The Walking Dead: Made to Suffer

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“I won’t. I can’t. ‘Cuz I’m afraid.”

The Governor just gets more and more outlandish with every episode. His undying love for his undying daughter is both touching and frightening, further accented by the extremely slow musical accompaniment.  It’s clear he’s seeking a cure to bring her back to the living, despite as altruistic as his motives may seem. He craves control and isn’t happy when things are out of his hands, as evidenced by the escalating tension between him and Andrea.

The Governor seems to jump back and forth between caring for himself and caring for the people of Woodbury. It’s still difficult to figure out what’s real and what’s for show, but it’s not false that he’s a man always thinking ahead. He knows that the people need to be placated, tapping into whatever it is he feels needs tapping in order to hold sway over the crowds.

Speaking of Rick and the recon crew…they’re in the business of getting things done.  Their assault on Woodbury was nothing short of a clinic in combat operations, with a surplus of smoke grenades providing cover, coupled with nothing short of a small army’s worth of firepower. Daryl finds out that Merle is on site, prompting him to stay behind to provide cover, even though he’s probably got other motives in mind for staying behind.

Rick is still showing signs of a psychotic break, with the soldier taking on the appearance of Shane and freezing Rick. He dealt with it (a little too late), but it hits home the point that he’s clearly not well. He may have come to some sort of peace with his wife’s death, yet it’s seemingly not enough for him to be completely brought back to reality and dealing with the presence. He’s been jaded by all he’s dealt with and lost his sense of generosity, a sense that Carl has clearly picked up on and ran with.

Carl isn’t happy with being the lonely, lost child anymore. He’s stepping up in Rick’s absence, following the screams echoing throughout the halls of the prison to investigate their origin. His approach to being the “man” seems a little heavy-handed, but at least he’s being used better now than in the previous two seasons. The first rule of zombie club: don’t let people who’ve been bit to stay in the crew and it might be the reason why he locks them in a cell, safe, but at a distance.

Michonne. Michonne, Michonne, Michonne. She wanted back into Woodbury to extract revenge on the Governor, presumably by killing him. Turns out, she found a much better way to settle the score after stumbling upon his trophy room. She got most of her revenge, followed loosely by a confrontation with Andrea at gunpoint and what’s not going to be a good separation. It does lead to more conflict between Andrea and the Governor, only this time Andrea is asking questions about everything.

Something has to be said about Daryl and Merle. The ending was extremely vague and doesn’t look good for one of the brothers. There was foreshadowing earlier on with the Governor asking Merle pledge his allegiance. What was so fascinating was watching him turn the concept of loyalty on its head in rallying the citizens of Woodbury to his side. Blood is blood and—for as vile a character that Merle is—Daryl has become such a good guy that you root for good things to happen to him, even if that includes his brother surviving.

From a character standpoint, those were the highlights. Bringing them all together is an incredibly tight-knit storyline that had all sorts of drama and suspense. The center of the tension was Rick and the team getting in, getting Glen and Maggie and getting out. Layered into that was the Governor losing control of Woodbury to “terrorists,” Michonne seeking revenge and the sibling showdown between Daryl and Merle.

There’s a new group of survivors introduced (who have a very Left 4 Dead feel to them) that will further the prison storyline. The Governor has a newfound inspiration to launch an assault on the prison, seeing the infiltration as a weakness and a call to arms for his citizens. Rick continues to oversee an organization that teeters on the brink of completely falling apart.

It’s that leadership that presents the continuing dichotomy between both the Governor and Rick. They’re two leaders who have completely different motives, but still have people looking to them for decisions. The Governor may be turning to a completely dark side, while Rick is shown in future episodes being pressed to relinquish his leadership role. Both groups will live or die by the decisions of Rick and the Governor regardless, which should prove to make the conclusion of season three spectacular.

If you had reservations about The Walking Dead after season two, they should all be erased with the third season so far. It’s been amazing and “Made to Suffer” was such a stellar episode rife with everything that makes an episode awesome. There’s so much going on and so many seeds planted for future storylines that it’s shaping up to finish extremely strong. There wasn’t as much resolution as you may like considering the episode was touted as a mid-season finale, but there’s plenty to salivate over in the coming months. This is The Walking Dead at the top of its game. Make sure you’re getting on for the ride.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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