I really enjoyed the last few episodes, which is a relief. I had been ready to write the show off–and actually would have–except my wife wanted to keep watching. In any case, I’m glad we did. The story picked up the pace, in fact moving a little too quickly; I thought there was more to mine in both the cannibal storyline and the hospital one. It felt like they moved past the cannibals a little too quickly in order to get to the hospital, which then also came to a resolution quickly. I wonder: Had there been no arbitrary mid-season break, would the stories being told here have naturally spread over a couple more episodes, maybe even span to the end of the regular season? I think so. (See below for more on this.)
Regardless, the characters got back together, some quite the worse for the wear. The overarching theme since their dispersal, that the humanity of the survivors is being stretched across a terrible continuum that has many moving the line-that-can’t-be-crossed. It’s been compelling television. The cannibals at Terminus were clearly the ultimate representation of what can happen to otherwise “good” people in these extreme conditions, and we’ve seen our protagonists–particularly Rick–moving down that path to darkness.
Beth, who had been one of the better “good” people, even darkened a bit, having killed live people recently. (It’s weird to make that distinction, but when you “kill” so many “dead”, it’s hard to describe otherwise.) The only person probably more “good” than Beth has been is Tyreese, having recently recovered to that state after a dark time spent battling with inner demons himself. That she met her end in this episode will likely cause the group to skew darker upon the show’s return.
Unlike my earlier stance, I’m looking forward to seeing more from The Walking Dead.
I’m going to rant a bit, even though it retreads a bit of ground. How fucking stupid is it that we have a “mid-season finale”? Regardless of the quality of the episode in question, which is high, why is the fucking series on hiatus–only six episodes into its season–until February? And why is there a pre-hiatus finale? I’ll tell you: To build up hype and give them an opportunity to pimp some other show, this time the it’s-got-to-be-doomed-to-fail Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. It sucks, and I hope that either AMC stops the practice or that it fails to generate another show I care to watch.