by Niall McArdle
I am a late convert to The Walking Dead, having quite happily ignored it for several years (I’m not really into zombie stuff.) But a growing sense that I was missing out on something led me to watch it. That was just about ten days ago.
I haven’t slept much since.
I rented Season One not knowing anything about it and expecting nothing. I was happy to see Frank Darabont’s name, but most of the cast were unknown to me (although I did recognise Andrew Lincoln from Teachers and This Life, and Jeffrey de Munn from practically everything Darabont has made.)
I watched all six episodes in one sitting. I just had to find out if they were going to make it to the CDC, and if so, what was going to happen then.
I binged on Season Two over two days. It’s like Farmville but with a lot of undead people.
Then I chomped my way through Season Three. It’s a season of two halves: a Shawshank half and a Jim Jones half. Parts of it are ridiculous and lurid, mostly when David Morrissey struts around wearing an eye-patch.
Season Four has a lot of callbacks to earlier events and spends most of its time on the road.
I think it is a compelling, well-made, and for the most part well-acted drama, with plenty of suspense and good deal of gore. It does a very good job of showing what could well happen in a post-apocalyptic world, and if you really want to get high-faluting, you could view the show’s arc as a history of society and politics, going from selfish individualism to small groups hunting and gathering, then to a small community working as farmers, then to dictatorships and finally to democracy. It’s tackled some biggish questions about how a community should govern itself, notably in the penultimate episode of Season Two, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” (otherwise known as 12 Angry Dales)
And while it still relies on that old television standby, the cliffhanger, it isn’t afraid to shock by suddenly killing off a beloved character, or shy away from downbeat endings.
As it has progressed and new characters join the world, I have started to recognise a few faces, and for a while I was thinking it was the show where unemployed HBO actors go to die.
Some of the storylines are a bit soapish, and are dragged on too long, and frankly, although I felt I had to watch all of Season Four just to see how it was going to end, I was prepared to leave it at that. I’d had my fill of flesh-eating zombies, petty tyrants and thieving bandits, and I was getting a little tired of some of the show’s repetitive aspects (you can only show a zombie having its head smashed in so many times before it starts getting dull.)
Then the survivors arrived at Terminus.
And I thought Holy Shit!
And I just finished getting caught up on the current season, so now I can go on the Internet and not risk any spoilers.
The blogosphere is filled with Walking Dead recaps, reviews and theories. I am including a link to just one. It concerns Sunday’s episode, and it is filled with all sorts of spoilers, but it proposes a very interesting theory about Bob (The Wire‘s Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.). If the theory is correct, and the show wishes to explore it, it could mean that future episodes will feature Terminus.