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'The Walking Dead': Did the midseason premiere bring back the show's momentum?

'The Walking Dead' returned for the rest of its third season last night after a midseason finale that seemed to bring the drama back to life. Did the new episode keep the characters moving forward?

By Kevin YeomanScreen Rant / February 11, 2013

'The Walking Dead' actors Norman Reedus, Sarah Wayne Callies, Andrew Lincoln, and Laurie Holden (from l. to r.) arrive at Universal Studios.

John Shearer/Invision for AMC/AP

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When The Walking Dead finished off the first half of season 3 with ‘Made to Suffer,’ it wasn’t the hasty infiltration and subsequent firefight between Rick’s crew and the people of Woodbury that breathed new life into series, it was the introduction of another group of survivors.

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So far, season 3 has been about the core survivors meeting new people. Some of these encounters have gone south pretty quickly, e.g., Thomas and the other inmates not named Oscar or Axel (Lew Temple) wound up dead and now the citizens of Woodbury, spurred on by the Governor (David Morrissey), are cheering the Dixon brothers in gladiatorial combat. In terms of overall friendliness, these instances don’t rank too high, but there’s hope in the form of the seemingly capable and mostly affable Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and his dwindling crew – not to mention the ever-scowling face of Michonne (Danai Gurira). All in all, the infusion of new blood had The Walking Dead ready to take on the rest of season 3 with some real gusto.

But for all the life that was put back into the show during the midseason finale, ‘The Suicide King’ seems to come in and suck a lot of that life right back out. Sure, there’s a tense moment at the beginning of the episode that resolves the issue of Daryl (Norman Reedus) and his brother Merle (Michael Rooker) being trapped in Woodbury and potentially having to fight one another to the death, but the scene plays out almost too quickly. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew attack again, causing a stampede of formerly bloodthirsty Woodburians that, along with all the gunfire and smoke grenades, provides the perfect cover for Daryl and Merle to escape.

And while the action offers fans an opportunity for everyone to breathe a little easier knowing that Daryl isn’t next on the chopping block, it causes the action to shift into the series’ default setting of watching small clusters of survivors argue with one another. No sooner does Rick’s crew find their way back to Glenn (Steven Yeun), Michonne and the ever-lasting Hyundai, than the situation devolves into an argument highlighted by raised voices, guns and a sword. Naturally, nobody wants Merle in the group, but Daryl refuses to abandon his brother like he did before, and soon the Dixon brothers are off on their own adventure somewhere between Woodbury and the prison.

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