AMC’s The Walking Dead has finally returned! Although Sunday’s episode, “The Suicide King,” was not quite the show’s greatest moment, the overall product was satisfying. With captivating characters, high-tension storylines, and superb dialogue, it isn’t hard to see why the series has such a dedicated fan base.
After the fallout from the midseason finale, “Made to Suffer,” TWD fans were left to wonder how the characters were going to put their mangled lives back together. Expectations and anticipation were at an all-time high as Sunday drew closer and closer. While “The Suicide King” still performed admirably, as stated, it was certainly not the highest point in the series’ tenure. There was very little character development, a lack of new/intriguing material, and a severe deficiency of resolution. That said, it was a necessary hour of dullness as the arc is clearly winding up for a big showdown. This episode constituted a clear “calm before the storm” move, in which the main cast members are each being pushed to their breaking points. It served its purpose by showing that Rick is still suffering from PTSD, Maggie and Glen’s relationship has been suitably strained, and perhaps most importantly, The Governor is preparing for war.
“The Suicide King” did have the undeniable strength of Daryl and Merle’s intriguing relationship. Having disappeared in the second episode of the series, the audience has never been given the opportunity to see the two brothers interact with one another (aside from a trauma-induced hallucination). As such, the relationship has never truly been defined, instead leaving the viewers to fend for themselves with assumptions and their own theories. While this mystery has yet to be given a direct answer, Carol’s thoughts on Daryl’s decision to leave the group suggests an abusive nature that one cannot help but find interest in. This gives the character of Daryl a new dimension, and certainly adds a curious understanding of the Carol/Daryl dynamic.
Furthermore, it was hard to miss the explicit theme of family woven throughout the episode. What defines the nature of a familial bond? Is it blood or is it something much deeper? This concept has been explored in previous seasons, but season three has been using the idea a foundation to build upon. “The Suicide King” presented the idea in a number of ways. Not only was it explicitly tangible in Daryl’s decision to leave the group, but it also perceptible in the group’s reluctance to accept new members into their midst. The theme is sure to crop up more and more in the upcoming episodes as the situation goes from bad to worse.
Perhaps the greatest thing I can point out about the series is that there are too many good things to say to include all of them in a single article. Like any series, it is not without its due flaws, but there’s a very good reason why The Walking Dead is the most watched program on television. The relentless gore of the first season and a half has been replaced with intriguing character interaction that one cannot help but appreciate in a series with such a premise. The war is coming and viewers can expect a handful of premium episodes in the future, packed to the brim with satisfying character drama and impressive action sequences.
Overall Score: 8.8/10
Next Episode: “Home”, Sunday Feb 17, 2013
This series of articles is in dire need of a snappy name (e.g. “Suit Up!” for How I Met Your Mother articles). Leave your suggestions in the comment box below.