The eighth season of The Walking Dead has got off to a rocky start at best, with each episode having its ebbs and flows. Episode 4 adds to the fluctuation of quality as it contains possibly the best scenes of the season so far.
The episode was almost entirely centred on Ezekiel and his group following an attack at the end of episode three. The decision to draw the focus away from the wider story has not often garnered a positive reaction from fans and critics alike, with only few exceptions. Making one arc the sole focal point of the episode’s forty-minute run time disjoints us from the rest of the story and robs the show of an opportunity to cohesively intertwine the arcs of all the characters and create obvious parallels between them. Some Guy started off as yet another example of an already poor idea executed poorly, but managed to win back a small amount of acclaim toward the end by managing to not entirely fall into the same old formula these episodes use.
Much of the first half of the episode was filled with flashbacks to the hours leading up to “All Out War” as we were forced to endure further repetition of King Ezekiel’s tedious monologue that we’ve heard more times than necessary during the course of the last four episodes. We were also introduced to a ridiculously cartoonish minor villain who it seemed would dominate much of the episode’s conflict. Luckily, he was soon dispatched and replaced with a much more exciting struggle for the episode to focus on. With the arrival of gentle giant Jerry, the episode seemed to improve immediately, injecting much more fun into the story in the form of brutal gore and action. While the Walking Dead is not the hard-hitting drama it once was, Some Guy proved that the show can still be fun – which can be equally as important to its success.
“it contains possibly the best scenes of the season so far”
Much of the episode’s action seemed to call back to many of the beloved over-the-top 80s action movies – whether this was intentional is a debate in itself. Rick and Daryl engaging in an A-Team style car chase was undoubtedly the highlight of the episode, and even the season, as they weaved and skidded along a country road in hot pursuit of the enemy. The scene called for a fair bit of suspension of disbelief, but it was thrilling nonetheless. Not only did the most exciting scene of the season so far make an appearance, but so too did the most emotional. A “character” death came in the most brutal and heroic of ways which was gut-wrenching for both the audience and characters involved. The scene allowed us to see a much more believable and relatable side of King Ezekiel, as the “King” persona was ditched for his true self. Kudos to Khary Payton (who plays the King) for his fine acting, finally being allowed to show his range outside the Shakespearian monologuing. His portrayal of deep grief was visceral and very real for all to watch.
The Walking Dead is not – and may never be – back up to the quality of seasons passed, but this episode provided viewers with a bit of fun. However, despite the charms of the episode, the disjointed plot and poor acting from minor characters (who are inexplicably given too much screen time) still leaves us needing more from the show.