't know to close their doors behind them. Drives me crazy lol. Glad the "good guys" made it thru though. Good laugh over Rick so trying to avoid telling Daryl he booted Carol. That conversation is NOT going to go well. Kinda tired of the Governor, he hogged so much of last season.

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This episode was very intense, and I loved it! Next episode is going to get crazy once Rick tells people what heppened.
http://wp.me/3XWcR

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That episode was so intense. Nice surprise hearing Ben Howard, it really suited what was going on and set the tone.

Terrie

It's about time they brought The Governor back in...........figures now that it is nearly time for the mid-season finale.............Ok so, the clip for next week, it showed The Governor and about 3 tents........so does he still have a couple of lackeys with him? Seems so.............The Governor is out numbered so I don't know what he thinks he can do. I think he's obsessed with Michonne and he will go after her........ I am anxious to see what Daryl will say or do when he finds out about Carol. I got a chuckle how they left us hanging on that last night....... Hershel was this episodes shining star.......and Rick and Carl seem to have bonded more over their zombie shoot out........... Have concerns about LIzzie.........I think she will cause trouble in the near future............who plays in a puddle of blood?!?!?!!? Wake up Lizzie...zombies are not pets!

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Liked Hershel got his chance to shine. His scenes were great, and even though some things seemed stupid it was the right thing to do - for this character, I mean. But Rick, again, irritated me at the end (after I was almost at peace with the man during the episode). Why the hell did he tell Hershel and Maggie the truth right away but then decided that DARYL, of all people, could wait to hear what happend with Carol? Almost disappointed they didn't kill Glenn. He's a nice guy and everything, but now it seems to me that the writers don't want to kill popular characters off...

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@ San

It's obvious why Rick decided Daryl could wait to find out - because he's afraid to tell him. Rick is a big wuss.

Aster

This episode made me turn away more than once, while eating my popcorn. Daryl was right. Hershel is one tough son of a b|tch. At one point, I was yelling at the tv and for Hershel to stop taking so many risks. I was glad to see an hour where he could shine and was dearly afraid it would be his last. Glad he gets to live to see another. Lizzie seemed morbidly curious and I may be the only one who was glad to see that zombie fall on top of her. It's good for her to have a little fear and realize they're not pets, although the girl had guts in trying to protect Glen. Looking forward to next week's episode. I'll be very curious as to how Daryl deals with what Rick has to tell him and of course, what the Governor has planned.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Carl: Dad, you can’t keep me from it.
Rick: From what?
Carl: From what always happens.
Rick: Yeah. Maybe. But I think it’s my job to try.

I still think there’s a plan. I still believe there’s a reason.

Hershel
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