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- Episode: Killer Within (season 3, Episode 4)
- Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan
- Written By: Frank Darabont (developer), Robert Kirkman (series of graphic novels)
- Directed By: Guy Ferland
- Network: AMC
The Walking Dead: Killer Within Review
One good day
By Joel Rickenbach
November 05, 2012
It felt like a season finale this week.
© AMC/ Image Comics
For some reason, The Walking Dead has always felt like the odd man out in AMC's lineup of original programming. Maybe because it's more of a genre show; fueled by blood, sweat and tears (mostly sweat) from the geek occupation of the entertainment world. Mad Men, Breaking Bad and even The Killing seemed to be presented as higher brow offerings to the TV audience. The former two shows clean up during awards season, so much so there's a persistent rumor that AMC built a separate wing at their offices to display all that silverware. The funny thing is, The Walking Dead originally premiered to ratings that doubled the numbers of those other shows, and at this stage of its existence The Walking Dead more than triples anything else airing on the network. Yet, it still has that tag of being a show for the masses, the show that fills the trough every week, and more of us come running to feed. Fans will debate, get outraged and post on forums until they get calluses, but the show is critic proof. It's not that they trash it, but everyone knows if you want to get fed, go to The Walking Dead, but if you want deep characters and challenging narratives, go check out one of those other trophy-laden shows (Which, by the way, are both phenomenal). Well, tonight The Walking Dead raised its muddy, gore-flecked boot, and kicked down the metaphorical door. What happened tonight is as deep, harrowing and emotional as anything you have ever seen on television, and then some. Zombie killing? if you want your heart emotionally ripped out of your chest, come to The Walking Dead.
It's almost tough to talk about anything in this episode other than the last 5 minutes, but allow me to try. Besides the incredible conclusion, this episode has some very smart things going for it. Cutting back and forth between the prison and Woodbury does a great job illustrating the two worlds we are now dealing with. From chaos to an almost unnatural peace, and from survival to subsistence. Rick fights for his life, and the Governor plays golf. Oh, when these two worlds eventually collide... The other great theme is watching the structure and security of the prison get completely turned upside down. What was once a fortress is now a deathtrap. It's all the things that made the season premiere so great brought back to terrifying effect. As Rick said: "Someone is playing games", and it makes for some compelling viewing.
Ok, you sat through two paragraphs, lets get to what you really want to talk about- Could The Governor really hit a zombie with a golf ball at that distance? I remain skeptical, and am patiently awaiting the inevitable zombie golf app. Other than that, I was emotionally devastated. You? Lori Grimes was easily the most divisive character on the show. Her emotions could change like the direction of the wind. Does she want Rick or Shane? Does she want Shane to kill Rick, or Rick to kill Shane? And when Rick does kill Shane she rebukes him for doing it, even though she wanted him to do it. Right? In some part It feels like they are getting rid of a character the writers could never quite pin down. which is also a little sad, as Lori's last moments are her best, and feel true for the first time. How do you handle that? Saying goodbye to the child you've raised, and to give birth, and give your life, to one you don't know yet. And then there's Carl- How do you hand over the knife that will kill your mother? How do you pick up a gun, and put a bullet in her head to make sure she stays dead? After the gunshot rings out, Carl just numbly walks out of the room, there are zombies in the hallway ahead, but it doesn't matter, this isn't the same Carl. The cold cement structure had its way with our characters, keeping them apart until the bitter end, and robbing Rick of the chance to say goodbye to his wife. Andrew Lincoln's emotional breaking was the final straw, I think I need a week off.
This will be that episode, the one fans will always come back to and always remember, even when crazier and equally emotional things happen in seasons down the road, this is the episode when things got real. I'm not a huge fan of giving things letter grades, but it's part of the tradition here at Mania. A few weeks ago I caught some flak for giving the second episode of the season a "B", tonight's episode is a good reminder of why I hold on to those "A's".
RIP T-Dog, you were never a fully formed character, but you died like a hero.