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Review: The Walking Dead Returns to its Erratic Behavior in “Dead or Alive Or”

by on March 12, 2018
 

*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*

While I will say that this is now three good episodes in a row, a shocking development for The Walking Dead these days, “Dead or Alive Or” was a little off compared to the last two. Some annoying characters reared their ugly heads again, a few of whom could be killed off as far as I’m concerned, but there were some strong emotional moments, some fun zombie moments and a clear sign that Negan is set to completely do the opposite of what he’s been saying all along. (Do I blame him, the writers or showrunners for that? I’ll go with the writers and showrunners)

Daryl, Tara, Dwight, Rosita, and friends are trudging on to Hilltop, trying to avoid Savior patrols, when Dwight suggests a detour through the swamp. This is an obviously put in there to make them take on swamp zombies, which were very cool, but also to give Tara a chance to kill Dwight. It seems she is very angry at Dwight killing her girlfriend Denise (who I think were a couple for about five minutes) and wouldn’t you know it, she botches it and Dwight ends up with some Saviors, who seem to pop up anywhere on a whim. I was hoping they would kill Tara, as she is yet another annoying character that we could do without, but no such luck.

The sad duo of Father Gabriel and Dr. Carson might have escaped the Saviors thanks to Eugene but they are directionally challenged and get lost. This was funny but makes you wonder how these two have lived this long. There is a lot of God talk from Gabriel, saying He will show the way, and they do make some progress before a bear trap, zombies and another bunch of those Saviors popping up out of nowhere gets them captured and Dr. Carson killed while trying to escape. It was a weird plot line, but seeing as Hilltop how has someone new with medical experience I guess Doc Carson was expendable. After all this time, I’m still not sure what to make of Gabriel and I have a feeling that he will be more a nuisance when push comes to shove.

Eugene had become the bullet maker again and Negan has given him everything he needs to get that job done. Problem is, Eugene is slowing cracking like an egg and no amount of wine will keep the demons away in terms of his cowardice and what he has done. Still, his suggestion to Negan about catapulting zombie parts into Hilltop was fascinating, in a gruesome and fun way. Negan being the sadist he is, loves the idea, although infecting a bunch of people he calls time and time again an important resource seems a contradiction but hey, The Walking Dead likes to ignore these little things so let’s not quibble about it here. Besides, how about that mental image of body parts flying into Hilltop from all directions, people running everywhere in chaos?

Speaking of Hilltop, food is running short and Maggie decides to cut the rations to the Savior prisoners she has, Morgan stews some more, young Henry is told by Morgan who killed his brother and damn, I love that weasel Gregory. He may have been the worst leader ever but his cowardly save my hide at all costs attitude is always fun to watch. There was a great moment when Daryl and company arrive, a quiet moment without words as the news of Carl’s death spread. It was well done and the emotion and lack of words was a great combination that made the scene powerful.

Not a great episode but not bad either although like I said earlier, it’s time to remove some of the deadwood and tighten up some storylines. I would love to see Daryl go because at this point, he is really a useless character. Barely seen in three episodes, shoots some arrows, gets angry for the wrong reason, yup, time to go. On your way out, please take Tara with you, that would be great, thanks.

Three and a half stars out of five

Positives

- Swamp zombies were a lot of fun

- Emotional reunion at Hilltop was well done

- Catapult zombies? Count me in.

Negatives

-Daryl and Tara can die anytime now as they are both annoying and useless

- Pockets of Saviors popping up whenever the plot needed them was pretty laughable

Editor Rating
 
Cast
85%

 
Sound
83%

 
Visual
88%

 
Writing
82%

Author Score
85%

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Bottom Line
 

While not as good as the first two episodes of the second half, "Dead or Alive Or" wasn't that bad, either. Some good zombie moments, a well done emotional scene and the idea of zombie parts flying through the air made for an average episode a little better. Now, about killing off some of this cast...

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