After is an appropriate name for an episode that comes after one as game-changing as The Walking Dead’s Season 4 mid-season finale, and it was a quiet, but effective return.
With the inhabitants of the prison sent scattering to the four winds after the Governor’s final, fatal assault, the question was how we’d pick up on them all this time. Could the show manage multiple character storylines as effectively as, say, Game Of Thrones?
The answer is probably not, given that neither the writing nor the characterisations in this show are as impressive as that, so it was sensible to start off focusing on just Rick ‘n’ Carl and Michonne.
Rick was in a bad way after the pummelling he received from the Governor, as well as the possible (we still don’t know) death of his baby daughter, while Carl… was being Carl. Angry and hurt and arrogant, he needed bringing down a notch, so his misadventures while Rick was out for the count were certainly useful, if not always particularly entertaining.
Still, the pudding-eating was a suitably iconic moment and helped remind us (and him) of his age, as did the moment of excitement when he saw an Xbox before realising there’s no electricity to play it. Plus the world’s ended. The two pivotal moments were with his dad though, first shouting at an unconscious man, then failing to shoot what he thought was a dead dad. Awww.
Michonne’s story was a curious one, taking her from the prison to the temporary Grimes residence amid a flurry of decapitations. The moment where she drove her katana through the disembodied Hershel zombie head was particularly upsetting, while she also freaked herself out by glaring at a walker that looked a bit like her. No-one glares like Michonne.
We even got to see a version of her old life, a sassy urbanite with a child, although this was a dream that rapidly turned into a nightmare before she woke up. Certainly she has changed a lot, but we wouldn’t have her any other way, would we?
So, everything simmered really, and you do wonder what will be coming next. Will we get another few episodes focusing on two groups and how they are coping after the prison, before bringing them together at the end? Will we not see Rick, Carl and Michonne for a few weeks, or will their story continue alongside the others?
And what are we building towards now? How can the climax at the end of Season Four possibly match the mid-season one? AND WHERE’S JUDITH?! So many questions…