Community Post: This article was submitted by a member of our community. Find out how you can publish your own writing here!
In the weeks since The Walking Dead returned for the second half of its fourth season, I have found myself discussing the show more at length with my friends and colleagues. One such compatriot engaged in a semi-heated discussion with me about his belief that the quality of the show is declining. I respectfully disagreed for the most part, but he went on to say that the reasoning for the alleged decline is that the writers have killed off all of the best characters. I asked him which of the characters were his personal favorites, and without hesitation, he mentioned both Shane and The Governor. I refrained from mentioning that these were the two characters who ultimately doomed themselves by way of their awful behavior, but that was beside the point. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying any of the characters on The Walking Dead, but it is too seldom, I believe, that we ever ask ourselves why.
Like the previous episodes this season, we are dealing with individual character stories, and much of the episode this week is dedicated to digging deeper into the past and persona of Michonne. Even before the show began, she was one of the most popular characters in the series’ canon, and it isn’t hard to see why. She is a brooding and mysterious figure, often hooded and dragging along two obedient walkers, and she is pretty handy with that deadly katana of hers. Yet when you ask most fans why they enjoy her presence on the show, there is little mention of her actual character. To be fair, there hasn’t been much to say about her character until this season, but the general reaction to the deeper aspects of her being have garnered some mixed conclusions. The first glimpse we get of her past happened a few episodes back, when she is forced to hold a baby, and that single tear rolls down her cheek. It was a beautifully written and played scene that told us so much with so little. Since then, we have been treated with more literal looks into her life before the walkers, in which she had a comfortable home, and normal life, and most obviously, a loving family. We are now beyond the ruthlessly entertaining façade, and are greeted by the real person herself.
There is an extended scene in this week’s episode in which Michonne and Carl search the local houses for food and supplies. During their conversation, Carl expresses interest in Michonne’s former life, and she reluctantly agrees to answer one question for every room that they clear. She grants the answers bit by bit, revealing her son’s name, how he thought his mother to be hilarious, and that they shared a particular liking for Crazy Cheese (admittedly, this is a confection that I have never had the pleasure to try, but I am told that it is a shamefully beloved treat). All of this information has an honest purity to it, but what seems to be the topic of much debate is the performance in which the actress Danai Gurira portrays these moments of revelation. Her performance is believable and genuinely human, yet getting such a performance right is a tricky prospect. There are some that would say that a hard-edged and powerful fighter is showing weakness by showing emotion, which is a wrong and unfortunate assumption. But with Michonne, the trickiness is in the performance, because we as an audience really do not yet know the true nature of her character. Surely, a deeper character reveal isn’t nearly as entertaining as watching that same character slice heads off with a sword, but the point of characterization isn’t strictly reserved for entertainment. Good stories are not always positive or even enjoyable experiences, and as the show heads into it’s upcoming fifth season, we must admit to ourselves that The Walking Dead cannot simply be regarded as strictly entertainment. These are real characters dealing with a fantastically real predicament, and like them, we as viewers must force ourselves to peek around those corners that we would otherwise care to avoid.
There is much that I have neglected to mention in this review, such as Rick’s encounter with a new group of survivors, the separation of Glenn and Maggie, and the introduction of another popular character from the comics. As the show continues to expand its universe, there becomes simply too much to write about in a single review, and frankly, my intention is not to spoil every aspect of the episode. While I have liked this season so far, I would also say that I feel that this season is the weakest so far, mainly because the storyline has felt very fragmented from the beginning. Yet the majority of the fragments have been powerful bits of storytelling, which only puts a stronger emphasis on the shame that they should be more connected. With only five episodes left in this season, any sort of satisfying conclusion will prove to be a terribly daunting task. And as most other shows have begun to show their faults by their fifth season, The Walking Dead has some fearsome challenges ahead.
Community Post: This article was submitted by a member of our community. The views expressed are the opinions of the designated author, and do not reflect the opinions of the Overmental as a whole or any other individual. We will gladly cooperate in the removal of plagiarism or any copyright infringement. Please contact us here.