“I may be the one walking away… but you’re the one that’s leaving… again”
It’s finally been a whole week which means only one thing: The Walking Dead is back for another 45-minutes of pure television magic. After last week’s slightly low-key (but still as epic) mid-season opener left us with juices foaming at the mouth with an unhinged Rick seeing the ghost of his dead wife Lori wherever he looks and finally telling Tyreese to get out of his prison we join the group preparing for an attack from The Governor and where the episode seems slow to start off with after an initial 15-minutes to set the scene we are treated to some truly spectacular looking, suspense-filled scenes full of tension and gore that will leave you sitting right on the edge of your seat fingers clamped between your teeth.
By far the most interesting and satisfying aspect of this episode is the relationship and now growing background story of the Dixon brothers. In a few scenes that feel like they could be lifted into a spin-off show in its own right we are treated to some great onscreen chemistry between Daryl and Merle and a real feeling that these characters, Daryl especially, have grown and changed through the show where he was once a slave to whatever brother Merle would say it would seem he has become the one with initiative and the survival skills to keep the pair alive. The part where they bicker and fight in the woods after saving a group of Mexicans who had no clue how to survive in this world (so God knows how they got this far) that eventually sees Merle ripping Daryl’s shirt and exposing some deep scars that lead to more character depth and mystery than I think anyone originally thought there would be.
Another shock death is seen this episode when Axel is shot in the head by The Governor making an attack on the group’s camp in a what can only be described as stunning end to any Walking Dead episode I can think of. It feels like we are robbed of Axel a little too soon as his character was becoming likeable and three dimensional in his own right but this is what The Walking Dead is all about and it only makes Morrissey’s Governor all that more evil.
Between these closing moments and the beginnings of a true Dixon-based side story emerging this has to be one of the most pleasing and exhilarating episode to date and we finally get a glimpse of the man-on-the-edge that is The Governor. Tension is built in the closing scenes where the mindless Rick almost (and unusually for a lead in a show realistically) came inches away from becoming a walker as he grapples between three zombies as they try to bite him. I say unusual because for once it feels like anything could actually happen even the death of the lead character mid-season. Nothing can’t happen in The Walking Dead which is another beauty that separates it from anything else on television as well as the look and the true gritty, edge-of-your-seat drama that has you gasping for your breath back.