Following the fallout from the recent events that have taken place between the residents of the prison and Woodbury, this week’s episode slows down the pace and acts as the calm before the inevitable storm.
However, just because there is less action, doesn’t diminish how important and intriguing this episode proves to be thanks to a fine script from Angela Kang and steady direction from the show’s resident effects genius Greg Nicotero.
The focus is on Andrea as she tries to build a bridge between the two communities and not allow any perceived loyalty to affect her mission for peace. The episode also sees battle lines drawn between the two camps and their leaders and various people being forced to choose a side.
It is testament to the quality of the writing for this season that an episode like this can remain so utterly gripping. Characters that have been allowed to grow are making decisions of real consequence and dealing with issues that have been carefully laid out during the course of the season.
Laurie Holden is allowed to come into her own during the episode as Andrea tries to act as a peacemaker. She is conflicted between her old friendships with Rick and the group in the prison and her new allegiance to The Governor and the citizens of Woodbury. It is an excellent performance that fully conveys the difficult position she is in. There is also impressive work from David Morrissey as The Governor begins to manipulate and orchestrate his grand plan. Finally, there is an impressive turn from Scott Wilson as Hershel who shares key scenes with Michael Rooker’s Merle and Andrew Lincoln, who’s Rick needs the push from the wise old head to reassert his leadership on the group.
To emphasise the confidence that has been inherent during this run, the episode concludes with a haunting singsong showcasing a zombie-surrounded prison that perfectly encapsulates the mood of the episode.
It’s not the all out action of previous episodes but is still essential and captivating television nevertheless.
Review by Jonathan Gray