I’ll admit, I was frustrated by much of last night’s episode. It was beginning again to feel like a Frank Darabont episode: More talking, more stalling, more stasis. But unlike “The Walking Dead” under Darabont’s stewardship, last night’s episode — the fourth full one under Glen Mazzarra — didn’t take six episodes to get to the point. It took 45 minutes, and ultimately, the payoff was worth it. “The Walking Dead” lost its first major character in long time, and for once, they managed to build some sympathy for that character before killing him off. Moreover, they managed to do it in surprise fashion. Perhaps the book readers saw that coming, but I had no clue, and it was all the more unsettling because Dale — somewhat forgotten this half season — had been the group’s moral center.
Ultimately, it was not — as I’d initially thought — a stalling episode built entirely around whether to kill Randall. Instead, Mazzara used Randall to further develop several other characters in last night’s episode, not least of which was Carl, who we discovered is a Class A dipsh*t. Randall is also being used to drive the wedge deeper between Rick and Shane, cause Andrea to question her own loyalties, and most importantly, bring Daryl back into the fold. Daryl has grown the most of any other character on the show, and last night’s episode looked to elevate him as the new Dale, the group’s moral center. Not bad for a guy who was once a one-dimensional, redneck racist.
That brings me to today’s discussion question: Has “The Walking Dead,” under the supervision of Mazzara, earned back your trust? Do you feel like the story — and the characters — are finally showing some movement? I’ll even include a poll so we can gauge the temperature of the WG readership as a whole.
Follow up question. Who is the most compelling character right now?