It’s the biggest show on TV and it has just finished off its fifth season and is still going strong. The Walking Dead once again broke its own records this season and is the unstoppable juggernaut which keeps on preparing everyone for the inevitable zombie apocalypse which will ravage the land and leave every non-gun toting person in trouble.
This will be a review of the second half of season 5, if you want to read a review of the first half then click this link. If you want to read this first and then check it out it’s your lucky day because I’ll leave a link at the bottom of the page.
There will be spoilers for season 5 of the Walking Dead in this post.
No point messing around, I thought this half season did a lot to calm my nerves about where the show was going and the general drop in quality the show has been suffering from in recent seasons, it was pretty damn good. The most positive thing I can say about the Walking Dead is that looking forward it feels like the show has plenty of space to grow into and I’m really optimistic about the show, something I wasn’t saying at the end of the first half of season 5.
The move to Alexandria has given the show a real change in dynamic, and it’s a welcome change. The show has generally been at its best when the characters are on the road, always moving with a high degree of uncertainty, Alexandria is not that but it gives us something the show has never given us before. Yes we’ve seen them settle at Hershel’s farm and the prison, but never before have we seen them settle in a location with new people whilst also being as damaged as they now are. Alexandria is a little like the combination of Hershel’s farm (people ignorant to what is really happening) and Woodbury (safe location where things are like they were before).
One of the best things about this half season is the strong focus on the main cast’s struggles to integrate back into a society which resembles life pre-apocalypse. There is some serious PTSD going on in Alexandria and it has been handled incredibly well. Sasha in particular (and Gabriel to a lesser more of an arsehole extent) has really grown in this half season and her arc has went from being one of ‘what does she add’ to ‘what’s going to happen next?’ Rick is also suffering from some PTSD as he sees what the audience sees, in that the people of Alexandria are ignorant to what the real world is now like. That is the beauty of the show having been on for so many years before playing this card; it has allowed us to see so many characters be killed off by both walkers and humans making us numb, that we now see the constant impending danger. It also makes sense in regards to how the Alexandrians have reacted towards Rick and Co’s odd behaviour, because if you hadn’t been subjected to what they have you would naturally think that these people are just a bit crazy. Honestly think about it, if you saw some zombies kicking about the town would you really think better go for the brain or would you more likely think it was some sort of art student nonsense?
Rick’s character development has been incredible in this season. There’s always been a bit of a dictator about him but you always felt underneath that there was a good man; now the line is all but gone. As soon as they got into Alexandria Rick was plotting ways to take over before he even knew if they were good people or not or whether it was well run. It is becoming harder and harder to support Rick, as he slowly feels like he is making a heel turn a la the Governor. Some odd moments include that weird cheek kiss of Jessie and pulling a gun on everyone after getting into a fight with Jessie’s husband, really anything to do with Jessie and Rick was a tad iffy. I like it though, you don’t know where this is going with Rick and uncertainty and suspense makes for good TV.
Speaking of a tad iffy, Carol continues to be one of if not the best character on the show. I love her transformation from bad ass bitch to simple housewife, she knows how to play the game and she plays it like she’s Michael Jordan (not baseball Michael Jordan). Similarly to Rick Carol has broken bad by threatening small boys with cookies and death (in no particular order). It is weird to think that Carol was a nothing character up until season 4 where she became emotionally broken and accepted her fate and has since became a total badass, shows what character focus can do.
With all the good things happening with character threads and development there are also sadly bad things happening. The problem with a show like the Walking Dead is that every season new characters are introduced and it’s usually around 7-10 new faces. The Walking Dead is also good at killing a lot of these characters off but it only takes a few to make it each year and you then have a bloated cast, and that has now happened. The Walking Dead has too many characters (something I wrote about a few weeks ago) and the move to Alexandria has made that abundantly clear. Do characters like Abraham, Rosita and Tara really serve a purpose anymore? Yes I’m sure they’re all vital to the community but in the show they have almost become extras. The same can be said of Maggie who has gone from being a major player to a forgotten factor; she’s just sort of there now. The Walking Dead really needs to have a big clear out before they introduce newer characters, otherwise people are going to start falling into the T-Dog category.
