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'The Walking Dead': Where did the midseason finale leave the survivors?

'The Walking Dead' bid farewell to viewers until February, and a few cliffhangers will keep fans in suspense until the show's return.

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So now, we essentially have Rick’s two sides presented by wildly different characters. On one hand there is Tyreese, who is (for now, anyway) compassionate, intelligent and, most importantly, level headed – choosing to see temporary imprisonment as a welcome respite from the outside world, rather than waste his breath yelling at a kid in a sheriff’s hat. On the other hand, there’s the Governor (David Morrissey), who is so hell-bent on protecting what’s his, he’ll send a small platoon of men to wipe out any interlopers – even if they’re holed-up miles away in a prison thought to be overrun with the undead. Perhaps when Rick returns, Tyreese can offer him some kind of security and help to get the once-compassionate man back to a place where trusting strangers isn’t thought of as a possible death sentence.

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Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) find themselves on the edge of Woodbury’s walls having been led there by a stranger with little more than a sword and an attitude problem. Once again, Rick’s forced to trust an interloper, but there’s something he wants on the other end of that leap of faith that makes it worthwhile. And so, from a small, unassuming group with a lot of automatic weapons, Woodbury finds itself under attack for the first time in a long time. The citizens are rattled, and the Governor, faced with what may be a colossal failure, turns the fear his people have at being targeted for possessing what others do not to his advantage. Woodbury’s populace is given to craven madness, summarily calling for the execution of someone they know, without being presented any real evidence. Now the Governor doesn’t have to hide his true intentions for the group at the prison; his followers will practically beg him to send a hit squad to wipe them out. The people have seen what strangers are capable of, and as far as they’re concerned, there’s only one way to deal with such a threat.

In a way, Michonne (Danai Gurira) has more in common with the Governor and the people of Woodbury than she’d like to admit. Going out of her way to sneak into Phillip’s apartment and wait for him, only to wind up skewering his zombie-daughter and half-blinding him with a shard of glass, is not the decision of a sane person – but rather one fueled by fear, anger and a thirst for vengeance.

Which is something The Walking Dead fans will be if Daryl doesn’t make it through the impromptu reunion with his brother Merle (Michael Rooker). At any rate, after this action-packed midseason finale, we’ll have to wait until February to find out what fate awaits the Dixon brothers.

Various other items:

  • Carol (Melissa McBride) telling Axel (Lew Temple) that now is not the time to be thinking about repopulating the earth was a nice way to broach the subject, considering how gross and inappropriate Axel was being.
  • Right now, Axel seems like a bit of (perverted) comic relief – which makes one wonder if the character will stay close to his comic book roots or deviate drastically.
  • Farewell, Oscar.
  • That was awfully cool of a bearded Jon Bernthal to make a hallucinatory appearance in the episode.

Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.

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