That was a pretty intense hour of TV! During last week’s premiere, I halfway wondered, “Where are those dudes with Ws on their foreheads?” But the premiere was so focused on the action with Rick and the zombies in the quarry that I really assumed that the show’s creators were saving the Wolves for later in the season.
I guess not, huh?
After the episode’s slowish opening – more on that later – it totally came out of right field when the first Wolf attacked and machete-choped that lady in her front yard. Honestly, I didn’t even know it was the Wolves at first. It was just a confusing, “WTF was THAT?!?” as the show went to commercial. I think some of my confusion goes back to last season. Perhaps I misunderstood Morgan’s interaction with the two Wolves that he encountered before getting to Alexandria or perhaps the show was intentionally unclear. But I honestly thought the Wolves were just those two guys. So, it never occurred to me that all these people attacking Alexandria were the Wolves until I saw Ws on their foreheads.
However, there is good confusion and bad confusion, and this was very much the former. The folks of Alexandria seem to have had a pretty easy ride and suddenly they’re dying horribly left and right. Whereas last week’s premiere kinda overdid how lame Carter & Co. were when faced with a few zombies (how could anyone be that lame?), this week totally made sense because these guys with the axes and machetes are WAY more menacing. I totally could believe the lopsided body-count.
It was just brutal seeing how the Wolves chopped and hacked and dismembered.
Until of course, Carol got rolling. Geez! She was just hardcore here, killing Wolves everywhere with no remorse. She even killed the one that Morgan hogtied to interrogate for information. I love how much Carol has grown as a character since season one, and that’s largely due to actress Melissa McBride and the writers working together to create a wonderful character. It’s odd that a TV show that is sometimes slavishly devoted to the comic book source material (down to making sure that Heath is a black dude with dreadlocks) sometimes lets something great like Carol grow. In the comics, Carol was a minor character who died in the prison. On TV, Carol has grown and you never know what we’ll get next from her.
Carol’s partner in crime in pushing the Wolves back was Morgan, but he did it in his very own “I don’t want to kill” way. Has he always been anti-violence? It just seems odd that a man who has lived through the entire nastiness of the apocalypse would still be squeamish about killing clearly evil people like the Wolves. Still, it is hard not to enjoy the performance of Lennie James as Morgan. He just has a presence on the screen that makes any scene he is in interesting. Not to pick on anyone, but compare Morgan’s on-screen impact to that of Rosita, it’s not even close.
The show still had a few bumps, but you could mostly ignore them with all the carnage.
- Deanna walking around looking pained and useless. She looks 20 years older than last season.
- The way Jessie took out her rage at her dead abusive husband on the Wolf in her house.
- The whole Carl/Enid thing. Why should I care about this again?
- Father Gabriel’s story.
Although this was a pretty tight episode, there are still those worrying things that concern me. Someone on the show is pushing the Father Gabriel story and giving us some of THAT at the expense of more time with Carol and Morgan (or Maggie or Aaron or any of a number of other characters who are more interesting than Gabriel).
It’s also worth giving a thumbs up to the opening sequence that showed Enid’s origin story. I enjoyed it a lot and it gave a little window into who Enid is and why she is the way she is. I also liked that they didn’t show the zombies actually eating her parents or her actually killing the turtle. Sometimes less is more and this is one of those cases. However, it is worth noting that I had no earthly idea who that girl was during the opening sequence. So, I’m a fan of the storytelling, but maybe they could have given backstory on another character?
Still some frayed edges, but this was a pretty tight hour of television. Probably one of TWD's best episodes.