Well, that’s all for now folks! Tonight’s installment of The Walking Dead was the last episode we’ll get in 2012, and it was quite a doozy! Advancing multiple storylines forward, starting some new ones, and introducing several new characters; “Made to Suffer” had it all!
After the big cliffhanger from last week left us with Rick just about to swarm Woodbury, we are quickly introduced to Tyreese played by Chad Coleman of The Wire fame! We don’t learn much about this new group at first, but they take shelter in what turns out to be the same prison where Rick’s crew is holed up, and spurs some interesting drama later in the episode.
While I was excited to meet new characters, and especially if those new characters include Tyreese, I was a bit confused why it took as long as it did to catch back up with Rick’s raid on Woodbury. We had to watch Tyreese’s introduction, a scene between The Governor and Andrea and a scene between The Governor and his daughter before getting to the cliffhanger we all really wanted to see. It was a little strange to have to wait 12 minutes to see the storyline we all really cared about.
Well Rick and his crew end up finding Glenn and Maggie fairly easily, but they are definitely worse for the wear. It was good to catch up with Glenn and Maggie a little bit after their terrible ordeal last week, and it was interesting hearing Maggie assure Glenn that The Governor “barely touched” her. I definitely wouldn’t qualify him slamming you down on a table topless as “barely touching”, but Maggie is clearly trying to spare Glenn’s feelings here, and it’s good to see the two of them with such a healthy relationship despite all the hell they’ve been through.
The actual assault on Woodbury was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While it was pretty exciting to see all of these characters shooting at each other and working as a team, the excessive smoke made the whole thing kind of visually unappealing. We saw about a dozen Woodbury red shirts bite the dust, but we only had one notable death to speak of at the expense of Oscar. Not only that, but he was killed by phantom Shane, which was all handled a bit strangely. I know that Rick has already talked to his deceased wife over the phone this season, but now he’s going the full Haley Joel Osment and seeing dead people walking around! After this it seemed a bit like the assault just sort of…stopped. When we catch back up with the crew later in the episode, they’ve all made it out of Woodbury and Daryl had been captured off-camera. The timeline and staging of the whole scene was a bit of a mess for me, and was probably my biggest disappointment on an otherwise exciting mid-season finale.
Michonne’s showdown with The Governor was much more satisfying to me, and was by far my favorite thing that Michonne has done on this show yet. I’ve made plenty of complaints in my reviews over how poorly I feel Michonne has been handled, but I loved their fight here. It was great for her to find Penny and all of the heads by herself, as it completely validated all of her suspicions of The Governor. Also, Michonne dispatching of Penny was incredibly brutal. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen child walkers be killed on the show, with Sophia and the little girl from the first episode “Days Gone Bye” being standouts, but this is by far the most brutal and violent killing of a child I think I’ve ever seen on TV. This also gives The Governor a much clearer motivation as the villain for the rest of the season now that he has his daughter’s death to avenge, and I’m sure he’ll be rocking an evil eyepatch in the second half of season three.
With all of this drama going on at Woodbury, it was easy to forget the big events going on back at the prison! Tyreese’s group being introduced to Carl was pretty great, and I’m really enjoying seeing little Carl grow up so much and learn to make big decisions to keep his group safe. I’m very interested to see what Rick’s reaction is going to be when he comes home to find he has four more neighbors on the cell block!
While not all of the moments from tonight’s mid-season finale were effective for me, overall it was a thoroughly entertaining episode that definitely has me excited for the second half of the season in February! I’m sure the Dixon brothers will make it through their current predicament, if for no other reason than the fact that they’re the stars of the new Walking Dead video game.
What did you think of the mid-season finale? Sound off in the comments section below!
- I was sure that Michonne was going to see the disembodied heads of her two pet zombies from earlier in the season, but she never even acknowledged them!
- Axel scenes were kind of weird. His hitting on Beth was definitely creepy, but thinking that Carol was lesbian was hilarious. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with this character quite yet, but right now he seems to be used mainly for comic relief. I’m hoping they don’t make him a rapist or anything, or otherwise turn his character “dark”. He works so well as a goofy comic relief.
- Part of me likes to think that Tyreese punching the walker in the prison was an intentional reference to Chad Coleman’s character Cuddy from The Wire being a boxer.