This week saw the airing of the fifth episode of The Walking Dead on US and UK television. This series, whilst being consistently great, has slightly suffered from an amazing first episode. Subsequent episodes, although being good, have paled slightly in comparison. However, episode 5 has been the best of the rest so far.
Episode 4 left on the cliff hanger of the survivors camp being overrun by zombies and some of the survivors getting attacked. Because the series is a few episodes in, these characters have been developed, therefore them being bitten carries more weight.
One of the main focuses of this episode was that Amy, Andrea’s sister, has been bitten. She was inevitably going to turn into a zombie but Andrea wouldn’t let anyone near her to end her life. It was dragged out throughout the first half of the episode, creating wonderful tension and making for compulsive viewing. We then saw Amy come back from the dead, her milky eyes opened and she was clearly infected. Andrea, who was dangerously close to her, spoke to her under the watchful eyes of the group. Their faces were only inches away from one another and it seemed that she would surely be bitten. This wasn’t the case. Just as Amy was starting to get some strength Andrea put a bullet in her head. The acting was amazing from both actresses.
We also saw the group putting an axe through the head of many of the fallen zombies, both known and unknown to them. The brutality of a woman putting the axe through her husband’s head was hard to watch. Her husband had been a bully and the emotion of being crushed daily was well expressed in this utterly violent scene.
As the episode moved on we saw Shane point his gun at Rick from a distance as he clearly fantasised about shooting him because of his love for Lori – Rick’s wife. A wonderful conflict was set up here when Dale saw everything. Although Shane tried to pretend it was nothing, Dale wasn’t so easily fooled, but nothing more was said about it. When will this resurface?
The group decided to move camp in search of a cure to the disease and headed off towards a research base where they had heard a cure was being formulated. They took one of their bitten group members, Jim, who didn’t make it all the way. He asked to be dropped by the roadside to allow the disease to take him over and enjoyed his last moments of being human by sitting peacefully beneath a tree.
In the comic series Robert Kirkman has no problem with killing off important characters. It is this freeness that makes for such compelling reading and ultimately viewing. You never know who is next, much as a zombie tale should be. This makes for a much more emotionally engaging tale because you have time to care about the characters, thus making their passing all the harder to swallow.