Here's the good news about this week's episode of The Walking Dead — it wasn't the last one we'll see in 2016. Considering the mid-season finale is only two episodes away now, that counts for something. As for the bad news, well, where do we start?
I can't remember the last time (if ever) I outright disliked an episode of The Walking Dead. Granted, I wasn't super-pumped about this season's premiere, but more so in an "oh my god, what have you done?!" kind of way.
Certain aspects of episodes haven't resonated with me or held my attention, sure. But this week's episode nearly put me to sleep, if I'm really being honest.
It's not that I don't like Tara, because I do. She's loyal, which I admire, and she can be feisty too — one of my favorite traits. Same goes for Heath. Actually, my only issue with Heath is that we haven't seen him enough on the show. He is a character I wish would get more screen-time.
Such was not the case this week, though.
The episode does begin with Tara and Heath, who are still on that supply run they've been on seemingly forever. What sucks about this, of course, is that they have no idea what's gone down with the Saviors since they've been gone... including the deaths of several core members.
But back on the supply run, they come to a huge sand barricade on a pier. Tara, who made some especially foolish decisions this episode, pulls on a half buried object in the sand to move it and instead causes an avalanche of sand. Oh, and you know, sand walkers too.
Things aren't looking good for our heroes, who have quickly become surrounded by the sand walkers, when Tara inadvertently gets tossed over the ledge and into the water below. That's the last we see of ole Heath this week.
Tara has the good fortune to wash up on the shores of a little seaside town aptly called Oceanside. Two young women are arguing over whether or not to kill her. Killing her would be the right thing to do according to their community's code of law. But not killing her would be the right thing to do morally. And we all know how moral compasses tend to fare in this universe.
Ultimately, they spare Tara and she later winds up sparing the girl who saved her, Cyndie. She is taken to their camp, where the leader continues the debate over her fate. At least we find out the reason for their distrust of all people — during a clash with a rival faction, all of the men over 10 in their camp were murdered.
Through a later conversation between Tara and Cyndie, who helps Tara escape again, we learn the massacre was exacted by the Saviors as punishment for stepping out of line. After that grim revelation, Cyndie helps Tara escape once more.
Unfortunately, only bad news awaits her at Alexandria. Glenn. Abe. Denise. And as horrible as I feel for Tara in that moment and as horrible as I feel for saying it, I am bored — so very, very bored by now.
Do I love the idea of an all-female community in TWD world? Hell yes! But we only saw slivers of this group, and those slivers weren't compelling enough to get us invested in this particular group. Do I love when a women helms an episode? Naturally. Need I point out the Carol-centric past episodes?
But this week's episode did not feel like it moved the story of our survivors forward at all. It may have tied up one loose end — where Tara and Heath were — but it did little else. Introducing an entire new community's worth of characters when we desperately want to touch base with the core group seems extraneous and forced.
So there you have it. My first official bad review of an episode of The Walking Dead. Sorry, Tara. Sorry, Robert Kirkman. Sorry, AMC. If it's any consolation, I have no doubt you'll redeem yourself with the mid-season finale... so there's that.
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