Monday, November 19, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 6 (Hounded)

Season 3 continues to pack a wealth of excitement and terror into every episode, and last night's entry, entitled "Hounded", was no different.  We spent a lot of time with Rick and the gang at the prison, and we also spent a lot of time with The Governor and his underlings in their community.  There was action, there was gore, there was even a little sex, and there were some major developments that will eventually (I'm thinking sooner rather than later) bring our two bands of survivors into direct conflict.  This was a very effective episode and it spotlighted some of the newest additions to the The Walking Dead while also paying close attention to the regulars we've been following from the very start.

Michonne continues to impress, and with every episode she becomes more valuable to the show.  Should her character continue to progress, we may reach a point where (as in the comics) she is just as valuable to the story as Rick.  She is a strong presence who is equally adept at sniffing out a rat (The Governor has charmed Andrea into his bed, but he couldn't get Michonne to believe anything he said) and dismembering anyone living or dead who dares to threaten her.  I think that Danai Guriri has done a terrific job thus far, and I hope the show makes the best use of both her ability and the character's appeal as the series continues to evolve.

The Governor himself (or "Phillip" if he's looking to get into your underpants) continues to evolve, and I am more impressed with David Morrisey's nuanced performance with every week that passes.  I think the day is coming when he will be just as despicable as he was in the comics, but he's still walking a fine line between survivor and villain.  We know he isn't trustworthy, we know he can be heartless, and we know he's up to some really bad shit, but he's so charming and perhaps even fatherly that Andrea's willingness to stand by him doesn't feel contrived.  Perhaps the slow burn Morrissey has treated us to thus far will become positively incendiary now that Maggie and Glenn are in town.

Michael Rooker is always a joy to watch, and "Hounded" gave Merle plenty to do as well.  I think that bringing this character back was a fantastic idea, and like most of you, I can't wait to see what happens when the Dixon brothers are finally reunited. 

In the prison, Rick continued to struggle with his sanity, which is completely understandable given what he has been through.  After receiving some phantom phone calls (I thought this was handled well, but I also hope that he isn't finished with the phone just yet--I don't know why, but the telephone was one of my favorite subplots in the comics) it appeared that he was starting to find his way back, and the warmest moment of the show was easily the scene where he held his baby.  Andrew Lincoln did a great job with that bit, and he remains a stellar performer.  I don't know what's next for this guy after The Walking Dead, but I have to believe that the dude is going places.

While there wasn't a lot of time reserved for the rest of the gang at the prison, they continued to shine.  I'm as big a fan of Daryl Dixon as anyone, and while I prefer badass Daryl, the depth the last two weeks have added to his character is certainly appreciated.  Dude proved to be a natural with the babe last week, and this week he found time to be there for Carl while Rick was doing his best to get a grip.  Additionally, I really enjoyed seeing Daryl find Carol toward the end of the episode.  This season has been hard on our regulars, and I think that Carol and Daryl have some interesting chemistry.  Norman Reedus is on everyone's radar, but I think Melissa McBride has been a nice asset to this show from the very beginning as well. 

In my opinion, this has to be one of the best ensembles in the history of television.  I can't think of another show where there were so many people I enjoyed rooting for or against, and the talent involved here is truly exceptional.  Any of these players is capable of doing bigger and better things, and the way they play off one another is a huge part of what makes The Walking Dead so successful.  This is a big show, and it continues to impress both the members of the audience it is geared toward and those who may not typically line up for genre fare alike.  I thought this was another strong episode in what remains the strongest season thus far.

Can AMC sustain this momentum?  They have done a great job so far, and I can't help but think that the cast and crew are determined to continue to raise the bar.  I'm certainly quite eager to see what they come up with next week.

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