Saturday, 3 November 2012

Review : The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 3 - Walk With Me

After two enthralling weeks spent inside the progressively desperate minds of Officer Rik Grimes and his motley crew of survivors; THE WALKING DEAD takes a bold, first-time venture,( and a risky one at that) By casting its gaze far from the wonderfully bleak prison setting and our long-suffering gang for an entire episode, and focusing on opening up the world in which the tale is set; the risk pays off in dividends. This is one of the very best episodes since the shows debut.

While its initially strange to realise that the only anchors to familiarity in 'Walk With Me', will be Andrea, and to some degree her new best buddy, and fan-favorite, Michonne; we soon settle into this fresh, unfolding story, and it's every bit as engaging as the prison.

We pick up where we left of in the season premier with Michonne and Andrea struggling day to day to keep breathing. Andrae is dangerously ill, and no place feels safe. When they spot a downed helicopter and investigate, they find they are not teh only souls out there in the rot and ruin who are curious about the crash. Two cars pull up, and out step a group of well armed, healthy looking and potentially deadly men. Its a thrilling opening.

Not least because, finally, we meet the man himself....The Governor.

Its been a long time coming. Fans have been salivating for this most infamous of villains for quite some time now, and he doesn't disappoint. Needless to say, he's portrayed with perfect poise and predatory menace by David Morrisey. What we have here is perhaps the shows most complex and layered character so far. This is no black and white bad guy. He's all shades of grey...equal parts charming and dedicated politico and cold-hearted psychopathic bastard. A very hard man to read.

In fact, for most of the episode, those unaware of just who this guy is, will most likely find him perfectly likable, even admirable. Some of you may still feel the same way come the episodes chilling and surprising finale. Getting a bead on this guy is like catching mist in the palm of your hand. Where the character will go is unknown, but its a tantalizing prospect having this particular leader bump heads with Rik

After all, we soon learn that somehow, this particular community leader has managed to reclaim a small slice of cicilisation. He has created a well-gaurded community with no less than seventy three members, including women, children and even family pets. He has electricty up and running. Fresh water. A medical team. A well-trained and well armed team of guards, (including a familiar face to long-time viewers), and a safe and idyllic way of life awaiting those he chooses to bring into the fold.

Alternativly, Rik has a filthy prison block, very little food, ten or so survivors, no direction, a rapidly deteriorating sense of civility and for a medical outfit, he has a one-legged, half-dead veterinarian and a grieving mother who performs caesarian sections on zombies. Its easy to choose which team you may wanna play for, given the opportunity....

Though things are not what they seem in the picture perfect town on Woodbury. Safety and comfort come at a cost, as we come to realize in a shocking and powerful scene that, in effect, re-introduces this mysterious 'Governor' in a more true form. This is a man who's willing to do anything to protect his people, or is that to protect his power?

Thats the beauty of such a character...we have no idea, (unless we're readers of the comics, of course. And that aint no gaurentee, either), of where this guy is going. So far, he's a moral conundrum. Dedicated and driven, but by what? Hints at a past tragedy suggest this may be a damaged soul looking to do some good in this brave new world, but we all now how power corrupts, and in a town where the hierarchy goes unquestioned; tyranny can easily find a dark place to nestle.

The episode ends on some chilling imagery that poses more questions than it answers about this enigmatic, imposing man, and it leaves us breathless to know more.

Throw into the mix a creepy scientist, a susceptible Andrea, and the first real scenes of character development for the fierce Michonne, and you have a stone cold winner that points to a very bright and emotionally and intellectually engaging future for the show.

There is very little zombie action in 'Walk With Me', and its a good thing. The first two episodes were action heavy, and while its a blast, we want to know these people. This one is all character and story. If the pace is slowed down, the sense of dread and trepidation is sped up, and our understanding of whats at stake living in this nightmare world, is deepened.

THE WALKING DEAD season three continues its stellar run and has found the seemingly perfect balance of action and suspense, and is only growing more thrilling, and dark, with each progressive episode. The show has hit its stride and then some. With the world opening up to endless possibilities for moral and physical conflict, and with Rik's first truly formidable opponent looming large over proceedings, the show can only go from strength to strength.

Fight the dead by all means, but for Gods sake, fear the living...

All hail The Governor.

10 Aquariums out of 10

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