After a grueling wait, The Walking Dead’s second half of Season 4 debuted to the land of the living. Many fans are finding issues with the longevity of the series; did the mid-season premiere deliver enough to hook us in for the next seven episodes? Spoilers ahead.
“After” focused on three characters, with a big emphasis on the severed bond between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). The scenes were intertwined with Michonne’s own struggle. That struggle was more mentally than physically, because holy shit! She doesn’t need a smart phone to play Fruit Ninja. The zombie mow-down she enforced with her trusty katana was some of the coolest swordplay I’ve ever seen. Decapitations literally flew across the screen, and there was even a neat multi-kill thrown in. Greg Nicotero really went all-out on these forest shots. But I digress; more on Michonne later.
Rick is in bad shape. His breathing is labored, he can barely walk– he is all but undead, and Carl isn’t having any of it. The episode was largely dedicated to Carl snapping back at Rick at every turn, going so far as to mention Shane when he was knotting the door shut.
Look, I get that Carl is turning into a really, really jaded teenager, but his retaliation should not have taken up all that screen time, especially when it seems like your dad is the only non-walker you’ve got left. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh a bit when he tried to breach a front door by himself. However, that moment conflicted with my worry when Carl came near death twice; once with the two walkers that he tried to lead away, walking into a third and shooting off five rounds, and second when he narrowly escaped the walker he couldn’t properly shoot, making off with everything but one shoe.
That being said, it was a nice touch to have Carl sitting on the roof eating pudding, with the walker hand almost comically reaching out of the window. It gave a slight nod to childhood, and was a good reflective moment for the character. Guess you get hungry after puking all over the place, huh Carl?
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