Only four episodes into the series and I already see the stylistic pattern that the show is going to take. It is a relatively traditional pattern that shows such as The X-Files have employed with great success. For every episode of plot related, character driven drama there will be an action oriented pallet cleanser that keeps both sides of the show’s viewership engaged on a week to week basis. So after an episode that was filled with high tension human drama, The Walking Dead’s fourth episode sways to a more action oriented tilt.
The first more action oriented episode, the second of the series, was criticized by a vocal group of dissenters that felt it was too predictable and reliant on ordinary genre conventions. And even though I heartily enjoyed the second episode, it is hard to argue that point. Going into the latest episode of the show I was expecting another fun yet predictable episode and what I received was an action packed thrill ride filled with unexpected twists and turns that was in my estimation the best episode since the premiere.
The episode starts off with the main group once again being separated. While Rick and his small group of rescuers are looking for Daryl’s brother, Merle, and the guns Rick lost when he first entered the city, Shane continues to exert force to show his authority as the leader he has deemed himself to be. As could be expected things do not go so well for Rick’s group but it is not the undead horde that is causing the problems.
Anyone who has ever seen Lost knows that there are others out there. The world of The Walking Dead is no different so of course there are going to be pockets of survivors and each is going to support their own hierarchical structure. Honestly I was not expecting another group to show up so early in the show’s progression but that is exactly what happened with this episode. Instead of fending off the undead, Rick and company are forced to rescue Glenn from another group of survivors.
It was a tense sequence of events and the resolution was unexpected to say the least but the real fun of the episode comes during the climactic final minutes where the show finally lays out the fact that nobody is safe in this series. The unexpected conclusion was gut wrenching and on par with Rick reuniting with his family in the previous episode. It was just great drama through and through. The concept that anybody could be the next to die is something that is laid out very early on in the comic series and while I have been expecting the revelation with show, I was expecting it two episodes from now.
Each passing episode of the series has pushed down a little harder on the accelerator and after this episode I have great confidence that the season is going to end on a very high note.
5 out of 5.