The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead crept up on me like a thief in the night. I literally didn’t remember it was on until I saw that my DVR was set to record it. This doesn’t reflect on the quality of the show itself, but rather on how obtuse the AMC two-part season structure is. I understand that we get more total episodes in the end but it winds up breaking any momentum and possible interest you have in a show if half way through there is a multi-month break. But hey, the Walking Dead is one of the most watched programs on television today so I guess they must be doing something right. Right?
Well I’ll say for the first time in a long time, the Walking Dead remembered it is a prime-time juggernaut. “Rock in the Road” pushed the story forward in interesting ways while at the same time showing off a truly ingenious action set piece. If you thought they had ran out of ideas of ways to kill walkers, you were bitterly wrong. But the best thing about the steel cable scene wasn’t that it was cool to watch or shot well (which it was), but it made sense within the context of the scene and what the characters needed to do. It wasn’t just cool to look at, it added much needed building blocks to the story of the show.
It wasn’t all good, things may be moving a bit too fast in the “rise up” arch and I hope they can spread this story out meaningfully for some time to come. For this story to pay off well, the viewers need time to simmer in agony. Also, what do these writers have against Father Gabriel? Anytime they need a character to act without thinking or become the personification of a wrench being thrown in the gears, they go to Gabriel. But beyond a few stumbles, this mid-season premier is giving me what these characters are desperately clawing for… hope.