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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 3 - Isolation

30 October 2013

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Rick and Tyreese come to blows over the burnt bodies. The Council isolate the young and the infected. Darryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese head out to find medicine but come across a massive swarm of Walkers. Carol tries to fix the water line alone and Rick has to bail her out. Hershel risks infection by taking food to the sick.

The Unknown: This was another admirable attempt to build on the infection story. Half a dozen characters received specific attention in their reaction to the scenario and yet I felt nothing. The show is peddling hard uphill but has so much going against it.

Beth for example has never had a personality that I could adequately describe. The attempt to show her building a wall against her emotions is a nice idea but I have no sense of the emotions she would normally have to contrast this with. Similarly the picture of Tyreese is murky. The picture we get is someone who is gentle and moral but when pushed can produce extraordinary burst of violent aggression. It’s an interesting template but we just don’t know him yet. We haven’t had a moment like we did with Darryl, for example (Chupacabra, 205), where we bond with him over his admirable behaviour. To have him be in mourning for Karen is too complex an emotional state for us to easily empathise with him. The result was that it felt contrived when he stayed on the backseat as the Walkers drew closer.

The Carol story is another I have reservations about. I appreciated the emotion she showed after hugging Lizzy (as more dark memories are dredged up) and her reckless determination to fix the water fitted with her work ethic. However her overt demonstration of guilt felt like it was designed to tip us off that she was the murderer rather than effectively show us her conscience. Her stone cold admission to Rick felt truer to someone who had already crossed the line and pre-emptively slaughtered people. It was an odd way to end the episode. I suppose it was an attempt to give us a cliff hanger as we wonder how Rick will handle the situation. However I couldn’t help but see it as the start of Carol’s death sentence. Those who’ve forcibly tried to make peace (Dale, Andrea) or pre-emptively killed (Shane, Merle) have so far been bumped off. It’s as if the outlying nature of their moral reaction to the apocalypse forces the group to push them away. Is that where Carol is headed?

The infection story didn’t quite work as it might have for several reasons. We haven’t established how many people live at the prison. When Hershel says twelve people died and then another two got burnt I was quite surprised. By episodes end it looked like Carol, Rick and Maggie were the only healthy adults left at the prison. Twelve sounded like too many and three sounds like too few. It’s a bit of Lost syndrome where the extras expand or contract depending on the needs of the plot. That sort of detail is important when it comes to moments like Carol’s dangerous attempt to fix the water line. I’m no doctor but the nature of the infection confused me too. If it’s viral then surely medicine won’t do much and most likely in two days would be useless or unnecessary. Seeing people cough up blood and be too weak to even sit up felt like overkill. Again I can’t escape a shrugging feeling about it. Like the Walkers this virus will most likely kill those we don’t know and leave when it’s served its purpose to the plot.

One of the few characters it’s easy to understand and like is Hershel. His speech about choosing how you risk your life was very solid stuff and sounded a rare uplifting note. Darryl’s encouragement of Tyreese and attempts to reason with Michonne were fine too. The visual of the highway absolutely packed with Walkers was fabulous as you’d expect. Didn’t Michonne injure herself yesterday though? How is she up and running already? Who was the voice on the radio?

Best Moment: Hershell’s speech.

Conclusion:
Another interesting attempt to make the show more character focussed. It still isn’t convincing me.

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  • These last two episodes were a little unknown for me in term of threat of the disease. Something that really bothers me is why writers don’t focus on every angle of infection, what is it exactly? How much is it dangerous? And so on. Because of this. I didn’t get sad when Gelen got the virus or I don’t really understand how it is important for Darryl to get the meds!

    But hopefully, the character development progress was so good in Isolation like last two episodes. The Hershel’s speech was a really excellent writing and described “risking life in such community” in an effective and simple way.
    Carol is going to be a very good character. She’s on the edge of “emotions knife”. I think she has become as reckless as emotional due to her desire to keep safe others.

    But aside from all of these, the best moments for me were “the road full of zombies”. To tell you the truth, until that time I was going to be disappointed as the lack of epic scenes but suddenly Flood of Zombies ignited the familiar tension and excitement with starring of Michonne’s katana, Darryl’s crossbow and absolutely Tyreese’s hammer.

    Tyreese staying in car was okay for me, as he was thinking that he may lose Sasha too. It defiantly was a perfect cliff hanger. Hard journey through apocalypse to get back home.
    I just want to know, how much they get far from prison.

    And who was the radio voice? Is she/they are from community like Woodbury? Are they good people or evil?

    By the way, thank you for the review.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Reza, 29/10/2013 1:08pm (4 years ago)

  • This a much improved episode over the previous. Better character development.

    I liked Herschel's speech about choosing how you risk your life.

    Carol's admission was only slightly telegraphed to me and well acted by the actress. Her character has shown the most development amongst the adults.

    The Zombie encounter was a good change from the usual with Daryl distracted by a voice on the radio but I still found somewhat difficult Tyreese's escape from the swarm. Maybe it was the way it was filmed?

    It'll be interesting to see how Michonne and gang get out their predicament. The abandoning of the car a good cliff hanger.

    The Flu storyline is a believable method for thinning the survivors and setting us up for more 'Life on the Run' stories. Which another poster here suggested the series was becoming.

    By the way, I am reading the Fall of the Governor which was intended to be the final of a trilogy of Novels. They have now stretched it out and made this recent Novel Part One. Feels like a money grab by those determining the Reign of the Walking Dead. Would be a better artistic choice to pick an end date for the series (TV) but I am still intrigued enough to stick around for now.

    Viewer score: 72 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 28/10/2013 5:47pm (4 years ago)

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