Two of the biggest deaths season came from Tyreese and Noah (brothers can’t catch a break!). Tyreese bowed out in the first episode of this half in an odd but nicely different episode. I think it’s a shame that they felt the need to dispose of Tyreese so early in the season because I felt his withdrawal from the way of life could have had some legs, maybe Morgan will replace that ideology. I thought the hallucinations worked really well and gave us some nice flashbacks and reminders of some of the traumatic stuff that Tyreese had been through and those who he had lost (clearly nobody he had met in the first couple of years was worthy of that privilege), I like the idea that Tyreese had just had enough and let himself get bit and I also like the idea that he was almost saved but ultimately wasn’t (a la the Walking Dead season 1 game). Noah was barely on the show but is already gone and in quite a gruesome fashion. The problem I have with this death is that there are other main cast characters that are less useful in the show than Noah but he was used instead. It does seem odd that Beth basically sacrificed herself to save Noah and now Noah’s dead, making what was already a dumb ass move seem even stupider. I’ve alluded to this when I’ve previously wrote about the Walking Dead and I will once again point it out, but what is it with this show and killing off all its black characters?
Although I felt that the second half of season 5 was really good I thought the finale was pretty underwhelming. They had built it up so brilliantly with Michonne knocking out Rick after he seemed to have lost it but what followed were just all kinds of meh. It never really went anywhere, it threatened to do so much and in the end all it actually did was re-introduce Morgan (granted that was cool) and give Rick power again. I think it would have been more effective to have had the walkers kill a couple of people and then have Pete kill Reg whilst trying to kill Rick, as it would truly show that the people of Alexandria have forgotten how dangerous the world now is. Another issue was with the whole Glen Nicholas story, it seemed totally unnecessary, how did Glen get away from those two walkers who were on top of him? It was all very messy and lacked much sense.
I’m surely not the only person out there that thought the manner in which Pete was presented was a bit too much. I get that we’re not supposed to like him, but does it need to be so obvious that he is a blatant asshole? Personally I think it would have been better for them to have made him seem ok only for him to turn out to be a wife beating dick, because personally I don’t need to have all the creepy sleazy shit to make me not like him, finding out he is a wife/child beater is enough for me to not like him.
The mysterious Wolves were teased to show up in the finale but in the end we only got a glimpse of what was to come. I’m hoping that there is actually more than the two guys that we’ve already seen because it seems odd that only two guys could go about picking off so many different people in such a brutal manner, it is made to seem even more ridiculous when you consider the fact that they apparently have no bullets left and can get beat up by one man and a stick, which seems too incompetent for my liking. Who knows maybe it was all part of a clever ruse to lead the viewer into a false sense of security only for them to kill Daryl and have the internet go into meltdown.
Naturally there were a few plot holes kicking about but a couple which I found particularly odd were; why they would send Noah out as a scavenger when the guy has a problem walking, then not to send Abraham out when he has previous military experience, and secondly when Rick was killing the walkers who snuck into Alexandria when he killed the third one and the shit went all over his face surely this has some sort of kick on effect? I would have thought that all that walker goo going into your eyes would have infected you in the same manner a bite would, or am I overthinking this and should just accept it? I do hate stuff that seems to make no logical sense in a television show because it takes you out of the moment.
I know I just gave out a bunch of criticisms (mainly slight to be fair) but the Walking Dead does feel like it is heading in the right direction and with Rick moving towards more questionable means of getting the job done, the Wolves and Negan all on the horizon you can’t help but feel excited about where the Walking Dead appears to be going. For the last couple of seasons I’ve felt the show has dillydallied too much seemingly happy to waste time with filler episodes, they were scared to pull the trigger, and although they haven’t pulled it fully with this half season they are certainly squeezing and that makes the future promising. I’m looking forward to see where Alexandria under Rick goes, how Morgan will affect the show and whether Carol will actually make Sam that batch of cookies she keeps promising.
If you are wanting to read my the Walking Dead season 5 part 1 review then click this link and the magic of the internet will take you there.