He SAID: The Walking Dead Season 5 (The Need for Speed)

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Christopher M. Enis

The end of Season 4 of AMCs The Walking Dead saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) uttering that effective (albeit G-rated) line after he and fellow apocalypse survivors walked into a literal flesh-eating trap. In their defense, they thought they were headed for a safe haven called Terminus. Not.

Took ’em long enough to get there. And suddenly, they’re caught… end of season. Boo! Here’s the thing: The Walking Dead may have been at the top of the ratings chart, but it will never win any awards for story pacing.  The last two ‘partial seasons’ felt like two full seasons. Sometimes the pacing is so slow, dead1it’s nearly nonsensical. Case in point: half of one episode solely devoted to Carl (Chandler Riggs) eating Costo sized can of chocolate pudding. C’mon! Get to the killing! But the writers of the Walking Dead would have none of that. In true tribute to the graphic novel, the stories are filled with tender moments that drag and dialogue that feels almost foreign, given the reality that the world is overrun with flesh eating zombies. But hey, after four seasons we know what we’re getting, right? Wrong.

dead2When Season 5 began, I expected the Terminus saga to easily eat up say… 4 to 6 episodes. Imagine my surprise when Terminus went up in smoke at the end of very first episode! Thanks to Carol (Melissa McBride) – the character with perhaps the biggest arc of them all – Rick and the gang dead3were able to escape a group of folks that would have anyone running toward a zombie horde for sanctuary.

And we’re off!

Other new (refreshing) developments: the gang got back together (if only for a spell) and OMG! THEY HAVE A PLAN! Seriously, this is cause for celebration. We’ve been trudging along with these folks for years with no dead6direction and no plan and sudden shock and disappointment when some asshole they blindly trust ends up trying to eat them for dinner. I’m watching this now and actually rooting for them, instead of hoping that the ones in the most denial (it’s a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! And it did NOT just happen the day before yesterday!) get picked off like the runts of the proverbial litter.

dead4The first few episodes are (hopefully) great indicators that those sloth-like plot developments are behind us. Let’s hear it for a little action (and a lot more gore)! I’m optimistic. Hell, I’ve been with Rick and the gang this long… maybe this time they’ll give me my money’s worth.

The Walking Dead airs on AMC, Sundays at 9/8 Central.

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