It's that time of the season where we hurry up and wait for the episodes to pick up again in two months. With that in mind here are my thoughts and takeaways. What started out as a promising season with a literally explosive first episode leaving us hungry for more has turned into slower paced events and having the group run around and run us around in circles. When Frank Darabont and some of the other original writers left I was afraid the show would suffer from their departure. And it has. Not saying it still isn't compelling but it seems to have become more of a plodding soap opera than a thriller Zombie Apocalypse. I will make zero comparisons to the comic since I have never read it.
1. The First Episode - "Sanctuary." I don't expect an action packed episode every week. I am quite partial to the intensity and struggle to survive and character development. But every now and then an episode like what we saw in the opener is a real treat. Just a gem.
2. Minimizing Carl. The weakest and most useless character on the show was reduced to a sidekick role. Walking Dead fans everywhere rejoiced.
3. Morgan's Brief Cameos. We need more of him and obviously he is going to play an important role very soon. Hopefully he will instill some life into this production.
4. Carol and Daryl's Strong Chemistry. This tandem's dynamic really played out well. I never advocated a romance between the two but I like the relationship they have developed. Much better than a romance. It just works. They shared some really good moments in "Consumed."
5. The End of the Terminites. Gareth and his pack of cannibals enjoyed a brief retribution a la the "ShishkaBob" scene (see what I did there) but revenge belonged to Rick and the gang. I will never forget the moment when Rick grabbed the machete and said to the groveling Gareth, "I made you a promise." Bam. Gareth cold cuts.
Now for some low-lights....
1. Maggie's Lack of Concern for Beth. This goes back to last season where she didn't seem to be too worried about her young sister who represented the last remaining member of her kin. It was all about finding Glenn. Their love story got old for me. She didn't even mention her name. That behavior continued this season until she finally perked up in the last episode. Oh yea, I have a sister and she is alive! A little too late.
2. Cops and the Hospital. This was a desperate story arc making them evil and messed up too. They need to move away from this tired plot line. Why not just have them run into people where there is zero conflict with them. It seems to be the only option they haven't tried yet. Why must we have villains every season? I understand there are more villains in the book that we haven't seen yet. Not sure I am looking forward to more of the same types of conflicts.
3. Priest. The subplot with the Priest is horribly written and logistically stupid. It just leaves me shaking my head as to why he is even on the show. Michonne should have beheaded him when he came back with the zombie herd and sabotaged the church.
4. Beth and her Death. This might be an unpopular statement, but her character became very unlikable in this season. They did a good job in reversing the sympathy there. While her death was difficult to witness it leaves me wondering why she stabbed Officer Lerner in the first place. Did she not think it would either lead to her being killed or an all out battle between both sides? She was set free and all she had to do was walk away. They could have come up with a better way to write her off the show. Oh and they should have gone with Rick's plan on rescuing Beth, not Tyreese's.
All in all I am underwhelmed with season 5. In no way am I giving up. My loyalty will remain steadfast to the bitter end. I think this break comes at a good time actually.