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Welcome back, The Walking Dead.  This past Sunday marked the return of one of the most frustrating shows to watch.  But good news!  This episode was actually a pretty good welcome return to things that I actually like about the show.

As for this feature, for some reason, I don’t have the drive to give The Walking Dead full-on reviews, so I think I’ll be taking care of the recaps in this kind of format.  But on to the lessons learned!

3. Carl’s Not So Tough Without That Hat and That Gun

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I give the kid credit: he’s grown up a lot since the farm.  He can shoot, probably too well, and he’s become more of a leader than a liability, as was the case in the first two seasons.  Delivering a baby that your mom cuts out of herself and then shooting her in the head would kind of have that effect on anyone.  We noticed a few holes in Carl’s game, though.

The kid has a propensity to fall on his ass when there are more than two zombies on his tail and he’s not exactly the most skilled exterminator of the walkers when he doesn’t have his trusty peacemaker by his side.  This could be a commentary on the idea that a gun is a coward’s only defense, but it could also be that this kid thinks he’s hot shit and, like everyone else has figured out, life has a tendency to knock you on your ass.  For Carl, he’s on his ass often.

2. The Show is Better When Everyone is on the Move

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Having read the comics, I sort of know the beats to the overall story arc, assuming that the creators of the show aren’t prepared to throw a massive curveball, so I know when the group is going to be on the move and when they’re about to stand still for an entire season.

For me, the sedentary life of The Walking Dead crew is a boring one; at least in the comic, they are only stuck there as long as it takes you to flip the pages.  With the show, you’re at the mercy of a team of writers and show runners deciding on how long each story element should take place.  While the ends usually wind up justifying the means, they managed to stretch the prison storyline a little thin, as it should have ended a half-season prior.

This episode, however, is a perfect example of two characters back to the elements they’ve been trying to put walls in front of.  Zombies are relatively easy kills, but the idea of a true survival situation makes for much more interesting television.  I prefer to watch Carl and Rick scrounge for food than watch him farm.  F*** Farmer Rick.

1. This Show Can Still Surprise

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The Walking Dead is one of the more frustrating shows that I watch each and every week.  As a fan of the comics, it can be maddening how inconsistent the show allows itself to be.  That being said, ever so often, the show reminds everyone how good it can be when it wants to be.

That moment for me in this episode is Michonne’s dream sequence.  In it, the character recalls several moments from her life, all of which occur around the same dinner table.  It’s an interesting set piece as the scene changes as things on the outside goes from good to bad to worse.  You see how the household dynamics change until it’s just her and her zombie pets.  Really well done; like something we would’ve seen in a more consistently great AMC show.

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