The Northern Dead

Welcome back from the long, cold winter that was without The Walking Dead over the last few months.  It has definitely been an interesting time away from the series and I have been going through withdraw like the rest of you so let’s not play around and get to it.  As promised in the lead up to this episode, The Governor was going to be around in this first episode, most people said it was a part of some Rick dream sequence a la Lori but instead we get a big cliff-hanger question answered, the Governor is dead which is a bit of a disappointment but probably in the best interest of the show’s direction.

We learn that this going to be a Michonne-centric episode, which in most cases is a death sentence for characters on the show (keep in mind that one of the main characters will be killed off before the end of this season).  Michonne decides to deal with aftermath of the prison by falling into old ways by collecting two new “pets” and begin her old life wandering the woods.  Before she left, she did manage to find Hershel’s zombified head and dealt with that issue so no chance that Hershel’s head is a character throughout this season.  And cue opening credits.

Coming back from the credits we learn that we’ll also be seeing how Rick and Carl are doing after the prison fight and the “loss” of Judith.  Rick is quite clearly not physically there anymore, he is so broken and battered that even Carl admits he is not useful to the two of them and is a liability.  The majority of the episode Carl and Rick butt heads throughout where Carl is trying to prove Rick that he has grown up in the zombie apocalypse and he is now a man.

Back to Michonne in a great sequence which helped build some background to her character by introducing her son, her boyfriend/baby daddy and another guy.  The sequence started as a three people in an apartment but devolved slowly with the help of clever editing and cgi tricks to show how Michonne lost her son and how she came into possession of her first set of “pets” which we know from the comics and the end of season two of the show.  I will admit I was thrown off at first but like any great piece of fiction it was a dream sequence which helped show us some heavy background for her character.

Carl, who is unable to wake up Rick the next morning, decides to take things into his own hands and show his dad what he is able to do without him and needless to say things go about what you expect.  First, Carl tries to lure two zombies from the house he’s held up in but instead falls into a little zombie trap and ends up sitting under a pile of dead zombies like every dark comedy moment from action sequences.  Secondly, he loses his shoe to a walker when he unloads the remainder of his weapon despite being told to use the bullets wisely earlier in the episode.  Finally, he is faced with the prospect of shooting his dad when he finally wakes up like a walker but we are lucky and he is just groggy.  Carl then admits to Rick that he isn’t as manly as he thought and in fact still has some more growing up to do.

We end the episode with Michonne, who dropped a bunch zombies and we see she has decided to not be her old self, stumbles into the town Rick and Carl are in and she finds her lost friends.  In a great moment we see Michonne is emotional which I would believe shows a change in her character and I think is setting up a Michonne/Rick coupling.  So that was the episode, here are some other moments of interest from the episode:

  • Seeing Carl inside the teenager’s bedroom was a great compare and contrast for the episode because in that moment he looks at the room with the eyes of a teenager.  Then like a splash of cold water he changes back to “adult” Carl in order to get the cords.
  • Carl swearing like a sailor was awesome and so out of character for him that I was thrown off.
  • Carl really went for the low blow by throwing Shane’s name at Rick.  Should someone remind Carl that he is the one who killed Shane?
  • Carl’s sequence where he yells at Rick is pretty much the sentiment from everyone during the first half of the season.  Like Rick should’ve stopped being a farmer and took care of business.
  • Did anyone else think the writers were being deep by having Rick and Carl fighting each other in the nice suburbia and the loss of the normal way of life?
  • Seriously, is anyone else nervous that with more Michonne back story that she is probably a dead man.

So that was “After” a great follow up to the explosive fall finale.  I think we can assume now that the story will follow two groups and how they will eventually join up at the end of the episode.  This will lead to a season finale where everyone will meet up again and set us up for the fifth season.  I think this was definitely a great episode and I’m looking forward to bringing you this review until the finale!  Make sure you pay attention to some of our other friends here on Nerditis and keep your eyes peeled for Weekly Time Waster and The Northern Dead!  See you next week.

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