Rick and co. raid Woodbury to rescue Daryl, only for him to leave with his brother Merle… The Governor doesn’t cope well with the aftermath, while Rick has trouble welcoming newcomers to the prison as he has visions of a mysterious female figure…
The Walking Dead comes rushing back with a bang. Picking up right where the show left off before the lengthy holiday break, this episode throws the viewer headlong into the action with only the most cursory of catch up montages to remind you where things were left. It’s a fast-paced all-action opening that sets up the problems the characters will be dealing with for the rest of the episode.
As Rick’s running to the rescue, Tyreese and the other new arrivals are trying to inveigle their way in with those remaining at the prison, even while Allen and Ben suggest a plan to overcome the “kid and the woman” on guard. Rick’s return and subsequent freak out puts an end to either plan, but there’ll be more from these characters later. There are some nicely framed sequences throughout this episode, with director Lesli Linka Glatter clearly aiming for a comic book frame visual in places—it’s a choice that works well.
I’ve been quite critical of Andrew Lincoln’s recent performances on this show, especially his ‘grief’ over Lori’s death, but he nailed it on the head with Rick’s final scene meltdown as he starts hallucinating a shadowy figure we must take to be Lori. It doesn’t bode well for either the party at the prison—led by a man in the middle of an emotional meltdown—or for the people of Woodbury, whose leader appears to have abdicated, or worse to be planning an outright dictatorship over his ‘ungrateful’ citizens. We’ve not seen this pair clashing in person yet, but it’ll sure be electrifying television when they do.
Verdict: As good as ever, The Walking Dead balances all out action and plentiful zombie slaying with convincing character development, a vast improvement on the previous season.
Episode 9 ‘The Suicide King’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb