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Review: The Walking Dead Returns with an Efficient and Emotional Episode in “Honor”

by on February 26, 2018
 

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

We all knew it was the end for Carl after it was discovered he had been bitten in the last episode before the break. (Actually, if they had found a way to have him survive I would have been done with the show) With it being confirmed by Chandler Riggs himself and the showrunners of The Walking Dead, the show had the unenviable task of letting Carl go in a meaningful and thought-provoking way that wouldn’t have the audience rolling its eyes.

As Carl basically is left to await his fate in the sewer system underneath Alexandria, the episode tries to show how his death will impact everyone, especially Rick and Michonne. Newcomer Avi Nash, who plays Siddiq, also had some quality moments and set things in motion so that we will be seeing more of him. The whole gang is not present in this episode so the reverberations of his death will be felt for many episodes to come, but for now, those closest to him are the ones who must bear the brunt of his imminent death.

While this is going on, over in the Kingdom, Ezekiel has been captured by the Saviors who are getting ready to transport him to a face to face with Negan. Thankfully, Morgan and Carol are on the case, even if Morgan is continuing his downward slide towards a complete breakdown. It is fascinating to watch his struggle with his demons and Lennie James has been very enjoyable to watch for quite some time now. Anger issues or not, he and Carol make a wonderfully dysfunctional and devastating team as they attempt to rescue Ezekiel amid the ever-increasing body count. However, Morgan is saved from possibly going completely around the bend (for now) by a very unlikely source and actually, come to think of it, this will probably push him over the edge anyways.

We also get a bit information in terms of Rick’s/Carl’s dream, the bit of flash forward into the future, and of course the big question of whether this is actually a dream at all. We get another little bit to chew on that I found as puzzling as I did intriguing. This whole ‘old man Rick’ idea is easy to write off as a dream but The Walking Dead, good or bad, loves to bait it’s viewers and play the misdirect game whenever it can. I suspect with all the rabid fan interest over the years, even though it might be a bit diminished now, they must have made this more of a practical decision than a plot device. Whatever the case may be, I am actually interested to see where they intend to take this and I’m hoping they really do have an end mapped out here.

Despite those two storylines, this episode was clearly about Carl. You know, Carl really bugged me for years and it got to the point that I was just plain annoyed when he came on screen. However, the last year and a half he has begun to grow on me, as he has grown up, showing signs of being a leader and a character to be reckoned with. Chandler Riggs easily gives one of, if not his best performance, in this episode, bringing out some real emotion that actually made me kind of sad he was going. Michonne took it very hard as she and Carl had developed quite a bond and Danai Gurira was impressive, trying to keep it together yet falling apart at the same time.

It’s funny, I just said it was all about Carl, and he had some great scenes, but the more I think about it the more I realize Rick was just a big a focus this week. First, Carl dying is going to have an obvious impact on Rick, first as a father and then as a leader. Is he going to go crazy? Is he going to honor his son’s last wishes? Not only that, we were left with the image of Rick sitting down against a tree, obviously suffering from some sort of wound in his side. A bullet? A bite? A dream?

Thankfully, “Honor” was very well paced, which is saying something for this show, so the big moments did not seem bogged down and didn’t drag on too long. The Walking Dead accomplished what it needed to, a competent goodbye to an important character, and now it’s time to see if Rick will dial things back or make the ‘All Out War’ slogan his battle cry.

 

Four stars out of five

Positives

- Definitely Chandler Rigg's finest moment

- Great pace to the episode, which is usually not a strength of this show

- Lots of teasers of things to come

Negatives

- People still don't know how to shoot on this show

Editor Rating
 
Cast
90%

 
Sound
88%

 
Visual
88%

 
Writing
89%

Author Score
89%

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The Walking Dead had an average at best start to this season but 'Honor' was a great step towards reclaiming some of its past glory. Emotional and, thought-provoking, this episode laid the foundation for a successful second half of the season. Now let's see if they can make Carl's death a way to spur the show on to bigger and better things.

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