The Walking Dead Review: “A”

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.”
–Friedrich W. Nietzsche

“Never again. Never trust. We first always.”
–Terminus Motto

The Walking Dead reaches terminus until next season.

The review will not entirely avoid spoilers.

Title: “A”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple and Angela Kang

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Larry Gilliard, Jr. as Bob Stookey
Sonnequa Martin as Sasha Tyreese
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford
Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Jeff Kober as Joe
Davi Jay as Tony
JD Evermore as Harley
Marcus Hester as Len
Eric Mendenhall as Billy
Keith Brooks as Dan
William R. Brock as Forrest Swanson
Andrew J. West as Gareth
Denise Crosby as Mary
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Rick, Michonne, and Carl encounter Joe’s group; the band makes it to Titus Terminus, but they wonder if this new community will serve them, or if they need to take the A-train out of there.

High Points

I found the early scenes gripping, from the metaphor of the rabbit trap to the anticipation of both Joe’s group of marauders and Terminus’s community of uncertain survivors. The handling of the fighting monsters/becoming a monster themes was as heavy-handed as anything in the show’s history, but I liked the ways it pervaded the episode. The contrast with Rick’s flashbacks strengthened the tension in the

Low Point

The episode dispensed with its new situations far too easily. Darryl miscalculated badly, in a way that felt out of character. A confrontation that could have comprised most of the episode (of become the Dead‘s version of the Red Wedding) got forced to a quick and too-easy resolution.

Terminus turned on them very quickly, but we have yet to learn for certain the solutions to the colony’s mysteries.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 This week showed us more original takes on zombies (Flat-man, anyone?)
Rick’s attack looked startling real.

Story: 4/6

Acting: 5/6 The prestige shows raise the bar; they have to keep meeting it. This is not an action movie. Andrew Lincoln should not have been given that over-the-top final line; he did the best he could with it.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 6/6 Despite some weaknesses to the script, the episode was well-directed, with some interesting uses of the camera.

Overall: 4/6

In total, “A” receives 32/42

Final Comments

How will Carol, Tyreese, Judith, and the missing Beth factor into the events?

6 replies on “The Walking Dead Review: “A””

  1. J_W_W says:

    Rick is such a badass. It’s good to see him step back up into his leader form. I don’t think his final line was over the top at all. Plus they have to give us the future battle to look forward to, since we’ll be waiting months to see it.

    It a better line than if he had said something weak like, “I don’t know how we’ll get out of this.”

    We, the fans, need these characters to survive. I think the shows heading into areas where it’ll be tough to kill of some of these characters and retain viewers. But I am eagerly awaiting the next season.

    As for some of the camera shots. Yeah, there were some really good ones. I particularly liked the pause after Michonne finished off that one walker, it totally looked like a comic strip panel.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      Sure– but Rick could be a badass without sounding quite so cheesy– especially after his encounter with Joe’s crew and his good leadership at casing Terminus before entering.

      Absolutely– that Michonne shot is one of the ones I had in mind, in fact. I didn’t think this was the best-written episode, but the director knew what to do with the material.

      • quantaman says:

        The line didn’t read cheesy to me, it my view it was mostly about Rick appointing himself as leader of the united group.

        One thing that baffled me is what function the farming flashbacks served, I thought they were supposed to contrast between prison on the road but I wonder if they were also supposed to ground his character. In S3 as leader Rick went crazy, and for most of S4 he abdicated the role. I think the flashbacks were supposed to set the stage for Rick to became a real leader, ie due to the farming he’s able to rip someone’s throat out without going insane.

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          I think it also shows a time the group was trying to build civilization, and Hershel held out the hope humans could live in an almost-sane world. Of course, the circumstances of the show (and, frankly, its underlying misanthropic view of human nature) constantly make civilization impossible. I suspect Terminus will continue to consume that hope.

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