The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 10, ‘Inmates’ Review

I was quite surprised by the reaction to last week’s TWD episode. Having hankered for some character driven action for so long, I thought last week’s was well crafted, tense and actually interesting. All the things I’d wanted in my mid season report.

However the show does it, and is called boring. Maybe for some it’s just too far gone.

I try not to see any other comments before I write my reviews, but this is often difficult due to work and my relationship with Twitter which is a lot like poking a sore tooth. However I saw again, “people” were unhappy with this week’s effort “Inmates”.

While it didn’t hit the concentrated heights of last week, I thought this was another step in the right direction. Maybe I just like being different.

The scope for “Inmates” broadens out from last week’s focus on Rick, Carl and Michonne, but was still linked together by a common theme, one which the show has mostly unilaterally failed to answer in it’s 3 and a half year run. Why do we carry on?

In fairness, it’s a theme that the comic source material struggles with, straying as often into misery porn as the show does (my patience is waning with the comic in all honesty). That’s all well and good, but eventually we all question what is even the point? There are surely levels of degradation beyond which even the innate state of survival in the human condition gives up.

For Glenn and Maggie, it’s each other. I’ll concede that I don’t entirely recall how Glenn ended up in that precarious position, but his journey through the abandoned prison was tremendously unnerving and thankfully unpunctuated by zombies. Sometimes it’s best to keep your hand fresh. Him going back for Lilly was a nice touch, though their story fizzled out slightly (more on that later).

Beth and Daryl had a neat juxtaposition – a girl who has often tried to give up the past (the voiceover from her journal post suicide attempt were a neat touch and probably the most we’ve ever heard about Beth) contrasted with the fighter Daryl who seems broken and lost.

When I was a kid and in cartoons characters would come so close to encountering each other but just miss each other used to really upset me. If only they’d been two minutes earlier, none of this would’ve happened! I’ve grown up since then and I enjoyed the way this episode crossed the characters paths over each other.

My prediction that Carol would find Tyreese and have to confront her actions came true, and also that Lizzie the sociopathic little girl was behind the dead animals. I still feel that she was responsible for the murders at the prison and Carol took the fall to protect her.

I would also like to spare some praise for Lizzie. One of the benefits of a series like TWD compared to a normal zombie film is seeing the long term consequences. With that in mind seeing how growing up in such a barbaric world warps childhood is a fascinating area to explore. The scene where she near strangled Judith was absolutely chilling. Also – Judith is alive to the surprise of no one at all. I foresee lots of dull getting nappy encounters in the near future, but the idea of running round with a baby in a zombie apocalypse being like holding a ticking bomb was a good tool for tension ratcheting.

That said – Carol and Tyreese come on! People offering sanctuary in the apocalypse are *always* cannibals. Also the “Inmates Escaping” sign was a nice touch once, but it got old real fast. Speaking of which, hasn’t the world been over 2 years – why was that sign so decayed?

While it was a nervy, edgy episode, I will concede that it fell a little too often into the zombie behind you that you definitely would’ve heard coming trope a little too often. And as a comic reader, I gave a massive cheer at the revelation of some new characters, but for TV show watchers it probably felt tremendously incongruous with the tone of the rest of the episode. Especially as Lilly and Glenn’s arc got a little contrived as a means to bring them to that point.

Still, it was a continued upturn in form, and perhaps for the first time I enjoyed two episodes in a row. Keep it up.

8.0

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