It’s back! Our favorite zombie survivors are once again going to be gracing our televisions each Sunday. Last night’s episode picked up right where the mid-season finale left off – the destroyed prison and the loss of our beloved Hershel.
The first five minutes with Michonne were heartbreaking and exactly what I love most about this show. She’s forced to put Walker!Hershel down and you can see how much this affects her. Instead of pulling her katana out with her foot, she lovingly places her hand on Hershel’s cheek, mourning the loss of a great man and the moral backbone of Team Prison. RIP Hershel.
We get to dive a bit into Michonne’s grief-filled past through dreams that show her as she was pre-apocalypse. We’d already suspected she was a mother after her reactions around baby Judi, but seeing her with her child is emotionally moving. I loved how we follow Michonne throughout the episode – how she rarely speaks yet we seem to know exactly what’s she’s thinking. At first she casts off her human family, refusing to follow the footsteps of the Grimes boys. But once she realizes she’s chosen to walk among the dead rather than the living, she gloriously downs the zombies and goes in search of her boys. I’m totally a Richonne shipper. The ending scene where she knocks on the door was maybe the second time I teared up during the episode.
As for Rick and Carl (the only other characters featured in this episode), we see them struggling, not just with the prison’s downfall, but their own downfall as father and son. Rick is badly injured and Carl is pissed as hell at him – showing his true teenage bitchiness. At one point, he even wishes his father dead which most teenagers do at some point. But watching Carl come to terms with the literal death of his father was another extremely moving moment.
I liked following Carl around on his own for awhile. We get to see just how much of a kid he still is – despite the atrocities he’s seen and committed. How many times can one teenage boy almost get bitten in the span of 45 minutes? If your name is Carl Grimes…a lot. His pudding eating scene made me giggle – with his one shoe having been stolen.
Many have labeled this episode as boring which I definitely do not agree with. After the loud, crazy, epic prison showdown in the previous installment, the quietness of ‘After’ felt appropriate and moving. Many of the actors and producers of the show have said that the back eight episodes are far more psychological than the show has ever been. You get to see that with episode nine as the dialogue is at a bare minimum. I think it’s an interesting storytelling technique and gives the actors a real chance to shine.
I do have one small gripe. Carl and Rick cannot have wondered too far away from the prison in the battle’s aftermath. With that in mind, how can there be so many un-looted, un-scavenged houses and buildings? Wouldn’t they have gone through everything nearby at this point? Just a minor detail, but it irked me nonetheless. Also, why aren’t they looking for the others??????? Did they not have a plan in place for this kind of catastrophe? I find that incredibly hard to believe, TWD writers.
Can’t wait to meet up with the others in 410! I miss my weekly Norman Reedus fix!!